It's All Grace

Amazing things can happen when you allow the Lord to work in your life.

White Dog or Black Dog?

Which one will you feed? “I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD” (Psalm 116:17).

A new day awaits in front of you, but already your restless mind is walking you through the countless problems and chores left over from yesterday. You feel the negativity crawling up your back like an impending viral cold. Once again, you face the choice of feeding the white dog – hopeful expectations and thankfulness or the black dog – despair and complaining. Which dog will you choose to feed with your thoughts?

To feed the white dog of thankfulness is really a choice each of us will make. After all, doesn’t everyone have issues to deal with in life? Maybe the issues involve wayward children, a lack of finances, hurt feelings, or the loss of a loved one. Whatever the problem, God asks us to continue to look to Him and express a heart of thankfulness. “In EVERY THING give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

There were ten lepers in Luke 17:13 who needed healing and cried out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” Yet, why was there ONLY ONE who came back to thank Christ when He healed them of their dreaded disease? Apparently nine of them hadn’t yet learned the lesson of feeding the white dog of thankfulness. Selfishly, they went on their way enjoying their good fortune. However, one leper UNDERSTOOD like Job that it was God who gives us everything we have: “The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21b).

How about you? Which dog is barking at you the loudest today? Will you choose to feed the white dog with thankful thoughts for your children, home, and other blessings, or will you feed the black dog with your thoughts of frustration, failure, and anxieties over what you do not have? Both dogs want to grow stronger in your life.

Which will you feed?

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Conquering the Guantlet of Life!

IMG_0278  6 foot slanted wall  IMG_0456  IMG_0499  IMG_0523  IMG_0515  IMG_0508     IMG_0562
Three friends started on a journey together.  All smiles, looking pretty with a great outlook on the road ahead.  The road of life brings with it many obstacles that we must jump over, crawl under, go through in the dark, some laced with barbed wire, while some  you will be on your hands and knees with one eye open, battling the mud that someone has thrown at you!
This past weekend, our 15 year old daughter and two of her friends decided and purposed they would attempt to “Conquer the Guantlet”. . . AND THEY DID!  However, I must say, they looked and felt quite different when crossing the finish line, than they did on the starting line.  In the end, they were much dirtier and covered with mud, exhausted, fatigued, marred with cuts and bruises, thirsting for water and nutrition and not near as excited in the end as they were in the beginning.  This trio was relieved to cross the finish line standing up and breathing, yet ready to get cleaned up, lay down and rest.   *Psalm 23:2
Olivia, Megan and Kayla headed out together on a 4 mile journey along rough terrain that encompassed potholes and thick stobs – not exactly fit for running!  90 degree temps with high humidity only added to the difficulty of this event.  There were over 25 of the largest, most unique and challenging obstacles along this 4 mile stretch.  It was this 2 hour and 15 minute journey, that stretched these girls and pushed them to their limits, trying their physical, mental and spiritual ability like never before!
The further into the trails they went, each one began to realize just how important it is to “not go it alone”.   We need friends on this journey through life.  Not just “friends” but the friends that will encourage you and push you to keep running — not ones who will give up and encourage you to quit!  *Proverbs 17:17
They also began to verbalize what things they would lay aside next time, that were a (bothersome) “weight” for them.  For example:  their tu-tu’s – cute and fun, but not needed for such a race.  How many things do we carry through life that is not needed or just an added weight?  *Hebrews 12:1
It was neat to listen to them encourage each other.  As one began to grow weary, not sure she could press on or challenge the next obstacle, the other two would pipe up exclaiming, “YOU CAN DO IT” while pulling or pushing the other one up or over the obstacle.  The obstacles on this course were optional.  You could take the challenge or go around, watching others push themselves above and beyond what they “thought” they could do!  *Galatians 6:9
I was informed by my husband just minutes AFTER the starting gun went off, that I could go along the course and take pictures if I wanted to.  This meant I had to hurry and catch up!  I was able to follow along (tongue hanging, tail dragging and sweat pouring down between my spectacles) taking pictures while cheering them on!  I definitely was NOT equipped in the best attire or shoes to travel this journey with them, alongside them or even behind them, as I did not attend this event prepared for the same journey.
There were several different walls they were challenged to climb over.  Some were approximately 15 feet tall with different length ropes to run and grab, pulling yourself over then climbing down the other side.  Some were 8 feet tall straight up and down, some were 6 feet tall and slanted for you to run up as far as you could and climb over.  As I watched the girls on the 6 foot slanted wall, it was difficult for them to make it over.  So, two of them would get at the top (leaning from opposite side) while the other would run up the wall.  The two girls would grab her hands helping to pull her over.  They had great difficulty and tried several things to beat this obstacle. I was immediately reminded of how it is in life, when others will pull us down easier than we can pull them up.
**We don’t know what life’s journey holds, but the Lord does.  May we be prepared and equipped with God’s Word and great friends to embark on this journey through life that brings with it, rough terrain, obstacles, marred flesh, etc.  There is so much spiritual application to this event.  Hope you enjoyed the snippit of their journey to Conquer the Guantlet.
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Peaceful Sleep

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
The human body’s need for sleep has always amazed me. God has designed us to literally turn off like a machine for eight hours or more each night. Science tells us sleep is something our bodies need to do. It is not an option. During our sleeping hours, some parts of the brain actually increase their activity dramatically, and certain hormones are produced by many of the body’s major organs and regulatory systems that continue to work.
Unfortunately, as a young homeschooling mom, I was missing out on my much needed sleep. I struggled with daily worries and anxious thoughts like “Will my children turn out okay if I homeschool? How can I teach a subject I don’t even know? How will we pay the bills if I homeschool?” Household chores were also keeping me up late into the night, and I was exhausted as I tried to do too much.
Then one night, I read a promise God seemed to write just to me: “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep” (Psalm 127:2). What an eye-opener! God only had so much for me to do each day, and what was left undone was not important. All He asked of me was to pray for wisdom to accomplish His perfect will each day. His provision to meet my unfinished tasks would come by sending extra help, inspiring new ways to organize, or miraculously providing whatever I needed.
After that day, my life changed. I was able to lay my head on my pillow each night and not worry about the basket of laundry waiting to be folded or the unfinished lesson plans for tomorrow’s schoolwork.
When was the last time you had a good night’s sleep? Do you struggle with trying to do more than God intended? Bringing your homeschooling worries to the Lord means trusting Him for wisdom and provision for all your needs. Will you rest in Him tonight and experience the peaceful sleep He intended? “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself” (Matthew 6:34a).
AOP Homeschooling Devotions
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