Shedding Light On A Dark Holiday

Trunk or Treat is one way to shed a little light on a holiday that has been called evil and unsafe. In the world we live in we never know what people are putting in our children’s candy. We see it as an opportunity to shine. Our church, West Sound Community Church wanted to create a fun and safe night for families on Halloween. Every year we get together in a parking lot and decorate the trunks of our vehicles and dress up to match the theme of it. We also joined with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and staff from Community Family Service Foundation. 

We were able to bless many kids and foster families. The smiles on every ones faces is why we do this. We want to show the community that the body of Christ cares and wants to go above and beyond to show Christs love. 

 

Hunter and Deer

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Mathew 5:14-16 

 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before all men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

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The Mouth Of This Lion

James 3:9-11 “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men. who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt flow in the same spring?”

     I’ve been learning a lot about the power of words especially the ones spoken to my husband. Wives I am amazed at the power we have with what we say to our men.

     I have watched my husband slowly become a more confident person by my encouraging words. This is a life long skill for me. Because sometimes I am guilty of wanting to mix salt with water. But when I shut the mouth of this lion and let the encouraging words flow I see him grow.

Words are powerful.

They kill or build. 

     Our husbands live for our joy and assurance. When I am short with my beloved I see it on his face “I have failed my wife” this breaks my heart. We stop. We discuss. We forgive. Those moments hurt the most because that’s not what God wants me to be. He wants me to encourage Peter as he carry’s the weight of leading our family.

       Peter used to say he cant learn new skills, but never gave me a reason. Just said “cant”. That’s when I realized the more God was working on my heart as I am learning to become an encouraging wife the more I encouraged him. I have loved watching him learn new skills and try new things.

 

 

 

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His Princess

Romans 8:17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Frilly dresses, tutus, crowns, glass slippers, and glitter….I love it all!

Some caution their daughters dressing up as a princess because they are imitating what they have see on the screen. Although we don’t agree with the morals in the Disney princess movies  we do agree with one thing. There is a Prince and what they are pretending to be is what they are…

A Princess.

This is such a beautiful reminder of God’s love for us.

When we accept Christ as our savoir we then become apart of his family.

1 John 3:1a See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

These imaginative moments are beautiful opportunities of sharing truth into the little princesses lives as they grow. The world may try and taint our princesses hearts through their lens, but that is because they do not know that…. 

at 4 our girls are princesses, at 12 they still are princesses even at 16. You see once a princess always a princess. 

The glass slippers may be kicked off and dresses are now jeans, but in her heart she knows shes the daughter of the King. 

 

 

Goodbye Little Blue

We are moving! It’s so very bitter sweet. More bitter for me than it is for Peter.

When I think of this house I think of all the memories of our first year of marriage and how far God has brought us.

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Coffee dates

I think of my crazy season He Understands My Heart I think of how much I continue to learn from Peter What Peter Teaches Me I think of all the times we’ve cried, laughed, prayed, learned, sung, danced, cooked, worked out, read, planted veggies, and grew together. They always say it’s harder for the girl to say goodbye to the first house. I’m so thankful for my friend for taking these pictures. 

 

 

I look forward to the memories we will create in our new home doing house projects, and for when we expand our family…..down the road.

We believe our home could be used to bless others as well. Whether that be hosting for events, or using the extra rooms to fill it for the purpose we feel fit for it at the time. 

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Our Little Blue House

Goodbye Little Blue. I’ll miss you. 

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COTN Everyday Value

    I’ve been thinking about doing this for a matter of months now. I Finally got around to doing it! It amazes Peter and me how much we have here in America. I did this exercise to help open the eyes of others including myself to help us see how much we have by  what we wear. Now I would consider myself a low maintenance person always shopping at thrift stores and looking for deals but I was surprised at the results.

Exercise: Take an every day picture of yourself. Something you would wear on a regular day ( keep it casual) If you wear make up count the cost of the make up. If you wear a watch count it, ect.

COTN money and clothes

    I’ve always heard of COTN (Children of the Nations) but never got to hear someones heart after going on a missions trip until Peter came back from Malawi.  His passion for Malawi has only grown since then. On May 21st, 2016 he has started a Frisbee tournament  to help support a friend he met there. If you were touched by this I encourage you to share this post, and do the exercise yourself. 

Other ways you can help:

Sponsering

Gifts under 25$

Gifts up to 75$

Gifts 100 and up

Anticipating CHRISTmas

Do you remember being a child around  Christmas?

Do you remember the giddy feeling you’d get as soon as you’d see those presents under the Christmas tree?

All the wonder and curiosity of what’s inside danced in your mind. And that is why this family celebrates Christmas this way.

Instead of hiding the gifts the parents would  put them under the tree weeks ahead. The children would sit by them pointing and chatting about them. They weren’t allowed to touch them or pick them up until Christmas. Now imagine with me all the wonder and excitement as a child while the gifts scream ‘open me!’ as they sit under the tree.

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They didn’t teach this as patience. They had a far greater lesson in mind.  

Romans 8:18 “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

 

2 Corinthians   “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

How we anticipate the gifts of Christmas is how we should anticipate being with Christ in heaven someday. The Bible tells us bits and pieces giving us an idea of what heaven will be like, but we will never fully know until we are there. Just like the gifts they had an idea of what was underneath the bows and colorful wrapping paper. There’s still the anticipation of seeing. 

A family tradition presented as a greater lesson.  

Deuteronomy 6:6-9

 

What Is A Christian?

Learning From The Youth

God’s Ministry NOT Mine

What Is A Christian?

 

Christian.

What does that word even mean?

Do we know who we are in Christ?

 The Bible makes a clear distinction. Either friends with God and an enemy of the world or friends with the world and an enemy of God.

James 4:1-4

“What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel.You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendships with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” 

So again we should ask ourselves…

What is a Christian?

What should our lives reflect?

Where is a Christian’s ultimate meaning, joy, purpose, and significance found?

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 When I think of the meaning of Christian I think of for what it is; someone who is genuine, loving, believing, and active in their faith. This person has a relationship with Christ that is real and when you think about that person, those thoughts are the first to come into your head. So therefore that person believes in the Bible and it’s truths. They would then have to come to the conclusion of the God-head three in one, new birth, sanctification, and many other realities found in the Bible. Some people within the Christian community would say they are “radicalists” but I think Christ would beg to differ. The Holy Spirit through Paul writes to us.

Romans 12:1-2

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Christ’s ministry from the time he started out preaching the Gospel did not conform himself to the world but to save it. He acted in accordance with God’s will and presented his body as a holy sacrifice, acceptable to God. In fact he was the perfect sacrifice for the world. Christ never boasted in his own deity and used it to for his own gain. 

John 10:37-38

“If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father”

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His whole life was a reflection of a perfect spotless sacrifice for the whole world. No more debt in our hands for our sins that we can not do enough good deeds for. Although we will never be perfect we should strive to be perfect. Christ is perfect and we should strive to be like him daily. What does that look like? Picking up our cross living a spirit filled life dedicated to Christ to the best of our ability and letting God lead us.

Romans 8:9-15

“However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you , though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. (This is the change I am hinting at) But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh- for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.(This was what I was referencing early when I said ‘picking up your cross daily’) For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

 

At the end of the day Christ must be the ultimate source of meaning, fulfillment, joy, etc. because if He is not am we are probably finding that in work, family, ministry or any other number of things in our lives. But that is not what Christ wants. Although, those all are good things, they fall short of the perfect being who will never fail you or stop loving you. When you give your life to Christ the mounting change of who you are from flesh to spirit is nothing short of a miracle. That would lead us as Christians to serve Christ and worship him through Spirit not serving our fleshly desires.

1st Peter 1:14-19

“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written,”You shall be holy, for I am holy.” If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or god from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”

 

By: Peter Echols

The Mouth Of This Lion

Romans Reality

Love Letters To God

I’ve experienced:

Loss

Regret

Hurt

Victories

and Love

just like anyone else.

Tears stream down my face as I as read through my old prayer journals and see how faithful God has been throughout my life.

I started writing letters to God when I was fifteen; I’m twenty-five now. As the years went on I started really getting into the prayer journals; I started decorating mine or buying really nice ones. I would keep one on me that way if I would get alone time I could just take it out and write. This is how I find time with God.

As the ink hits the paper so my heart opens to him. This is where I meet him for quiet time. This is how I am still before him. I discover things that have been on my heart that I didn’t know where there until I would write them down. Writing out prayers has helped me think out all the insecurities I had then and have now. I as continue so seek him he will be forever faithful. He is always on the other end waiting for his letter. 

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How do you spend time with him?

 

 

Dear Former Body

He Understands My Heart

Romans Reality

Prayer At Work

Tear Up Your Bible

I Am Overwhelmed

 

 

 

 

Learning From The Youth

The more I hang out with these kids the more I learn on how to be a good parent. I am very open with these kids asking them questions that I hope to note and carry for mine and Peters when they are teens.

I know some kids just say bad stuff about their parents for attention. But I’m talking about the kids who stay out of trouble but still have broken hearts. You never see it on their faces. It’s when I get the rare opportunity to hear their heart because I am that person who won’t judge them and will just sit and listen.

All they want is for someone to listen.

Sometimes my heart breaks and I hope to never hear the same words from my own.

Peter and I have talked about being open with our kids from the start. Discussing why they might want to dye there hair blue could be a topic that some parents won’t even want at the table. But for us that topic seems so minor. We want the heavy and real topics that could ache our hearts if our kids for some reason does not want to follow the Lord and ask them why. We want the real relationship where we can openly pray with them.

I don’t want my kids to hide their tears from me. I want more attention then their journal gets. If I have to find out our my kid has thoughts of suicide in a journal, then Peter and I have failed as parents.

I am learning that even if our kids are raised in a Christian home they still make their own choices. We cannot control them. We can only manage and pray. At the end of the day they are accountable to God and lifes consequences.

As we seek God pray for us when it will be our turn to become parents.

 

Dear Embarrassing Parents

Daughter, I’m Here Now

 

 

 

 

God’s Ministry NOT Mine

Galatians 6:7-9

There was a time in my life I honestly thought I was just bad at ministry.

I felt very unorganized and wondered why I was even put in leadership. No matter how hard or advanced I would plan things they would be getting done last minute.

I remember a conversation with a friend going something like this….

“Jessica I don’t understand it. I’m a very organized person. Shoot I have adults who look up to me outside of ministry, but when it comes to ministry I’m all over the place I don’t get it!”

Jessica and I do ministry together. She has seen me serve in the church. If it was anyone who would be honest with me it would be her. That’s what good friends do. They tell you the truth even if you don’t want to hear it.

“Your not bad at it…its people. Your working with people and people are people.”

What she meant by that was people get sick , or busy so they cant answer the phone for follow ups. Schedules get in the way of appointments or they might forget to get back to you. It’s not intentional its just things happen.

Hmmm……

Then it clicked.

Why am I expecting perfection in something that isn’t even mine? It’s Gods.

Ministry is Gods. It’s his job to reach peoples hearts. I am just the tool.

Every project that I had planned six months in advance and then scrambled around the week of to get the details figured out have turned out. People were still blessed. It just wasn’t done the way I would do it. There are days I would walk into my Sunday school room holding the lesson I planned weeks ahead but then teach on something completely different. 

Again not how I would do it. But ministry has to be flexible. Why? Because it’s meeting peoples hearts. In other words I need to get out of Gods way and let him do his work.

 

Pardon my progress.