Thursday, July 30, 2020

Rule Your Spirit

I'm so excited to share with you today a guest blog post.
Amanda Bock Hoggard is one of my adopted children.  (Her husband Webb is too; but by marriage, of course.)  She is a brilliant young lady who once served as part of our team here at Garden Grove Church.  Now, a lead pastor herself, Amanda wrote this fantastic piece that so perfectly speaks to where we are today.
I called and asked if I could share it with you, Dear Readers.  Let me know if it speaks to your heart as it did mine.
The precious little boy in the picture is the middle son of Amanda and Webb.  His name is Jude and he is just as squish-ably adorable as he looks in the picture.  His two brothers Luke and Graham are also pretty amazing kids. 

Jude and His Mom

Amanda Writes - 
Some of my best memories as a young adult were chaperoning kids to our annual summer camps. Hot, sticky, and messy, but seeing little lives changed and called into kingdom living, nothing like it.
I learned a lesson from another chaperone one year that has stayed with me for two decades. One of the little girls who came with us was experiencing high-stakes homesickness, and no natter how nurturing and compassionate I tried to be, she always ended up in heaving sobs, gagging and crying. We knew we’d have to call her parents to make the three hour drive that night and pick her up.
Until this chaperone stepped into the situation. I was outside the chapel trying to comfort and reassure this little girl, when she came over and, with a peaceful but firm amount of spiritual authority, she knelt a little, cupped the girl’s face in her hands, and quietly said, “Honey, rule your spirit. Only you can control how you feel right now.”
What happened after that was unreal. This baby girl straightened up that moment and enjoyed the rest of camp with a joyful heart. I had never seen anything like it. This lady was the “camper whisperer.” It was like baby girl gathered confidence and strength from those words, and it finally occurred to her that she had a choice in this matter. She got to choose to whom she’d submit.
Today, the Holy Spirit is your chaperone at this wild camp none of us really signed up for. There are people grappling for control of many things, but it seems the least of those is control of their own thoughts, emotions, reactions, and interactions.
Feel the Holy Spirit gently hold your face today and admonish, “Rule your spirit, child.”
You’re not obligated to indulge every feeling or thought that comes to you. And only you get to decide - will those around you get a heavy dose of you, your thoughts, and your attitude? Or the peace and authority that only comes through submission to the Holy Spirit?
Choose today who you’ll serve - feelings and fears, or a faithful God.

Fantastic reminder, right?  Amanda will be checking back here periodically. It would be a GREAT encouragement to this young mom if you wanted to leave a comment for her in the box below expressing how her piece impacted you.  Thanks!

Monday, July 20, 2020

Catch Up

How is it even possible that today is July 20th and I haven't posted even ONCE this month?

I was in total shock when I realized my error.  But it takes only a quick glance over the past 19 days of my calendar to arrive at a conclusive reason.

Since my last post I have:

  • Celebrated no less than 3 birthdays with 3 more upcoming
  • Attended 1 high school graduation celebration
  • Hosted 2 sets of Smiths - Steve Smith followed by Cindy Smith
  • Embarked on a major over-haul of our home both inside and out (See last point)
  • Attended (virtually) Speak Up a writer's conference which I LOVE
  • Flown to NC for a 3-day whirlwind visit with my sister
  • Prepared and delivered 1 full sermon
  • Prepared/participated in 2 other Bible studies
  • Cared for 1 husband suffering from regular flu (NOT Covid, thank Heavens)
Please note, I did not include all the "normal" things that are part of everyone's life.  Like office hours, church services, phone calls, Noni privileges and such.

Last week, it was John who brought the message for our church.  At one point in his sermon, he paused briefly then asked this question, "Are we standing on the Rock (Christ Jesus)?  Or are we standing on shifting sand and only talking about the Rock?"

After the way this month began, I'm glad to be standing firmly on the Rock!

(Of course, John was referring to the story found in the Gospel of Matthew 7: 24-27.  A wise man built his house on a solid rock while the foolish man built his house on sand.  Storms came and beat on both houses.  The house built on sand crumbled.  The one built on rock stood firm.  Excellent word picture, don't you think?)

Speaking of pictures, I have several GREAT ones to share with you.  Unfortunately, my tired brain can not seem to wrap around the process for posting this evening.  So, this will have to do for my (how embarrassing to admit) first post of the month.  

Blessings to each of you, patient friends!  May your feet also be planted firmly on the only Rock that will help us to withstand the storms of life.

How about your summer?  Is it flying by?  Have you hosted friends or family?  We'd also love to hear how you're managing with all the changes?  Leave your comment below....