Monthly Archives: October 2013

Give as you Go: Time

teach us to count the days

The lyrics above always strike a chord with me. Yesterday, we talked about giving our extra money. Today we are looking at how we can give our time away.

Again, I am a HUGE advocate of giving a specific dedication of your time. For instance, Shane and I have taken much of his vacation time to go on missions trips or serve at a youth camp… not the ideal “vacation” but totally worth it.

What we are talking about here is Give-as-you-go. God taught me a lot about this concept this week as I was on my way to pick up pizza. I have been around people every hour of every day for the entire weekend. When we decided to order pizza for our college Bible study, my first thought was “finally, some alone time as I pick up the pizza.”

But the Holy Spirit prompted me to invite a student to tag along.

Friends, I got to share the gospel with this person. I was so blessed to enjoy an open conversation about God, salvation, and purpose with this individual who has not yet surrendered Christ. It was incredible! My driving buddy didn’t accept Jesus then, but told me (s)he was definitely more open to it!

2 Corinthians 9:6-8
Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.

God has provided PLENTY of extra in our life. He promises it! Just as Boaz ensured his leftovers would provide for Ruth and other gleaners (Ruth 2), we to can help others from our abundance.

Try it out!

Give-as-you-go… and let someone else reap the benefits. You might get a few too along the way. (Hey, Boaz ended up with a loving bride in the end 🙂 )

Be conscious of your “wasted” time, and use it to encourage someone.

  • Get to know other people at the laundromat. (I have built 2 significant friendships by sharing my faith while waiting on the laundry.)
  • Instead of reading junk-magazines in the grocery line, ask the person behind you how their week is. Find the positive and encourage them to keep up the good work.
  • Prayerfully wait for a God-opportunity to meet a perfect stranger. Smile, and ask, “is there anyway I can pray for you today?” If they are receptive, offer to pray for them, right then and there. If you notice they are still receptive, offer your card or email address so you can keep in touch with how that prayer request is going.
  • While you are endlessly scrolling through Facebook, use community Facebook groups (upcycle) to notice the “foreigner” in your community. Who just moved here and still feels like an outsider? Who is asking for mechanic suggestions or a good daycare? Send them a “welcome to the town” message and offer to meet them for lunch. Perhaps they would even join you for church.

Do you have another suggestion? Add to the conversation by commenting below.

Come back later this week for practical tips on learning “give-as-you-go” with your space.

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Give as you Go: Cash

Probably the most recognizable way to give-as-you-go is to give financially.

This is not to be confused with tithing. God established tithing as a way to give specifically to God’s purposes through an ordained ministry (the temple/tabernacle in the Old Testament; the Church in the New Testament).

Giving so others can glean is simply an act of cheerful generosity. This requires a hard working spirit, like the woman of Proverbs 31:

hard working woman

Hint: carry dollar bills and coins with you so you can do the following more effectively.

    • Put your change in the “donate” box at the grocery store or restaurant. (I personally get excited about Wendy’s donation box for adoption for children in Foster care).
    • Tip your coffee barista or waitress well.
    • Drop an extra coin or two in the parking meter for the space behind you.
    • Pay for the groceries or coffee for the person in line behind you.
    • Put your change in a “change-the-world-jar” at home. Then send to a struggling missionary or orphanage in your area.
    • Pay for somebody’s washer/dryer at the laundromat.
    • Give away some of your clothes. (Thanks to one of my college ladies for the suggestion!) Luke 3:11 says “And he would answer and say to them, ‘The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.'”

Come back tomorrow for tips on giving our time throughout the day.

Do you have any more suggestions to give as you go? Comment below!

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The Art of Giving and Gleaning

I have been studying Ruth this week with my FANTASTIC college ladies Bible Study.

Something that really stood out to us this week was the concept of gleaning.

According to Merriam-Webster, to glean is:

to gather grain or other material that is left after the main crop has been gathered.

In Leviticus, God gave His people special instructions to care for the needy in their communities:

giving and gleaning

In Ruth 2, we see that Ruth is taking advantage of this provision to provide for herself and her mother-in-law. Boaz greatly blessed Ruth and Naomi by obeying this command.

It got me thinking:

How can we honor this concept in our culture today?

We live in a get-as-much-as-you-can society. Even our poor are richer than the average poor worldwide. Aside from the political or sometimes justified misgivings about providing for the poor, we are still commanded to do so.

I fully support taking time off for missions trips and serving inner-city soup kitchens. I think Christ-followers should be eager to do these ministries as well.

Unfortunately, I think many of us give in a “big” way, then check it off our lists. I believe God wants us to incorporate giving, which is part of our worship of him, into our hourly lives.

We need to recognize the art of giving as you go. There is a time and place for grand gestures. But this practice is rather a simple letting-go of our cash, time, or space.

Join me this week to explore some practical ways to leave our cash (money), time, and space, so others can glean from them.

Coming soon: Join the discussion on how to GLEAN with a right attitude.

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We are Expecting!

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Yes, Shane and I are adopting! We first started praying about this on the drive to our honeymoon flight. We knew God was leading us to start a family this summer (2013), so we began plan A: get kids however we can 🙂

So why are we adopting? Lets just say, Adoption is not a biological issue for us, it is a theological one.

Romans 8:15– So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”

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Isaiah 1:17– Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.

The following sermon is exactly what Shane and I believe about adoption. We hope it encourages you as well!
Adoption: Pondering the privileges

I will be posting more about our journey to adopt our child. Until then, worship God with me, in His willingness to pursue and rescue us!

And for the record, Mr. Darcy, our pup, is still not sure about all this (as you can see in the picture).

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Remembering God’s Goodness

Photo by Kristen Shipps/ used with permission.
Photo by Kristen Shipps/ used with permission.

Hebrews 3:6 says this:
“Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.”

Later in the chapter, the author describes a group of people who did not hold fast to their relationship with God, who “always go astray in their hearts.”

As I read Hebrews 3 today, I recall how necessary it is to remember God’s goodness. The Israelites forgot, time and time again, how God saved them, fed them, led them. I don’t believe we “lose our salvation” each time we despair, question, or ignore God’s work in our lives. But I do accept the reminder: there will be “rest” for the believers who hold fast to their identity in Christ.

It makes sense really. Like Peter, when we take our eyes off of Jesus and onto the storms in this life, we start to sink into the waves.

May we not forget our great God. Rather, let us remember our identity as children of God in Christ. Like Hebrews 3 says, we should be constantly bringing up the hope we have.

Like a kid who wont stop asking why….

Like a teenager who can’t stop checking Instagram for a “like.”

Like a grandpa who shares the same awkward story at every family get together.

In other words, we have full permission to be restless in reminding our souls, our family, our world, that we, INDEED, have hope!

I find there are 2 effective ways to do this: by remember the journey and just keep walking faithfully.

I spent some considerable time flipping through old journal pages. It is so good to remember where I was, and how God made such amazing things happen in those times.

Jesus has taught me so much.
He has answered so many prayers.
In His grace, I have become a beautiful woman, confident in Christ.

By reading of His faithfulness personally in my own life, I am filled with confidence and gratefulness. It is going to be easy for me to “boast in my hope” today.

In addition to remembering God faithfulness in the past, I believe we are called to walk obediently into our future. Obedience to God is the greatest display of our hope to the world. Do not harden your heart, but listen, follow, and obey…. always remembering His goodness.

How are you remembering His goodness today?

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Getting back into God’s Word

Today, I couldn’t find my Bible.

How embarrassing.

It has been a busy season. What was the first thing to go? My Breakfast with Jesus….. and while we are on the subject, I let go of most of my fantastic habits ;( 

Anyway, since we host many-a-Bible study, we have a LOT of Bibles floating around the house. Another privilege I’ve been taking for granted.

Last  night, I asked my impressively encouraging small group to hold me accountable to reading the Word of God again. And I know they will, because they are just that reliable and awesome.

So I am posting this helpful questions chart again as a reminder and tool and I dive back into God’s precious Word.

chalk bible questions

If you, like me, have been avoiding it, or just forgetting it… Join me to a fresh devotion to truth. We all falter, but Gods grace meets us there. He picks us up, sets our feet sturdy on the path… but it’s up to us to take that first step with Him again.

Oh and for the record, I found my Bible. It was on a shelf beneath my computer screen. I put it there to remind myself to study it. Fail. 🙂

A tool/reminder for study: Use the above picture as a background for your smart phone or desktop. Or copy the questions below and paste to a Word Doc. Feel free to print and make a study binder for whatever book you are studying from the Bible.

  1. What does this teach me about God? 

  2. How can I use this information to worship God in a deeper way?

  3. How does this change the way I think about Jesus?

  4. What am I grateful for regarding this passage?

  5. What don’t I like about this passage? Why?  

  6. Can I trust the God of this chapter as much as I trust the (same) God of the other books of the Bible? Why or why not? 

  7. How does this chapter challenge me?

Happy Studying!!!
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4 Good Reasons to Stop saying the F-word.

fword picOk, I’m not talking about that F-word… Though I would really like to stop seeing it appear on my Facebook feed. (Shameless plug, my friends.)

Nope, the abominable F-word I am talking about is… dare I say it on my blog?….. FAT.

There is a popular “pin” showing up on Pinterest* lately:

47680

Inigo Montoya is correct. ALL women need to stop using that word. Here is why:

1. You are negatively critiquing God’s masterpiece.

Stop calling yourself fat, please. It hurts my heart. It hurts God’s heart.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

2. Your negative self-talk will stimulate someone else’s.

We need to stop saying the word “fat” for the sake of our mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

See, the word “fat” is a trigger word for other women (and men) who are struggling. Ask a former drug addict what triggers his craving for drugs he no longer uses…. he will say “anything from conversation about drug use to visual stimulation (like movies or pictures).”

It’s a battle to not give in to the temptation. The word “Fat” is the same kind of trigger. It doesn’t make us crave food persay, but it does stimulate that negative-self-talk nerve. We think, “Ooh, she is calling herself fat, well I a have a muffin top no-one can compete with.”

It becomes a self-depreciation epidemic. Internally or vocally, fat-thinking is contagious.

>>I need to pause here and remind myself not to internalize any of the words I am writing. It can be that powerful.<<

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. Genesis 1:31

3. Your identity is in Christ.

The issue here is not the word “fat”. I made an amazing chicken chili the other day. When I was trimming the fat off of the chicken, I didn’t have a mental breakdown about my body. Nope, just making dinner.

The problem is the word that comes before “fat”: is / am

These are identity words. “I am fat/she is fat;” rather than “I have too many fat cells.”

How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are doves. –Solomon to his wife (also God’s words to His people), Song of Songs 1:15

We have to change the culture we live in. We have to create a shift in identity thinking for ourselves and our families.

Jesus is where our identity starts. If you have surrendered your life** to this One and only Savior, then He is your master… the only one who’s opinion matters. We are daughters of the King of kings… mighty warriors for His Kingdom…. the picture of His love and devotion to a lost and dying world.

We are not FAT.

We may have fat, but it is not who we are.  We can address our health, fitness, and shape in a way that glorifies God and compliments his healthy design for our bodies. But this process DOES NOT INVOLVE identity name calling!!!!

4. God has given us a purpose:

Many internet sensations would now be telling you to just love yourself more. That is bologna.

I am not advocating “love yourself” philosophy. I am encouraging a “get your eyes on Jesus” theology.

We don’t need to love ourselves more. Jesus love for us should be enough! When we get our eyes on Jesus, his death and resurrection to save us, and His work in our daily lives, our perspective changes: We love Jesus more. We think about Jesus, not whether or not we are fat or skinny. And when we are focusing on Jesus, we naturally start living the healthy life of a Christ-follower, spiritually, physically, and mentally.

This “fat identity” thing is only a distraction from the truth of our true purpose and sense of self: to love our God and share His love with the people around us. This is called GOOD NEWS. We cannot be positive about the good news of Jesus if we keep our attention on our negative perspective of our bodies.

I try very very hard to be positive about my body, for all the reasons above. But it is difficult to take a stand in a society that is overrun with parasitic paraphernalia (media) and conversations of negative thinking.

Will you join me in creating a new culture for Facebook, Pinterest, family get-togethers, locker-room self talk, conversations at the gym, and in-front-of-mirror perspectives?

Take down those pins. Delete those posts. Rewrite your Instagram pic descriptions. Change the culture.

#Beautifullymade    #ThankYouJesus

(Check out my “Life Shapers” Pinterest Board for creative and positive truths to pin)

I love you, and I am praying for you.

Becky

*Another thing that bothers me about the Pinterest picture is the women who feel they need to take pictures of their bodies in a way that displays so much skin. There is so much I could say about identity, security, and modesty, but I will save it for another day. For now, can we just get our eyes on Jesus, and stop asking for everyone else’s eyes to be on our bodies, whether we feel attractive or not…?

** Have you made the decision to follow Jesus? I would love to share my story with you about how Jesus changed my life. Read about it here.

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