Happy Second Coming Day! Never heard of it? Read on.

Happy Second Coming Day! Never heard of it? Read on.

Hello, there!  I grew up as a military kid who loved adventure, so I fell in love with and married a military man right after college graduation.  The two of us had adventures together as we traveled for a while, but we finally settled in cozy Southern Indiana.  However the excitement is still alive, because God has given us four kiddos that I homeschool.  I love nerding out on anything from school curriculum to thrift store bargain hunting, from rockin' recipes to theological debates, and pretty much any lively discussion in between.  Thanks for reading!
Meredith P
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Hello! I hope you and your family had a very happy First Coming Day last month! Or as December 25th is more commonly called, a very Merry Christmas. Yes, Happy Belated First Coming Day/Merry Christmas to you!

For the whole month of December, most of us prepare for the big day when we celebrate Jesus’ first coming to this earth and it is awesome! I delight in the decorating, buying gifts, singing carols, reading about it in the Bible, and more. In fact, there is usually so much to do, one of the most common questions I am asked as December 25th approaches is, “Are you ready for Christmas?” Or using my other name they might say, “Are you ready for First Coming Day?” Hopefully I can say ‘yes’ when asked or else I might find myself in a bit of a pickle. 🙂 But here is another question for us all, “Are we ready for Second Coming Day?”

Allow me to back pedal a bit. I’d like to share with you three things about our family’s journey with God and how He is leading us to celebrate a Second Coming Day. I’d like to tell you how the idea came about, why we find it to be so crucially important to how we walk out our everyday lives, and how we celebrate.

I once read something about Billy Graham that kinda changed my life. According to what I read, his mother would say to him every morning something like, “Look to the east, Billy. Do you see Jesus yet?” So he’d lift his eyes to the east and look for Jesus.

His mother’s question comes from Matthew 24:27 (NIV) “For as lightening that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”

I read that this simple question asked by his mother each morning gave him a daily awareness to the truth that Jesus could actually come today. I read that this set in him an eternal perspective that led, among other things, to his becoming what we know of Billy Graham today: one of the greatest preachers of the gospel in our time. He wanted to spend his days before he saw Jesus coming in the east telling as many people as possible about it.

As a mom, this has resonated in my heart over and over for years. My heart cries out to God to use me to give my children the gift of this eternal perspective. So like the good Father He is, God is giving me, one of His children, the gift of a mind shift toward this eternal perspective so that I, in turn, can teach my children as He teaches me. Like I mentioned above, it has been years since this heart cry of mine to God started and honestly I’m still trying grasping the magnitude of it! Thank you God for being a patient teacher!

This is what I am learning and why keeping Jesus’ second coming in the forefront of my mind is so crucial:  I know the end of the story.

Allow me to use an illustration to explain. This past year, I was reading aloud an interesting book to my children. It was suspenseful! My oldest, 12, was so invested in the characters that he couldn’t take it. It was truly bothering his heart seeing all the trouble the character was going through. He had to know what happened to the main character so he read the very last page. I am telling you, this boy of mine was so much more relaxed while I continued to read the book over the week following. He was even telling his brothers, 9 and 7, “Don’t worry. I know what happens. I read the last page. It is going to be ok.”

Friends, don’t we know the end of our story? Can’t we read the last page?

We can.

Happy Second Coming Day!

It’s called Revelation and here it is:

“Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea… And I heard a loud voice saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:1-5 (NIV)

“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.”  Revelation 22:12-14 (NIV)

The above is from the last two chapters in the whole Bible. These words are the end of the story.

Jesus is coming back again.

He is going to make all things right.

Jesus wins. No questions. No close calls. 

He wins and we win through Him.

I am praying right now for you who are reading this and your families (and for myself and my family!) that the truth in these last pages will produce in us the same type of reaction that it did for my son as he read the last page of our book. 

That we would relax. 

That we would tell others, “Don’t worry. I know what happens. I read the last page. It is going to be ok.”

This is why remembering the second coming of Jesus matters. It gives the Christian, those who have as Jesus says above in Revelation, washed our robes in His blood through His sacrifice, this proper eternal perspective that should revolutionize our entire outlook on life.

(If you are not a Christian and are interested to know why in the world you need to have your robes washed in Jesus’ blood, please, read about it here. It is crucial.)

Isn’t it easy to get caught up in the temporal stuff of earth? In things that don’t really matter? I now categorize things that don’t really matter as anything that does not have to do with the eternal souls of people. Anything that won’t last on past Jesus’ second coming in many ways isn’t really worth a second thought.

I’m not trying to trivialize the grind of struggles on earth. I am not naive to the fact that terrible and unthinkable things happen down here. But so often, especially in America, we get upset at things that don’t really matter for eternity because our minds are down here on earth instead of set on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God and in control.

Friends, in Paul’s letter to the Phillippians he says, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 3:20 (NIV)

This verse kinda wraps this point up. If you are a Christian, earth is not your home. So its no surprise that things don’t go as planned down here. No fear. We are eagerly waiting for a Savior’s second coming to bring us home.

So think about whatever difficult or troubling situation you might be dealing with at this time. Ask God to give you an eternal perspective on your struggle. Ask Him to show you what portion of your struggle is eternal and what portion is temporal. Focus on the eternal and let go of the temporal. He will help those that earnestly seek His assistance.

So what does Second Coming Day look like in our house? Over the years it has taken many forms. The first year it was full of activities like waking up to a trumpet blast (1 Thessalonians 4:16)and building our heavenly rooms (John 14:2) gingerbread house style. The year I had another baby it looked like just a talk over dinner. And this year, I think it will be somewhere in between.

The point is not to have yet another thing to do, but to create in our homes an eager anticipation to the reality that the day is coming when the trumpet call is real, any problem we have is eclipsed by His glory, sin and death are gone forever, and we are taken home.

To look forward to and celebrate the victory that is His Second Coming as much as we look back and celebrate the sacrifice of His First Coming. It really does change everything.

I’ll end with this. By far my favorite and most enduring way to celebrate is when we take the Lord’s Supper as a family. Each time we are huddled as a family over the bread and grape juice, we remind ourselves and our children not only of Jesus’ sacrifice at His first coming, but also we remember to look forward to the victory of His return.

“For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” 1 Corinthians 11:26 (NIV) emphasis mine

“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’

Amen. Come Lord Jesus.

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.” Revelation 22: 20-21 (NIV)

The Encouragement Challenge: Loving God with Body, Heart and Soul

The Encouragement Challenge: Loving God with Body, Heart and Soul

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
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Have you ever read the verse “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” and wondered HOW?

Of course, we want to do this!  More than we can ever verbally express, we want to live for God with our entire being, but how?  Then I think of Luke 2:40:

And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him. (NIV)

When I read this, I fill with hope.  Jesus grew.

It’s a process.  It’s all about growing in the Lord. Growing is a process.  A seed must be planted and watered.  The roots must grow deep into the earth and bring about stability so the rest of the plant can grow without toppling over.  Slowly, it matures until it is ripe and ready for harvest.

We are no different than Jesus. We will love him with all our heart, all our soul, and all our strength, IF we are willing to take the time to plant the seed, water it, and let it take root in our lives. We’ve got the grace of God and the Holy Spirit is living in us!

As I think of this verse and how we want to grow more in love with the Lord daily, I realize that we have to incorporate our entire beings, not just our spiritual side.  We have to engage every part of ourselves–our body, our mind, our heart, and our soul!

So I want to introduce this challenge–a challenge to myself and to you as well to take small steps to a big life change.


The Encouragement Challenge Social media

“The Encouragement Challenge”
is all about focusing on our walk with God and not just fleeting New Year’s Resolutions!

Day by day, what we are seeking is to grow our relationship with our Savior Jesus Christ, and many times we need a physical friend (as well as the Holy Spirit) to encourage us along the way as we invite Him into all areas of our lives.  So that is our challenge for January.  We want to walk with you on this journey as we grow closer to our Lord and encourage you every step of the way in all areas of your life.

Starting January 4, we will be offering interactive ways to encourage you as you take small steps to make a big life change.

1.  Sign up now to receive our newsletter so you can receive all the info that will keep you encouraged during “The Encouragement Challenge” including:

  • The Encouragement Challenge Calendar so you can stay on track to fulfilling what God is calling you to this year.
  • A Weekly Exercise Video Series that includes daily exercises with a video at the end of the week that includes the entire combination. This is a 5-minute exercise series that will help everyone (from beginner to returning from injuries to advanced) strengthen their bodies with things around the house.  This will help us strengthen our bodies so we can physically serve our Lord, our families, and others. Double or triple this series for a more intense workout and still get it done in 15 minutes!
  • Scripture memorization cards.
  • A list of encouraging music that will get you moving and fill your soul with inspiration.

2.  Follow us on Twitter & Periscope at Create_GreatDay!  Kristi will be scoping her Encouragement Challenge journey and would love for you to share yours too! It’s a great way to stay accountable.

3.  Share your wins with us on our Facebook page! We will have a daily “Encouragement Challenge Wins” thread where we would love for you to share your  daily wins with us.  You might share what passage you read that day, what devotional book you’re enjoying, or that you drank water instead of a Coke. Whatever you are focusing on, we want to cheer you on too!

4.  Mark your calendars for January 30 from 9:30am-12:00pm.  Our very own contributors Julie and Toni will be facilitating a Real Food Cooking Class in Edmond, OK.  More details to come.

Here’s a glimpse into the first exercise of the first week’s series.
It make look easy but it will build your strength!

Julie Wulfert is a certified group fitness instructor with over 22 years of teaching experience She is also a board certified holistic health counselor.  She leads an amazing workout session every Monday &  Wednesday from 8:45am – 9:45am at the New Hope church of Christ in Edmond, OK.  Each class is $5 and you are welcome to attend.

 

Right now God might be wanting you to focusing on one area.  Great, let us be your cheerleader along your journey and you can be ours!  Just knowing that we have others who are walking the same struggles and being accountable gives us the courage to continue on even when we don’t feel like it.


heartI’m sure you already have an idea of where you want to grow in the Lord first, but if you need some ideas, I will throw some out too.  We encourage you to be praying about how God wants to grow you and follow His lead.

Honoring our bodies as a temple of the Holy Spirit by:

  • Treating our bodies with respect.
  • Listening to God’s image of us instead of the world’s image of us.
  • Exercising in order to become physically strong to do God’s work.
  • Nourishing our bodies better so we can stay healthy.
  • Working towards honing a skill that God is calling us to use for his kingdom.
  • Removing addictive behaviors whether that’s what we consider smaller things like binge junk-food eating to what we normally consider vices–smoking, excessive drinking, sex outside of marriage, etc.

Filling our hearts and minds with the things of God by:

  • Being in God’s word consistently.
  • Memorizing scripture and writing it on our hearts.
  • Filling our minds with things that are noble.
  • Taking the 30 day KLove challenge of listening to Christian music for thirty days.
  • Choosing different TV shows (You know, not watching the ones we watch but wouldn’t feel comfortable watching if Jesus were sitting next to us.)
  • Taking our thoughts captive.
  • Believing what God says about us instead of others’ criticisms.
  • Not harboring negative thoughts of others in our hearts.
  • Believing we are worthy of God’s love. (Oh, how Satan uses the world to smash our image!)

Growing spiritually by:

  • Praying more – maybe starting once a day or working towards praying without ceasing.
  • Praying for others specifically.
  • Allowing joy to be present in every situation.
  • Living in the understanding that no matter what happens on Earth, our souls are forever protected by God.
  • Trusting God to be faithful.
  • Obeying the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
  • Engaging our children in our spiritual growth so they can grow as they walk with us.
  • Picking a devotional book to read through or a Bible study to attend.

These are all just ideas. The list is endless, but pray about where God wants you to start.  We are each on our own journey but here to encourage each other along the way.  Our journeys will look different from anyone else’s. I will be focusing on some of the things above this year and can’t wait to learn what you will be focusing on!

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The best piece of advice I’ve ever received about making changes in my life was this:

Pick one thing you want to add to your life and start adding it.  Once it feels natural and you’ve got the hang of it, add the next thing.  This will keep you from being overwhelmed and stressed out.

Small steps in one or more of these areas will open our lives to loving God with our complete being!

 

Bible Journaling Workshop: RECAP

Bible Journaling Workshop: RECAP

Hello all!I am an Oklahoma girl, through and through!I was born here and after 5 years in Texas for college, I missed Oklahoma too much and just had to come back home with my Oklahoma husband to raise our Oklahoma babies! I met my husband in high school and fell we in love in college.We have 2 beautiful kids that are full of life and make me such a proud momma.I love to craft, journal, paint furniture, and decorate our Edmond home!See some of my creations at The Lettered Light www.etsy.com/shop/theletteredlight and IG:theletteredlight
McKenzie R
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God+His Word+Friends+New Experience

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I always, ALWAYS get nervous when I am about to do a Bible journaling class/workshop or lesson of any sort.  It doesn’t matter if it is for friends that I have known for years or a small group of five new friends.  But this full workshop of 25 beautiful ladies brought my nerves of public speaking to a whole new level. Friends, I am not a public speaker!  I’m just a gal who likes to paint in her Bible.  Well, I guess that is all the Lord needs sometimes…His word and a scared momma!

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The morning was amazing.  I definitely felt the Lord speaking through me and it was exciting to see so many people experience His word in a new way.  My emphasis is always on the meditation process on the scripture.  I think that is pretty new for people.  It was and still is for me.  The pretty page at the end is just a bonus, you know what I mean? Spending so much time thinking and contemplating just one verse has brought me peace and stability.  I think about my page when I am done, I think about the next verse I feel the Lord leading me to, I think about how I may illustrate that one, I think about how the same words I have read for years may be speaking to me in a new way…The Living Word!

The Giveaways!

We had some great giveaways thanks to some very generous donors:

  • Oklahoma City Lifeway Christian Store donated a beautiful Journaling Bible. They also gave $10 off coupons to all who attended.
  • Ashlie’s Special Customers donated a super cute item from Thirty-One Gifts.
  • An anonymous donor donated a $15 gift card to purchase Bible Journaling supplies.
  • Creating a Great Day donated a fun stamper to date all the Bible Journaling pages.

The Giveaways! (4)

 

A HUGE thank you to all who made this possible.  Many were involved from shopping to helping set up the audio visual to donating the space where we had the workshop.

(This is Kristi writing this part – another HUGE “Thank You!” to McKenzie for putting on this workshop.  It was so well done and we all learned so much.  Thanks for combining your talent with faith and sharing it with others!)

Here are some pictures and words from a few friends who were at the workshop. Enjoy!

Bible Journaling Workshop Pages - 1

“I absolutely loved the Bible journaling workshop!  It had been a busy week and it was a wonderful way to relax and meditate on God’s word!  It’s new to me, but I look forward to making time to sit down, focus, and study on a verse and then journal it!  McKenzie is a wonderful Christian inspiration to so many women and especially now that she is encouraging us to really study God’s word in a new way by Bible journaling!  Loved her workshop and the Bible journaling idea she taught us all!” -Terra

Bible Journaling Workshop Pages - 2

“My most pleasant surprise was how the doodling, “sketching it out” time truly evolved into a picture of what I believe God would emphasize from the text for me personally at that time.  I started out with an attitude of ‘oh well, we’ll see how this goes’ and ended up encountering God’s heart the deeper I went in the exercise.” -Angela

Bible Journaling Workshop - 3

“Being in McKenzie’s Bible journaling class taught me another avenue to write the Word on my heart!  Focusing on scripture, feeling it, and highlighting it was powerful to me!  I love the depth of the class.  McKenzie has a gift that she chooses to give to God!” -Leslie

Bible Journaling Workshop Pages - 4

I pray that if you feel pulled to this type of worship that you will lean into what God is trying to show you.  God is the creator, and therefore He is creative!  We are made in His image and so we too are creative!

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Bible Journaling Workshop!

Bible Journaling Workshop!

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
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Mark your calendars! We are so excited to announce our first live event – a Bible Journaling Workshop!

When:

October 24, 2015

Time:

9:30am – 12:00pm Central Standard Time

Where (Two Options):

Option 1

New Hope church of Christ

700 NW 2nd St

Edmond, OK  73003
Cost:  $20 (includes a bag of artsy supplies to get you started! We are getting the supplies at a discounted rate so you will really get some bang for your buck. Bring your own Bible.)

Option 2

Your own Living Room via Periscope @Create_GreatDay

Gather some of your friends and join us from wherever you are!

Cost:  Free, you will need to purchase your own supplies. We will share a supply list closer to the event date.

I Can Do All Things - TheLetteredLightA sample of McKenzie’s work.

Our very own McKenzie will be instructing us on how to get started Bible Journaling.

So if you have been inspired by her Bible Journaling Posts, then you will love how she will walk us through step by step the process of connecting with God’s Word on a different level, which is really what Bible Journaling is all about.

Sure, there is some creativity involved but she will show you some of the tips and tricks and best of all you will walk away with an appreciation that anyone can Bible Journal.  It’s not just for the artistically inclined!

Space is limited so register today!

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Registration via this link is now closed.  However, if you still want to come, please contact us at [email protected]

Who will you bring to the event?

Writing Your Heart on the Word

Writing Your Heart on the Word

Hello all!I am an Oklahoma girl, through and through!I was born here and after 5 years in Texas for college, I missed Oklahoma too much and just had to come back home with my Oklahoma husband to raise our Oklahoma babies! I met my husband in high school and fell we in love in college.We have 2 beautiful kids that are full of life and make me such a proud momma.I love to craft, journal, paint furniture, and decorate our Edmond home!See some of my creations at The Lettered Light www.etsy.com/shop/theletteredlight and IG:theletteredlight
McKenzie R
Latest posts by McKenzie R (see all)

Write the Word on your heart

by writing your heart on the Word

I am a visual learner through and through. I have to write things down.  I have to look at my lists constantly to remember things. I love maps and knowing where things are. I love stationary with lines for my lists. I actually have lists of lists. Yeah, I’m one of those, ha! When I was in Bible class as a child, I was always so confused as to why the map of where things happened in the Bible had different names than those same places today. A visual learner’s nightmare!

Used with the permission of Illustrated Faith.

Used with the permission of Illustrated Faith.

I recently discovered Bible journaling through IllustratedFaith.com and my whole spiritual experience has been forever changed. Until now, my visual and creative side had no part of my experience with the Word. And where would it? The bible is a book I could visually read, of course. Or as some people do, I could listen to the spoken word, but its too easy for me to tune that out. I could watch movie reenactments of the stories, but even then my mind wonders to the process of creating such a film and not the actual point and message.

thelordismystrength

{this is one of my favorite pages, I love the simplicity. This page was created with ink pen and colored pencils}

My mind was BLOWN upon discovering how some people have begun to put their creative juices literally ON the pages of their Bible! Draw creatively in the Bible? Use paints ON the Bible??   Stamps? Stickers? Ribbons? Tape? Markers? A simple search of the hashtag, #illustratedfaith on Instagram helped me to understand that this was a world worth getting on board. A world where my work is perfect because I created it, and I created it for a reason that speaks to me!

inthemargins

{this is a simple example of bible journaling in a bible with regular margins, this page was created with washi tape, watercolor, stickers, and ink pen}

The process of illustrating my faith onto the pages of my Bible “had me at hello!” I began simple, with just pulling out a key phrase here or there that spoke to me that day.  Sometimes, just writing it larger in the margins, similar to the way some magazine articles are designed. A call out of a specific text. As I dug deeper and continued to be inspired by others, I became more brave and confident to claim my bible in a new way!

sendme

I traced my precious son’s hand for this page! This page was created with watercolor paints and ink pen.

I am so excited to get to share this new way to experience the Word! I really feel that I am experiencing the text in a new way. I think about how I had drawn the verse that spoke to me yesterday, and I think about what verse I want to illustrate next. It can be a form of meditation, to stir on the words in a way that may be new to me!  I have a sketchbook full of ideas that I play with before I put anything on my Bible pages. Some verses have several pages of thoughts and ideas.

When is the last time you can say you used pages and pages of a notebook focusing on one verse?

When I started bible journaling, my answer was NEVER!

“Imprint these words of mine on your hearts and minds” Deuteronomy 11:18  

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