God has blessed us with a great big world, and I try to go see it whenever I can!Admittedly, I have an unusual life where I get to teach what I love 8-9 months out of the year and then go travel and serve the Kingdom in my other home the rest of the time:Edmond, Oklahoma and Vienna, Austria. A lot of what I write revolves around what God teaches me through those experiences and I invite you to "travel" with me in those times! Basically, I want to be Rick Steves (the travel writer) and Lysa TerKeurst (Proverbs 31 Ministries) when I grow up! :)
I have a bunch of college "kids" I call my own, 2 dogs named Abby and McGee (yes, I love NCIS) andI get to be "the cool aunt" to 2 beautiful nieces and 3 handsome nephews.They make great play dates!
Given the opportunity, I want to encourage people when I can and remind them of the power of God in their life...or help them find Him in different ways.Fair warning:I'll ask you the tough questions!I treasure deep relationships - especially ones that will allow for "iron sharpening iron."
I love being outside, and I'm a huge fan of turning off the phone whenever possible to soak up God's creation! Actually, I'm a huge fan of turning off the phone in general...as the phrase goes: "Wherever you are, be all there", and if you are where I am, then I'm going to be all there!
I'm flawed, but saved by grace and learning daily to be loved by God.I'm thankful for the times he lets me wrestle with him because he knows my heart of hearts, and I'm ok with my hip being messed up (Genesis 32: 24-26) because growth comes from it.I encourage you to join me in the journey!
Maybe you don’t struggle with this, but I do. Not intentionally, but I struggle with choosing my own kingdom over God’s. I don’t always cling to the part in the Lord’s Prayer that says, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done…”, but I’m learning. By His beautiful grace, I’m learning.
We all have our own version of a kingdom: our jobs, homes, families, spending habits, technology that consumes our lives, our hearts and how we treat people. Oh, how the list goes on. Because we have our own kingdoms, sometimes those collide into other peoples’…not because we do or don’t want them to, but because it’s life and it’s just part of the journey. When that collision happens though, we have a choice. My kingdom or His? My will or His?
In a great book I’ve been reading lately called It’s Not What You Think, by Jefferson Bethke, he defines kingdom this way:
“For there to be a kingdom, there must be a king, kingdom citizens, and a governing structure or way of life. A lot of us have the first two, not realizing the last one comes with it. We take Jesus as our savior, we become citizens of his kingdom, but we fail to realize that for that to be true, our lives now have to come under his reign.”
Too many times, I’m still king of my own kingdom.
I run things how I want to. It’s out of habit–but I’m not proud of that.
You know that old song by Joni Mitchell called “Big Yellow Taxi,” with the lyrics that say: “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone…They paved paradise and put up a parking lot”? About this time last year, I was in the process of making one of the biggest mistakes of my life, and at the time, I didn’t even realize it.
My life had been colliding with someone else’s but I was choosing my own kingdom instead of learning and embracing the joys of theirs, even when I thought I had. Only after I had “put up a parking lot” did I realize the subtle ways Satan creeps in and convinces you that your kingdom walls are strong and safe the way they are. You don’t need the trouble or hassle of cutting out a door or a window from your heart–I mean, wall–of stone to experience the incredible joy that comes from a beautiful view of something beyond yourself. After the other kingdom left, as Bethke says,
“It didn’t take long to realize just how selfish I was, just how hurtful I could be with comments, and just how unfocused I could be as a leader and servant.”
And his next comment, I confess, I know to be true:
“It’s only when we clash with another kingdom, or a new way of life, that we realize how poor the one [my kingdom] before truly was.”
And I have to live with that, probably for the rest of my life. Oh, to be able to rewind the clock.
How Different Kingdoms Can be Beautiful
The wedding I was a part of in Vienna a few months ago was a precious reminder of how beautiful different kingdoms coming together can truly be. The bride from Africa, the groom from Austria–and even his parents are American and Austrian. As I read over the guest list, my heart rejoiced with how beautiful the differences coming together in one room would be. There were people from Austria, Hungry, Africa, New Zealand, Romania, America, Asia, Germany, France, Switzerland…the list was long. Different kingdoms collided. But through the love of Christ and the Holy Spirit welcomed into that place, it wasn’t about our individual kingdoms. It was about the Kingdom of God.
Colliding into the Kingdom of God is beautiful. The door and window He cuts out provide a breathtaking view of who He is and who he created us to be–together, one, and whole. Chiseling out room in your heart for other kingdoms to collide with your own is a God-honoring expression of love. It honors the Creator, it honors His Kingdom…it allows room for His will to be done.
God, by your grace, thank you for tearing down my kingdoms.
Thank you for teaching me that the windows you carve into my heart are so I can see you more clearly–so I can see others more clearly! Let your kingdom come, let your will be done!!
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.
One of the things I love most is finding ways to help explain concepts to our children that even we adults can have a difficult time grasping. I’ve mentioned before that Family Time Training’s lessons are such a resource to our family and this month’s free activity is no exception. It’s all about what the kingdom of God is like–a mustard seed!
Again [Jesus] said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it?It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth.Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”
So here is why I love using Family Time Training’s lessons so much: They use interactive visuals to get the point across and they script the whole lesson out! Sometimes, I’m rocking the analogies with my kids but other times, when pregnancy brain kicks in, I have a difficult time making a coherent sentence. Being able to read the bolded words and follow the script is helpful! (Of course, you can always ad lib if you want.)
This activity is good for all ages because it gets all the kids involved, and honestly, it even made my husband and I think about this parable in a different way, a way that made every day practical sense. Isn’t that what we need to be able to live out Biblical truths–practical applications?
Family Time Training “Mustard Seed: Kingdom of God” Printout (Print it out now! It’s only available for free this month – Feb. 2017. If you missed it for free, no worries. They have a great activity available every month AND the option to have a monthly membership which gives you access to all their activities! Go ahead and click on the link to see their current activity.)
A large glass or clear container like a mason jar or vase.
Dark food coloring
1 cup measuring cup
mustard seeds or picture of a mustard seed
picture of a mustard seed tree
I mentioned even my husband and I learned to look at Jesus’ parable about the kingdom of God in a different way when we did this bible study and hands-on activity. We started this study by describing what earthy kingdoms are typically like then compared that to what the Bible has to say. One of the kids read the corresponding verse. Then we handed out mustard seeds to everyone so they could see how small they are. Next we moved on to the activity, which includes some math. But don’t worry, even the little ones can participate in it!
We began by filling a dropper and counting how many drops it takes to fill up a tablespoon.
What’s your guess?
It took us around 300 drops of water to fill this tablespoon! That was way more than we imagined! Now, just imagine how many thousands are in an eight-cup jar! No, we did not use the dropper to fill the big glass jar. Oh my, that would have taken forever. Thankfully, in the script they point out how many tablespoons it takes to make a cup. The script recommends that you allow your older kids (or parents) to calculate about how many drops are in the big glass jar based on how many cups you put in the jar.
It took us around 300 drops of water to fill this tablespoon! Now just imagine how many thousands are in an eight-cup jar!
From this point, we watched how just a handful of drops of food coloring can make an enormous impact on those thousands of water droplets. At the end of the lesson, we showed them how big a mustard tree grows and how it is able to protect many animals. Once again it reiterated the point that God can use small acts for big purposes!
We started talking about how God makes small things big and weak things strong! This is actually one of my favorite points in the entire Bible. We all want to be super heroes in some way. Yet we need to realize that even our smallest actions done for the glory of God can have a huge impact! It doesn’t matter that we are just one humble, unfamous person. God can use anyone if they are seeking His will! It doesn’t matter that we might not be a king or queen, we are the children of the King! He uses the weak to do powerful things!
So what small act can you do today that God may use in a big way? Maybe it’s simply doing a fun Bible activity with your kids! Or maybe it’s passing this activity onto another family. Perhaps it’s passing on a smile or praying over someone. Don’t underestimate what God can use to impact generations!
Check out some of the other Family Time Training Activities we have done and be sure to follow their Facebook page to get future activities!
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