Heart Prompt #3

Christmas 3

“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;” Isaiah 42:3 NIV

Contact your local homeless shelter and see what areas they have the most need.  Then collect those things and ask your friends and neighbors.  Deliver them to the shelter.  If you have the time to spare, see if you can volunteer your time, as well.

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Heart Prompt #2

christmas 2

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14 NIV

The Bible tells us that God inhabits the praises of His people.  Take moments each day to vocalize your praise of the Lord.  Sing a song, pray, speak His word out loud, share with your loved ones all the reasons why you praise Him.  Praising the Lord with you!

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Heart Prompt #1

Christmas 5

“My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’
Your face, LORD, I will seek.” Psalm 27:8 NIV

Today take 15 minutes to sit down with a cup of coffee, tea, whatever and do nothing but breathe, reflect, relax at your Saviour’s feet.
If need be, let your children know that you are not to be disturbed for those 15 minutes, and then just let Jesus clear your mind
of all that is keeping you from Him and look full in His wonderful face.

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When the News You Get is “Bad.”

bible coffee

The phone rang, and I heard my son rushing to get dressed.  It was different than when he would get ready for school.  There was an urgency in his actions that morning.  His dad was already up waiting for him to go hunting on the morning after Thanksgiving.  The sky outside my foggy windows was just beginning to show a lightness from the sun that would soon appear.  I covered my head back up with the blankets and thought about all the shoppers and the hunters that were making journeys into the early morning darkness.

But Adam wasn’t going hunting, he didn’t have on his hunting clothes….he had been called out to a fire.  At 16, he volunteers at the local volunteer fire department.  He stopped at the door and turned back.

“It’s Mrs. Sandra’s.”

My heart dropped.  News that someone is in trouble hurts your heart, but when you personally know that person…your heart breaks.  I started praying.  I jumped on FaceBook (the source of all news) to see if anyone else had heard, and I put out a simple prayer request, since I didn’t know all the details.  I prayed it wasn’t major.  I gave Adam a little while to get to the fire and do his thing before I texted him for news.  His response was simple.

“Bad.”

My mother’s heart kicked in, and I wanted to be there for my son, who was responding to a fire at the home of his best friends.  My friend’s heart kicked in, and I wanted to be there for my dear friend.

I started getting dressed.

When we pulled up, the yard was full of emergency vehicles and cars from the volunteer fire department.  They had gotten there first…but it was too late.  The house was already engulfed in flames.  We found Sandra and her children covered in blankets watching their home of over 17 years burn to the ground.

“Why?” (When just the night before her entire family had gathered for a Thanksgiving meal in the same house now holding fire within its walls, that she had a cleaned for days before the event and had all the leftovers in the fridge.)  “Why was God doing this?”  I held Sandra as she cried out, knowing that God loved her, but not understanding why He allowed such pain into her life.

And then she started remembering everything that was in the house, now gone forever.  Treasures from her mother and father in a chest–all she had left of them.  TJ’s things were lost, her foster son who had been killed in a car accident just a couple of years ago.  All of Travis’ and Justin’s boyhood memories from the past 16 and 17 years.

Treasures that had been passed down to her.  Treasures that she was saving to pass down to her children.  She could see every one of them in her mind and where they were in the house, as the ceiling caved in and the walls started to fall.

Her sons watched as the metal frame of their beds crashed into what used to be the living room–the only thing recognizable from their room from the second story.  Their father held them, as only a father can hold sons that are young men.  Stressed relationships were put to the side as he once again stood by the side of the mother of his children.  It didn’t matter at that moment that they had divorced when the boys were little–tragedy brings family together.

Just a few short hours before, she had posted on FaceBook all her blessings from having the family together in her home and pictures that she had taken with all her children and grandchildren.  Now they all stood in the yard with her.

Her blessing list had changed in the matter of a few moments.  But as the sun started to shine through the black smoke, she was reminded over and over again that she was loved by each person that came to hug her and offer their help.  She was reminded that what mattered the most was standing in the yard with her.  Her children…her friends.  She even reminded us that God can bring good in all situations.

God was still in control.

And as I stood watching a home being destroyed, I thought about Mary.

She was in the midst of God’s will for her life–for everyone’s life!  Mary nearly lost her husband, probably lost her family–all to do what God asked.  She gave up the comfort of her home and rode astride a donkey in her final days of pregnancy and then had to give birth alone in a barn.  Strangers came to her instead of family….and they came with the news that the king wanted to kill her child.  She had to leave in the middle of the night, to a strange place for who knew how long.  And yet….

Luke 2:19 HCSB Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them.

All Mary had in the world was wrapped in a blanket in her arms and leading the donkey.

It was enough.

It was what would be passed down from heart to heart for more generations than her young mind could possibly ever imagine.

After the shock subsides and the pain over what was lost eases, Sandra will continue to pass on the one thing that can never be destroyed…..

He was wrapped in a blanket and laid in a manager….in tomb…for you…for me.

I know that many of you have received a text, a phone call, or a doctor’s report that simply was “bad”.  You’ve been knocked down to your knees and all you can do is cry out to God and ask “why”.  In all honesty, you may never have the answer to the “why”, however, never forget that God loves you and He will love you through the trials and tribulations that come.   He can give you a peace that is the foundation that keeps you from sinking into a pit of despair.  He is with you.  He understands.  He is wrapping His arms around you.  He loves you.


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An Ordinary Day

Heather skating

I ask for no spectacular occurrence, no high drama to come my way
No heart-racing momentum, but just an ordinary day.

An ordinary day when the sun rises high
When the clouds drift by or the snowflakes fly

A good cup of coffee in preheated mug
A promise to keep, a kind word, a hug

God’s Word to guide me, someone to need
A small hand in mine, a good book to read

Bright lights and candle light, the sweet smell of pine
And thanks to the Savior for making them mine

A tall Christmas tree with child-made angel on top
Sitting around the table – mopping up spilled pop

Laughter and  stories of “Remember when?’’
(things that seemed like such huge problems then)

Places to walk, good friends to greet
A flag to salute, church where we meet

To comfort a baby, bring cheer to the old
Flowers to plant, clean laundry to fold

A job to do, a sweet song to sing
A goal to be met, a small gift to bring

So I  will walk and sometimes run
And lift my face up to the sun
Sing and dance, raise hands in praise
To Him Who is the Truth, the Way
For the simple, extraordinary pleasure of…..

An ordinary day

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Broken and Rebuilding

Potter Crafting Pot on Potter's Wheel

Imagine with me something that has you so torn and broken that you cannot hide it from ones who know you well. You pray about it and cry out to God about it, and yet the expression on your face cannot be hidden.

Every day Nehemiah, the cup bearer to the king, came into the king’s presence. Now I imagine, the king got pretty good at looking at Nehemiah and knowing his expressions. The job of the cup bearer is not only to bring the cup of wine, but to taste it and make sure it hasn’t been poisoned–the cup bearer must be a trustworthy man.

So I picture the king watching for Nehemiah’s expressions after he drank each time to see…if it was poisoned or if it was tasty. Haven’t you done that before–watched some one’s expression after they tried some food or drink to see what they think?

But this day, Nehemiah cannot cover his feelings of sadness, even after fasting and praying for many days. He walks in and the king notices. Then the king asks why he is sad and what he wants. I love the part here, because it says that Nehemiah prays to the Lord before He asks the king. To me, I picture that he did all of this in his heart, just like I do so many times. So the king was probably unaware of his prayer.

But his request: now that’s the crux of my point today! He asks to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the wall and city, which has been destroyed. Then he boldly asks for supplies and notes to show he has the king’s permission.

Once there, Nehemiah goes and inspects the wall, while it is still dark. He finds the places that are not as destroyed and places that are completely destroyed. He takes an analysis of what this work will entail to rebuild the wall.

Then they get to work and are whole-heartedly working, until they get half-way finished. All the while they face men who are trying to undo what they are doing–men who have violent intent and do not want the wall rebuilt. At the same time, the people are getting discouraged. Now let me push the pause button…

Are we not like that? We have every intention of getting our wall rebuilt and in comes somebody to discourage and undo and threaten. We find the task getting harder and we’re ready to quit.

So let’s look at the whole story and at ourselves. First of all, we have some brokenness–some places that need rebuilding, fortifying, restructuring, resurrecting, remolding. We have places in our lives that are in complete rubble. And then we have places that are still strong. Do we take stock of our walls? Have we walked around them to analyze? For once we do this, we are ready to acknowledge that we have some places in need of repair.

Are we sad about it? For I can tell you that I have had some areas of my walls in the past that I haven’t been sad about like I should. Instead I felt a bit rebellious and truthfully didn’t want to expose it. Until Jesus came…until I sought Him…and asked the Master Potter to come and fix me.

I grew up in a town that is the pottery capitol of America. I have watched and observed what the master potter does. He takes a lump of clay and places it in the center of his wheel that is turning. He applies water and pressure in all the right places with both his hands and tools. When it is done, he sets it aside with a special tool to be put into the kiln to be heated and made permanent.

So to repair the pottery, if it gets broken, at this point will require quite a bit of care for it cannot be thrown back into the fire and reshaped. It can be restored, though, if someone cares enough to fix it with delicate care.

I am forgotten by them as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery. Psalm 31:12

That is what happens with us in many ways. We are formed and as long as we stay in the center of the wheel, God’s Word, we begin to form nicely. He applies His hands and tools (sometimes people or obstacles) and when we’re ready, we are placed in the kiln…a hot place of trial. We become formed into a unique object of the Master Potter’s hand. Then life comes upon us and we are tossed and thrown and start to get a crack and sometimes we are broken. What then?

Well, then the Potter comes to rebuild because He cares! We will face obstacles and will be discouraged, but we must press on to allow every bit of His work to be done.  FOR WE HAVE a PURPOSE!  We cannot allow our walls to not be secure. Every single part needs to be put back together.

 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

 

OH! And then? Then we are some kind of stronghold or fortress for the kingdom of God! We are useful vessels…valued…loved….restored…made ready.

Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Revelation 19:7

 

 

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Me and My House

house-exterior-~-ks114818

I love the fact that Joshua was such a man of God that he was not afraid to stand up to the Israelites and show them what serving the Lord meant. In their day and time, it was not an uncommon practice to worship idols and different gods.

Today’s times are no different than in Joshua’s day and time. The idols and gods are different, but the nature itself is no different. Today we have idols such as jobs, cars, material possessions, and gods such as money, keeping up with the Joneses, greed, power, lust, and pride. God is asking us to lay that all aside and serve Him.

In the Bible, the book of Joshua states it so well. Chapter 24 verses 14-28 are labeled The Covenant Renewal. Joshua tells the Israelites to put away all their idols and gods, to fear the Lord and worship Him in sincerity and truth. He goes on to tell them that if that doesn’t work for them, they should “choose this day” whom they would serve…..the Lord or their idols and gods. Joshua made it very clear to the Israelites that he and his family would be serving the Lord.

The people told Joshua that they wanted to serve God. He explained to them that if they planned to keep their idols, they would not be able to worship and serve God, because He is a jealous God and will share His worship with NO ONE! The people persisted even more and again told Joshua…NO! We want to serve and worship the Lord. Joshua told them that they were witnesses to their own confessions and renewals before God. He told them that they had to rid themselves of their idols and gods.

Today, God is calling us to do the same thing. We MUST put away any idols that have taken God’s place in our lives. He is to be first among everything we have going on. If He is not first, I urge to rearrange your priorities, and renew your covenant with the One who loves you with an everlasting love.

For this moment, let’s be like Joshua…..

Today, choose for yourselves the one you will worship: the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! - Joshua 24:15b

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Heart Prompts

Christmas in the wood

A little over a month ago, I began to sense among my fellow blog sisters a weariness.  And that weariness can WEAR on us, until we have no idea which side is up.  We long to sit at Jesus’ feet and let Him restore to us our rest in Him…yet, we either do not or can not choose it. 

So I spoke to Trish about a time of consecration here at A Martha Heart–a set apart time to anticipate and celebrate the birth of Jesus, born to die that man might live.  I didn’t want it to be a completely silent time, but a short time of prompts to encourage women to sit at Jesus’ feet and recover their lives. 

Then I began to think of the advent season coming up.  I will be honest, my understanding of advent itself is lighting different-colored candles in church each week and knowing that the candles symbolized something, but really not grasping it.  Even so, as I grow and learn more about the body of Christ, I began to ask friends questions.  What is advent?  What does it mean?  Beyond the traditions shared, I wanted to know and understand the word advent–arrival.

My friend Diane said it begins with Hope. My friend Meredith that that it is encompassed by anticipation, expectation, reflection and centering in Christ Jesus.  It also has the word LONGING tied into it.

God longed to redeem us.

Mary longed to give birth.

The world longed for His coming then and some missed Jesus.

Today, believers LONG for Jesus to come back.  Or we don’t…some of us are losing our longing, our anticipation, our expectation and we are getting LOST in the process.

So from November 28th through December 25th, we will be sharing heart prompts only here at A Martha Heart.  As Meredith said, we get so busy during the Christmas season, we forget to be still.  Dear sisters, being still before Jesus is our Life. We need to find our center in Christ Jesus.

Expecting Him…Longing for Jesus,

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BLT Soup

MP910218735

Soup is far and above my favorite food. I eat it in the heat of the summer. I eat it in the cold of winter. It is my go-to food for a quick meal or for a special occasion. So when I found this soup in Taste of Home’s Family Collection Cookbook, I made it that very night. And my friends, it was very good!!

3 T. butter
2 T. vegetable oil (I used olive)
3 c. cubed French bread
1 lb. bacon, diced
2 c. finely chopped celery
1 medium onion, chopped
2 T. sugar
6 T. all purpose flour
5 c. chicken broth
1 jar (16 oz.) picante sauce
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1/8 t. pepper (I used 1/4 t.)
3 cups lettuce, shredded

In a large saucepan heat butter and oil over medium heat. Toss in bread cubes and stir until crisp and golden brown. Remove and set aside.

In the same pan, cook bacon until crisp. Drain, reserving 1/4 c. drippings; set bacon aside.

Sauté celery and onion in bacon drippings (1/4 c.) until tender and onions are translucent. Add sugar, cook and stir for one minute. Add flour, cook and stir for one minute. Slowly stir in broth, picante sauce, tomato and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Boil and stir for two minutes. Just before serving, add lettuce and heat through. Garnish with the croutons and bacon. Yields 8 servings (2 qts.)

Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about,

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