Thursday, October 25, 2012

Living in the Now.

Last Devo b-4 30: Life Rule to Live by: LIVE IN THE NOW.

Don't live in the past, dragging junk along with you, or in the future always anxious about tomorrow. Rather, enjoy today; where you are at today.

I've been thinking about this for a few days now, but had it confirmed tonight at church. The pastor put it much more eloquently, but my thought process began with a pair of shoes. There are so many sayings about shoes. I think of "Forest Gump," who said "moma said these are my special shoes. They'll take me anywhere." It all started when I bought a pair of winter boots. I kept singing, "put on your boots..." the U2 song." Then, that made me think of the song that says "(when you get to heaven gonna) put on your crown and dance around." Someone played that song for a devotional once. It was fun to pass around the crown and dance. But, what are we waiting for? Why wait till heaven? We can have a blessed and full life now.
We should put on our boots now, and go live our lives. We can live in the moment; not in the past and not in the future, but now.

Friday, October 19, 2012

God's Will for My Life

What's God's will for my life? Is this a question you've ever asked yourself?

If so, then you are in good company. I must have wrestled with this question from the time I was 18 until somewhere in my mid twenties. When I say wrestled, I mean tears flowing, sobbing, begging God to show me. Then one day it struck me (probably through some sound wisdom from a God-sent preacher). God's will is written in His word, the Bible. He did show us his way.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind and with all your strength and love others like you love yourself. Those are the two and greatest commandments. That's what your life is to "hing" on. Build your life on the rock, Jesus Christ, and He will keep you in all your ways. This is not free reign to go around sinning, it's freedom to be free in Christ.

Matthew 7:24: Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:

Luke 10:27: So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”

Psalm 91:11 For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways.

Galations 5:13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Before your hired, every employer wants to know what your ability to prioritize is like. What if you have a list of one hundred things you need to do? Which one comes first. Every day, we have the pleasure of choosing what it is we want to do. Granted most of the things on our list are things we've made a commitment to do, like work.

How do you begin prioritizing in your personal life? Ask yourself what is most important to you? Then look at your list of all that you are doing. Does what your involved in and spending your energy on match your top priorities? From there you can weed out time killers. You can have a rich family life, deep friendships and work. God is so good to us. We are made in His image. Remember when your feeling weighted down, that He made the world in just 7 days. If your made in His image, imagine what your capable of. All of his commandments were summed up into this one:Love God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.

My Priorities through 30 and Beyond
1. Working not to please others but to please God. Putting God first in this way and in loving Him.
2. Loving my family (serving them without complaining, but out of love and to find joy in it).
3. Cultivate deep friendships (no more flighty 20s: hello solid momma).
P.S.: Dear Rhonda, please remember not to be so hard on your self; give yourself a break too!

My Priorities for the past several years
2. Family
3. Work

A PICK ME UP SONG from the Disney Movie "Jungle Book." The Bear (bare) Necessities.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

3 Things I feel Strongly About

1. Faith in Jesus Christ being the only way into heaven.
2. Marriage: without divorce
3. Don't Lie

Now, surly there are more things than just these 3 that I feel strongly about. Usually my passion flares up in a middle of a conversation, but for times sake I will stick to only discussing these three things. And mostly I want to talk about marriage.

Marriage, I believe is a sanctified union between man and woman, and blessed by God. Blessed so much so that the Bible says: what God has joined together let man not separate (Matthew 19:16). When I read this verse, I take man to mean "me" or my "husband;" not just some outside 3rd party. If is was only speaking of a 3rd party, it'd be to easy to place blame on someone else for your failed marriage, divorce and carry on. But what kind of carrying on is there after divorce. It's a lot of heartache for everyone involved (especially children). That and a piece of you will always live with another person. Do you know a single mother? There is too much work raising a family to put all that stress on just one person. My sister is my hero, because she has raised 3 kids on her own while working and/or going to school. I've watched my parents go through divorce and my sister. It's messy. So let's avoid it people. No one likes to clean up messes anyhow. 

When you get married, agree to leave the word "divorce" out of your vocabulary. Never say it in your house; never say it to each other. Make it your goal to be married 50 years, and if you live longer then make it 60. My grandparents are my other heros because they've been married for more than 60 years!

(If your reading this and you've already been through a divorce, know that I'm not judging you but sounding a wake up call for all married couples or soon to be married couples. God is gracious, forgiving, and loving. There's nothing that He can not do.)

Married for Life :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Consider Job

What is "pain?" French bread.
What's fatigue? Army clothes.

That familiar chant is not only in the movie Remember the Titans, but is also a real army chant used in boot camp.

Do you ever feel like God is on your back? Have you been unsure if He is on your side or against you? Maybe you picture God as a commanding officer, uncaring, not concerned with your hurts. If this is you, I urge you to consider the following:

REMEMBER Job. He lost everything; his family, friends and all of his worldly possessions.
REMEMBER Job's final outcome. He had twice as much as what the devil took away.
REMEMBER we have an enemy. "Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." It's not God being mean to you, it's the results of living in a fallen world.
REMEMBER Jesus. He sympathizes with our weaknesses; he went through all these things too. God loved you so much that He gave you His son Jesus, that whoever believes in Him wouldn't die but would have eternal life.
And finally
REMEMBER that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Phil. 4:13).

In the face of temptation, of battles, or sadness; stay strong in faith, remember God's love. Job spoke rightly of God, and the Lord restored him. God is just, and loves you just more than we will ever comprehend.

Scripture References:
Job 42:10 & 12 And the Lord restored Job’s losses[f] when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning...

1 Peter 5:8
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lionlooking for someone to devour. 

Hebrews 4:15
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Ephesians 3:17...that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Good Man: Devo.

The Good Man

'Jesus once told the story of an injured man. Three people saw the man. The first two people did not stop. The third person got off his donkey and helped the man. "Be like the good man. Always treat other people the way you would like to be treated," Jesus told his followers.'

This story is humbly taken from Lexi's children's Bible. I like the simplicity of the story. It has a clear commandment from the good Samaritan (good man) story; "be like the good man; treat others the way you want to be treated." In my house we called this the golden rule. I knew it like this "do onto others as you would have them do unto you." And many times when my sisters and I would argue, my parents told us to remember the golden rule.

Lord, please help us remember that you love everyone; you created all humans in your image and likeness. Help us to love others like we love ourselves; to treat others kindly and to help them in times of need. Thank you Lord for sending Jesus to help us in our time of need. That we are no longer separated from you, but we have access to you through Jesus.

Ephesians 3: 11-12: This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,  in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Devo. Count Down: The secret to Life

The Secret to Life

Yep I know it already at just a mere 29 years old. I learned it from a birthday card. I love reading cards, making cards, giving and receiving cards. Here it is, ready, hold your breath. The secret to life is: "Breath IN, Breath OUT, and REPEAT."

Not to serious tonight. A well balanced life is a good life! Humor is good. God is good.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Why all the Devo's before turning 30???


Sometime last winter I started a bucket list of all the things I wanted to do before I turned thirty. Why? Because, to me 30 is a big deal. I need to finish everything I want to in my 20's, because I'll never be twenty-nine again. Even if I say I'm 29 and holding, we all know it's not true. Unfortunately I didn't get very far with my list before I started to say, "but I've already done that."

Not bragging, just saying: I am very blessed to already have such a full life, and have been on so many adventures. I just couldn't think of 30 new (FREE) things to do before I turned 30. For example, I'm already married, have my first child, went skydiving, para-sailing,  white water rafting, seen a volcano, hiked in a rainforest, been to several other countries, finished all the school I care to attend, and have had enough ME focused adventures for awhile :)   I have to admit, that I've even cheated on this list, many of the things I already did during the year before I created the list (like serve at a soup kitchen).

So I turned it into a 30 ways to bless others list instead. One of the items on that list is to write devos. (I think I said 30 before 30, buttttt I'm already behind. So, I'll give myself grace if you'll give me grace and not count the number of devos.)

If you want to see the entire list, you can CLICK HERE. Perhaps you'd like to start your own list for the next month and do one thing a day to bless someone else. Or a list for the entire year and just do one thing to bless someone each month. Random acts of kindness can mean so much!

20 Days till 30: Devo. Pray without Ceasing

Pray. How much? Without ceasing.

I imagine this as a conversation. We are telling our friend about a problem. Their solution is that we should pray. Then we want to know the cost, exactly how much do we have to pray, is it going to be hard, can I fit it into my packed schedule.  I come from a background of grace, meaning I know that it is by GRACE that I am saved. I believe and love a God who is full of mercy and GRACE. I should give myself MORE GRACE in this area of praying without ceasing. I generally say a prayer whenever something comes to mind that is disturbing, or that causes concern. When I pray, I unburden my heart. When your heart is unburdened, then it is easier to rejoice and give thanks. The passage from 1 Thessalonians mentions three things that are God's will for us:1.) rejoice always, 2.) pray continually, and 3.) give thanks in all circumstances.

When we pray, it lowers anxiety. When we are less anxious, we are healthier and happier. Thinking about yourself too much, or having pity parties only leads to depression. So, when we pray, be sure to pray for others (not just yourself), include thanksgiving (again focusing on God's goodness and not your own circumstances), and then rejoice because you know you have what you asked for in PRAYER! And have a great day.

1Thess. 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Phillipians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Matthew 21:22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.

Friday, September 7, 2012

This marks the end of day four after our arrival here in Moscow, Russia!  My boss and his wife from ISpeak have been exceptionally kind in helping us get on our feet here.  They even had a kitchen full of groceries waiting for us when we arrived.  When we laid eyes our apartment for the first time I was very pleased.  It's small, but clean and came furnished.  It even has a washing machine- which means we don't have to wash clothes in the sink (which I was originally expecting to have to do.)  Lexi is just happy being with mommy and daddy and is beside herself crawling around everywhere on the wood floors.  It's already cold here.  I haven't gone anywhere outside without my fleece on and apparently every Russian child that draws breath MUST wear a hat at all times.  I'm sure the babushkas think we're bad parents having Lexi's strawberry-blonde locks blowing freely in the breeze.  We spent a full day at IKEA picking up things for the apartment that were lacking.  We managed to score a pretty nice bed for a good price and Lexi got a new toy to keep her occupied.  Oh, and we got threatened by a trolley-bus driver while sitting in traffic.  Apparently we didn't move our car fast enough out of his way or something.

I won't actually start teaching until the 17th because the office has been terribly behind with most of the staff having been gone over the summer.  However, we're having a meet and greet tomorrow on Saturday so I will hopefully be able to meet some of my future students  then.  Exciting times!



Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Our Story Devo. style:

In case you missed it, here's our story. My family and I are moving to Russia to live as missionaries for the next season of life.

Matthew 28:16-20, known as the great commission, was preached often when I was in college. It seems like I heard it at least once a week. The scene opens with eleven disciples hanging out on the mountain, after Jesus’ death. They are waiting for Him to get there, because He said He’d meet them on that mountain. I imagine, like any employee today, one of them asking “is this where the meeting is scheduled? Are you sure?”

Even after seeing him resurrected, some still doubted. Sometimes, I’m that doubter. Do you know that Jesus said the same thing to the doubters as he did to those who were firm in faith? The scripture reads: “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’”

These were Jesus’ disciples, and now He is telling them to go make disciples. In the book of Acts and other New Testament books you read a lot about Jesus’ disciples making disciples!
"It is an incredible feat that because 12 men obeyed, you and I are Christians. Imagine that!"

My husband and I were at a crossroads in life in 2010, when I found out the ministry I was working for would be relocating to California. We prayed and sought the Lord for about a month about whether we were to follow the ministry to California. The answer was “no.” So, we simply asked God, “what next?”

In 2011, we embarked on a two week misson trip to Russia, and as soon as we hit America we felt the Lord calling us back to Russia. Now we, Christians, know satisfaction doesn’t come from the American Dream, but from obeying God’s calling on your life. The pursuit of happiness is not a scripture verse, lest we forget. I laugh now, having to remind myself of this, and how much God loves humor (he did create it). But, recall that the greatest commandment is to love Him, and the second greatest is to love others like you love yourself (Matt. 22:37-39).

In 2012, my family and I are answering the call of God on our lives and committing ourselves to the great commission. We have rented out our home, sold some furniture, stored other items and will take 3 suitcases, a pack-n-play, and our 8 month old to Russia. First, we will complete a month of missions and TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) training with Maybe we’ll see you in Moscow!

Following Jesus,

Update 8-21-12

Training is finally over!  I was beginning to wonder if it would every end!  TeachOverseas had our time scheduled from sunrise to sunset and between TEFL courses and culture training sessions our days were kept full.  It was encouraging to meet so many other people who share the same desire in serving the world through teaching. I'm amazed at how our G-d was able to take complete strangers and quickly knit their hearts together in love.  On only the second day of training one of my teammates remarked ,"I can't believe it's only day TWO!  I feel like I've known you for years."

Lexi's crawling all over the place now.  Any free moment I have is spent prying something out of her hands that she's not supposed to have!  She can "somewhat" feed herself her snacks now, although I did witness her try to put a cracker in her ear.  I'm sure she'll figure it out eventually.

Rhonda and I are currently staying with a friend in Camarillo, CA until we depart for Russia on 9/3.  Oh, and I get to meet the Power Team today.  More on that later.  Maybe I can get their autograph on a ripped phone book or something?


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Week 1 of Training: July 28, 2012

Have you ever had a week that felt more like a month? That is what training is like. On our second day one of our teammates remarked, " I feel like I've already been here an entire week!" I whole-heartedly agree. Each day is crammed packed with new information and experiences. The schedule is as follows: 7AM: breakfast 8AM: Discovery/discussion group with everyone who is going to the former Soviet countries (CIS). 9AM-12PM: Classes for TEFL (Teaching English as a foreign language) 1:30-3:30: Cultural training 3:30-5:00: Lesson planning 6:30-9:30: Practicum and debriefing time I am learning so much. We're only given an hour and a half to prepare a lesson plan before being expected to teach it to a class that evening. I thank God for helping me grow as a teacher and for energy to get through each day. We are also praying for our friends and family to be energized and thanking God that they have the strength they need for each day! Love in Christ, Matthew

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Russia 2012

As many of you know Rhonda and I traveled to Russia last fall (2011). We have felt in our hearts for quite a while now that we were called to the mission field. Our intention for the last trip was to “spy out the land,” so we wouldn't jump into anything too soon and find ourselves in over our heads! While we were in Russia we fell in love with the country and it’s people. We were actually a little surprised at how well we “fit” into life there. We know it's a little bit crazy, but we can't resist this calling to Russia any longer.

After seeking the Lord in prayer, we felt led to join ourselves with the Christian organization TeachOverseas which specializes in sending Christians as ‘teachers’ to nations that are ‘closed’ to the Gospel. I will be teaching English as a second language to adults at a private language school in Moscow while Rhonda will be a full-time mommy! In addition to teaching we will have ample ministry opportunities among Moscow's 14 million inhabitants.

A tremendous spiritual need exists in Russia today. Of it’s population of over 140 million people less than 2% claim to be born again Christians. Any religion other than the state-supported Orthodox Church is often looked upon by the general populace with suspicion. This overall distrust has caused changes within the government in the past few years making it impossible for foreigners to enter the country as missionaries long-term. This being the case our only options were either 1. finding secular employment within the country or 2. entering the country on a student visa.

We are in need of finances to make this dream a reality. We need to raise a total of $32,000 in gifts and monthly pledges by July 21st.

This trip will require a lot of support and will significantly stretch our faith! We are in need of supporters who will give on a monthly basis. Would you prayerfully consider partnering with us to reach the lost in Russia?

If you wish your donation to be tax-deductible please make checks payable to Hope International. Please do NOT put the McDaniel’s name in the memo line. Instead, write “Russia.”
Mail to: Hope International
PO Box 218
Catoosa, OK 74015