On HIS Work

Hebrews 13:20-21 

May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen

When I read this verse today, I was instantly reminded that the work we’re doing is not ours, but God’s. Anything we’ve accomplished, all we’re working for is not for us. It’s not to enrich our lives or make our name known. We are here to advance the Kingdom of God. And to do so, we must follow the Lord’s call whatever the cost. His plan will be accomplished because HE IS GOD, not because He chose us as his servants. 
May God’s will be done. 

The One with $20.25

It’s official!! Garage Sale Season in underway! I suppose you could say–“Melanie is to garage sales as hunters are to deer season.” In other words, it’s a BIG deal and if you’re not a garage sale fan, you think I’m crazy. I’m totally ok with that. 
It was only 48 degrees this morning, but the rain had stopped. I double checked the sale listings I had found in the local newspaper’s online classifieds as well as the garage sale section of Craigslist. I then printed off the list of items I was looking for in this season of thrifting. (I’ve discovered having a “plan” is a very good thing.) Finally, I donned a coat–yes a COAT–for the occasion and hit the road. 
At the first sale, I came away with two beautiful satin blouses and a sweater for $1.50. They all fit me perfectly–I’m thrilled. I was a teensy bit quite frustrated, though, when Kevin noticed a huge water-looking stain on the front of the green satin. Ack! I have it pretreated right now! 
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The woman hosting the second sale was a piece of work. She was a talk, talk, talker and quite pushy–not my favorite type of yard sale host, I’ve got to be honest. Despite that, I found a hardly-worn pair of size 10 Chuck Taylor Converse high tops for Kevin. I offered the lady $1.00 and she took it! (They sell for $65.00!!) Kevin’s already wearing them. :)

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At the last sale, I saw quite a few great finds–but most of them weren’t on my list. *kept my arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times* I came across a sewing machine–which IS on my list–but one crucial piece of it was missing. Not so much…
I DID find a few great items before leaving, though. We now have a beautiful cloth shower curtain. It’s in perfect shape and Kevin likes it as well. I was just thinking last night that this brown-brown-brown theme was getting boring. We needed to mix it up a bit. The new curtain goes well with the brown and green we already have. For $2.00 it’s a perfect bathroom makeover!  
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Finally, I came across the hardcover copies of most of the Harry Potter Series! Books 2 and 4 are missing and book 3 doesn’t have a jacket, but I got five of them for $15 which is totally worth it for Kevin and I. I normally don’t spend more than $0.50 on a book, but seeing how this exact set was on our wish list and would have cost close to $100, we took it! 
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Are you hitting the garage sale path any time soon?? Good finds yet?


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The One with the Sweet Dreams

I finishing reading Mine Is the Night by Liz Curtis Higgs during our family camping trip in Kentucky. I’m not one to say, “I just can’t put this book down!” but I could whole-heartedly say that about this novel. I turned page after page on the 8 hour trip south and only dozed off twice–a record for me! The story was so gripping, though even my cat naps were filled with dreams of the characters’ stories. I was thoroughly engrossed in their drama. 
Despite the fact that this novel was the second in the series (following Here Burns a Candle), I didn’t have any problem following the story. Higgs writes beautifully and thoroughly, leaving no reader behind. 
This is a story of redemption, of faith, of salvation, of family. Elizabeth Kerr and her mother-in-law, Marjory, are forced to leave their affluent lifestyle after being widowed by their politically rebellious husbands. Trials await them around every corner, but in the end Christ redeems them and brings overwhelming blessing into their lives.  
I would encourage you to pick up a copy of this historical fiction entitled Mine Is the Night very soon! You’ll love it, I promise! 
Mine Is the Night: A Novel
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The One with Your Study Tips

I need your help. I am planning on starting a women’s small group for a few ladies in our church, and I’d love to find an awesome curriculum to use. My mom has done many Beth Moore studies in the past and always raves about them, so if you have a particular Moore book to recommend, please share! 
The group will likely consist of a perfect mix of 20somethings and 30 or 40somethings. Some of the members have a good grasp of Scripture, but others are hungry to learn as they have just recently turned their lives over to Christ’s Lordship. I’m so excited to be a part of helping and teaching them what I’ve learned and experienced about God, and I look forward to learning from their wisdom and maturity in life. 
Please share your recommendations for Bible studies. 
Any tips would be welcomed–especially those geared towards women and new believers. 
Thanks, friends!
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The One with the Country Song

One of my friends excitedly shared this link with me on Facebook, and I was so impressed I wanted to make sure everyone saw it!
Carrie Underwood gave a tremendously moving performance of “How Great Thou Art” during a CBS special [Girls Night Out: Superstars of Country]. Before thousands and thousands of her peers and fans, Carrie proclaimed the glory of our God. In the midst of a world that seems darker and darker every day, tears filled the eyes of almost every listener as the Spirit moved in their hearts. May many come to face their need for salvation because of this testimony.
Amen and amen.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drcDYibP1pE]

The One with the Weekend of Worship

What a fantastic weekend we had! It all began Thursday afternoon. We donned our spring jackets and headed to the soccer field to cheer on two of our teens in their JV game. 
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We raced home, headed to the church for worship practice and then the stick-drama rehearsal, and then BACK home. Ashley–one of the soccer players, coincidentally–was spending the night with us, just for fun. I made homemade meatballs and spaghetti for dinner and the three of us had a blast watching Disney’s Tarzan. 
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The next morning went by quickly. Ashley was able to sleep in late as it was a day off of school, and Kevin and I headed to church once again for the Good Friday community service. Our church was hosting, we were on the worship team, and I was singing Via Dolorosa–a Sandy Patti Classic. 
We had a number of technical difficulties throughout the service, but despite the issues, the sanctuary was packed and God moved in people’s hearts in powerful ways. It was a privilege to be a part of it. 
Around 6:45pm my mom and dad pulled in the driveway after their three hour journey! I was so thrilled they could get away. My grandmother has been living with them full time for the past couple weeks as she recuperates from a strenuous bought with the flu and mild stroke. Both of my parents needed a bit of a vacation from full time responsibilities, and we really wanted them to spend some time at our home. Though a number of problems threatened to keep them home, God made a way for them to get away. 
We had a delicious dinner and great conversation Friday night. In the morning on Saturday, Kevin & I helped filled 750 Easter eggs for the church egg hunt and mom joined us for the last half hour. Dad got in his first round of golf of this season on Saturday afternoon while Mom & I did some serious shopping.  That evening was once again filled with good talks and the premiere of LOST. 
Yep, we got Mom and Dad hooked on season one of LOST. Mom kept saying, “Can we watch one more?” I was really excited that they both enjoyed one of our favorite shows! 
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Easter Sunday was fast-paced and overflowing with God’s goodness. A hundred+ people showed up for the annual Easter breakfast, 4 of our teens did a fantastic job during a stick drama to Arise, My Love, worship was “awesome” (in the words of my dad), and Pastor Dale preached a powerful sermon. 
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My crockpots made our Easter dinner a cinchham, red potatoes, steamed green beans, fresh honey yeast rolls, and pecan pie equaled “YUM.” We all relaxed during the afternoon and had a great time playing/learning Euchre together in the evening. Mom and I tied for “terrible card players” but we kept things interesting. All four of us were cracking up on multiple occasions, and it was the first time I’ve played a game of Euchre without crying
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Praise Jesus for a wonderful weekend of worship in many ways. 
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The One with Open Wounds

I’m not gonna lie. This hasn’t been a shining week in our household. Shocker, we’re not perfect. Honestly, though, most of the issues have been rooted in my deep-down struggles–struggles I didn’t even know I was having. And when one person is dealing with personal trials, problems overflow onto your spouse. Am I right? 
I was kicking and screaming the whole way to this place of openness and vulnerability, the place where wounds are exposed. It’s a painful place to be. But healing comes when you allow Jesus take you into his arms and place salve on those raw places that cause so much grief.

It is here I’ve come to recognize the truth–I’ve not been myself, the one God created me to be. I’m not sure how it started or exactly when. But it managed to get me to this point of total frustration. And I will deny it no longer. 


Lead me to the cross where your love poured out. Bring me to my knees, Lord, I lay me down. Rid me of myself, I belong to you. Lord, lead me. The words of the song I spoke of on Monday have been resonating deep in my spirit. Did I really mean those words when I sang them Sunday night? Did I honestly want Jesus to lead me to the place of utter helplessness where forgiveness could rain down on my heart? Did I want to get rid of the ME in my life? really? 
Finally I said, “Come, Lord Jesus.” 
And He hastened to my side. He scooped me up in his arms and urged me to cry my tears in his presence so the healing could begin
I encourage you to do the same today, as we remember the reason for His sacrifice. 
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The One to the Cross

[originally posted on wechasetheson.blogspot.com]
Without Easter our faith would mean nothing. What hope do we have with the resurrection of Jesus Christ? 
This week my heart has been dwelling on the Cross. Many years the Easter holiday seems to come and go as just another excuse to eat Reese’s eggs and Jolly Rancher jellybeans and wear pretty dresses. Those things are nice. But they totally miss the point. 
Last Sunday night at youth group as Kevin was announcing the church’s Easter events coming up, the teens kept excitedly referencing candy and the Easter bunny. Between my heart’s focus on the Cross and not-so-great-attitude I had that night, I got really upset at these antics really fast. I wasn’t mad at the teens specifically, but at the grotesque misunderstanding society has of Easter. 
Yesterday, God moved in my heart to lead these students to the Cross, to their knees, to their Savior. With his prodding I gathered music for three songs whose words envelope the richness of the death and resurrection of Jesus. They needed to come face to face with the reality of the situation–to know the immense pain Jesus endured even after beseeching God to remove the cup from him. But he was obedient to the Father’s will, even to the point of death. His blood poured out for you, for me. Because without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. And so He covered us in perfect redemption. 
But without the third day, we have no hope, no future, no full life. Our God not only redeemed us through the crucifixion, but He didn’t let death defeat his Son. 
Lead me to the cross, where your love poured out
Bring me to my knees, Lord, I lay me down. 
Rid me of myself, I belong to you. 
Lord, lead me. Lead me to the cross. 
[lead me to the cross by hillsong]
Listen here. Soak in the power of the Cross.

On Leading to the Cross

Without Easter our faith would mean nothing. What hope do we have with the resurrection of Jesus Christ? 
This week my heart has been dwelling on the Cross. Many years the Easter holiday seems to come and go as just another excuse to eat Reese’s eggs and Jolly Rancher jellybeans and wear pretty dresses. Those things are nice. But they totally miss the point. 
Last Sunday night at youth group as Kevin was announcing the church’s Easter events coming up, the teens kept excitedly referencing candy and the Easter bunny. Between my heart’s focus on the Cross and not-so-great-attitude I had that night, I got really upset at these antics really fast. I wasn’t mad at the teens specifically, but at the grotesque misunderstanding society has of Easter. 
God moved in my heart to lead these students to the Cross, to their knees, to their Savior. With his prodding I gathered music for three songs whose words envelope the richness of the death and resurrection of Jesus. They needed to come face to face with the reality of the situation–to know the immense pain Jesus endured even after beseeching God to remove the cup from him. But he was obedient to the Father’s will, even to the point of death. His blood poured out for you, for me. Because without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. And so He covered us in perfect redemption. 
But without the third day, we have no hope, no future, no full life. Our God not only redeemed us through the crucifixion, but He didn’t let death defeat his Son. 
Lead me to the cross, where your love poured out
Bring me to my knees, Lord, I lay me down. 

Rid me of myself, I belong to you. 

Lord, lead me. Lead me to the cross. 

[lead me to the cross by hillsong]
Listen here. Soak in the power of the Cross.

The One with My Key Habits

My mom commented on my salsa-losing-story. She seems delighted that I’ve joined the ranks of forgetfulness and sends her condolences that I’m becoming more like her everyday. :) It made me smile and reminded me of yet another “moment” of mine. 
On Friday morning, I was busy baking a batch of pizzelles to fill my first Etsy order (yay!) when the phone rang. One of the church trustees was calling about a key to the church office. He thought we had one. We did. Until about a month ago. 
Kevin and I had church cleaning duty and when we went to grab our church key off of the key rack (which ONLY contains this one key ring), the keys were gone! “Not again,” I said. You see, I have a habit of leaving the church key in a pocket of my coat or pants rather than returning it to the hook. I’m a terrible person, I know. 
This time, though, I was certain it wasn’t my fault. It couldn’t be. I remembered being very diligent with my previous month’s usage of the key. I was blaming this time on Kevin. 
We searched everywhere. In the church pew we always sit in. In the various classrooms we’d been in. In my coats and pants. In the not-so-junky “junk” drawer. In all my purses (I have quite a collection.) The key had mysteriously vanished!
Thus, when the gentleman called asking for our office key I had to tell him, “No we do not have a key because I misplaced it a while back.” 
No more than 5 minutes later, as I was plotting my repeat search for the missing key, I heard a jingle in my blazer pocket. I stuck my hand inside and pulled out THE MISSING KEY! 
“KEVIN!!! I FOUND THE KEY! IT WAS IN THE POCKET OF THIS JACKET I’M WEARING!” 
He quickly ran the key over to the guys working on the church and they all had a chuckle at my expense. This morning at church one of the men said, “I hear I shouldn’t give you my keys.” Yeah, yeah. I totally deserved it. I’m really bad at not losing the church keys.

(Please note: I have never lost any key other than the church’s. And my excuse is this: because I just walk to the church and back and stick the key in a random pocket rather than back in my purse like my other keys. I have a good key reputation otherwise.) 

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