Financial Peace Victory!

Today we are celebrating a financial victory. It’s a small one to many- but a big one to us.

We went to Kentucky this past weekend where my husband’s family comes from. It is beautiful, and wild, and absolutely wonderful! Spending time with his aunts, uncles and cousins is a true pleasure and I am honored to know each and every one of them. I’ll tell you more about them another time; today, I want to tell you what God has been doing for us!

We left thursday afternoon and about 40 minutes down the road from home, our tire blew. We heard a “pop”, and there she went. Thankfully the Lord somehow in His awesomeness it maintained air and we were able to turn back towards civilization instead of embarking on the long road ahead and getting stuck. We started using our brains, we had a spare tire but for the first time… no jack. We thought fast and went to Walmart (since it was after 5 and most places were closed) and bought a jack.

Last year that alone could have had us turning around, and missing out on the trip. Instead, we had a vehicle fund. We began doing Financial Peace earlier this year and that caused us to learn to separate our money so that it goes where it should- everytime. We just moved the money over to our checking and kept moving.

We fueled up at 1.99 a gallon because we buy shell gas cards from Kroger and after buying 3 at 100.00 a pop, we had earned 1200 fuel points equaling $1.00 off each gallon up to 35 gallons. We mapped our trip and stopped at only shell stations to fuel up. We still have money left over although our drive was 8 hours each way with an extra 4 1/2 hours added in between in a Ford F150. If we had a smaller vehicle that sips instead of gulps I am amazed by how inexpensively we could have traveled.

We bought a tire and had the oil changed while we were on our trip- still using the vehicle fund- and not impacting our trip in any way.

The day before we left, I went Christmas shopping online and without one guilty moment still spent only a small part of what was in our Christmas fund, and have only a few small items left to purchase.

Is our life different since FPU?

Yes. Drastically so?

No. We say no a lot. That is the hardest part, wanting to do something, but focusing instead on the bigger picture. It’s also inconvenient. We had to wait to say yes to things. We have to deal with other people looking at us like we are doing this all wrong, when we really believe the Lord is in this with us. Do we have money? Yes. But every dollar we have, is accounted for and working towards a specific purpose and goal.

This trip- was the absolute best we have ever had. We did everything we set out to do and never wondered if we were going to miss a bill, or struggle to eat when we got home.

If you haven’t taken FPU- if you feel hopeless, if you think you are in over your head- find a class nearby. You will have to pay to take the class, but believe me. It is worth every penny, to learn the techniques that will gain you the peace you have been longing for.

http://www.daveramsey.com/fpu/classfinder

Blessings!

mel

What I learned from Fridays and Dunkin Donuts!

When Cash was in Kindergarten we used to have to drive to a bus stop near us that was the earliest route, so that I could get to work on time.

It was really frustrating. We would get there early every time, because you can’t chase the bus down with your car… well I guess you could, but it isn’t like me to chase anyone! 🙂 Something we did during that season was read the Bible together and work on Scripture Memorization. It was so much fun, and even now two years later, the kids know the scriptures, what I didn’t realize was how much it would impact me and my ability to remember the scriptures.

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He Possesses My Reins- Knit Together

I will confess, I enjoyed, ahem... really enjoyed Shakespeare’s works. I loved getting lost in the language, could have done without all the tragedy, but so enjoyed the way things were said. It was romantic, and tragic, funny, but solemn.  We of our modern age, have released so many words and phrasings that were truly remarkable expressions; it is part of the reason I study in older translations of the Bible. We have taken so much away from what we read, by making it easy to understand, and God isn’t easy to understand. He tells us that often- our minds cannot contain Him; yet we place Him in newly written books and change His words to reflect our culture, instead of our culture reflecting Him.

For comparison: The 1599 Geneva Text

13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

14 I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wondrously made: marvelous are thy works, and my soul knoweth it well.

15 My bones are not hid from thee, though I was made in a secret place, and fashioned beneath in the earth.

16 Thine eyes did see me, when I was without form: for in thy book were all things written, which in continuance were fashioned, when there was none of them before.

The Message Text

13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.

 

The Message text is beautiful- please don’t misunderstand me, but there is something of substance in the 1599 Geneva Text. Kinda of like the older hymns that we have phased out over the years. There will never be a time that How Great Thou Art will not bring a tear to my eye. Written in 1859 as a poem and then turned into a song. We push to make everything more relevant, and nothing is ever enough- this insatiable need to do more, make it better and revitalize it; it’s our enemies way of making us spin our wheels, while we get no where. The goal should be to glorify God, not make it better than someone else’s work. An example of what I am saying would be, instead of me focusing on making I Exalt Thee sound more contemporary for people, I should be saying, God how can You use me singing this song to prompt change in someone else. It ISN’T about the music, or the words- it IS THE PRESENCE of Almighty God.

He makes things appealing to His creation, that may want to become His children. That isn’t for you and me to do!  Within the Psalms 139 text above, I am moved by both writings, and while one is definitely a quicker more understood interpretation, it is not the one we should all read as we study the word. It makes it pretty, something to share with a new believer maybe. Someone who is maturing in the faith, needs the meat of the word. Because I can read every study someone else has done, but it won’t change me until I have been affected by it. When I read “For thou has possessed my reins…” I am taken to an entirely different place than “You shaped me inside and out”. It’s completely different to me.  Please note the words-to me… no harsh emails needed. We all have a place! 🙂

If you shaped me inside and out, you are telling me you made me. You created my body. When you say- You have possessed my reins- you are telling me that you control me, that you guide me. As a horse would be guided by the gentle tugging of the reins, you guide me that way, kindly- gently, and when I am close to harm you command full attention to those reins. You aren’t sitting by watching me spin from nothing into something in my mothers womb- He is hands on.

It could just be that this is the way I feel Him. The beauty of God is that He makes us individually different, to reach this culture, the world differently. He need the tender, and abrasive, the vocal, and the listener equally. He created those qualities in you, to use them for His glory.

Get lost in the language today of an older text Bible- and if you are lost instead of found in it- forget everything I said, and sit with Him in the peace and tender writing of the Message Text. If you start running to Him, I promise He will do more than meet you in the middle- He will scoop you up in His arms and just sit with you on porch of Heaven.

Blessings,

mel

 

Peace vs. Strife

Proverbs 17:1 Better is a dry morsel, if peace be with it, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.

Ouch… it hurts my tootsies!!! The word of God is a sharp two edged sword!

We live in a “got to have it right now” kind of World. It wasn’t like this when I was young. Truly.

I remember how much slower time seemed to move. Someone wasn’t always on the phone, or in front of the television for hours on end. I remember- get ready— Bible studies. Yep, where people actually studied the Bible-together.

I know… it seems unreal. But it used to happen weekly, in my home. Women and Men who strove to be more like Him would meet and they would pour over scripture, discuss it, eat a few snacks, and then pray together. I remember prayer’s being answered. I remember people helping themselves enough that someone else’s hand was out to help them stand and then push them to keep it going- on their own.

We have been blessed, I have an amazing family structure- our world doesn’t. Most people do not have a family that wants to see everyone else meet their potential. So we deal with immature, unprepared, and infantile believers. Because our churches mimic what we know of family, instead of what He designed for a family. We have these baby believers who come in to get their world, “fixed” because they are broken and that is where God can move, and then we progress them to areas of service, large or small to connect them, but we don’t assign a mentor, or a pal, we say- go and sin no more.

There is a difference in the society of today vs. then that we forget to take into account. There was a law there. The same law does not exist here. The are exposed to the elements, soft hearted, and unprepared for the World they walk from the altar into. We are unprepared to make sacrifices of time to give a head start to our new brothers and sisters. I am speaking to myself here: because I want to sit in my house and watch that show. That is priority… because I could certainly not make it through the night if I miss it… ouch.

I have to work constantly to make the money that keeps that same show appearing on my television screen. I have to sacrifice 40 hours a week to make all the bills happen, and work myself into a dither, just to keep my wants active. While My needs would be met with more like 20 hours a week, and my heart would be more full of love for my family, because I would be dedicated to them, and showing them daily that they are the most important thing in my life. Not my t.v. show, not my website, not my iPad games…

What if I had time to host a Bible study, and have my children see what it looks like to make His word a priority. To have them see broken people, new people, crying out to the Lord and hearing our praise reports every week? What could it look like? What am I willing to sacrifice for true peace, not the peace I have become used too.

What would happen if I slowed it all down and allowed the Lord to come beside me, and instead of me directing Him in my life, I let Him direct me… Something to ponder on another gorgeous Virginia day.

Blessings,

mel

 

Good Character-

I feel like a secret agent sometimes…. take a moment- process this.

Lil’ ‘ole me, an undercover secret agent… I so wish I had a picture of me dressed in “spy gear”, I would have relished putting that on here. The holidays bring such joy and such stress. I am quite amazed at the end of the season how many people have been offended by the words, Happy Holidays, and Season’s Greeting. Let me rephrase that, I am amazed by how many Christians find offense at words that are actually a spoken or written blessing.

Season’s Greetings-

  • used as an expression of goodwill at Christmas or the New Year.

Happy Holidays-

  • (Happy) Characterized by good luck; fortunate. Enjoying, showing, or marked by pleasure, satisfaction, or joy. Being especially well-adapted; felicitous: a happy turn of phrase. Cheerful; willing:
  • (Holiday) A day free from work that one may spend at leisure, especially a day on which custom or the law dictates a halting of general business activity to commemorate or celebrate a particular event.

We know the truth of Christmas, why we celebrate it, what it really means, the symbolism, the beauty of the gift given to us that makes us cherish the 25th of December every year. We know that the calendar our Country uses, marks Christmas as a national holiday, not season’s greetings day or Winter Holiday. We should rejoice in that. How few of our fellow Christians abroad can share that same knowledge. We can celebrate it without hiding in a closet, reading contraband scripture. We have an incredible gift already, can we not in turn go on our secret mission to offer a smile in return to a well wished Season’s Greetings, or a Happy Holiday. Can we not use that moment to build relationship, instead of destroying that relationship, with a quip or ill mannered retort?

Can we still know what we believe to be true, without flashing a neon sign of disrespect above our head? Can we do what Jesus did, and love unconditionally, with deep affection even those that we do not agree with? Can you smile a heartfelt smile that shows the love of your savior, and share a Happy Holidays blessing back to someone? It isn’t a Biblical request given by God that we use the term Merry Christmas. If it were, a direct from the Lord, this article would be vastly different, we are not showing our Lord disrespect, we are showing our brothers and sister on this earth Godly Character, a smile instead of a frown, joy instead of anger, a merry response instead of a rebuttal.

The Lord who sees, will bless in abundance and could use your kind returned greeting to prompt a relationship that could be life changing and life giving in someone else!

Much Love and Many Blessings, this Holiday Season, this Christmas Season, and may joy overwhelm you in the new year!

mel

Joy… From Deep Down

What would it be like to have the kind of joy that has you brimming over during the most stressful day of your life?

JOY.jpg

I contemplate that sometimes, because while I have Joy, I don’t seem to have overflowing, bountiful joy. I really want it. I have met some people, who never seem to have a bad day, but I know they do. I know they deal with the same things I do, so what makes them different.

We both have the love of the Lord flowing within us, we both have faith that He can move mountains, that He has already and that He will continue too. So what is it? I have walked through hellish days, I have seen Him heal beyond what I could have imagined. I have been a part of His incredible ministry and seen the light bulb go on for children as they learn about Him. What am I missing?

I am finding that every day I am lacking the moments with Him that He so desires. Throughout the day, I am able to have little moments with Him. To just say Hi, and I love you, and hey, yeah, thanks for sending your son to die for me… but am I doing that? Is that the difference. Is the time I spend with Him just not enough to fulfill my inner being? Is it only enough to get by? Could He withhold that extra portion of Joy just because I didn’t pursue Him as He pursues me?

I pray that we experience the true joy of the Lord. I can see the world; changed. Because we feel joy unspeakable, because we look happy, because we as Christians are meeting the need and smiling while we do it.

Join me in seeking His face, for just a moment more each day. He is worth it, isn’t he?

Blessings,

mel