Necessity for the Summer Reading List!

TUESDAY

-Thankful Thoughts-

For this week’s “Thankful Thought” I am INCREDIBLY thankful for The Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers.  Comprised of three books, A Voice in the Wind, An Echo in the Darkness, and As Sure as the Dawn tell the story of inspirational characters, male and female alike.  If you haven’t read these books, I certainly encourage you to do so!  Through reading them, I gained a totally different appreciation to the historical setting of the Bible.  After finishing the third book on Sunday, I marveled again at the wonderful way in which God revealed Himself through printed ink on a page.  He truly is an incredible God and all glory be to Him!

I hope that you’ll add this series to your summer reading list!

Praying your day is filled with SONshine,

Sarah 🙂

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VBS 2012 and what I learned while waiting

Time truly flies when you’re having fun, and this week was no different.  This past week at Vacation Bible School seemed to fly right by, but at least I have some pictures to remind me of all the fun we had!
One of the rotations at VBS this year was “Missions.”  In this rotation time the kids that were 5 years old and up learned about the country of Honduras and the church’s missions project there.  I even was able to put my Bachelor’s in Spanish to work by teaching the kids some Spanish!  We learned the parts of the body to play “Simón dice” for “Simon says.”  We even learned how to sing “Jesus Loves Me” in Spanish and much more.  With the older kids, I stretched them even further, challenging them to memorize a Bible verse in Spanish–Luke 19:10–“Porque el Hijo del Hombre vino a buscar y a salvar lo que se había perdido”  (“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost”).
It was such a blessing to see the fascination for another language take root within those children, and it was just as much of a blessing to realize how natural I felt while teaching them.  Through the encouragement of other school teachers there, God confirmed that He had given me a passion for Spanish with a purpose.  I’m so thankful to know what step to take next: to pursue becoming a teacher! 🙂
Daily, it humbles me to realize how faithful God is.  So often as humans, it’s easy to lose faith when we feel like God is not with us or doesn’t hear us.  In reality though, God can always hear His children, but unconfessed sin certainly builds to stand as a barrier between us and Him.  Whenever we feel as though He’s not listening or not intervening in our lives, rather than believing that He doesn’t exist (and falling even deeper into sin), we should (1) confess our sins with godly grief–2 Corinthians 7:10 (2) repent by God’s grace and strength alone, and–if it still seems that God is distant–(3) realize that sometimes God delays.
I’ll be writing about this topic more in the days to come, but until then I pray that if you, too, are in a time of waiting, seek the Lord and remember that He is faithful!  The safest place to be is resting in His hands, so trust Him!  Keep the faith! (2 Timothy 4:7).  Wait patiently and pray that God will glorify Himself through your situation.  You never know how He will reveal Himself, so pray to have open eyes, ears, hearts, and minds to discern for His Voice and Presence in whatever comes your way.
Thanks for reading, and I’ll write back soon!
Praying your day is filled with Sonshine,
Sarah 🙂

The River of Peace to Your Soul

There’s something peaceful about the summer rain falling now in Starkville, Mississippi.  Right now I’m sitting at my makeshift kitchen table and chairs–a small coffee table and pillows on the floor–and there’s a peace that fills my soul.  Maybe it’s the sound of the rain falling or maybe it’s the way the wind blows into my apartment, stirring the aroma of candles in the air.  Then again, maybe this sense of peace comes from a source much stronger than a summer rain and more lasting that a flickering candle…

I think of these words from “It Is Well with My Soul” by Horatio Spafford…

“When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

Oh if I only I could remember these words every day, every hour and even every minute!  For the song continues on…

“Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

***

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.  

In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart, I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33–

***

Remember– no matter what today yet holds or tomorrow will bring, the Lord God is great and mighty!  He is the firm rock and foundation that–even in the greatest storms of life–will provide times of refreshing in a river of peace to your soul.  Seek Him, dear reader, and know that the ultimate victory is found only through Him.

Praying your day is filled with SONshine,

Sarah 🙂

The responsibility of devotion

“Oh, let us prove our gratitude by our devotion, and live as those who, having claimed a privilege, are willing to take the responsibility connected with it.” Charles Spurgeon

This quote was the very last line in my nighttime devotional yesterday, and even as I get ready to read tonight’s, those words still hang heavy in my mind. There was something about the wording of that sentence that made me stop and reread it over and over… And over again. Now after a very hectic night at the restaurant, I sit at my kitchen table and, once again, read that quote. But now I have a newfound appreciation!

After becoming a believer in Christ and receiving the Holy Spirit, we truly claim a privilege. After all, the Holy Spirit comes to DWELL inside those that believe. That’s incredible and certainly is a reason to demonstrate our gratitude through the way that we live devoted to God! What’s the exchange though? We submit to Him and live as His hands and feet. We share His smile and words of welcome to others, even those that human judgement may consider undeserving. We become the tangible evidence of the love that God has for His children, and that’s an incredible opportunity AND responsibility.

Tonight I hope that you’ll think about that quote by Spurgeon and think of how it relates to you. Maybe even leave a comment with your thoughts!

Thanks so much for reading!
Praying that even your night is filled with SONshine,
Sarah 🙂

Thankful for His hands

-Thankful Thoughts-

Today I am thankful for God’s healing hands!  Three weeks ago, my grandfather had a bleeding stroke and was rushed to the hospital in Memphis.  Praise be to God, though, that he is making a wonderful recovery in the rehab unit at Baptist Hospital in Nashville!

While navigating through the many hallways of the hospital, I reached the elevators with ease.  Stepping inside and pushing the button for floor 6, I stepped inside of an old memory, as well.  Who would have ever thought my family and I would be back there again this summer just like last summer?  But I pushed the button and closed my eyes, remembering the days I spent visiting my grandmother in the very same rehab unit.  I remembered watching her therapy sessions, learning how to feed her with the PEG tube, and spending the night in the hospital with her.  Going back to that place made the wound of grief fresh again, but it also made the taste of His grace and strength even sweeter.

 “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”

-Bill Keane-

Although we can do our best to be prepared, we can never truly anticipate what each day holds.  So seek the Father!  Go to Him and rely on His strength alone!  Acknowledge that He is everything that you need and more.  His grace is more than sufficient, and He loves you dearly!

“The steps of man are established by the Lord,

when he delights in his way;

though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,

for the Lord upholds his hand.”

-Psalm 37:23-24-

So today I am thankful for His healing hands, but I am also thankful for these very same hands which also sustain and uphold His children.  Praise the Lord!  Let’s be thankful for His hands 🙂

Praying your day is filled with SONshine,

Sarah 🙂