Monday, February 28, 2011

Apply it to Me Monday

This morning was one of those for us where we found ourselves hungry for breakfast, but we were OUT of milk.  Our girls drink so much milk that it's hard to keep it in the house.  Normally for breakfast I strive to feed them a high fiber cereal.  At some point in my life I learned that if you eat fiber in the morning, it helps to off set some of the other bad things you may eat during the day.  Needless to say, without milk for cereal, this morning's breakfast was far from good nutrition.  I had to break out that yummy roll of cinnamon rolls that I honestly try to only do on Sunday mornings.  The girls did not mind one little bit, however.  They LOVE a good cinnamon roll. 

Just look at that face.
She is working hard to lick every bit of icing off her sweet little face.

So, while we're eating our yummy cinnamon rolls, I was reminded of the verse in Psalm 34:8.  It reads:

"Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him."

Verse 9 goes on to say:

"Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear Him lack nothing."

What a promise!  Those who truly fear and put their trust in God have nothing to fear.  These verses give me hope that I can be in the most desparate times of my life and still taste the Lord's goodness and trust Him to provide my every need.  He will deliver me from fear (v.4), save me from trouble (vv. 6, 17), send angels to encamp around me (v.7), supply my needs (v.9), give me abundant life (v. 12), hear my prayers (v. 15), comfort me with His presence (v. 18), and redeem me (v. 22).  My job is to put my hope and trust in Him with a willing heart to obey all that He would ask of me.  He does all the rest.

Is your hope in God today?  Are you faced with overwhelming circumstances?  Taste and see that the Lord is good!

~Josh and Jill

Monday, February 21, 2011

Apply it to Me Monday

Today is one of my favorite days of the week, because I get to be with some of my favorite women EVER for Bible Study!  I've been up all night in the book of Genesis, and just realized it's 1:16 am... way past this mama's bedtime.  I'm the type of person who loves to be asleep by 9:30, but that just never happens for us.  Ministry always seems to happen at night, but we love the privilege of serving, even though it requires a few late nights in the week.

As I've been reading the story of Hagar and Ishmael in Genesis 16, I am reminded of the fact that God is all-seeing.  Hagar was pregnant and  fled to the wilderness from Sarai, her mistress, because of the mistreatment she was receiving from her.  It was in the wilderness that the angel of the Lord came to her, and spoke God's promise to her.  This is what she said to the Lord in verse 13.  She said, "You are the God who sees me," for she said, "I have now seen the One who sees me."  After that, she had the strength to return to her mistress and bear the child God promised would be a great nation for Abraham's sake. 

I cannot help but have a load of compassion for Hagar.  Somehow my heart just goes out to the pain she experienced when I read that story.  In her deepest pain, in her wilderness, God saw her and met her at her point of need. 

Our wilderness is often the very place that God meets us.  Listen to what He say in Hosea 2:14 referring to Israel:

"Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.  There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.  There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt."

If you find yourself in a "wilderness" season in your life, a time of desparation, loneliness, or need, then friend, you need to get that chin up!  You are in the very place God wants to meet you, and bring forth the promises He has for your life.  Even though Ishmael wasn't the promised child God had to give Abraham, he still made him a great nation for Abraham's sake.  He heard Hagar's affliction.  Verse 20 of Genesis 21 says, "God was with the boy as he grew up."  What a comfort to a mama's heart!  God fulfilled promises to Hagar through Ishmael, and He will fufill promises out of your wilderness as well.  Put your hope and trust in Him, because He will be faithful to meet you at your point of need!

I pray this makes sense to you.  I skimmed the story in this blog, but there is so much more detail to know about the story of Abraham and Sarai, Hagar and Ishmael.  If you are not familiar with the story, then I encourage you to read Genesis 16 and 21.  Ask God to help your understanding and to open your eyes to the wonderful things in His word.

If you've had wilderness experiences out of which you've seen God bring about promises, we would LOVE for you to share that in a comment.  What an encouragement to others it is to testify to what the Lord has brought us through!

~Josh & Jill

Monday, February 14, 2011

Apply it to Me Monday

Happy Valentine's Day to all our readers!  We hope your day is truly wonderful, and most of all that you are surrounded by God's love.  The girls and I have had a fun morning of games.  They are so excited about Valentine's Day and the fact they get to wear pink frilly outfits to church tonight.  I thought I'd post pics for you just for fun.

The girls woke up to a little surprise on the table.
They are just now getting old enough to play some "real" games, so we thought this was the perfect way to get a collection started.

Seeing their excited faces is priceless!

Mmmm... Chocolate

Smiling for the camera

Aubrey gives that smile all she's got!  Too cute.

Sweet Kylee.  She always loves to be pretty.

Little Aubrey loves to be silly!

I don't know what it is about giving our little girls gifts that brings so much joy to our hearts.  We are always planning for the next birthday or holiday, and always having to narrow our list to decide what to get them because there is so much we want to do for them.  It seems we are willing to go to extremes to provide good things for our children.  Extremes that we would not go to for ourselves, but we don't think twice about it for our kids.  Reflecting on that reminds me of the verse in Matthew 7:11.  This passage is talking about asking and receiving from the Father.  This is what verse 11 says:

"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!"

Sometimes I think it's easy for us to feel like God's time should only be taken for the big, desperate needs.  We turn to Him to heal cancer, or bring salvation to someone so lost, but we don't really think He wants to be involved in every aspect of our lives. 

When Kylee & Aubrey were born, we honestly never knew our hearts could hold so much love.  We knew we would love them, but the depth of that love is so indescribable.  If you have children of your own, then you know exactly what I'm talking about.  Imagine the depth of that love multiplied by thousands.  We cannot even begin to imagine how lavish God's love is for us.  We cannot even begin to imagine how His protective nature looks out for us.  And we think He's too great to be troubled with our small problems or needs?  The same way we desire for our children to come to us with their needs is the desire God has to be involved in every detail of our lives.  He's our Father.

Whatever you have need of this Valentine's Day, God wants to supply.  Whether it's healing from a life threatening disease, restoration in your marriage or your relationship with your children, or simply a sense that God sees you & has not forgotten you, He is available to meet that need!  All you have to do is ask, and invite God to be intimately involved in your life.  He loves you, dear one!  Oh, how He loves you!

Happy Love Day!
~Josh & Jill

Saturday, February 12, 2011

One Fulfilling Week

We have not blogged nearly as much this week as we really WANTED to, because we have simply been way to busy LIVING it!  Our week with Mel and Jillian and their beautiful children was a tremendous blessing to us. It was so neat to share with them in two bilingual services at Gateway Church in which God worked tremendously in the lives of people.  We were so thankful they received lots of opportunities to share with various ministries within our church their heart and vision for the work ahead of them in Bangladesh.  Oh, and our kids!  They will be talking about little Gary and Joelle for probably the rest of their lives!  They miss them so much already.  I think they really loved having a brother and sister in the house.

After eight years of not seeing our friends, our good-bye seemed to come as quickly as our reunion.  We were sad for our time together to end, but so excited for what God is about to do through these willing hearts!  We snapped a few pictures to remember the time and as a tangible way to pray over this precious family.  We'll be praying for God's financial provision, His protection over their family, His peace, and His equipping and anointing to do that which He has called them to.  We hope if you got to meet them, and even if you didn't, that you will do the same!

Mel and Jillian Rogers are headed to
Bangladesh in July of 2011 as the budget
they need to raise to get there is met.

This is a family picture of us right before
we said our "good-byes" on Thursday.



Aubrey and Joelle.  They are just weeks apart in age.

Four happy friends, all growing up to live for the Kingdom.

When we arrived home to our much too quiet home
on Thursday after our farewell lunch, Kylee was sure
Joelle was coming back.  I had to explain that it would be
a very long time before seeing our friends again, but that
when we miss them, we can pray for them.  So sweet little
Kylee and Aubrey sat down right that moment and prayed
together for Gary and Joelle.

After Kylee & Aubrey had prayed their little hearts out, they
jumped up and shouted, "Amen!"  It's sweet to watch their
confidence in Jesus.  Somehow, I just know that moment of praise
absolutely touched His heart unspeakably.

There are so many more pictures we could post, but we do not want to bore you.  We do, however, want you to remember Mel, Jillian, Gary, and Joelle.  If you are able to give, they could use your financial support in getting to Bangladesh.  If you are not able to give, we are all able to call out to the Father the names of those who need divine protection and favor.  So when you are calling out names in the presence of the Almighty, remember their's.  You may never know on this side of heaven the impact your prayers have, but a day is coming when the secret things will be revealed to us, and we will see clearly the hand of God at work in our lives in times when our vision was so clouded all we could do was blindly trust God.

They are going.  Will you send them?  You can follow Mel & Jillian's blog to keep up with their latest adventures and to learn ways you can help.

"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?  And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?  And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?  And how can they preach unless they are sent?  As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'"   ~Romans 10:14-15

Monday, February 7, 2011

Apply it to Me Monday

This morning our hearts are so full from a wonderful weekend with our friends and incredible times in God's presence in our church services yesterday.  Mel and Jillian are our friends from college whom we have not seen in eight years!  Saturday our kids met each other, and were instant friends!  It was so much fun watching them play together.  They really hit it off.  On Sunday Mel and Jillian shared their hearts for Bangladesh in our Life Foundations (aka. Sunday School) class.  Their passion was contagious, and every heart in that room was touched.  Jillian will be able to share tonight in our women's bible study, and they will be attending our youth service on Wednesday night as well.  Needless to say, this is a very special week for us! 

This morning I was reflecting on all these wonderful events, and the Lord brought to my mind the verse in Psalm 119:19.  This is what it says:

I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me.

I really think about that word stranger.  Sometimes it is so easy to forget that this time on this planet we call earth is not it for us!  Our home is in heaven with our Savior.  I admire the passion in missionaries who will give up everything an American grows up to desire for the sake of the Kingdom.  For almost a year now, Mel and Jillian have LIVED on the road.... with a 2 and 4 year old!  Some people would call it foolish, some would call it crazy, but I see a true understanding in them that they are only strangers on this earth.  The only fulfillment we have in life is in our obedience to God.  That's it.  If God calls us to a Muslim country where Christianity is less than 1%, then that is the only place of fulfillment for us.  And might I add that those sweet toddlers of theirs are some of the happiest, most well-adjusted toddlers I've ever met.  They are amazing kids.  You know what I think makes them happy and amazing?  Their parents are absolutely fulfilled in life, because they walk in absolute obedience.  It's not about their parenting strategies, it's about the Jesus in them.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that this world is not my home.  I have to remind myself when I begin to get too attached to temporary things.  I especially have to remind myself when those feelings of despair threaten to encroach upon my mind and heart.  Maybe our feelings of failure at life sometimes comes from our lack of recognition that what we're going through in this present moment is only temporary.  We're not thinking of the promises of His Kingdom to reign forever and ever.  So, let me challenge you today to ask God to reorient your thinking to an eternal perspective.  A Kingdom perspective.  Ask God to show you a hurting person today, and give them this hope that we have.

Josh and I love our friends and family who are reading our blog.  Thanks for being there for us!  We are so excited that those of you whom we've never met are reading as well.  Maybe one day our paths will cross.  It's off to Sci-Port today for Jillian and I with our kids, so I better go cook some breakfast!  May you have a truly blessed and fulfilled Monday!

~Josh and Jill

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Little Reflection

This morning our house is clean, the kids are still asleep (yes, it's 9:39 am and they are asleep), and we anxiously await good friends to arrive at our house later this afternoon. We were worried earlier this week how we were going to pull it off.  Josh had been sick with the flu, then Kylee was sick with the flu.  Praise God we are flu and fever free for our old friends from SAGU (Southwestern Assemblies of God University) to stay a few days while they itinerate. 

Mel and Jillian Rogers were friends of ours during our college years in Waxahachie, TX.  Just thinking about it makes me miss those days.  Those were the days when cafeteria carbs were strangely your friend, and the freshman fifteen was inevitable. They were also the days when your life was poured into day after day of chapel services.  I can remember how way too many guys were on the search for the perfect wife.  If only they knew how senseless they were.  Those were the days when sometimes your faith and even your calling was really tested.  Those were the days when you constantly got to be with friends.  Those were the days when you spent hours with friends walking around the prayer walk and talking about the dreams you had for your life and ministry.

I can recall many days just like that.  Jillian and I walked around that prayer walk many times.  We probably weren't as spiritual about it as we were desperately trying to work off those carbs from cafeteria food.  Not to mention the late night popcorn and sodas.  Time spent with Jillian was always time spent hearing her heart.  Her heart for missions.  I know Mel's heart was much the same.  I guess that's why we're so excited that they're coming to spend time with us and get to know our church family over the next few days.  They have served local churches for about the past 8 years while preparing for the time when they would be sent out to go into all the world.

They've dreamed their whole life, and now that dream is being fulfilled.  This summer they will be heading off to Bangladesh to study in language school.  Once that is complete, their work will begin there.  Bangladesh is a place where girls are sold into prostitution sometimes younger than the age of 12.  We are blessed with two daughters of our own, and the thought of such tragedy happening in a young girl's life is unbearable for us as parents to even think about.  What a gift Mel and Jillian will be to the people there that so desperately need their help and love.   

It's been eight years since we've seen our friends.  That can be one of the difficult parts of ministry.  Moving puts long distances between you and other friends in ministry. I suppose it's all the more special when you get to reunite and re-aquaint.  They have two precious toddlers about the age of Kylee and Aubrey that we have only seen pictures of.  We are so excited for our kids to MEET!  We honestly probably never thought about our kids playing together while we were in college.  I really don't think we thought that far ahead.

Well, the girls are up and looking for me now, so I better wrap this up.  We will post pictures later of things we get to do this week, and will share with you ways that you can support these brand new missionaries, whether through prayer or financial support! 

We wish everyone a fantastic weekend!  God Bless!

~Josh and Jill
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