Author: SIVILS and GOLD

The Prodigal Son and the Good Shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. Psalm 23:1

Shortly before my youngest son’s third birthday, he snuck out of the house one night.  I had left to run an errand.  Connor was playing quietly in his bedroom with his siblings and my husband was in the back of the house.  Several minutes pa76994_450758891510_579391510_5872822_2935834_nst before the older kids informed their dad that Connor was nowhere to be found.

Frantically they searched each and every room and nook and cranny in the house.  Connor had disappeared.  As they darted outside to see if he had indeed wondered from within the safety of our four walls, they were greeted by a kind police officer, Connor, and our faithful dog, Scarlet. Before leaving the house, Connor had let Scarlet out of her crate so that she could join him on his grand adventure.

The officer told my husband that he had found the pair about a block from home.  As he approached Connor to assist him, Scarlet began circling Connor not allowing the officer to come any closer.  The police officer asked Connor if he could take him home, and Connor walked back to our yard with Scarlet at his side and the officer close behind them.

Usually when Scarlet was allowed to roam free outside of a fenced enclosure, she was “gone with the wind”.  Her instincts carried her as she glided as though she were flying.  She was always soon to return, but first, she always ran to her heart’s delight.  Not this time though.  One of her pack was in danger.  She set her sights on safely guarding him and guiding him back home again.  She stayed in step with him preventing him from becoming lost or stolen.

Matthew 18 tells a similar story –  “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.”

Are you the one that has wandered away and maybe even lost your way?  Jesus came to find you.  He is just a prayer away. When you ask Him, He will happily lead you 19984_10152593581416511_1696330286524250901_nback. Jesus came so that you wouldn’t be lost forever.  Luke 19:10 says, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”   And 2 Peter 3:9 tells us, “The Lord isnot slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”  Won’t you come to Him?

Have a blessed week, y’all!

The Hand That Rocks the Cradle

 

Hey y’all… how’s your mama and ‘em?

When I was young, I felt like God had a special call on my life.  I dreamed of joining the ranks of  missionaries such as Elisabeth Elliot, Amy Carmichael, Lottie Moon, or Gladys Aylward who literally changed the world for God’s glory.  After an overseas mission trip to Venezuela at the age of sixteen, I realized that full time, foreign missions was not where God was calling me.  I struggled for several years wondering how He would (or even could) use me.

By the time my fourth child was born, I gave up most hopes of serving God in a role that seemed of any importance.  I was too busy chasing babies and changing diapers to chase dreams and change the world.  One day I was in the middle of cleaning up yet another mess and feeling quite sorry for myself, when the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, “These kids are not keeping you from your calling.  They are your calling.”  And it hit me… 19964901_10154441737321511_870556589_nraising four kids that are totally committed and sold out to Christ can potentially have four times the impact on God’s Kingdom than I could have ever had alone.  Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says, “And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.”  Raising my children to fear and love the Lord was my calling.  I was right where God wanted me to be.

Elisabeth Elliot once said, “If you are a mother, you don’t need to worry about looking elsewhere for service to God. Motherhood is your service.”  God is not limited by what He can accomplish through us because of our current station in life.  If we are living in the will of God, it is He who has placed us where we are at any given time for His glory and His purpose.  We don’t have to leave home to serve God or others.  Sometimes a smile at a passing neighbor, a phone call to an old friend, or a whispered prayer for someone in need can have as big of an impact on a life as those who are hearing the Word for the first time.

This week my three oldest children have joined with fifteen others from Bude First Baptist Church to be the hands and feet of God in Arlington, Texas.  Even though I am not there with them physically, I am with them in spirit.  The good works that they are now doing didn’t start with the invitation to participate in this mission trip, but in our home during the quiet moments of learning together what it is to live a life in obedience to Christ.    19970606_10154441742851511_1946792139_n

I cannot wait for them to get home and share the stories of how God changed lives through their faithfulness this week, but I especially can’t wait to see the change that has taken place in each of them.

Have a blessed week, y’all!

Not All There

Hey y’all… how’s your mama and ‘em?

Because of advances in technology, we have become (and have raised) a generation that is too easily distracted.  We can’t have dinner with friends or family without checking text messages.  We can’t sit through a movie without also browsing Facebook (lest our fourth cousin twice removed that we haven’t seen in twenty years posts pictures of a meal that we might miss).  Even students cannot sit through a class without playing with something as goofy as a fidget spinner.  Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with texting people or being on Facebook (fidget spinners, though…?), but when it takes us away from paying full attention to wGet a Life
hat lies before us, it can become a problem.  We can become so addicted to distractions that in the midst of everyday life, we forget to truly live.

Christian missionary and martyr, Jim Elliot said, “Wherever you are, be all there.”  Solomon says it in Ecclesiastes like this, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.”  In each moment, we need to be in the moment.  The culmination of how we spend our time becomes the realization of how we will have lived our lives.  I don’t know about you, but I hope to one day stand before God and hear the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant,” not, “Well, how long did you manage to get that fidget spinner to spin?”  

In John 10:10 Jesus said, “The enemy comes only to steal, kill, and to destroy.  I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  Distractions become a tactic of the enemy to steal your time and destroy your future.  By distracting us with often times meaningless tasks, the devil prevents us from the purpose for which we were created which is to worship God and spread the gospel.  Acts 20:24 says, “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”  Living the abundant life that Christ came to give us is a life spent in service to others and a life spent bearing witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jim Elliot knew what it really meant to live life as he stated, “to be all there”.  He was murdered in the jungles of Ecuador where he’d gone to share the good news.  His widow and their infant daughter returned to the tribe that had killed him shortly after his death.  Upon seeing her resolve, the tribe understood the message she was bringing to them was one of importance.  Because of Jim’s life and death and Elisabeth’s faithfulness to God’s call, many of the tribe accepted Jesus as their Savior.  Jim Elliot also said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”  

Are you living a life filled with distractions? It happens to the best of us. The secret is to find a balance instead of becoming so caught up in the little things that you forget to really live.

Have a blessed week, y’all.

All of It

On the rare occasion that our family sits down at the kitchen table to eat together, we take turns discussing the details of our day.  Everyone is asked what their favorite part of the day has been.  Answers vary from meal to meal for most of us.  One child will reply, “This is.”  Another will say, “When I finished school.”  I’ve been guilty of answering, “When y’all finished your chores without being threatened.”  But one answer is always the same.  My youngest son always answers, “All of it!

Even though it has become the expected response, I can’t help but smile each time Connor makes his declaration.  It doesn’t matter how many times he’s been scolded or how many times his older siblings stole his turn on a gaming system.  It doesn’t matter how many times he has fallen and scraped up his knees or been unhappy that we’re having beans and rice for supper again.  Though he may have complained more than once about said things, he has found true joy in life.  Through the good and the bad.  Through the misery he brings on himself and that others heap upon him.  He has found that true joy is only found in “all of it”.

You can’t pick apart only the best moments of life and choose that those are the ones that make you happy.  You will spend your whole life miserable.  Happy and special moments are few and far between and most of our life is spent in the mundane tasks that make up our daily lives.

I love this quote by Kay Warren:

“Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life; the quiet confidence that ultimately everything will be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in all things.”                            

In all that happens in your life today, be encouraged and choose joy!

Image