A Hand Reaching Out

I was sitting on a beach enjoying the sunshine when suddenly the clouds that had been puffy white suddenly turned an odd shade of brown and started going together into a long roll. I stopped what I was doing and stood up watching, mesmerized as they rolled quickly across the sky coming to a stop over the water.

The clouds kept getting bigger and bigger and they started dipping down close to the water. The people around me started to panic and someone said, “oh my God it’s a tornado!” and then everyone started running.

Everyone was screaming and running but I couldn’t move because my feet were suddenly frozen to the ground. Everyone around me was panicking but I wasn’t scared at all. It was like I had this feeling of peace and a knowing that I was safe and I just stood there watching the clouds.

Chaos was everywhere and then in an instant it was if the world around me just stopped. All the people were all standing frozen in place now and there was no wind or rain to go along with the darkness. The ocean waves had stopped leaving the surface of the water still and dark black like a giant pool of ink. It felt as if the air went silent too. It was so quiet I imagine this is what deafness must feel like. 

I should have been scared but I wasn’t scared at all. It was like the hush I felt around me was also inside of me filling me to the depths of my entire soul with a perfect feeling of peace.

Suddenly out of the deafness there came a loud clap of thunder and the clouds began parting with rays of the most magnificent beams of bright light I’d ever seen shining through them and then a giant hand came out of the opening in the sky. The hand came down just above the water and opened turning palm upward. It began moving closer to us with beautiful colored light shining all around it.

Someone shouted, “it’s the hand of God!”  By then I was already crying and feeling in awe of his presence because I knew those words were true…Yes! This was the hand of God!  So many feelings were going through me now, feelings of joy and love and an unexplainable feeling of peace like I have never known. The hand moved around as if offering itself to all who wanted to grasp it but nobody moved. After a while it went back up into the clouds and the sky immediately went back to normal.

I was wrecked, falling to my knees to pray thinking those around me would join in…but it didn’t happen. Instead, the people just went back to their business as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. It was as if nobody even cared what they had just been a part of.

I turned to a woman standing next to me and said, “wow the hand of…”  but she cut me off and said, “the hand of God, ya right, who cares!” and then she rolled her eyes!

God’s hand had been there, right in front of us, offering for each one of us to just reach out and take what he had to offer. It couldn’t possibly be true that nobody cared! They were all right there so close to being in in the palm of his hand, how they could pass that up it just made no sense!!! I started crying….

And then I woke up.

It had only been a dream!

Even though it was only a dream my heart was still pounding and I felt sick to my stomach and my face was wet with tears because I had been crying in my sleep.

I know it was only a dream but it felt so real!

It’s been a day and a half and I still can’t shake it that dream. In the dream, it made me sad that God was right in front of us in such a spectacular display and nobody cared and nobody would take what he had to offer. This has me thinking about how there used to be a time in my life that God’s hand was right in front of my face and I didn’t see it. I also have to admit that there are still some days that go by and I miss him.

Years ago I didn’t see him because I didn’t want to see Him. I used to think he wasn’t real and now it’s hard for me to believe that I could have ever felt that way. How could I have gotten up in the morning to see a sunrise and never wonder how something so magnificent could have gotten there? How could I have had 3 children and never once questioned how something so perfect as a newborn baby could have formed without help from something more than just magically happening? I could go on but I know you know what I mean… flowers, animals, air, water, LIFE. It’s all because of Him.

God is real and God is always here in each and every second of every day. We may not see him as a big giant hand reaching out of the sky like in my dream but He is all around us in each and every single thing in each and every single day.

I don’t want to miss him, and I don’t want anyone to miss what he has to offer!

Open my eyes Lord.

Open our eyes, let us see your hand reaching out to us!

I know to someone who doesn’t believe in Him this may sound strange. I know because I have been there. I used to live my life without God in it. I also remember a time in my life that I felt that I was too bad and that there was no way he could ever want or love me. But that wasn’t true and even though I totally gave up on him and also on myself, he still never gave up on me. He has shown me time and time again that he wants me, and now that he is in my life He has been right here holding my hand for every single step I take. If you are reading this and in need of a hand to help lift you up, all you have to do is want Him in your life. Just tell him you want him and then grab on to his hand. He sent Jesus to save us and all we have to do is ask him in and he will come.

It’s truly that simple.

If He is what you want and you don’t know what to say, you can say this prayer –  Dear Jesus, I know you are the son of God, I know you came for me, I know you died for me. I ask you to come into my life right now. I ask you to forgive me for my sin because I want to make a fresh start. I want to live the rest of my life with you and for you. Amen

If you said that prayer for the first time or maybe you are just deciding to come back from a separation of some sort, know that now he has you in the palm of his hand. If you are there you will never be alone.

 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
    and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
    I will not forget you!
 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
    your walls are ever before me. Isaiah 49:15-26

Have a great weekend!

Terri Siebert

 

Baking Classes to Help Ericka Become a Chef – 12 Days of Giving Christmas Away

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Today was Christmas cookie baking day at my house.

I started with M & M Cookies.

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Then moved on to Peanut Blossoms.

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And then for the big finish and my favorite, Fudge.

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As I was baking I started thinking about my Compassion Sponsor child ‘Ericka’.  This past September I had the opportunity to visit Ericka in El Salvador.

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The Moment we Met… Ericka and Me

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Ericka and Me at the Water Park

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Heraldo our interpretor, Ericka’s Father Salvador, Me, Ericka, and her Teacher

One of the things Ericka shared with me me during our visit is that she wants to be a Chef when she grows up.

The very next day after visiting Ericka we visited a Compassion project in San Salvador that had a baking class.

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Children in Baking Class at a Compassion Project in San Salvador, El Salvador

In the baking class the children were learning how to cook, and that day they were making garlic bread loaves. We were all able to sample them and they were delicious!

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The kids really seemed to enjoy the class and shared with us what they were learning and they told us they wanted to be chefs when they grew up.

By being in Compassion’s sponsorship program they were able to be a part of this class and they were learning a very valuable skill that would not only help them at home to safely prepare meals, but also would help them in the future as a job skill they would be able to use for creating and selling food in the market.

This was something I didn’t realize was available to the children and when I saw this I realized that what Ericka had said the day before about wanting to be a chef someday was actually a possibility and it was something she could learn right in her Compassion project!

How exciting is that?!!

So that brings me to today’s Giving Christmas Away gift the gift of Baking Classes.

As you have just read, learning to cook can be very valuable gift for a child in poverty.

To give the gift of a Baking Class just click the picture below of the little girl in the apron and it will take you to the gifts page

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She is one of the kids I met in the baking class in El Salvador, just look at that smile. She was one very joyful little girl 🙂

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!

Terri Siebert

Other Posts in the ‘Twelve Days of Giving Christmas Away’ 

Day 1. A Very Special Music Monday –  Kickoff to Twelve Days of Giving Christmas Away

Day 2. Water of Life – 12 Days of Giving Christmas Away

Day 3. Giving Christmas Away ~ Feed  a Mother and Baby

Day 4. Twelve Days of Giving Christmas Away – Good Tidings of Great Joy and the Gift of the Bible

Day 5. Pigs Chickens and Goats

Day 6. No Time to Write Because I Want to Read a Book and Go to Sleep

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My Week in Pictures

Whew it seems like my life has been crazy busy lately and it also seems like time is just flying by faster and faster the older I get.

As I go through each day I usually try to write down or take pictures of some of the blessings I come across so I will have reminders of all the wonderful gifts I have received from God. This evening I was going through my phone and I was amazed at all of the pictures and notes I had written down in only a week.

Here are just a handful of the awesome gifts I received this week.

This first picture is from last Saturday which was the 4th of July, we had our little grandsons Mason & Gavin at our house and to make a long story short fireworks were not their idea of a fun time so they watched from a safe distance inside the house with grandma. I just love these sweet boys so much <320150704_204932

The next day was Sunday. I arrived at church and found these waiting for me  🙂 20150705_112645-1On Monday I worked at the Compassion Mobile Experience. This is pretty cool and a lot of fun to work at and visit.  Visitors of the experience get to go on an interactive tour through the life of a past Compassion child who is all grown up now.  As the child tells their story through an iPod and headset the visitor gets to travel along through rooms that look, feel, and smell just like the child’s life as they grew up. As visitors move through the child’s journey they get to see how the child’s life changed from one of poverty to hope after they came into Compassion’s program.

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Packets of children waiting for sponsors

153 children were sponsored at the Mobile Experience this weekend and these are the prayers their new sponsors left for them.20150706_185450 (1)If the Compassion Mobile Experience ever comes to your town be sure to take the time to walk through it, you will be glad you did.

Monday night on my way home I saw this awesome sunset!20150706_191927Tuesday night the rain came down extra hard20150701_221039

and Bart was bored.20150705_181009

Wednesday I found this gem 🙂Screenshot_2015-07-10-21-27-47

Thursday Bart was still bored <320150706_204607

This morning (Friday) I was blessed to be at church as our youth left for a mission trip to Oklahoma.20150710_100201I just loved seeing their excitement!

Tonight my husband and I went on a date and we had really good conversation and some really great food… I don’t have any pictures of date night but its still fresh in my mind.

If you are interested, I try to post blessings on my gifts page (tab at the top of this blog) from time to time.

Writing down and taking pictures of blessings is something I do because if I am ever having a bad day I always know I can go to my journal or my pictures and see thousands of reminders as to God’s awesomeness and love that he gives me on a daily basis. When we really look for them we will usually find God’s gifts are always there just waiting to be opened.

I would say over all this was a pretty good week 🙂

I hope you also have a wonderful and blessed weekend and week and don’t forget to stop along the way and open all the gifts that God has left for you,

T

P.S. If you were interested in visiting the mobile experience here is a link to a list of cities it will be coming to in the near future –Compassion Mobile Experience

Johnny’s Got Jesus in Him

20150629_154826As I walked up to the airport shuttle door the driver jumped down the steps, pointed at me and said, “Don’t move!”… Immediately I froze, thinking I had done something wrong but then I realized the driver was grinning from ear to ear at me.  He then jumped off the bus, grabbed mine and my husband’s suitcases, and put them on the bus while he welcomed us aboard.

As we boarded the bus we were met by sound of music.  The bus radio was on a Christian radio station and as the driver hopped back on the bus I realized he was happily singing along.  There was a sign above the driver that said, “Your driver’s name is Johnny.”

There was something about Johnny that had my attention, I think it was his joy.  Johnny not only drove the bus, but Johnny kept singing and he also seemed to be dancing in his seat as he drove.  From time to time he would hold up his hand and point his finger up towards the sky.  It was very obvious, Johnny was in love with the Lord and Johnny was singing to Him today.

At each bus stop Johnny would quickly hop off the bus and tell each passenger not to move while sharing his contagious smile with them.  He would then grab their luggage and put it on the bus insisting that they go sit down.

Some of those suitcases looked very heavy but Johnny carried them up the steps and put them on the rack with such ease that he made it look as if they were weightless.  All the while he kept smiling and laughing while chatting with each passenger as they climbed aboard. After putting their luggage on the bus he would get back in his seat, start driving and singing once again.

Johnny had joy radiating from him and his joy was contagious.  I looked around the bus at the other passengers and I realized that everyone had a smile on their face as they watched Johnny.

Johnny’s job did not look very fun to me.  Actually his job looked like a very hard job and he seemed to go above and beyond what was expected of him to do. Johnny didn’t act grumpy or complain, instead Johnny worked extra hard.  Johnny drove, Johnny lifted heavy suitcases… make that LOTS of heavy suitcases and yet Johnny smiled, Johnny sang and Johnny shared joy.

The people who road Johnny’s bus saw Jesus.  If a passenger on Johnny’s bus did not know Jesus then they got to meet him through Johnny today.

As I watched Johnny it reminded me of the verse in the Bible, Colossians 3:23-24 that says ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.’ 

It was pretty obvious Johnny was working for the Lord today. There was no way you could ride Johnny’s bus and not feel happy because Johnny has Jesus in him and Johnny was shining His light all over the place.

Wouldn’t it be cool if we all could work like Johnny does?

Have a wonderful day today!

Terri

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.. Matthew 5:14-16

 

My Comment Turned into a Blog Post

Yesterday evening I was visiting a few of my favorite blogs and I came across this picture

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This picture is courtesy of https://truthinpalmyra.wordpress.com

and this question

Just a Thought:  Jesus laid down His life; no one took it. For you, for me, for all of us. Are we willing to lay ours down for our brethren?

The picture and the thought came from Wally Fry’s blog ‘Truth in Palmyra’

I started writing a comment for Wally but then I realized about 3 paragraphs into my comment, that my comment was becoming way too long to be a comment. so I then decided instead of hijacking Wally’s blog by writing a comment longer than his blog post, I would just turn my comment into a post and post it on my own blog.

Here is a link to Wally’s post –>  Just a Thought

And now here is My Comment Turned into a Blog Post

When I saw the line written out… Jesus laid down His life with the words ‘no one took it’ attached, I saw it in a way I never saw it before.  Though I know full well that Jesus went willingly to the cross, I still guess in my head I more envision the picture of Jesus’ life being taken from Him.  He was beaten and He was killed, but no matter how many times I’ve heard that he willingly laid down his life for a bunch of sinners (me include), I still find it really… really hard to take in. To think that He went through such severe pain and suffering to save a bunch of liars, thieves, adulterers and murderers and He even did it for the people who were right there beating him and nailing him on the cross that day. How could He selflessly give up His life for people who were so unkind and undeserving?

There was once time in my life that I did not believe God existed yet Jesus still went to the cross and He took the punishment that I deserved…He laid down his life and He died… for me … Would I do the same?

Would I lay down my life for my brother or sister? What about someone I did not know or someone who I thought didn’t deserve it?

Also does laying down my life mean I have to die like Jesus did as in death?  Or could this possibly mean laying down my life as in dying to my own self?  1 John 3:16-24 says – This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.  Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

Jesus went to the cross willingly for us and I take that scripture to say I should be willing to give up my life also as in my time, or money, or energy or pretty much anything Jesus would want me to give away, even if that means it will take away my own comfort or may be even painful to help a brother or sister.

As I was writing my comment turned blog post I was reminded of something that happened to me a several years ago. That day had been a crazy busy day from the moment I got out of bed and I had skipped breakfast and missed lunch. I was stressed out, tired cranky and hungry.  I decided to go through a drive through restaurant very late in the day to get a quick bite to eat.  Once I got in line I discovered upon checking my wallet that I barely had any money. After scrounging around in the bottom of my purse and in my car’s console for change, I finally had just enough money to buy a bottle of water and a sandwich, which I did.

Once I finished paying for my food I pulled out of the drive through into the intersection just as the street light turned red.  As I sat there waiting for the light to change, I noticed standing right beside my car was a man with a cardboard sign that had “will work for food” written on it.  As I sat there waiting for the light to change I began to feel very uncomfortable and I was trying very hard to not make eye contact with the man holding the sign.

I didn’t have any money to give him because I had just spent the last of what I had on the food.  I didn’t have a job to offer him and… here is a side of me that I am a bit ashamed to share… I had already decided that the man was probably just a scam artist who really did not need the money anyway.

I sat there at the light for what seemed like forever, feeling very uncomfortable and wishing the light would hurry up and change, but it didn’t happen.  While I sat there keeping my eyes averted away from the man they landed on the bag with my newly purchased sandwich & bottle of water inside. At the same time my eyes landed on the bag, the words “give it to him” went through my head.  I tried hard to not hear them because the truth was I did not really want to hear them.  This was my breakfast, lunch and dinner and I was hungry!

I had plenty of excuses running through my head as to why I should keep my sandwich for myself, but no matter what excuse I gave myself the words “give it to him” kept going through my head.

The next thing I knew I found myself rolling down my window and holding the bag of food and water out to the man. “Would you like to have this sandwich?” I said.  For a second he looked a bit confused but then suddenly His whole face turned into a big giant smile as he took the bag of food from my hand and said “God bless you.”

Just as the words left his mouth the light finally changed to green and I returned his “God bless you” and I drove off.  It was then that I felt he realization that by giving away my lunch somehow I felt joy inside. And the odd thing was, I also realized that I had received way more joy in giving that sandwich away than I think I would have, had I decided to keep it for myself.

God gave me the affirmation that day that giving away to someone I knew nothing about was exactly what He wanted me to do.  It really wasn’t much that I gave and I am not telling this story to toot my own horn, believe me when I say… I still sometimes struggle with this at times. The main reason I am telling this story is because I almost missed a blessing that day because I almost gave myself the authority to decide whether that man deserved a sandwich or not. I also realized that day that we never know someone else’s story and really it is not my place to get to decide whether someone deserves something or not. Only God knows the story and only He gets to be the judge.  We should just love others and give that love freely away like Jesus gave and still does give it to us.

Jesus laid his life down for us never expecting anything in return and He did it just because He loves us and we really ought to do the same.

Here is a video of a song by Trevor Morgan called “Jesus Rides the Subway” that I want to share with you that goes well with this post.

Thanks for reading and have a blessed day,

Terri