Simple Joys

A few weeks ago I had an amazing opportunity to visit North Dakota with our church choir. Besides singing every night there was one morning activity planned to visit the kids of Turtle Mountain Reservation. No it’s not a literal turtle looking mountain lol, actually the town we visited was Dunseith, which means “city of peace”.

A small town in the middle of flat lands, the scenery was beautiful. We knew we were going to be helping with the Native American children. Once we got there they were all so eager to see who came and what we were going to do. With some activities and crafts planned we played with them and had beautiful interactions. On the basketball court I had seen a dead rodent with a string tied up. I wondered- do they play with them? Kept on playing hopscotch.

After being there a while I seen it all play into action, the children are experts in catching gophers coming out of their holes. I was surprised at the skill, I immediately thought how my two boys and my husband would want to do this. These little gophers are fast and tiny. The patience required to stand still with the string ready to loop the gopher is one that needs to be extremely alert and ready. Each child that did it caught one. I was amazed. It truly brought me joy, some were grossed out at the fact of a dead rodent but I couldn’t help but find it fascinating.

I’m sure it has taken them many trial and errors to learn that skill but they are good at it now. I could see the smile every time one of them caught one and honestly I was proud too! That moment brought me a smile too, in the middle of a field with kids all around, different things happening. It was simple and truly joyful. I have felt simple joy recently and I like it. No big plans or gimmicks-enjoying the small things.

Takes me back to that scripture-God delights in the details. Psalm 37:27 I want to celebrate small things with all my heart, to be grateful and thankful for the small puzzle pieces that make the big picture. Children skillfully catching gophers for fun is certainly one of them.

Deep cries out to Deep

The song Oceans was one of the first I learned to play on the guitar. Love that song still. There’s s one line in the song that still gets me….”take me deeper than my feet could ever wonder” THAT line!! Just think about that statement for a second. You are asking God to take you deeper than your feet could ever wonder, I have to admit that’s a little scary. What does that mean? Our minds can’t comprehend what we are asking for. But I’ll sing it anyways, trusting He knows best.

I know when He calls us to go deeper it requires letting go of something, theres a stripping away that happens in our spiritual lives. Most of the time we don’t even know it or we are totally unaware that it is happening until we are at the low point. We start questioning God, why this-why that?! Suddenly, we think How did I end up here? When all along it was part of His plan for our lives. He’s calling us to a deeper relationship with Him, a better understanding of who He is.

We can’t know Him if we stay on the shore, we have to trust as we walk further and further in the water. Our deepest hidden cries OR treasures cannot surface if we don’t acknowledge them. And that wont happen on the shore, deep cries out to deep. Only when you have submerged deeper then you will start feeling and seeing things that need to change. No it’s not pleasant, when I cry it’s not pretty. But I cry out to a God who does not leave me, who wont forsake me, who walks beside me and wipes my tears. His faithful (hesed) love endures forever and it’s here for me and you.

How deep will you go?

How far can you go?

Ummm no it’s not a Moana song LOL! I though that too when I started to type the title. Really thinking how much we hinder ourselves from our purpose, daily, distractions that add up little by little.

So if you don’t know I’ve been of social media for a week now. I really felt God calling me to get off and log off. To give my family my all my 100% attention this summer. Well I want to share how that’s been going, briefly because I need to figure out breakfast.

The first couple of days I found myself reaching for my phone to touch the instagram app or facebook only to find I had deleted them. Just out of habit. Now I find myself reaching out for a little hand, a hug or a kiss from my littles. I’ve been on a mental journey preparing for this ”disconnection” from social media and I’ve realized what a LIE it is. It’s so funny how the main reason is to connect us with those we know. But really it disconnects us from what is real, in front of us. What is happening in front of us. No lie….I have cleaned out my linen closet that I have been putting off for years. YES years, ashamed. Two big black trash bags of junk, mismatched sheets and old towels that just needed to go.

I feel like my life and that linen closet have very much in common. I’ve filled my life with junk….and it’s not even mine. Really not even important, relevant. How much more can I accomplish with all this free time I have that I am not on social media. How far can I go?

Proverbs 31:25, I am definitely being clothed in strength for this season because it’s not easy. Believe me I’ve been talking myself into it….But if I can do it you can too friend!

God & Evil

Don’t overlook what God has done in your life….there’s proof of the things He has done or maybe you can see how He came through in certain situations. Maybe, some not the way You would of wanted Him too, or maybe you are just plain impatient and are still waiting. Let me tell you something, keep waiting. Hold fast and keep praying. In the mean time DO NOT forget who is your side. The moment you start to waiver, you give room for doubt to set in. Doubt creates fear and anger, isolation and that’s exactly where the enemy wants you.

We look for signs all around us, so blindly we walk in fear & not in faith. When our faith is replaced by fear we let our guard down. Don’t be fooled evil is waiting for your vulnerability, your downfall.

Our precious God will still speak to us in chaos, with a still small voice TOO! Do not give room for evil to rob you of what God has for you…..I believe the evil way will always present itself as an easier escape, a feel good ”feeling” but ultimately only a trap. God’s way may seem harder because we place ourselves in His hands, trusting in His plan- dying to our selfish desires. Be encouraged today, God’s perfect purpose for your life won’t fail-TRUST HIM & only Him.

Safe Haven

I’m so thankful for the Lord’s deliverance. When you cry out HE intervenes, He saves us from distress! He sent His word to Heal us!

Psalm 107:29-30 NIV
29 He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. 30 They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.

And once in a while our desired haven is only reached when HE carries us.

Youtube Esther Chapter 1 Study

http://www.youtube.com/c/CristinaAtkinsSheisp31

^^^^Click on this link to see Video^^^^

ESTHER CHAPTER ONE  REVIEW SHEET

WE ARE GIVEN A BACKGROUND OF THE TIME.

THE KING REIGNING IS XERXES WHO RULED FROM 486-465 BC THE PERSIAN EMPIRE WAS POWERFUL AND HAD A HUGE KINGDOM.

VERSE 5 OF CHAPTER ONE (3 YEARS INTO HIS REIGN) WE SEE THE KING HAVING A PARTY FOR A WEEK, HERE HE DISPLAYED HIS GREATNESS AND WEALTH. 

IT SAYS ALL THE PEOPLE FROM THE GREATEST TO THE LEAST WERE PRESENT.

IMAGINE GOLD AND SILVER COUCHES, MOSAIC PAVEMENTS OF RED FELDSPAR (AND IF YOU’RE LIKE ME GOOGLE IT), MOTHER OF PEARL AND PRECIOUS STONES ALL AROUND.

DRINKS IN GOLD GOBLETS, ROYAL WINE FLOWING FREELY AND NO RESTRAINT WAS PLACED ON THE DRINKING.

CAN WE SAY-MESS!!!

VERSE 8 SAYS THE KING ORDERED EVERY WINE STEWARD IN HIS HOUSEHOLD TO SERVE AS MUCH AS EACH PERSON WANTED.

HOW IS THIS GOING TO END UP? BAD? WHY?

VERSE 9 QUEEN VASHTI IS INTRODUCED AND SHE WAS ALSO THROWING A PARTY FOR THE WOMEN IN THE PALACE.

SO AFTER A WEEK OF INDULGING IN WINE, KING XERXES DEMANDED HIS 7 EUNUCHS TO BRING QUEEN VASHTI BEFORE HIM AND HIS FRIENDS.

HE WANTED TO SHOW OFF HER BEAUTY -LETS JUST IMAGINE ALL THE HORRIBLE SCENARIOS?? 

VERSE 12 QUEEN VASHTI REFUSES.

WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE? HOW DO YOU THINK QUEEN VASHTI FELT? 

SHE STANDS UP TO THE KING AND SAYS NO

THE REST OF THE CHAPTER WE SEE A DECREE WRITTEN UP BECAUSE OF VASHTI’S NO.

SHE IS NO LONGER ALLOWED IN THE KINGS PRESENCE AND HE ROYAL POSITION IS TO BE GIVEN TO ANOTHER. 

VERSE 20, THE DECREE IS WRITTEN FOR ALL WOMEN TO HONOR THEIR HUSBANDS FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST. 

SO IN THE KINGS ANGER AND FRUSTRATION HE RETALIATES ALL WOMEN IN THE KINGDOM.

ROLLING MY EYES LOL!

CAN YOU SEE THE PERSONALITY OF KING XERXES? WHAT ABOUT HIS OFFICIALS? 

WHAT DOES HIS ACTIONS SAY ABOUT HIS OUTLOOK ON MARRIAGE?

Through all of this chapter we see God setting up a platform for something “new” to come along……perhaps a new queen? But who? 


Not my Understanding

All God wants from us is to TRUST HIM!

If you read the Old Testament over and over the people have a hard time trusting HIM!

Why?

We lean on our own understanding, we don’t acknowledge the capacity of God’s perfect plan for our lives. We are always in a hurry, what’s the “quick” fix.

Bottom line-we think WE can do it better!

In real life events that’s not the TRUTH-God wants us to trust His plan for our lives. Learn how to be a passenger.

Listen to these words in Proverbs 3:5-6 who were written by King Solomon who is telling us not to forget God’s teachings, to keep His commands, never let loyalty & faithfulness leave us-to tie them around our necks/heart, then we will find favor.

Verse 5- Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding; 6-think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.

Think about God in ALL your ways…..period.
Are you thinking about HIM in all the decisions we have to make?
It says He will guide us…I want to be guided and I want to fully trust He has got ME!

Esther Study

I can’t wait to share with YOU the amazing book of Esther! 

SHE bible study coming up! 

Make sure you are connected so you don’t miss out! 

Follow on Facebook-SHE 

Or YouTube: Cristina Atkins 

#sheisp31 #youhaveapurpose #godsperfectplan

Do I Matter?

I often find myself asking silly questions, because they really are. I know what my Heavenly Father says about me. But sometimes I go there…..do I matter? Does anyone care? Honestly these questions seem to come when I’m having a pity party, LOL. Oh, how we can get so wrapped up in our feelings. I read an awesome passage the other day that has stood out to me and has confirmed (again) how much God cares for us, more than we can comprehend.

I spent a long weekend with some precious ladies in ministry. Spent a lot of time in the Old Testament and talking about Sabbath. But it was one story I read in Nehemiah that has stood out to me. Nehemiah 3:12- we meet Shallum & his daughters. After they have returned to their promised land and are exiled no more the rebuilding of the wall starts to take place. The previous chapter we see who all is helping and with the help of their sons. Except Shallum, he only has daughters. It says he owned a good portion of Jerusalem and he made repairs along with his daughters help. We don’t know how many he had or their names but it does mention them. God cared for them so much that their work did not go unlooked. They were mentioned in the bible!!! I’m sure these women at times were faced with unthinkable challenges, they were not men. But they persevered, they knew this was a sacred covenant with God. God had let them return to their promised land and start the rebuilding of it.

Do not ever think you are not valuable, YOU ARE! This verse confirms we are not forgotten. God cared for Shallum’s daughters, and now you and me can read this chapter and know that it is true in our own lives. Hold fast-what you do does matter. You matter more than know!

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