Church on the Beach

I took these pictures last Sunday morning while vacationing in the Dominican Republic.
I couldn’t go to church that day because we had to catch an early flight home. Since our resort was on the beach I decided to go down to the beach to watch the sunrise. As I watched the sky change from dark to light I could feel God’s presence surrounding – to continue reading click here

church on the beach

Church on the Beach

I took these pictures last Sunday morning while vacationing in the Dominican Republic.
I couldn’t go to church that day because my husband and I had to catch an early flight home.  Since our resort was on the the ocean I decided to go to watch the sunrise on the beach. As I watched the sky change from dark to light I could feel God’s presence surrounding me and as the day began to dawn, suddenly it dawned on me that I didn’t have to be at church to have church.  I realized I can have church anywhere that I happen to be, because God is always with me wherever I am. So I had church right there on the beach that morning. No building, no pastor or music were needed and there wasn’t anyone else there except just me and God.  I watched  his glory unfold before my eyes as he painted the sky, with beautiful color and brilliant light.  It was a moment that seemed to be specially made for worship in my own private church on the beach.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

 

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This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalm 118:24

Have a wonderful and blessed day,

Terri Siebert

 

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Even Though I didn’t Understand, I Think I still Understood

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Today I went to church.  I usually go to church every Sunday but this Sunday church was different. The reason church was different today was because today I attended a little church in Babaco, Haiti and the service was in Kreyol.  During the sermon portion of the service an interpreter helped, but during the songs I couldn’t understand a word but for some reason it felt to me as if I still could understand.  And most of all I could still feel the worship in the words.  I have thought about this a lot today and I still can’t explain why, but I felt as if I I knew the words even though I really didn’t.  DSCN1245 After the service I felt really blessed by what I had experienced, I got the feeling that the others who came with me did not experience the same thing as I did, I could be wrong maybe they did and just they just didn’t say anything or maybe they didn’t and maybe I am just weird or something.

Sometimes the God stuff still confuses me but the more I experience Him the more I realize it doesn’t matter if I understand the whys.  All that really matters is that to me it felt so right and so good and I am really glad I got to experience it.

Today was a really good day.

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Journal entry April 13, 2015

Just a Thought About Purpose

Recently I have been told by several people that they are having a hard time figuring out what their purpose in life is. I too have had times that I have wondered what my purpose in life is. 

Could it be that the purpose of our lives is already there but we just don’t always see it? 

I have a friend who once spent a lot of time ministering to me. When I was searching for answers about God, this person spent a lot of time answering questions and sending me emails and other stuff about him. I often think about how that person changed my life by taking the time to do that. What that person did may not seem very big to them, but to me it was HUGE. Actually it was so huge it was the difference between life and death.

When someone’s life on earth ends they either go on to live eternally in Heaven or they go to Hell…death.  To me that’s pretty huge and now thanks to that person living out their God given purpose I will live forever.

Things that seem ordinary here on Earth are extraordinary by God’s standards and should be by ours. 

God’s church is not a building the church is us. We may go into a building to worship God with other Christians but what we do outside of that building is what matters the most.

We could very easily spend so much time searching for God’s purpose for our lives that we miss it while it’s standing right there in front of us. 

Isaiah 43:7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.

Our purpose in life is to bring glory to God… Period.

How do we do that?

We do it by being sensitive to the people God has placed around us and then show them Jesus in our actions.

Pay attention to the person who’s hurting and needs a friend and then take the time to be their friend.

Ask someone how they are today, and then take time to wait for the answer. One of my pet peeves is people who use the question ‘how are you?‘ in a greeting but when I open my mouth to tell them the answer, they are already walking away.  Why not just say hello and skip the question if you don’t really want to know the answer?

Actually look at the people you meet on the streets around you, have you noticed lately in our society the amount of people who walk around not looking at each other?

Give a smile to a stranger; it may be the only smile they get today. The other day I read on a friend’s Facebook page that he smiled at someone and that they told him his smile was a gift and then they thanked him for it. To think that something so simple as a smile may have been that friend’s purpose for the day and also that it may have changed someone else’s day for the better is pretty huge.  And now let’s  add another thought to that?….I am also pretty sure that the person who thanked my friend for the smile in turn changed my friend’s day also.  Could it be that he filled his purpose that day too??… how cool is that?

Our purpose is right here all around us every day.  We should slow down and try not to be in such a rush or be filling our lives with so much busyness that there is no time hear the voice of God or see the opportunities he has placed in front of us.

The opportunities are plenty, don’t miss them!

It really seems pretty simple doesn’t it? Then I wonder why we make it so hard?

Luke 10:25-42

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denariiand gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

At the Home of Martha and Mary

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

That was just my thought for the day…

Blessings,

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The Tale of Two Mothers

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Photo by Leslie Ponder

Missouri, USA

I wake up to the sound of my baby crying in the middle of the night, hurrying down the hall to his room I find him burning up with fever and coughing and I know he is sick with another cold.  I give him a dose of Tylenol and I rock him until the medicine starts to work and he falls back asleep.  I lay him in his crib  touching his little face relieved because his fever has dropped and he is cool now.  In the morning I will take him to the doctor.

A few hours later my alarm buzzes letting me know it is time to get up and start the day.  I check on the baby he is still sleeping, I touch his forehead and feel he is warm again.  I plan to call the doctor as soon as I get the other kids off to school.  I stop by their rooms to wake them up and then head to the kitchen to cook breakfast.  As I prepare breakfast I feel a bit overwhelmed with the tasks of the day.  I have a list a mile long of laundry, grocery shopping, my daughter has girl scouts and then dance class after school and the baby now needs a trip to the doctor.  My girls come into the kitchen, I put their breakfast in front of them, and we begin to talk and laugh as they eat their pancakes.  After breakfast is finished we all pile into the car and I drop them off at school, my day has begun.

Les Cayes, Haiti

I wake to the sound of my baby crying. I reach over and touch him he is burning up with fever and coughing, I know he is sick, though I am not sure how to help him. I do not have the money for a doctor or any medicine to give him. I rock him back to sleep listening to the coughs hoping he will be better soon.

A few hours later I wake to the sound of my baby crying, I reach over and touch his forehead, he is still burning with fever.  I sigh as the other children begin to wake up, I know they are going to be hungry and I have nothing to feed them again today. I wish I had more to give my children.  I do the best I can and am thankful for our home made of scraps of tin.   We have no electricity or running water, I worry my children will get sick from Cholera or Typhoid, and at night I cover them with mosquito nets to keep them from getting bitten by mosquitos which could bring them sicknesses such as Dengue fever and Malaria. I don’t really know how to help my children get out of this life we live.  Our day has just begun, I feel so tired and overwhelmed…

It’s Compassion Blogger assignment time again and since this Sunday is Mother’s Day the assignment today was to write from the perspective of a mother living in extreme poverty.  Because I do not live in poverty I really do not know how that would feel but that was my feeble attempt to compare my life when my children were still small and living at home to a mother living in poverty.

This past March I went on a Compassion Sponsor Tour to Haiti.  While there, we visited a mother at her home, the mother I described to you was the lady pictured at the top of this blog and that is her home she is standing in front of.   She had a family of 7 people who lived in that tiny home and she was HIV positive. Her eyes were tired and told a story of a hard life.  I will never forget her for long as I live.  Haiti is a poverty stricken country where 1 in 11 children usually die before the age of 5  and sadly most die from preventable causes.

Now I want to tell you about Compassion International’s Child Survival Program.

Compassion’s Child Survival Program works with mothers and expectant mothers to help them physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  The program teaches them how to take care of their babies and how to make a safe home for them.  The Child Survival Program is based through the local church where they present the mothers with the gospel and also encourage their spiritual development by teaching them how to apply Christian values and how to share God’s love with their children.

While on our visit one of the places we visited was the HA-303 Child Survival program, while there I had the privilege to meet the mothers and children who attend and see first hand how the program is working.  The mothers and babies who were in the program were happy, healthy and thriving.

This is not the end of today’s story, I want to show you how you can help mothers in poverty change their story.  By clicking here you will be taken to Compassion’s Child Survival Program website there you can get more information and also make a one time donation to help save mothers and babies in need.  Thank you so much for reading my blog and also for making a difference in a life today.  Enjoy the video below of the mothers we visited at CSP HA-303 as they sing to us.

Technical Difficulties

As many of you know I have a new job as the secretary at my church.  One of my duties as secretary is to put the content for the Sunday morning services into our Easy Worship program for the church service such as the song lyrics, scripture, announcements etc. That information is then projected to the front of the room on the wall during the church service.

I love my new job but it has one small problem. The problem is now I find myself worrying on the Saturday night before and sometimes Sunday morning during church about the service.  I will have things running through my head like…did I put that person on the prayer list?…did I remember to spell check?…do I have things in the right order?  I am my own worst critic and the funny thing is I never paid to much attention to the screen before I started doing the stuff for the screen, so probably nobody else pays close attention to the screen either.

Today at church just as the service was starting the projector came on and there on the wall I saw nothing but a blue screen.  I looked to the back of the room into the booth where the people are that run the screen I noticed they were gathered around the computer and I immediately could tell something was definitely wrong.  Ohhh nooo my worries may be coming true!  The first thing that ran through my head was that somehow it had to be my fault.  Did I forget to upload the file or did I mess something up so bad that they could not use it?

I went back to see what was going on and hoping it was not my fault but most of all hoping that maybe I would have a solution as to how to fix the problem.  When I got back there I was filled with relief to I find out that the problem wasn’t anything I had caused. There seemed to be a problem with the computer equipment for some reason the projector did not have a signal.  I also quickly realized I didn’t have a clue as to how to help fix the problem. Since I could not be of help I returned to my seat where the service was still going on…without anything on the screen.

The announcer did the welcome and announcements which seemed to go just fine without the screen though now all the sudden I was distracted by the screen not working.  We then had the greeting and after the greeting we stood to sing the next song. Today’s singing group sings a lot of older church songs so most people would probably know the songs but because I haven’t been going to church my whole life I didn’t know the song they were singing and there were no lyrics scrolling on the wall for me to read.  I love to sing and was feeling disappointed because I couldn’t sing along.  I was also thinking about how silly I looked just standing there not participating in the singing and also about what could possibly be wrong with that screen?  So there I stood in church with everything but church racing through my head.

As I stood there watching the blue screen fade in and out suddenly I heard a whisper inside my head and the whisper said “listen!”  “Listen to what?” I thought…and then it hit me …all the sudden I realized that while my mind had been whirling round and round and I had somehow forgotten the whole reason that I was here at church and what church was really about.  I was here to worship God today and while I was fretting about the screen not working I had been missing the sound of the beautiful voices of the woman on the stage singing and wow! they were so amazing!  From that moment on all I could hear were those lovely wonderful voices and it was at that moment I felt God in the room. Right there in the middle of my stressing out about not knowing the words to the song and thinking about that blue screen God had slipped in.

As I stood there listening to the ladies as they sang to God His peace began to wash over me.  I could feel His presence in the room so strongly at that moment I just wanted to fall down at his feet and cry tears of thanks and joy. After the song the service went on as it always does, but now I was at peace and forgot about the screen not working.

Later after I got home I thought of something else…I do not think that the pastor’s sermon went as he had planned for it to go either. The only reason I think that is because I had typed the outline of the sermon on the screen and I noticed he did not do the same thing that he  had me to type for the screen.  I wondered could it be possible that he was thrown off by the screen not working just as I had been?  Or did he just have a change of plans today? Or could it be that God had a change of plans for all of us in that room today?

Things don’t always go according to our plans and something I do know is that God has his own plan.  I am not sure about everyone else in that room and but today I am pretty sure that today I saw His plan come into play for me.

Today when the first inkling came that something was not going to go as planned I panicked and thought it was something I had caused and then once I found out that was not the case I let the fact that we did not have a screen for our service throw me off.

Today I realized that we do not need an elaborate fancy power point presentation to listen to a sermon, or cool videos of water falls cascading down while we are singing.  Though words to the songs are important if I want to sing along, sometimes it’s nice just listen to a song.  God speaks to me a lot through music and today I am certain that is why he chose to speak to me right there in the middle of a song.  Today I just needed to be quiet so I could listen, but not only did I need to listen, I also needed to hear Him. He wanted me to just be quiet and hear what he was trying to say to me.

When I go to church I go to worship God with my church family and hopefully learn something about Him while I am there. That time each week is very special to me and I feel so blessed that I have this wonderful church family that I belong to. I also feel doubly blessed that I now get to work there a few hours during the week too.  I am not sure if anyone else had the same experience I had today but whatever they experienced I hope it was something as good as what I felt.   Today I heard two sermons.  The sermon the pastor gave today was good but the most important sermon I receive was the one given to me by God.  Though I love my new job at the church I also realize that also need to leave that behind when I enter the church on Sunday morning.  I also need to remember that I do not need anything at all to worship God except the giving to Him of myself.  Church is not a social club I attend or a place where it needs to be fancy and have modern technology.  It just needs to be a place where other Christians and I come together to worship God.

 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:5

My Advocate

I just started taking a new Bible study class 3 weeks ago.  Tonight’s class got the gears turning inside my head so much I decided to write about it.

The verses we studied in tonight’s class were John 14:15-24

This is the NIV version

John 14:15-24 

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

We talked about how in this scripture Jesus was telling His disciples that though He was leaving them, He was going to ask the Father give them another advocate, that advocate being the Holy Spirit.

A question that we pondered for quite some time was…

  • Once we accept Jesus as our savior is the Holy Spirit with us forever?  If we later would fall away from Jesus and say we do not believe in Him or do not love Him is the Holy Spirit still with us??

The people in the class seem to me to be a group of well seasoned Christians and since I am a new person to the class I struggle a bit with speaking up, I guess its the fear that I may be wrong?  Though I am sure that in this class it would not matter if I was right or wrong because they all seem very nice and seem to respect each others opinions very well.  I almost spoke up a few times but found myself keeping quiet. I still am not sure if we ever came to a conclusion or not but this is just what I think so what I am writing is what I most likely would have said had I the courage to open my mouth.

First thing I notice is that Jesus says the word ‘if’,  I think the scripture could be taken in the way that says if we keep his commands and love him only then will the Holy Spirit be with us forever…BUT  what if we don’t keep his commands and love him? Will the Holy Spirit then leave us?

I personally think that the part that says ‘He will give you another advocate to Help you and be with you forever’   means forever no matter what and this is why I think that.  I think that the key words here are  ‘help you’ .  Remember I am a person who has not always walked with Jesus.

A long time ago I tried to do the “church thing” though I never really understood it.  I even felt moved to be saved, I went forward during a church service a long time ago and I accepted Jesus as my savior.  I even got Baptized but unfortunately I did not really understand what it all meant and I eventually fell away from church and God.  I then spent a lot of years being angry and saying I did not believe in God.

  • Did I not receive the Holy Spirit when I went forward?  I did not know what the Holy Spirit was at that time, but something nudged me to go forward, I am thinking that was the Holy Spirit.
  •  Did I believe in Jesus at the time?  Yes I did believe in Jesus.
  •  Do I think that after I fell away from God the Holy Spirit left me?   No I don’t.  Just like the scripture says Jesus sent another advocate to help me and be with me forever.  So I think that even though I fell away and said I did not believe in God, the Holy Spirit stayed with me.  He stayed right here with me as my advocate, waiting for just the right moment to show me that God was real and help me find my way, that was the night I saw my father in law go to heaven… (click to read that story here)

Then the Holy Spirit began to nudge me to act on that newly found knowledge that God was real.

He then nudged me to pick up and read a daily devotional book that gradually led me look up stuff in the Bible which in turn caused a lot of Bible reading.

Then gradually he nudged me that it was time to find a church. I would go to churches but then I would chicken out from going in the buildings.  I remember sitting in the parking lot of the church I now belong to, trying to get the courage to go in and hearing this voice in my head telling me I was not alone to go on in.  That was the Holy Spirit again being my advocate.  When I felt so paralyzed with fear that I could not move He helped me get out of my car and walk in the building.

One Sunday about a month after attending the church I belong to now the pastor’s sermon was on the Holy Spirit.  He also did a baptism that day and then afterwards offered that anyone who wanted to could come up and dip their fingers in the water to remember their own baptisms.  I can’t remember the pastors exact words or even much of the sermon but I do remember feeling so emotional as I was realizing what I had missed at my first Baptism and then I felt the nudging and the word “Go”.   I stood up, went to the front and dipped my fingers in the water.  As I put the water on my face a feeling of peace came washing over me and I knew I was finally back where I belonged in my Saviors Arms.

Do I think the Holy Spirit stays with us forever?  Yes I do.   The Holy spirit is my advocate,  he stood up for me when I could not stand up for myself, He came to my rescue to nudge me back into the right direction.  God loved me even when I was denying Him.  He sent me Jesus.  Jesus died for my sins and He sent me an advocate in the Holy Spirit, the advocate who is with me forever because Jesus sent him.  I finally after all these years do know who I am when I am in Christ.

If you would like to have Jesus help guide your life you can get more information by clicking the link below.

Thanks for reading and God bless you 🙂