Less is More

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I’ve spent the last two days visiting my college roommate who lives in pure country no less. I’ve been learning the trade of farming through the eyes of a 7 year old and 4 year old. I’ve seen Kinze planters, fertilizers, combines, and duals (sorry about the butchering of the spelling). They aspire to be farmers just like their dad. They have tons and tons of play tractors and they “farm” on their mom’s bathroom rugs. I could literally watch them for hours and not get bored! We spent one afternoon jumping on the trampoline, walking while the kids rode their bikes, and sitting on the porch swing catching up on old times. She was talking about how simple her life was, but I could see that she had the whole world wrapped up in her family and farm.

I have never felt more at peace and relaxed here. People wave when they pass by, stop and say “hi”, you leave the front door open when you are gone, and your car is always unlocked (worry free from unwanted visitors). You feel safe, secure, loved, and you are surrounded by family. Target is no where in sight, but there’s a garden full of squash, tomatoes, okra, green beans, and wheat in your back yard waiting for the picking. Life has its own version of stresses, but it is not consumed by our economic crisis, the size of your home, and the kind of car you drive. Life is simple, life is sweet. Excess takes the back seat to family and relationships. Luke 12:15 says, “Be careful to guard yourselves against every kind of greed, because a person’s life doesn’t consist of the amount of possessions he has.” As I sit here and take inventory of my own life, I can’t help but think about what I could do without. Where do my priorities lie? Matthew 10:9-10 says, “You don’t need a lot of equipment. Travel light.” What kind of baggage are you carrying around and can some of it be let go?

Love in Christ,
Nichole

The Breaks of Life

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You ever had the kind of day when the breaks of life are put on and you didn’t even request it? That is the kind of day I am having. I am cruising right along in my vehicle of hope and enjoying the scenery (my dreams unfolding into tangible visions) and then life throws you a curve ball…a friend does not get the job she was believing for…I find out some news that literally breaks my heart. Discouraging situations plummet my tank of faith. I rely on my faith and hope to drive me to my destination and right now I feel a bit lost and the road map has been misplaced.

As much as I would prefer to spend my days cruising around living in hope, I know reality will always make a way to show its face. The breaks, otherwise known as reality, remind me that I’m still on a journey and I will have a few setbacks along the way. As I rest up and get recharged for the rest of my journey, I stop and reflect on where I’ve been and where I’m headed. I know that with God all things are possible and I know that He has a plan for me, but I seem to keep jumping the same hurdle over and over…lack of trust and fear of the unknown. Casting Crowns has a song “Somewhere in the Middle” and I am totally captivated by the words as I feel stuck in the middle fighting for the God I want and the God who is. I’ll share a few of the verses with you.


Fearless warriors in a picket fence,
reckless abandon wrapped in common sense
deep water faith in the shallow end
and we are caught in the middle

With eyes wide open to the differences,
the God we want and the God who is
but will we trade our dreams for His
or are we caught in the middle

Somewhere between my heart and my hands
Somewhere between my faith and my plans
Somewhere between the safety of the boat and the crashing waves
Somewhere between a whisper and a roar
Somewhere between the altar and the door
Somewhere between contented peace and always wanting more
Somewhere in the middle You’ll find me

In order to get from one destination to another, you have to go the long haul. The middle of the road will be the determining factor if you will make it or not. You might get a bit broken and have to tend to a few wounds, but I hear that what is waiting on the other side far outweighs any pain endured on the journey. Lewis Dunnington said, “You will never leave where you are until you decide where you’d rather be.” So the question remains, will you continue to be “stuck in the middle” or will you get up and go with God?

Love in Christ,
Nichole

A Stirring of the Soul

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I am on summer vacation (teacher’s edition) and I have a lot of time on my hands. That vast amount of time can sometimes be my enemy because it leads me to thinking about my circumstances which causes me to worry. I keep hearing about friends/family listing their houses and getting contracts quickly, landing jobs, or getting advancements and that too causes me to worry because nothing is happening for me. I feel like I am experiencing the longest lull of “meantime” that I ever have before. I am doing MY absolute best of enjoying life and waiting on God. I am waiting on Him and believing for some mighty big changes. Waiting is definitely not a strength of mine. I don’t know how to wait on someone else to handle things for me. I have always been the type of person who takes care of everything on my own.

Sometimes we get so bogged down in our circumstances that we lose our joy and peace. We tire easily because we don’t find rest in God. When we find ourselves at this place, it is time to stir ourselves up and refresh our soul. Just as when we are thirsty, we look for a nice refreshing drink to quench our thirst. So when our soul needs uplifting, we should turn to God’s word. It is the cure to what ails us. It is our food when we are hungry, our drink when we are thirsty, and our medicine when we are sick.

The amazing thing about my God is that He always comes through when I need Him! Yesterday at Church, He had the choir sing my favorite song (Moving Forward) and He gave me a special message. One that stirs me up and puts me back on track with Him. Isaiah 30:18 says, “God takes the time to do everything right-everything. Those who wait around for Him are the lucky ones.” I want to be the lucky one…don’t you?


Love in Christ,
Nichole

A Spiritual Cleansing

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I will be the first to tell you that I am passionate about making good choices concerning what I eat and the various toxins I put in my body. Ever since my good friend introduced me to the author Kevin Trudeau, I am constantly looking for ways to improve the overall wellness of my life. I have tried various body detoxes, I have placed a water filter in my shower, I don’t drink tab water, I eat organic foods when I can, and I try to get 8 hours of sleep a night. What happens when we need a detox for more than just our physical body. What if we need a cleansing of our mind, soul, and heart? Sure you can find a pill for that, but that just seems to mask the issue and does not reveal the true problem.

Today’s sermon was based on Ezekiel 36. Verse 9 says, “Behold, I am for you. I will turn to you and you will be cultivated and sown.” Merriam Webster breaks down the word cultivate to mean loosen or break up the soil; to prepare the crops for a harvest. God is going to bust up your life, remove the bad, and replace it with good. Detoxes are partially this way. They remove the body of impurities, but we are responsible for replacing those with better things. That is usually where the process is ruined or does not go to plan.


The beauty of a spiritual cleansing initiated by God is that we know the end result will bring a mighty harvest. Ezekiel 36:25 says, “I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I’ll give you a new heart and spirit.” Let’s face it…life is hard. It hardens us and taints us in negative ways. Sin, things unseen, and unbelief also add to the hardening of our hearts and souls. Verse 26 goes on to say, “I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God willed, not self willed.” If we allow God to take us through this spiritual cleansing, the outer part of our lives will multiply.

I no longer want to live with a fortress around my heart. I want to forgo a heart transplant that gets me closer to experience true love. A love that I can walk in, breathe in, and give back to God’s hurting people.

Love in Christ,
Nichole