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Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday Morning

This Monday morning, lots of thoughts and feeling engulf my body, soul and spirit.  I am a picture of contradictions.  

I battle, yet I feel free and victorious.

I wanted to stay asleep and curled up in the bed and yet I cannot wait to get the day started and enjoy the weather.

Those are just two that I am okay sharing this morning.  It's hard to articulate that which you do not understand.  

I am starting this week off, allowing myself to look around, see...truly see, the goodness of the LORD.  

From the cry of my newest grand baby, to the rustling of the trees in my front yard, the light of the sun, streaming  and dancing across the green grass, the leaves falling like snow all around my home.  God is good.  

I will look for things to be thankful for.  I don't have to look very far, I just need to adjust my heart.  

If you need a new perspective, Give Generously.  Our Bishop said yesterday, 

 "Giving generously 
tilts the mirror of our lives 
away from our own power, 
control, and wealth; 
so others see God in us, 
the reflection of the glory 
of the Kingdom of God."
-Bishop Ronald Estep

We can live a life full of joy.  We just need to change our perspective.  It has to go from, "How can I make this about me," to "How can I help others?"  

I hope you have a wonderful Monday...another contradiction...Monday/good day.  

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Walls...They Will Fall

We all go through days and even seasons of feeling overwhelmed and like the walls are too big to get over or through.  So many people I know right now are in the middle of these wilderness days.  They look at what God has promised them, but all they can see are giants and obstacles and destruction.  

Walking the path that God has set before us can be a scary thing.  

1. You don't know how long it is going to last.  If He would just give us a human timeline than that would make it easier.  You know, because God's timing is not ours, but it's really our timing that we are most concerned about.

2. There are perceived dangers ahead.  We don't know what they look like, what they are, how bad they are, but we just know they are there.  The fear of the unknown paralyzes us and we abandoned God's path for our own "danger free" zone.  The problem is, our "danger free" zone is the most destructive path.  

3. We surround ourselves with a "support system" of doubters, complainers, path hoppers, people who have not been where you are going, so they cannot encourage you and challenge you to finish the journey.

As iron sharpens iron,
    so one person sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17

We have to be around like minded people.  This is a big one.  If we surround ourselves with people who will listen, pray for us, help us, mentor us, and hold us accountable...WE WILL SUCCEED!! 

24 And let us consider how we may 
spur one another on 
toward love and good deeds, 
25 not giving up meeting together, 
as some are in the habit of doing, 
but encouraging one another
—and all the more 
as you see the Day approaching.
-Hebrews 10:24-25

4. Our inconsistencies knock us off the path and it seems like we have to start over again.  Consistency is a Discipline.  In my devotional this morning from You Version called "Walls Fall Down: God's Unusual Plan for Victory", the author addresses this very topic.  I am going to give you some quotes from this author.

"The Israelites had been walking the desert for 40 years.  That's 14,600 days of putting one foot in front of the other.  They finally arrive at Jericho, which was on the edge of their Promised Land, and God tells them to walk for seven more days."

We want to give up after a couple of weeks or months.  I can just hear a conversation, "After 40 years, you have the nerve to ask for 7, 7 more days of walking?!!!"  

Now, the first couple of days might have been easy.  Maybe their imaginations were swirling with a section of wall here or the people inside just opening the gates for them.  But after day four or five, this walking around, doing the same thing, nothing happening, how fast would we have abandoned this crazy plan? What would have happened if they had stopped a day short?  We have to see it to the end.  The Walls Came down because of their obedience, perseverance  consistency, determination, vision...Your/Our walls will come down the same way.   


Consistency...Like-minded, vision focused, iron sharpened encourager's will help you.  Fear is destructive to your journey.  Allow LOVE to guide you and joy to strengthen you.  Perfect love casts out all fear.  

Anyone who meets a testing challenge 
head-on and manages 
to stick it out is mighty fortunate. 
For such persons loyally in love with God, 
the reward is life and more life.
-James 1:12 MSG

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Living For Others Approval OR God's

James 1:20 (NIV) says, "...human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires."

This can be a hard scripture to digest.  When we are hurt, disappointed, disillusioned, broken hearted...our emotions can and usually do turn into anger. 

In trying to live a life unto the Lord, we would assume that everyone will see how hard we try and give us our due "praise".  Certainly, in the least, you will become a role model of how one can live and you will encourage others that if you can do it, anyone can.  Knowing all your weaknesses and short comings, they should see how hard this is for you and be your greatest supporter(s).  


Instead of praise and support, you get accused of living a life judging others and being out of touch with reality.  Some will say you think you are better than others and when you speak, you put a bad taste in their mouths.  When you are trying to encourage, you get accused of bullying and being pushy.  When you don't pursue because of trying not to offend, you get accused of not loving enough.  If you pursue too much, you get accused of trying to make everyone, just like you.  

So, you go and start thinking about the accusations and misconceptions.  It starts out as hurt and a little disbelief that someone could think these things about you.  Then that hurt turns into self doubt about how you live and if it is truly worth it.  Self doubt turns into anger and "self" rises up, able to destroy any good that you have done.  Wanting to lash out at those who have failed to truly see your heart.  

That's where James 1:20 comes into play.  We have to remind ourselves that to lash out in anger will only destroy.  

You have to live your life like Joseph.  You live your life to serve and please the LORD.  Doing everything you can to walk the path He has set before you. Loving others is part of that.  

When Joseph was pursued by Potiphar's wife, He said in Genesis 39:9, "...how then could I do this sinful thing, and sin against God?"  Joseph lived to please the LORD, no matter what temptation or how many bad things happened to him.  

So as Mother Teresa said, 

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. 
Forgive them anyway. 
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. 
Be kind anyway. 
If you are honest, people may cheat you. 
Be honest anyway. 
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. 
Be happy anyway. 
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway. 
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. 
Give your best anyway. 
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. 
It was never between you and them anyway.” 
― Mother Teresa

If you are hurt, disillusioned, broken hearted, feel forgotten, unappreciated, unloved...know that God is loving you.  He sees, He knows, He cares.  Let His love wash over you today.  Now is a good time to focus on Him and be embraced by His grace.  

Old gate at Wintethur Museum, DE
Wonderful place.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Loves Capacity To Grow

On September 12, 2014, we welcomed our 4th grandson, Kenneth Dudley VanDyke, V, "BO", into this world and into our family.  Our hearts have grown with the addition of this little life.  He is perfect and very loved.

When I was younger, I worried that I couldn't love another like I loved my baby Jake (Bo's daddy).  I worried that when I had another baby, it wouldn't be this all encompassing love that I felt for Jake.  I was worried that others who loved Jake so much, would be able to love my next baby with such devotion and commitment.  Boy, was I wrong.

It is a God given grace that allows us to love.  It amazes me, the capacity of love to grow and welcome new loves at the same time.  As soon as I found out that I was pregnant with my 2nd child, love grew...my heart expanded.  There is no end to our capacity to love.

So, when I look at Henry, Parker, Luke and Bo...I ooze love from every part of my being.  This Grammy's ability to love has no end, no boundaries, no limits.

I know that is how God loves us.  Amazing.  Family...the reflection of God.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

She Invested In Me...

What in your life built you?

Is there something or someone specific that you can say, "It/he/she/they built me" or "It/he/she/they were instrumental in who I am today?"

Who were your greatest influences?  Where did they come from?  

Here is my Daughter, Scovia teaching the kids
at Friday Night Light...
The legacy continues...

What kind of person would you be without them?

I know that we can draw on many instances in our lives that have had a great impact on us.  Words said by someone passing by, a gift that made us feel special, a hug at just the right time.  I am not talking about something quick, I am talking about investment.  Investment of time, soul, funds, prayer, teaching, love, correction...LIFE.

So many times, we want to focus on the great moments or the unexpected moments but true, dependable, impactful, discipleship, requires more than a moment or a quick fix.  

I had a teacher, mentor, friend who took me to her side and taught me about working with children with a purpose of giving them God.  She saw in me what no one but maybe my parents saw in me.  She was patient, kind, joyful, loving, funny...all the while teaching me and encouraging me and giving me a safe place, when no one else seemed to care.  I still use what she taught me, I used it when my children were little, I used it when I taught Pre-K, I used it when I taught the children at church.  So many lessons learned just from observing and knowing that she loved me, no matter what.  This lady, is also my God Mother, Geri Sharp.  

I remember a moment though, when us Estep kids were very little.  We lived above the church in the apartment, and we didn't own a TV.  Mom called us into the living room to tell us that the Sharps were bringing over their TV so that we could watch Mary Poppins.  Oh, I remember how excited we were.  Daddy popped the popcorn on the stove, put it in the big green bowl and we sat down, in front of the tiny TV with great anticipation.  That was when I fell in love with the movie...it is still one of my favorites today.  Giving of herself, time, resources to four little kids and their parents...a truly wonderful man and women.  

Without Geri Sharp, there would be no Friday Night Light at CTK

There were many moments just like this one.  Teaching us what it is to give without anything in return.  Just the excitement of four little kids.  I remember being so excited that I almost cried.  A true treat.  A gift of ones self.  

Tender Heart the Clown wouldn't have been born,
without Geri Sharp

You can tell me all day long that you love me.  You can put it on a card or write it in a letter or whatever.  But love is an action.  It requires something of you.  I am chained forever to my children because love constrains me.  Just like Kenneth and Geri Sharp loved us and gave of themselves because of that love.  

Geri Sharp was our Kids Church leader who
first introduced the Fruits (Come to life)

Today, I honor them...Kenneth and Geri Sharp, they helped build me.  Kenneth Sharp showed me in our Christian school that to do things the right way is always the best.  Do it right, get it right.  I still hold that in my heart and I do try my best to get it right.  

(I stole this from her facebook)
She is still at it.
My God Mother, Geri Sharp (on the right)
I want to be that for someone.  I hope I have been that for my children, nieces, nephews, kids in the church.  For them to say that I freely gave of myself and honored God and them, that has to be one of the greatest compliments ever.  

I want to build and not tear down.  I want to love and not fear.  I want to be positive and not negative. That is my prayer this morning. 

 Who/What built you?  There are many blocks in the foundation of a building.  Each one laid by hand, set in mortar, creating a firm foundation.  I have many contributors to building Kimberly Estep VanDyke.