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Workers for the Harvest…

“The Harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Luke 10:2

It’s Thanksgiving 2022 and a cold snap has gripped parts of the US with a lot of snow, rain, cold and gloom. Definitely not my favorite kind of weather at anytime of the year, but this post is not about the weather….

During the month of October my church participated in a movement called the 10:02 Challenge:

The ten:02 challenge is an invitation for Christians to earnestly pray for the harvest and the workers in the harvest. We are challenging Christians to pray daily for the Harvest in the month of October (the 10th month) to pray at 10:02 for the Harvest.”  

So, I set an alarm on my really smart watch and everyday at 10:02 it buzzed to remind me to pray. I have to admit, I was reluctant to stop what I was doing and pray! So being transparent as always, here is my reluctant prayer;

Lord, I know we need workers for your harvest…but where are they? I didn’t see many new people in church this week and the ones that were there didn’t want anything extra to do. So Lord…show me where to find more. Amen

This is where God says “Sara! Step aside and watch me work! So I did, and here’s why I am amazed and a little overwhelmed today by his grace and mercy.’

It began last night as we stood outside a local grocery store handing out fliers to ask folks to buy items on the list or donate money to the local food pantries. It was SOOOOO cold out and most of us did not dress warmly enough. At first it didn’t seem folks were interested, but all of a sudden people were coming out of the store with cart loads of groceries for the food pantry and in some cases cash! I have to say I am so proud of being part of such a generous community!

Fast forward to this morning….It was food distribution day at the local food pantry. Our church volunteers on these days and we have a team that walks the line of cars (200+) to pray with folks if they desire it. Today, some would just give a thumbs up to say all was well (so they didn’t have to lower their car windows) but some were not concerned about the cold. They lowered their windows and told us their stories. Stories of hardship, health problems and heartaches. Prayers for families were numerous, but over and over again we saw selflessness not selfishness from these people waiting in the food distribution line. People who were struggling with their own problems but were willing to give what they had to others. Here were workers for the harvest! I cannot share all of their stories with you, but I can say that I am humbled by their generosity and care for others in the midst of so many of their own challenges.

Now we come to the end of the line…or is it the beginning? The activity at the food pantry is something to behold. In the parking lot there are pallets of eggs, milk, meat and a lot of other items are waiting to be loaded into the cars of these special people. The amount of volunteers that it takes to make this happen is a site to behold. Were they cold? Absolutely! I heard no complaints though, as they continually worked to provide for those in need. The workers inside were providing hot chocolate and coffee for volunteers…a much needed part of the process!

Oh…I get it now! I see what you wanted me to see Lord. Here are some of your workers, in the food pantries, in the neighborhoods helping friends and neighbors in your name. Of course we need more, but I will change my reluctant prayer to this;

Lord, thank you for all of the workers for your harvest. Thank you for showing me where to look for them. But the need is great…please send more to feed the hungry and to tell others about the hope we have in you. Amen

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me…Matthew 25:35

My prayer for you this week (and not reluctantly) Watch and be amazed as you see God working in the world around you. Join in with the workers of the harvest so that more would know the hope that we have in Jesus!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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His Eye is on the Sparrow

Do you ever get a song stuck in your head, one that plays over and over and over for days until…well, until it doesn’t?  I’ve had this song playing over and over in my head for weeks now. I learned this song in church during my childhood and it was one of my favorites. The refrain is what I remember most;

I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free,

For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

As I was researching these lyrics, I started thinking about sparrows. Sparrows are the plain jane of the bird world…they are not flashy like cardinals or blue jays or entertaining like mockingbirds. They are just plain little birds eating all the seed out of the feeder.

In Matthew 10:29-31 we learn just how much God cares for us and these plain little birds;

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.”  But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.” Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”  Matt 10:29-31 (NIV)

Friends! This verse gives me such comfort! In this crazy world we live in, where your self-worth is tied to what others think or how many “likes” you got on your latest social media post (or how many you didn’t). We are conditioned to feel as though this is the most important thing we need to have for our wellbeing. We feel the “need” for the latest in fashionable clothing, cars and houses…just what the “influencers” want us to think!”

This little song playing in my head lead me to this verse in Matthew and the knowledge that I am more valuable to God than even the sparrows that He takes care of! I hope you feel this too! You, my friends are more valuable to God than sparrows or anything else you can imagine. You are His handiwork, his beautiful creation! This brings me so much comfort when I am feeling less than valued in this world we live in. I hope it brings you comfort too! Leave me a comment about how this speaks to you. (I promise I won’t count how many I get!)

P.S. If you would like to read about the history of “His Eye is on the Sparrow” and hear a beautiful version of it click here.https://www.christianmusicandhymns.com/2019/09/his-eye-is-on-sparrow-story-this-song.html#:~:text=This%20song%20was%20inspired%20by,God%20would%20watch%20over%20her.
I’m off to fill the birdfeeder…the sparrows are hungry!

God’s Blessings,


Featured

His Mercies Are New Every Morning

Have you ever been through a tough time? Maybe health, money problems or
even relationship issues? I have had some health issues lately and I’m pretty sure
that there are people suffering from things far greater than I have. God must be
busy with those folks that are worse off than me, so I feel the need to try to just
solve the problems on my own and not bother Him!


I’m going through something just like this…and getting by, but just barely. I won’t
go into the boring details, but I will get to the good stuff!
This morning the sun was out and shining brightly after what seemed like weeks
of wind and cloudy dreariness! Praise God for sunshine! The birds were singing,
roosters crowing. I even saw a cardinal couple in my back yard!


It brought to my mind this verse from Lamentations:

What a reminder to get my head out of my funk and pay attention to what God is
trying to say to me!


Friends, whatever you are going through, and we all experience hardships and
suffering in this life daily, I encourage you to look around your world and see how
God is working…daily! His mercies never come to an end! They are new every
morning! God is so faithful…he never leaves us! We may ignore him and try to fix
things on our own, but I assure you that life is much easier when we let him lead.
His mercies are new EVERY morning! Why Am I Amazed? I would love to hear how
God is amazing you! Please comment!

Self Esteem & Art & Why Am I Amazed?

So today I thought I would write about myself…oh wait…I do that every time! Seriously though, this time I want to bare my soul and talk about self esteem. Do you struggle with that too?

All my life, as far back as I can remember I have wanted to create things. When I was 8 or 9, I wanted a doll house so badly that I made one out of cardboard boxes. I made little furniture out of things I found around the house. I made curtains and rugs out of scrap fabric from my mom’s sewing basket. When I got older, I learned to sew my own clothes. As an art major in college, my emphasis was on fabrics and weaving. Later on in my life I turned to quilting…that was fun as well!

I love the fiber arts, but what I really wanted to do was to paint! I took classes, more classes and I even actually practiced using different mediums and techniques. Painting did not “gel” with me and that realization made me feel like I just wasn’t good enough. Was I not “gifted” enough to be a “real” artist? From time to time I kept trying though and I had people say to me “You are a “real” artist, just claim it” they said! That was easier said than done in my mind!

So that brings me to today. During the quarantine I found a medium that worked so incredibly well for me. I took to it like a duck to water! Alcohol ink flows freely and creates beauty as I work with it. I look at this as a gift from God. I can look back now and see how He has created me to be the person I am today, not the one society or parents or college professors wanted, but who God crafted! With that knowledge, I can relax and create art that is pleasing to myself and others. I like to think that God is pleased as well!

I still trip over myself and my own insecurities all the time though. You probably do too! Remember this dear friend…God created You & I as his beautiful masterpieces…one of a kind! Enjoy who God created you to be and embrace His gifts! He is so good!

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God

Ephesians 2:10

You are God’s masterpiece, rejoice in that this new year!

Sara

Here we go again…

This post has been swirling around in my mind for weeks. My emotions are all over the map these days because it is time to move again. Sigh…..

It’s been a short 5 years since we moved to Central Texas to plant a church. I’ve written a lot about being the wife of a church planter and what a challenge it can be. I’ve also written about how God amazes me when I’m least expecting it! So today, that is what this post is about. In the turmoil of my exposed emotions I can clearly see His hand in this and on me. Is it still hard? Oh. My. Yes!

The calling for a new church plant in Waco, TX came about 8 months ago. A new opportunity to reach more people for Jesus! How exciting! Here’s what I said to my husband…”Well, it’s only an hour away. We won’t have to move. You can do your job there and I can keep my church and friends here!” (true story) Friends, I even announced that publicly at church one day. “We are not moving!”

I can just hear God chuckling up there, can’t you? That lasted about a week and I had to eat my words!

So here is the part where God steps in to CONTINUE (because this is an ongoing process) to mold me and assure me that HE’S GOT THIS! I don’t know about you, but I always tend to think the whole world revolves around me.

Me: “Who’s going to do all the things I do at church when I am gone?”

God: “No Worries, Sara! I’ve got this!”

Me: “Are you sure?

God: “Yes, Trust ME!”

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.”

Proverbs 3:5 (ESV)

I am happy to say that I am continuing to trust Him even more! As I surrender to Him, I see HIS work more clearly every day. It is definitely an on going process that I have to work on minute by minute. I am amazed to see HIM working all things out (in spite of me!)

Now this is where the emotions kick in and life gets HARD. My personal favorite thing about serving at church is CARING ABOUT PEOPLE! My heart breaks for all of our “people” who are going through so much! Leaving all these precious people is about to rip my heart out….

One sweet lady said to me “Sara, didn’t you go through this when you left your previous church to come here?” Yes, I did…and then she said “Well, you survived!” Yes, I did…and now I look back and say “Why Am I Amazed?” Watching God build His church here in Central Texas, sending me people to care about and show His love to. An added bonus this week…HE revealed to me this week how my life has touched so many…and there are many more people out there to care for at our new church! “Why Am I Amazed?”

One instance in particular has had me in knots. There is a young family in our church with a huge burden to bear. All I can do is pray for them, and I do…alot! Over and over again, I ask what I can do for them, how can I help? God is saying to me “Trust ME! They belong to ME…I will take care of them.

On a recent Sunday morning, I witnessed God in action. “Why Am I AMAZED? I watched from a distance as a woman approached them, offered prayer and other support and mostly understanding as she had been through something similar. We both then spoke with them of how we can help others later on go through things we have experienced. Friends! God sent her and her willingness to help! My prayers were answered through her and others, I found out later. God had this all along and I love how he reveals this to me (when I am open to seeing) This is how I see God working in spite of me. HE’S Got This!

So are you thinking that it’s all about you, all things dependent on you? That it is hard to follow God’s leading when you are trying to lead? If we’re honest with ourselves, we all do this…each and every day!

This week is Thanksgiving, 2021. I am thankful and grateful that God has shown me today and throughout my life that HE’S Got This! Remember this verse…and comment if you like.

Trust in the Lord with all you heart and do not lean on your own understanding.”

Proverbs 3:5 (ESV)

How do you see God working in your life? What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving season?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sara

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up….

I’ve probably written about this before. If I have…just scroll on by. My life as the spouse of a church planter is never dull. Exciting, stressful, painful but NEVER dull!

Let’s talk about the exciting part first. The realization of seeing God at work is the most thrilling thing I can think of…next to getting married and the birth of a child! Being called by God to a new area…I’m not sure how that happens, but it just does! A church planter and his team plan, prepare and plant the seeds necessary for a new church. Details upon details planned from a human perspective. Community listening, logo design, social media, gathering people and finding a place for the “church” to meet.

AND THEN YOU WAIT for the seeds to take root and grow strong.

Q: Is there a formula for this? A: See Above

Q: Why does it take so long?  A: God’s timing (not ours)

Q: When will God show up? A: He was there from the beginning…the real answer is to step back and watch HIM work!

This brings me to the stressful part. At least for me. The waiting….and the questions…and the doubters…and the second guessers…and the naysayers. These things for me are very stressful and fall under the “human perspective” tab. For now…let me just skip this part.

Now back to exciting…and I will qualify this…IF this church plant is God’s Will…it will take root and grow in spite of everything and everyone involved. Friends, this is what I find so thrilling…to see things happen in such a way that you KNOW it is God. As I have been know to say “You can’t make this stuff up!”

Vacation Clarity

Vacation

Finally….we were able to take much needed vacation. Life has been so busy lately, with no time for extended rest and relaxation. I believe we all tend to put aside the time for real rest…soul rest, maybe not even realizing how important it really is for our spiritual and physical well being.

So…a week at the beach was just the ticket! When we finally had a chance to unplug, we really did. No phones or other electronics. No checking email or text and absolutely NO social media! Maybe not a recommendation for everyone, but for us it works!

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (ESV)

This is not a post to tell you how to “vacation” or unplug. There are a lot of books on the subject and I do highly recommend it, but that is not what this is really about.

“Why am I amazed” again and again? Unplugging, rest and good sleep open up space for God to surface to the top. I am speaking for myself here…in the midst of a hectic schedule, I often lose sight of what God is saying to me. I KNOW he is there in the background of the busy hectic life and I KNOW that he loves me and I have eternal life with him. That knowledge, like a soft, warm blanket is a comfort in itself…but what is He saying to me on a daily basis? Do I take time to listen to what He is saying TODAY? I am a little embarrassed to admit the truth…that I do not.

Back to vacation….resting and unplugging from the chaos (includes not watching or reading the news) had some profound effects on both my husband and I. After a few days our creativity returned and new ideas began to surface. Ideas that had been on a back burner for awhile, just waiting for the God space to open up.

Friends, I could go on and on about what God was revealing to us in that space where we could hear him clearly, but I will save that for another post (it is really good….just not ready to share yet!). What I want you to hear today is this….try unplugging from the chaos of your life for a few moments every day. Clear your mind of all the daily “stuff” and listen to HIS voice. HE is there and wants you to follow His voice.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me.”

John 10:27 (ESV)

Take some time today to listen to His voice….you never know what HE might reveal!

Blessings!

Sara

P.S. God continues to speak to me and amaze me every day! I find his voice and beauty in nature and hope to convey that in my art. How does God speak to you?

Repeat…And Why Am I A Slow Learner?…..

So today I started a new post…and then I reread the last one I wrote called “A Mumpy Dumpy Day” https://whyamiamazed.com/2021/06/22/a-mumpy-dumpy-day/

and instead of rewriting I will just repost. Same thoughts today as it continues to rain…(definitely over it!)

I hope this encourages you to turn to scripture on those days that you feel “down in the dumps”. God is present in those words. He is there to encourage you and to lift you up on those dark days.

” I lift up my eyes to the hills, From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1

Praying for sunshine!

A Mumpy Dumpy Day

You’ve heard me say over and over that I look to God daily to amaze me with His grace and glory. I do look for Him daily….but today I do not feel the amazement. Have you ever just been down in the dumps? Nothing seems to be going right…or wrong…just nothing. Maybe you are waiting for a call or text, waiting for something to happen, even if it is only the lawn guys showing up…just waiting.

Today is one of those days for me…I have no idea why…just a “mumpy dumpy day” (quote from my daughter many years ago).

So what do You do when this happens? My first thought is to turn to scripture, the second is doing something I love.

Let’s start with scripture. I’m just going to be honest here and say that I do not have a profound devotion to turn to, my prayer life is pretty much non existent right now and hmmmmm…I may have just discovered the reason for my “dumpiness”! Why am I not surprised?

Seriously…I know this in my head, but sometimes my heart is slow to catch up. I’m not really sure why this happens…human nature I guess?

Now, feeling a little sheepish, maybe a little embarrassed that I did not see the root of my problem earlier, I am ready to tackle scripture. I “found’ this verse, but really I think it found me…

“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation”. Psalm 42:5

My hope is in God! He is my salvation and I praise Him for that! He forgives me for ALL my sins, even failure to consistently remain in the word and failure to consistently go to Him in prayer…and for that I AM AMAZED!

I would love to hear from you! What do you do when you are “down in the dumps”?

The second thing…doing something I love! I love making scripture cards to share with friends! So, today I made one with this verse. I hope you enjoy it!

Surgery…and why God still amazes me!

So, a few weeks ago I had to have a minor surgery…gallbladder removal to be exact. Y’all are probably thinking..no big deal….right? Well for me, it was a big deal. I have not had many surgeries and was a little proud of that, not to mention that I really have a huge fear of being cut on! This procedure became necessary though, so with much angst I scheduled it.

As I was preparing for a weekly meeting with a friend (we are studying Psalms) I opened my Bible and literally this verse jumped off the page and straight into my heart!

I don’t know if that has happened to you before, but it does not happen to me often. But that day it did! I was just looking for a Psalm to discuss, thumbing through the book. I came to Psalm 46. This is a very well used Psalm and it happens to be a source for our mission statement at Fortress. I think I was drawn to it because it is so familiar. AND THEN…I read verse 5…

“God is in the midst of her; She shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.” Psalm 46:5

It seems like such a simple thing doesn’t it, to trust in God, knowing that He has you in the palm of his hand?We KNOW this stuff…right? When fear sets in though…it seems that knowing and feeling are world’s apart!

This is where I became amazed. This passage of scripture, this particular verse, SPOKE to ME. I was meant to read that verse, that day at that very time. Psalm 46:5 assured me that God is IN the midst of me, HE resides there always and that with HIS help I could handle this fear that I was facing. As I was studying, I ran across other scriptures that assured me over and over that God is in ME! What a comfort this knowledge is!

“No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.”

1 John 4:12 (ESV)

“as long as my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostril,” Job 27:3 (ESV)

Blessings on your day!

P.S. Another way God continues to amaze me is through art. I find incredible joy and peace when I am creating beautiful works of art with alcohol ink. I hope you enjoy my art.

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