Multiplication Lesson

mathematics equation-989129_1920“When God enters the equation, His output always exceeds your input.”

-Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker

Over the years, my kids have taught me ‘new math,’ but nothing compares to God’s math!  In God’s math class, he doesn’t subtract or add, HE MULTIPLIES!

My favorite illustration of God’s math was when Jesus fed five thousand people (not including women and children) with a little boy’s lunch.

“Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish,but how far will they go among so many?” (John 6:9, NIV)

Like the little boy who shared his lunch, I too have little to offer.  Also like the boy, I have firsthand knowledge of God’s enormous response to simple offerings.

I prayed, “Lord, five loaves and two fish.”

SHC logo

“Breaking the cycle of malnutrition, ONE LIFE at a time.”

In March of 2015, I allowed advertising on the Red Chair Moments website.  My mission was to use the site to raise money for Serving His Children, a non-profit organization that provides nourishment to children in Jinga, Uganda. However I never had peace about this decision to sell ads.

Two weeks later I revoked the advertisements. I prayed, “Lord, if you want to raise extra money for Serving His Children, you’ll have to find another way.” I took my meager $0.65 profit and wrote the smallest check to Serving His Children. Prior to handing over the check, I prayed “Lord, five loaves and two fish.”

Walk by Faith Not by Sight

With promptingconverse- red shoes 932667_1920 pixabay from my writing mentors, I took a faith leap and attended the five-day Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in Asheville, NC. There, I was invited to submit articles for consideration to Focus on the Family’s Children’s magazine, Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr.  In November of 2015, Clubhouse purchased a craft article! Six months after I prayed for God to find another way to raise money, I presented Serving His Children with a check for $75.00!

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much.” (Luke 16:10, ESV)

God’s Mathmath-611503_1280 pixabay

My $0.65 faith check in March multiplied over 1000 times to a $75.00 faith check six months later.

Little is much when God is in it!

I am excited to announce Clubhouse purchased another article for the 2016 magazine. Like the little boy who shared his lunch, I too have little to offer.  Also like the boy, I have firsthand knowledge of God’s enormous response to simple offerings.

 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” (John 6:9, NIV)

Do you have a story of a time God multiplied your faith and obedience? Please share below!

To God be the glory!

~April 

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Run to Win

 

I run because I like to eat.  I have a propensity for Mexican food, Chick-Fil-A, coffee, and chocolate. Unfortunately, if I want to eat from my four favorite food groups and still fit into my clothes, I must run.

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
This morning, during my coffee date with God, I read those words. The repetition of the words let usjumped off the page. The anonymous author of Hebrews offered three commands in Christian life.
·        Let us throw off everything that hinders
·        Let us run with perseverance 
·        Let us fix our eyes on Jesus
I love the imagery this verse provides. Although I am not a trained athlete, I can relate to running a race, growing weary, and losing heart.  Going deeper, I dissected those three commands for my own personal reflection.  
Throw off everything that hinders and the sin that entangles:
Drop the baggage. I run free from unnecessary items.  I only run with ear buds to listen to music or a podcast. The author of Hebrews also tells us to run free from extra baggage. This baggage could be in the form of unhealthy relationships we know we should let go. Perhaps the baggage are those over indulgences (food, sleep, novels, games, and electronics) might not something considered bad, but too much of it could be hindering our walk with the Lord.
You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth?  It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom.
(Galatians 5:7, NLT)
 
Run with perseverance:
Keep running! Don’t give up.  On New Year’s Day, many of us start a new resolution, but how many have the fortitude to finish? Perseverance means to keep on, keepin’ on. Don’t quit now! This is the time when encouragement is needed the most. We need an arsenal of encouragement in the form of songs, Scripture, and friends to cheer us on when the race is tough.
Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!  All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.  So I run with purpose in every step. (1 Corinthians 9:24-26, NLT)
The race marked for us:
God knows our start and our finish line. He knows where we are at any point along our journey or our race we call life. God describes He has a plan for us in Jeremiah 29:11.  In Psalms 139, God reminds us that all the days of our life are already ordained.  He already knows the direction of our path.  Sometimes we get overwhelmed because what we see in front of us is a huge obstacle and we give up because we cannot see the finish line. Don’t give up. God can see beyond the obstacle.
Over the past years I have participated in a few 5K races. Prior to race day, I will examine the course and map out the race. I like to become familiar with the path and acquaint myself with the surroundings. However, in life, we cannot preview our race. We have to take what God gives us one day at a time.
All the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day. (Psalm 139:16, MSG)
 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT)

 

  
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus:
Years ago, I participated in my first 5K race. I began the run with my son and niece, but a mile into the race I found myself running alone. Musicians, police officers, and supporters were on every corner providing cheers along the way. To my utter astonishment I stumbled upon my coworker’s wife,Casey near the halfway mark.  I was thankful when she offered to run alongside me for the remainder of the race. I was growing weary and losing heart.  A wave of nausea began to wash over me as we jogged the last steep hill. In an effort to hide my agony, I hollered a loud rebel yell “Yee haw!” But the agony did not subside. Sensing my weariness, she breathlessly said “There it is, April! The finish line! There it is!”  Shorter than Casey, I could not see the finish line. All I could see was a sea of weary runners ahead of us. Panting I said, “Casey, promise me it’s there, I can’t see the finish line.”  She could see what I could not. Somehow the knowledge of the finish line in sight encouraged me to keep on running.
In life we don’t have the advantage or previewing our path. Our journey will continue to have spectators hollering from the sidelines. Some cheer to encourage, while others will yell to drag you down. Over the past several years, God has taught me the value of tuning out the sideline shows, drama, and distractions in life. As my Sunday school teacher recently taught:  “Fix your focus” on the Lord.
I am thankful God sent Casey to run with me that day. I am thankful for her encouragement along our path. I needed reassurance that the finish line was near. She could see what I could not. When I began sharing Red Chair Moments, God led me to Romans 1:12: “May you and I be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”  Encourage those around you. If you know someone who is going through a tough season, encourage them. If you have been encouraged by their faith through that difficult season, tell them.  It might just be that your words are the reassurance they need to finish the race!
I have fought the good fight,
I have finished the race, and 
I have remained faithful. 
(2 Timothy 4:7, NLT)
~April

Equip This Vessel

boat for equip this vessel pixabay

I met a friend of a friend on New Year’s Day for a meeting of sorts. We both have a passion for the Lord and for writing so we met to share ideas. She has two possibly three books she is currently writing, and she wants to learn more on writing a blog. I write this blog and sense God is directing me to a write a book, so we are a good match.


Sitting across from me sipping Gatorade from a Mary Kay cup, Robin asked me to share my story of how I met the Lord, my life, family, work, and Red Chair Moments. When I finished, she sat back in her chair and said “I sense God giving me the word equip for you.” Then Robin shared with me the verse she read that morning:


“It is God who equipped me with strength and made my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; He enables me to stand on the heights.” (Psalm 18:32-33)


Equip –  For the rest of the day I pondered that word. All throughout the day I asked God to show me what He wants me to learn. My answer came the next day in the January 2 devotion from Jesus Calling:
“Thus I equip you to face whatever the day brings.”


The more I thought about the word equip the more I realized it fits perfectly with anchor, God’s theme for my life this year.  I thought about how an anchor is a piece of equipment on a ship (vessel). When lowered, the anchor hold a vessel firmly in place. When hoisted, the anchor allows the vessel to move and embark onto new adventures.


“So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel.  And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.” (Jeremiah 18:3-4 ESV)


God uses the Parable of the Potter in Jeremiah 18 to describe God creating His children out of clay each for his specific use.  God created us to be serviceable and used for His purposes. When we mess up, (we’re only human) God doesn’t discard us. Rather, God’s strong hands continue to rework the clay into another vessel or pot. “In the same way that this potter works his clay, I work on you.”


“So I went to the potter’s house, and sure enough, the potter was there, working away at his wheel. Whenever the pot the potter was working on turned out badly, as sometimes happens when you are working with clay, the potter would simply start over and use the same clay to make another pot.”
(Jeremiah 18:3-4 MSG)


I continued to research vessel in the Bible and found encouragement to equip me on my journey for 2015.


“Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” (2 Timothy 2:21 ESV)


I continued my research, now turning to the word spoken over me on New Year’s Day.


Equip: verb
  1. To supply with the necessary items for a particular purpose.
  2. To prepare someone mentally for a particular situation or task.


By now you know I  love researching the use and origin of words. I learned that the word equip is actually derived from the Old Norse or NoBoat-2Bimage-2Bby-2Bandreagen-2BPixabayrth Germanic language (Viking language) of Iceland, Sweden, Norwegian countries in the 1300’s.   


  • The Old Norse word skip = our word for ship.
  • The Old Norse word for skipa = our word “to man a ship”.
  • The French word for “to man a ship” = equiper
  • The French word equiper = our early 16th century word for equip.


Whoa! Did you catch that? Equip is derived from the Old Norse (Viking) word for ship, meaning to man a ship!


I prayed. “Lord, I am Your vessel created by Your hands to accomplish Your specific purpose. Lord, don’t allow  me to become a useless vessel (Hosea 8:8 ESV) drifting along with no anchor. Lord, You are my Anchor. You are my Hope. When the storms of life come, You are the Ballast in my boat to keep me steady.  In You, I am equipped with strength, ready to do every good work. Lord, I am your vessel. Man, guide, and steer this vessel for Your purpose. In Jesus name, Amen.”


~April

redchairmoments@gmail.com

Photo credit courtesy of Pixabay

Loved & Chosen

“Hey sister loved by God, I KNOW that He has chosen you!”
1 Thessalonians 1:4 (paraphrased with attitude)

I am participating in a Thessalonians bible study titled Children of The Day by Beth Moore. Each time we meet we are to greet one another by saying, “Hey sister loved by God, I KNOW that He has chosen you!” With warm mugs of coffee we say that to each other and laugh.
This week I have been really meditating on that verse and that truth. First of all we are loved by God, and secondly, He has chosen us. I mean chosen us! I can remember years and years ago attending a women’s retreat, in fact it was the first women’s retreat that I had ever attended. It was an in house retreat where we watched the video series Anointed, Transformed, and Redeemed by Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, and Kay Arthur. I remember sitting in a small group struggling with feelings of being a failure as a parent. (Do you see an underlying theme here, going on in my life?) Andrew and Rachel were little, both preschoolers, and just at that season of our life. I will never forget opening up to my small group and sharing my feelings. I was feeling like God gave these children to the wrong mom. I remember thinking “I can’t do this.” I felt like I wasn’t the right mother for these children. The small group leader Holly, looked at me and said “April, you have been chosen.” She reminded me then, as I was reminded this week in scripture that I have been hand picked by God for what He has me doing, right now. As I reflected on the words “Hey sister loved by God, He has chosen you!” I thought about how God used my friend Holly back then. I still have those words, faded now, written on an index card on the front of my refrigerator.
My friend Holly moved away around 5 years ago . I decided to send her this text: “Hey sister loved by God, I know that He has chosen you! I am studying 1&2 Thessalonians and I am praising God for you! I am thanking God for the day you revealed this truth to me many years ago at the women’s retreat.” Almost immediately, I got a message back from her telling me she was in tears. She had been up all night, wrestling it out with God, over an email she had received. She had been up all night praying and wondering if she had done or said something wrong to upset a friend. She said my message to her that morning was divinely appointed.
I love that! I love the way God uses scriptures and others to be boomerang effect. She encouraged me many years ago, in the Spring of 2008 (from the best of our memory) and now I was able to encourage her! In fact I asked her permission to tell this story, because I was sitting in my red chair while texting her, so it qualified as a Red Chair Moment.
Life is hard. But know this: You are loved by God and He has chosen you!
“Hey sister loved by God, I KNOW that He has chosen you!”
~April
“May you and I be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” Romans 1:12

Pin It on Pinterest