Monthly Archives: March 2012

The WORD became flesh…

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John 1:1

“ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God.”

I have always loved this verse.  It carries so much meaning and this week it seemed to jump off the page during my study time.  It has been rolling around in my mind ( and in my life) for awhile now.  What does it really mean? 

Matthew Henry says that Christ is the wonderful speaker-the speaker of things hidden and strange!  This is one strange thing-the Word, the Word with God and the Word was God!  How can that be?  It is a mystery to us all and I cannot explain it, however, I do believe it with all of my being.  The Word ( Christ) has made God’s mind known to us much the same way our own speech makes our mind known.  Christ IS the Word speaking from God to us and to God FOR us!  Isn’t that exciting?  Just as John the Baptist was the VOICE-Christ is the WORD.

Proverbs 8:23

“The WORD had a being BEFORE the world had a beginning.”

 

Just as I am a daughter, mother and wife-it is the same way with God.  Christ was with God-together-not apart.  Christ is with God and is God. 

Jesus Christ is the good Word-the very letters that form in our minds and flow from our mouths.  He puts the letters together to form words and they tumble from our tongues in God phrases of Truth and Light.  They speak into our souls and pierce the deepest parts of our bone marrow.  God is living and active inside of us and WE are his living, breathing, serving, healing testaments of redeeming love.  Notice I said redeeming love- God draws us toward Him with a grace that cannot be found anywhere else but through Him.  God redeems his creation to himself. He beckons us back into His arms with love, forgiveness and discipline.  He is always calling, are we listening?  I am proof that God is alive and that He never gives up on his children.   He will never give up on you-no matter what you might think or what others might say. Don’t believe it. It’s a lie.  God loves you and wants you all for himself.  He is IN us. When he created man, God breathed himself into us and into all of creation!  His Word lives in us-it is imprinted into our DNA not by numbers or symbols, but by his breath of letters and words and life that say  “ created in His image” and “fearfully and wonderfully made!
  

Matthew 1:27

So God created mankind in his own image,
   in the image of God he created them;
   male and female he created them.

I imagine that as the Spirit of God hovered over the void that would become earth,  the colors mingled and reacted and the mixing of creation began!  Jesus Christ came forth from His Father as the breath of words -spilling out onto the black, dark, canvas of creation. He is the beautiful hue of life that makes the world vibrant, alive and so full of Life! 

Look around you, look at your skin tone, your eyes, your hair, your bone structure, your heart.   God did that.  You are fearfully and wonderfully made by a Creator who is calling you home…

Psalm 139: 13-14

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

Let us give thanks for His never ending love!

  Forever and ever Amen!

Camp cross

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Tonight the kids made a cross for Camp Dickenson…I think Michael Snow might like it!

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We love to splatter paint…

 

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and I love Judah!   I think he is having fun-don’t you?

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“In His Footsteps” by the WW kids! 

Thanks kids!  You make my day week!  Love you all! 

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shhhh…don’t tell mom-but we got paint on our feet…

Today’s project WELCOME

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Today’s project is a recycled cupboard door painted as a WELCOME sign. 

“ As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

It’s funny that the positioning of the clouds creates a blue heart behind the word WELCOME!  That was not planned by me- at least not consciously! 

Smile

This Journey

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Jeremiah 29:11  (NIV)

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.

I stand in awe of the glory of God.  In January of 2012 I started a liquid only fast in order to hear what God was telling me.  I knew I had to give everything up and surrender my all to God.  In December, I took a leap of faith and left a job that I once loved.  In the months previous to December, God placed certain people in my life.  They spoke to Truth into me, and for once in my life, I actually listened and gave my all to Him.   In order for us to hear God, we have to be in tune with Him.  You see, I have been running backwards, in selfishness and stubbornness, for years.  I’ve been making other things more important than God.  One of the people in my life, (who by the way came all the way from Kansas,) told me this:  “ Donna, this situation will send you running away from God or it will draw you nearer to Him.  What will you do?”   I thought about that a lot and today it stays at the top of my mind.  For awhile I let the situation take over my thoughts.  I have a good friend who is always honest with me and she has watched me be paralyzed by conflict and life events.  They don’t do it to me, I allow it to happen by becoming consumed by them.  I take my eyes off heaven.  If she had never shared this insight with me, I might still be doing it, because I really had no idea that I was doing that.   Over the years  I have quit things, not finished things, given up on things and have been an absolute failure at life.  I try not to let that define who I am, but often times it will peek it’s ugly little head out and say, “ here I am.”   So, for me to leave my job felt like a failure.  Today, I see it as something entirely different.  It was a part of God’s plan. 

James 4:7-8  (NIV)

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you.

Since I had been hearing God’s call loud and clear through people ( for years) , circumstances and a plain kick in the pants, I wanted to be sure it was all about God and not Donna.  So I began the fast.  I laid it all down.  Every bit of me fell face down on the floor in surrender to God.   Cort and I met with our District Superintendent and we discussed me re-entering the Candidacy Process.  Now, some of you may not know what this is.  This is a process of discovering God’s call on your life, as a Layspeaker, Local Pastor, Ordained Elder, ( just to mention a few)  through the United Methodist Church.  You are given a mentor and you work closely with them in this exploration process.  I had begun it in 2009 and put it on hold in 2010 ( running in the wrong direction again) and in January 2012 I was reactivated.  This is such a personal journey with God and is close to the heart.  It is a push, pull, tug of war, between you letting go of self and letting God prevail.  

Proverbs 3:5-6  (NIV)

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
   and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
   and he will make your paths straight.

 

During that meeting the DS said she was in need of Supply Pastors and would I be interested in doing that?  We talked about the duties and logistics and I told her I would.  That weekend we were heading to Resurrection.  During Resurrection God filled me with a great desire to share His story and to remove the blinders that so many of us wear.  I know I can’t remove them-that only God can do that- however I can help to speak light and life into the world and watch God do His mighty work.   Resurrection was an “eye opener” for me in many, many ways.  God had rekindled my flame through the speaker, the music, the dramas, the kids and our leaders.  My husband recommitted his life and our oldest daughter is hearing her call to be in missions.  Our youngest has a heart filled with compassion and love for all people.  We are blessed beyond measure. It has almost been like a new beginning for us as a family.  We were all there being remolded and shaped by our Creator.    My fast ended after Resurrection. 

Joel 2:12  (NIV)

But even now,” declares the Lord,
      “return to me with all your heart—
         with fasting, crying, and mourning.”

It was about 5 weeks after that first meeting with the DS that I received another call from her telling me she thought she had a church for me.  I was quite surprised to say the least.  I stood on my porch, phone in my hand, saying, “ are you sure Lord?”  Haha!  In that moment I knew I had to trust Him completely.   I had to start another fast.  I wanted to be absolutely certain that this was of God.  I have made the mistake of following people and doing what I think they want me to do and I have vowed to not do that anymore-but to do what GOD was telling me to do.  This is all part of that push/pull struggle that grows us into what God wants us to be.  Giving up of self is painful.  Haha! 

Ephesians 4:22-24 (GWT)

21You have certainly heard his message and have been taught his ways. The truth is in Jesus. 22You were taught to change the way you were living. The person you used to be will ruin you through desires that deceive you. 23However, you were taught to have a new attitude. 24You were also taught to become a new person created to be like God, truly righteous and holy.

During this fast many things have happened and one that I want to highlight is the weekend I spent with the kids at Confirmation camp.  I went to Camp Dickenson with our Pastor of Volunteer Ministries and 4 awesome kids!  I loved every bit of it and it was a wonderful time of feeding for me.   We learned about God, we laughed, we played, we sang, danced and even had a campfire.  But the best thing we did ( for me) was the making of the stoles and building the altar.  Wow.  I love to make things, so it’s no surprise!  The stole is very telling of our personal journey with God and as I was making mine I thought, hmmm….I might get to wear this one day.   When we made the altar we had to hunt for things in nature to build it, rocks, sticks, ferns, moss, etc.  It was a beautiful sight to see the work of hands and the thought that was put into each piece.  Just like God did when He made each of us.  The most significant moment was taking communion with the all the kids.    The Pastor teaching us said this, “ We are not like dandelions in the wind, we have a place to be.  ( in the church.)”   He was so right. 

Hebrews 13:21 (NIV)

May this God of peace prepare you to do every good thing he wants. May he work in us through Jesus Christ to do what is pleasing to him. Glory belongs to Jesus Christ forever. Amen.

On Monday, after returning from camp, my phone rang.  It was the DS with a projected appointment for me as a Supply Pastor beginning in July 2012.   WOW!!  I am praising God for all that he has done and will continue to do in the years to come!   My time with all of you has grown me to this new place.  Your roots are being spread out a little farther through me, and others, who have been called into ministry from our church.  You have each been like a little water, a little fertilizer, and a little sun.  Each of you is very important to me and wherever I am going- you will all be in my heart-speaking to me, praying for me and encouraging me.  We are family- always!  This transition will be bittersweet.  It is one that  God has called me to and I intend to follow Him for the rest of the days of my life.  I will be praying for all of you as I know you will be praying for us too.

I want to stop right here and just say that God yearns to give us the desires of our heart-when they are in line with his.  How do we know when we are line with Him?  By fasting and praying.  This journey of fasting and praying is so personal that things just cannot be shared-not because I don’t want to-I just can’t.  They cannot be put into words and they are to be kept close to the heart.  God is longing to speak to each one of us and when we get out of ourselves and get wholly into Him-He will.   We should never say, “ I can’t do that…” because with His strength- we can.   We must believe the scriptures and live them out.  We don’t fast and pray because someone else tells us to – we do it because God calls us to it and when God calls us to something we better believe that He will equip us! 

Ephesians 3: 7-8 (MSG)

This is my life work: helping people understand and respond to this Message. It came as a sheer gift to me, a real surprise, God handling all the details. When it came to presenting the Message to people who had no background in God’s way, I was the least qualified of any of the available Christians. God saw to it that I was equipped, but you can be sure that it had nothing to do with my natural abilities.

So, by the grace of God, here go I…

I’m depending on God and fully believing that He will equip me for every service, every visit, every sermon, every relationship, every name, every mile, every prayer, every heart, every life and every soul.  I am not a dandelion blowing in the wind, I am a seed planted at the foot of the cross with roots that connect to the Giver of Life.  Lord, make me disappear and may all that be seen is You…

Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV)

But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.””

I stand in awe of our Creator!

Blessings on your journey,

d.

Wonderful Wednesday’s with the kids

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This past Weds. we painted clay flower pots with the kids at WW.  I love painting projects because it allows the kids time to get creative and get out of the lines.  I really don’t like coloring pages because there is so much emphasis on “staying in the lines” that it takes away from our natural creativity to explore the whole page.  I grew up thinking I had to stay in the lines, but the older I get the messier I am!  Haha!   There are times to stay in and times to be out.  This was definitely one of those “out of the line” experiences!  Haha!

Your kids inspire me and whenever I am with them I am left with a heart that is filled with joy.  Scripture says we should be like children and these kids show me how to do that.  They ask so many questions and have the funniest answers and make the cutest faces!  

Just look at Evan!

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I love this kid!  He has the heart of an artist!  We have quite a few kids who do and it is up to us, CHURCH, to teach these kids to use their God-given gifts and talents to glorify God.  Thank you for allowing me to work with your precious children.  Hold them close and enjoy the time you have with them.  Life goes by too fast! 

 

 

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Look at the intensity on their faces.  No fear to be different in their painting and definitely no two alike!  God doesn’t make any of alike- so why should our pots be? haha! 

 

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These painted hands remind me of how we are created in the image of God.  The first time I saw them I thought, wow-that’s how God made us.  He put a little of this and a little of that and ended up with me!

 

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This was the quietest lesson we have ever had.  They were focused 100%! 

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Thank you Church, for giving me the opportunity to serve! 

This coming week we paint flowers!  I can’t wait!!!!!

We are called to choose a different road.

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I have been reading about the prophetess, Anna, and the path she took to share Jesus with the world. We see Anna in the scriptures, after the event of the birth of Christ, and during the presentation of Jesus in the temple. 

Luke 2:36-38 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.[e] She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

She was 84!  We often hear the old adage- “ I’m too old for God to use me…” never!  Look at Anna!  She spent her days and nights worshipping God and fasting and praying!  She was a widow who never left the temple!   Can you imagine what some people must have been saying about her?  “ There’s that crazy old woman, praying to God again-she never stops.”   or  “ There’s that woman who spends her time praying and fasting to God-what commitment and faith she has-how can I have that? ”  But do any of these things really matter?  No.  All that matters is what God thinks.  This is where the rubber meets the road. 

As Christians we are called to choose a different road. Some of us are standing in the cross hairs trying to figure out which way to go. “ If I turn this way, then the world will love me, but if I turn this way then God will love me and pour out his blessings on me. “   Our insecurities can have control over our decisions.  Ask me, I know all about it.   We should not be concerned with what the world says, but we are.  We should not be ruled by our insecurities, but we are.  We should know and believe that God WILL equip us and that we DO have value in the Kingdom of God and we should TRUST in God’s plan and purpose for us-whether we understand it or not.  God does, and that’s all that matters.  We can let our insecurities run us right into the world or we can choose to fall into the arms of our beloved Savior and let Him take care of the details; just a Anna did.  She spent her days abiding in the Lord and he cared for her every need.  He blessed her obedience. 

Hebrews 12:1-3

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

I am thinking of my Made to Crave group this morning.  Ladies-we need to choose a different road.  We need to choose the road that leads to health and life-not to insulin, blood pressure pills or heart attacks.  This is the world having it’s way over what we put in our mouths and into our bodies.  Temptation to eat poorly is at every corner, however, when we fill our minds with the Words of God and we follow His disciplines-fasting, praying and worshipping-that is what will fill us and keep us focused.  We need each other to do this-to be a gentle reminder to each other to keep going, to give an “atta girl” and to pray for each other.  When we do this, God will bless our obedience. 

Here is what I learned from Anna this morning:

-Don’t be concerned with what the world says-do it God’s way.

-Don’t let your insecurities rule you.

-Believe that God will equip you.

– Know that you are valued in God’s Kingdom.

-Believe that God has a plan and purpose for your life-no matter your age, weight, or profession.

Put your blinders on and look dead ahead at Christ.  He is saying, “ come closer my child, walk this way and we will live together, forever.” 

The choices we make today affect our lives and the lives of others.  How we share our faith and live for God also has an impact on the eternal outcome of those around us.  Think about that.  Our choices can affect the eternity of another person.  If I meet someone who has never heard about Jesus and I choose to keep that to myself-that person may never get a chance to hear his name again.  They may die a tragic and sudden death.  We see that a lot, don’t we?  Have you ever thought about it?  I mean, really?  It has been on my mind, almost daily, since the tragedy out here on route 100 with the tree falling in the road and taking the life of a man who was just driving along.  A man with a wife and a family.  My heart aches for them.   I have asked a lot of questions and no answers.  I don’t want to think about it, but it seems to crop up in my mind a lot.  Life can be tragic.  We must take every opportunity we are given to share God with people. 

Every choice we make in life DOES matter.  Someone is always watching and when they watch long enough they will say, “ I want what you have-how do I get that?”   ( I recently said that to a friend who is always filled with laughter and joy.)  Ladies, I truly believe that God is calling each of us to take the High Road.  We all come together one night a week and then we go out in 8 different directions-all over CC.  Think about that road map and all of the people we interact with along the way.  Hebron, Sylvatus, Galax, Dugspur, Hillsville.  That’s a lot of coverage!  8 women CAN make a huge impact on this part of God’s world.  The hub is our church.  Each of us is a spoke in the wheel and when we are all connected-we can go anywhere that God sends us!  He is a our fuel, not food.

I love you ladies and I am praying for each of you today.  Make wise choices and think about God before every bite.  I encourage you take time to fast and pray and hear what God is saying to YOU.  He speaks to each of us in different ways and the plans he has for me, are not the same as for you.  The end goal is the same, the vehicle He uses to get each of us there is different.

Blessings for your weekend!

d.

Wonderful Wednesday’s art project

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Hi!

Tonight, during Wonderful Wednesday’s at FUMC Hillsville, we will be making popsicle stick flowers and painted flower pots.  I anticipate this project to span over several weeks as there will be a lot of gluing and painting going on!  I’m excited!  I love SPRING and I LOVE the heavenly hues that God has given us to enjoy in this season! 

They speak JOY into all of the earth!

If you are an adult with a child in this class-come on out and help us!  I will need extra hands to help glue, pour paint and wash little hands!  If you have never been to WW- come on out and have some fun with us!  We would love to meet you!!!!!!  5:30 pm for dinner and 6:00 pm for activities! 

I can’t wait!  See you there!

d.

 

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TRUST in the LORD

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Today I am spending some time in the studio, reflecting over the past few years, recalling how God has always been there and how he has used people and events to poke, push and prod me closer to Him.    Our Pastors have been preaching about this “Journey” that we are on and where we have been and where we are going.  With each passing day I am discovering the sovereignty of God and that His will WILL be done, with or without me.  I don’t want to be left out and I hope you don’t either. 

Thy will be done

I have always said that if Abraham hadn’t accepted God’s call, we wouldn’t be where we are today, but I have recently come to the realization that God would have used someone else to fulfill His destiny for His people.  It could have been “Father George” instead of Abraham and I’m glad it wasn’t.  I love Abraham.  He is real.   So, don’t ever think that God’s will won’t be accomplished-because it will, with or without you, and if you don’t want be left out of the glorious plans of God then I encourage you to take a step in the right direction.  Because you know what?  All things happen in God’s time and when the time comes for you to move in God’s direction-He will pave the way, according to your obedience and willingness.   When you step-you need to pray first and then step.  Never step without prayer and never step because someone else told you too.  Always go with God-He is your guide.  When we practice the discipline of fasting and praying together- God always comes through loud and clear and while He might leave us standing there saying, “are you sure, Lord?”  We can always KNOW that God is always right by reading the stories of Moses and Abraham.  He is faithful and true to keep His word.  He told Joshua to be of good courage and so must we. 

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There is a battle raging all around us and while we cannot see it-we can certainly feel it.  It is waging a war on souls.  I have had to catch myself a lot before saying things –just in the past several days.  Sometimes when we say things they are taken the wrong way,even though we never intended them that way.  This can cause strife and this is why we should always pray about something before speaking it out loud.  I have even put a note to myself to “always pray first” before responding in, and with, emotion.  God made us emotional creatures but we are not to do His work with our emotions-rather, we are to stand on HIS Truth and do the work, checking ourselves against His Holy Word and not the world’s views or our feelings.   It has taken me a long time to get here and I need a lot of refining by God.  I am thankful that God has never given up on me and that He receives me with grace-even when I foul up.  This is His work and while I only see my little part of the world, God see’s the big picture and He has all the plans already laid out.  All I am to do is TRUST.  A big job if you ask me.  It can’t be done alone.  It requires faith in God and submission. 

So, today my key word is TRUST.

When we do this:

Deut. 6:5

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Mark 12:30

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

we will do this:

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
   and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,

and HE WILL DO THIS

   and He will make your paths straight.

 

Amen?  Amen!

Thank you Lord, for covering me with your grace and filling me with your Word on this day.  May YOU flow from me like a fountain of Living Water, refreshing all of those who thirst for Truth.  May it smooth the hard places, move the rocky places and fill the deep chasms of darkness with Life, Light, Hope & Love.  I submit myself into Your hands and I will not lean on my dim view of what I think your plan is.  I will place my trust in YOU and you alone. I WILL love you with all of my heart, my soul, my mind and my might so that You may make my path a straight shot into the glorious realm of heaven.   I will be of good courage-just as you told Joshua.  He won the land for YOU and so will I.  I love you so much….d.

fountains of living water

Harrison’s heart

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Hi!

Harrison and I have become pen pals.   Over the past year we have shared letters and artwork.   Yesterday I got this one in the mail.  Harrison cracks me up in his letters and I love it when he draws me a picture!  I love his unique style and you can see that his mind is set on LOVE.  Art is therapeutic and healing and it is a gift from God.  It is my prayer that God will show Harrison how to use this gift ( and his many other gifts)  to glorify Him…and through Harrison- the world will know WHO God IS! 

Thank you Harrison-this made my day! 

Please keep this young man in your prayers!

Blessings!

d.

 

Harrisons heart with wings