Are You Hungry?

It was quiet.  Almost too quiet.  I was working in my office while McKenna and Andros were visiting from Florida.  While McKenna was in the living room, I’d seen Andros walk into the kitchen.  He’d been holding a couple of toys and I could hear him playing, pushing the stool around the room.  And then….silence.  When I decided to peek my head around the corner, I couldn’t help but giggle and grab my phone for a quick picture.

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Caught in the act!

 

Andros had moved the stool over to the counter and with great stealth, had managed to step up to grab his contraband!  He had in his little arms the large tub of toddler drink mix and an empty bottle.  He was taking it to his mother in a desperate attempt to get a little extra treat!  He was thirsty and hungry, but more importantly, he simply wanted it.  He loved the taste as it was a sweet indulgence and couldn’t wait to get some more.

We should be that way with the Word of God.   The book of Jeremiah is the story of the prophet who told of Jerusalem’s impending destruction because of the lack of repentance to God.  In it are not only the words that Jeremiah prophesied but also the prayers he spoke to his Heavenly Father.

Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I have been called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts. –Jeremiah 15:16

Several times in the bible God, scripture, and the growth through study are identified as Living Water, milk, and solid food.  In Isaiah 58:11, he speaks of the Lord as a spring of water that does not fail.  In John 6, Jesus talks about being the Bread of Life.  In Hebrews 5:12-14, the author describes spiritual development as starting out on the milk but needing to move on to solid food in order to mature in your walk with God.

Jeremiah was crying out to God that He was devouring every word God was speaking to Him, letting them become the delight of his heart.  He was allowing God’s conversations to penetrate his soul.  It wasn’t just lip service.  He took what God was saying and used it as fuel to ignite the joy that God gave him while preparing for a heavy responsibility of prophesying to a nation that didn’t want to listen.

What a great example of a man who trusted that God would not only provide him the joy he needed during his life but also the sustenance needed to deal with a difficult season of life.  I pray that we can always look to the scriptures, God’s words, as a way to fill our hunger!

~Erin

The Last Time

What would you do differently if you knew it was the last time?

The last time your little one hugged you in public…

The last time you would kiss your spouse goodnight…

The last time you went to a movie theater/roller skating rink/bowling alley…

The last time you would spend Christmas with your parents…

The last time you would fall asleep peacefully…

The last time you saw a particular friend…

The last time you watched the sunset…

 

What would you do differently?

Would you pause at that moment and breathe in the sweetness of that “last” experience…?

Would you be sad or would you be happy…?

Would you take a mental photograph…?

Would you say one last “I love you” …?

While the question “what would you do differently” is applicable to death or dying, reflect on your last times because of anything that isn’t death related.  The last times could be because of a divorce, an ill-timed comment, a sickness/disease, the passage of time/growing up, a move, a promotion, finances, etc., etc.

The last times are only last times, once we recognize they were the last time.  In most instances, we don’t know that it’s the last time we’re experiencing a particular event.  It won’t be until much later that you think back “when was the last time that xyz happened?”

There’s one “last time” that we know will happen, even when we don’t know the exact timing–the last days and the last times people will have an opportunity to hear the Gospel in order to make decisions about their own salvation.

We see the phrase “end times” and “last hour” in several scriptures, such as 1 Peter 1:5, 1 Peter 1:20, or 1 John 2:18.  In fact in 1 John, “the last hour” is the closest adherence to Greek.  The concept of the last hour or last day is a foreshadowing that Christ will come to Earth once more to gather all the believers to heaven.

While scripture is not clear about the exact timing of Christ’s second coming, the prophecy of what is to come is very clear.  Christ is coming. Believers go home to Heaven. Non-believers stay on earth and they will endure unimaginable horrors.  This means we, as Christians, are tasked with fully understanding that more “last times” are coming.  Some would argue they are coming soon.

The most important thing you can do in your lifetime is to share the Gospel. With an impending end times prophecy, sharing the Gospel becomes even more important.

Don’t let the last time create a scenario where the question “what would you do differently?” includes your regret about not having shared the precious gift of God.

~Emily

The Last Time

Tight Spaces

Recently, I was scheduled for an MRI of my neck. I am a rather large female with lots of “extra” around my arms, belly, and hips. We all know that MRI machines are not built for those of us with “extra.” On this particular day, at this particular imaging company, I was told to lie on a hard table that was, maybe, large enough to hold ½ of one butt cheek.  The radiology tech placed a sheet over me and told me to cross my arm over my chest as she slid me into the machine. As I am just about to enter the machine she tells me that it will be “real tight going in but will open up a little once you are inside.”

Man! She wasn’t kidding. As I was passing through the opening of this machine I felt as if I were being squeezed back into the womb. My arms were so squished on top of my chest that there was absolutely no wiggle room.  My hips were against the cold hard machine and I felt every fat cell being displaced so that my upper body could enter the machine. Once inside, I quickly realized that the radiology tech wasn’t exactly correct in her assessment of, “it will open up a little once you get inside.” Apparently our definitions of “a little” is quite different.

I tried to relax my arms a little, as my shoulders were surely touching my earlobes. They didn’t move more than a nano-inch. I then recalled how tight it was going into the machine and started getting worried that getting me back out might resemble “birthing” a breech baby since the smallest portion of me was now the only thing sticking out of the machine. I began to imagine coming out of the machine and getting stuck at the shoulders.  That lead to worry that I would get wedged so badly that they would have to call in extra people to witness this event and assist with my removal or, at the very worst, I would be so wedged that the pressure of my arms on my chest would suffocate me before I could be removed.

At that very moment, the radiology tech sweetly asked, “are you ok in there?” To which, I replied, “No, Nope, No, I am not!” She told me to hang on a minute and she would have me out. As my head exited, I felt a huge relief and a heavy burden at the same time.

At that moment I felt like a huge failure. I mean, all I had to do was lie on a skinny table and be uncomfortable for a short time (if you have ever had an MRI you know that the 20 minutes the scan takes seems like the longest 20 minutes of your life), and I FAILED!  I went to the office that had scheduled my MRI and asked if there was a facility that could better accommodate larger individuals. The scheduler set me up at another local facility (I wasn’t sure why I wasn’t originally sent there, as I was obviously fat when the original appointment was made). I was grateful for this second chance. As I returned to my car with a new appointment on my calendar I sat and thought about how uncomfortable of an experience this was.

Aren’t our experiences with God sometimes like this?? There are times when God wants up to be uncomfortable. He squeezes us and applies the pressure until we are certain we can’t take anymore and start screaming, “No, Nope, I can’t do this!” We will do anything in that moment to get to a place that is more comfortable, even if it means running from what God wants of us. Although, scripture has shown us that running never works.

In Jonah, we see a man that God had placed in an uncomfortable situation. He was told to go and do something that Jonah was sure would lead to his death. When Jonah ran from this instruction God placed him in a very tight space, the Lord appointed a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the fish three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17).  I would imagine being in the belly of a whale would be an extremely uncomfortable place. When Jonah prayed to God from the belly of the whale. He was given a second chance to go and do what God had asked.

I am so thankful for 2nd chances (and sometimes 3rdand 4th). How many times does God ask us to do something and we say “no” because it feels uncomfortable to us? What “whale” does God put into your life to get your attention and let you know that He wasn’t kidding? When God asks us to do uncomfortable things He does not expect us to do it alone. He will equip you with the tools you need to complete the task.

The next time you are placed in a situation where your first instinct is to run, take a moment to pray and reflect instead. God will always provide what we need for the job He asks us to do, you just have to trust Him.

Lacie Adams

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Guest Blogger-Lacie Adams

The purpose of the Iron Porch is to allow a space for women to come to share with one another without the fear of reprisal and judgment. It’s a space that Erin and Emily felt God wanted to provide so that women could encourage and comfort one another.  After prayerful consideration, we would like to encourage potential guest bloggers to submit a post for consideration.  These guest blogs will be posted under ‘fesharp’ rather than ‘Erin’ or ‘Emily.’

On Saturday, we will be posting an entry from a woman who is going to share her heart for the uncomfortable tight spots that God puts us in.

Please join us on the porch this Saturday to read the thoughts of Lacie Adams, our guest blogger.

~Emily & Erin

The Cultivate Conference

I had an opportunity to attend a conference, Cultivate, this last weekend sponsored by Sisters in the Spirit.  The theme was centered on Cultivating Courage, and it was an incredible opportunity to be surrounded by women who were all interested in a deeper connection to Jesus, one that was free of fear.

When the panel of women shared their stories, I don’t think there was a woman in the room that didn’t feel a connection to at least one brave soul on that stage.  I found myself relating to the personal accounts of past mistakes, fears, hurts, and triumphs.

It reminded me of how important it is to share our testimony with others.  When we let go of our fear of being judged, there is a freedom that happens in your soul.  You transfer the power of fear into the power of faith that God has prevailed in your situation.  It also give the woman hearing it the opportunity to know they’re not alone.   Woman can often feel like they’re the battling things on their own, whether an intentional thought or not.  When we share, we connect.

Having courage is not always easy.  But when we trust that God will stand with us and carry us through, courage can always be found.

Arise!  For this matter is your responsibility, but we will be with you; be courageous and act. –Ezra 10:4

~Erin

P.S.  To find out more about the ministry that put the conference together, please visit www.sistersinthespirit.net.

Jealous of the Disciples

I’ve always had a secret jealous streak when I think about the relationships that the disciples had with Jesus.  They walked with Him, slept near Him, and ate with Him. They literally had a front-row seat to His teaching, to His storytelling, and to His faithful prayer life. They had THE model right there with them…day in and day out.

There are times in my Christian walk that I’ve struggled with following the guidelines provided by Jesus.  I’ve prayed and felt like I didn’t hear an answer. I’ve failed again and again.  I have this irrational thought that if I had walked at the same time as Jesus, that somehow that would make my relationship stronger with Him.

I know it’s irrational.  Yet, it makes me slightly jealous that the disciples were able to ask questions face to face. They were able to make a prayer request and hear the voice of God respond.  I wish I had the literal face-to-face time with Jesus, in the flesh.

This week, while doing my homework for my small group “Maximum Joy” by Dr. David Anderson, I had a realization.  We all have the opportunity to fellowship with the Lord, much like the disciples did.  In 1 John 1:1:3, John wrote “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”

Scripture tells us that if we are following the direction of the Word, as well as the insights provided by the ones who walked with Christ, then we too can have the sweet joy of fellowship with the Lord.

I’m excited that the next several months studying 1 John will help me have deeper intimacy that leads to fellowship rather than just a relationship.  I’m also excited that it’s going to dispel this idea that I should be jealous of the disciples when I too can have a deeper relationship with Jesus.

Who else is harboring secret jealousy? Come to the porch and tell us…

~Emily

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Cutting the Line

The line wasn’t really that long by normal Disneyland standards.  Some days (during the summer), your wait for a ride can be up to 90 minutes!  We opted for a Disney experience in September, just after the crowds had left and everyone was back in school.  The weather wasn’t crazy hot and the lines never lasted more than 30 minutes on a busy day.

We were waiting patiently in the Star Tours line when the teenage son of the family behind us said to one of his siblings, “We could just get in the Fast Pass line right now and get up to the front.  They don’t even check once you’re past the entrance.”  And off him and his siblings went.  His father waited for a brief moment, looked around, hopped the rope, and looked sheepishly at us as he walked past and up to the front of the Fast Pass line with his children.

It was the topic of discussion among my family for the next 10 minutes as we waited to reach the front.  We talked about the examples that we set for our children and others around us.  We talked about fairness to people.  It was actually a great conversation between myself, Peyton, and her dad.

We got to the front of the line and entered the ride.  The ride seats 40 people in total, and the three of us sat in the front row.  I looked around and who did I see?  The family that had cut in the line.  Their attempt to get there faster had somehow ended up being all for naught.  Nice or not, we had a good little giggle about that.

Of all the lessons I learned from that one little experience, this was the most profound to me:  we can try and fast track our future by skipping the line we’re supposed to be in, but the full wait may be part of the journey.  We trust God has such a wonderful plan for our lives, but we try to control it by getting there faster, quicker sometimes at the expense of the experience.

The people we meet along the way may be the ones who need to know Jesus.  The extended wait times could just be the period of growth that you need to mature for the next season of your life.  The bumps we encounter are the opportunities to serve others rather than self.

God knows what He’s doing in your life.  You don’t need to skip the line to get to the destination.  Let’s see what exciting adventure He has for us along the way!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11

~Erin

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Erin and Peyton at Disneyland