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02/21/2016 - Author: Natasha Phillips

This morning is one of those rare, February days that give you a sweet taste of the weather that is right around the corner. After dealing with, and still dealing with the stomach flu in my kids this week, I desperately needed a quick run. While I expected to be revived in energy and sense of well being I wasn’t expecting the worship, joy and feeding of the Spirit that would happen on my run as well. Being married to an atheist I find at times, although the spiritual knowledge is there, I forget that it isn’t my “job” but a gift I have been given of a life within Christ. I get so caught up in trying to educate, protect, raise, and encourage my children that I do not feed my soul. I realize taking time daily to be in the word is a struggle for me and always has been. I usually combat that inner turmoil by saying my prayer life is great…but let me be honest…lately I have not been taking the time to truly be in prayer…in that place of uninterrupted conversation and leading that the spirit so desires. Matt often asks me why I am not stressed about the future, why I don’t lose sleep at night like he does and why I am not obsessed, as he is, with the future of this country. My response is always the same…because my future isn’t here but in heaven. He of course gets frustrated with that answer and lately I have been asking myself if I should be more concerned, more obsessed if you will. Not being in a state of worship and praise has given me the head knowledge…but not the true belief, the understanding, the passion and the comfort that is readily available to me through Christ. Sure I believe and have the head knowledge but it that all that is required, expected of me? Today on my run there were a couple things that happened. I was listening to Lecrae and also some praise and worship songs. Lecrae has a song.. Aliens…where he talks about us being foreigners here on this earth. The other song was called “In Christ Alone”, now usually on pandora a song only plays once but the last song I mentioned came on three different times by different artist. Now this is one of my favorite songs but a great deal of that is because of the melody,  and while the words have always struck me as “good”, it wasn’t until today that I really found myself pondering them. 

“In Christ Alone”

In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song;this Cornerstone, this solid Ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace, when fears are stilled, when strivings cease! My Comforter, my All in All, here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh Fulness of God in helpless babe! This gift of love and righteousness, Scorned by the ones he came to save:

Till on that cross as Jesus died, The wrath of God was satisfied -For every sin on Him was laid; Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay, Light of the world by darkness slain: Then bursting forth in glorious Day, Up from the grave he rose again! And as He stands in victory, Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me, For I am His and He is mine – Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death, This is the power of Christ in me; From life’s first cry to final breath. Jesus commands my destiny. No power of hell, no scheme of man, Can ever pluck me from His hand; Till He returns or calls me home, 
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

What powerful, powerful words. I encourage you to read, and then re-read those words. “No power of hell, no scheme of man, can EVER pluck me from HIS hand!” 

I came home and read Psalms 4. Psalms 4 verses 6-8 say: 

“Many are asking, “who can show us any good?” Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord. You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound. I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” 

While the future of the country and the nations around it are important, my prayer is that I don’t just have the “head knowledge” to combat or discuss other views…but that my heart is right, the Spirit is fed and alive within me, and that the love of Christ with shine through in such a way that He is seen rather than my words and viewpoints. 

I am so thankful I got out this morning as there was a message waiting for me! 

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Good-bye Grandpa

02/07/2016 - Author: Natasha Phillips

It is so hard for me to put into words what I have been feeling this last week Grandpa. Today, as we say our goodbyes to your earthly  
existence, there have been so many memories, tears and moments of laughter shared. You left quite a legacy grandpa, oh how you were loved. I don’t have a lot of memories with just you before grandma died, I was always with her. Of course I did learn rook at a young age from you and to this day I can never understand why, if my partner has a rook in their hand, they don’t lay it when I lead with the 1. You taught me that. I will also never forget the first time I heard such voracious snoring, it was on a trip home to Missouri with you and grandma….I thought I was never going to fall asleep that night!  
When you were in Ethiopia you wrote to me a few times, I will always treasure those letters. After grandma died there was the trip Micah and I took with you to California and then back the following spring. Oh my….what an incredible adventure. The memory of you teaching me how to order a steak by correcting my order of medium well to mid rare…well it will forever be etched in my mind. When I argued with you, you said you weren’t going to pay for it but if I wanted to ruin my food I could pay for it myself. Since that day I have never ordered a steak medium well. Because of you I got to see the Grand Canyon, Mesa verde, ride the train from Durango to silverton, experience the heights of Hoover dam, race the sunset because we had wrecked the car in Colorado but didn’t get it fixed until California, go to my first comedy show in Vegas and drive possibly the fastest I have ever driven in Kansas. I will never forget your love of good food, eating out and wonderful music. I can’t imagine growing up in the era you did, but because of your trials you were a hard worker and that has been passed down to me. You were a hard man sometimes but you loved us so adoringly and the only way you knew how to love. I am so glad my kids got to know you and have their own memories with you.  
This last week has been harder than I thought it would be grandpa, you were my last grandparent and there is now a chapter of my youth that is officially closed. But I have to tell you, I keep thinking of what heaven must be like for you. Your hands, which served so many and no longer worked on this earth are now fully functional. Your feet and legs that struggled to move, walk and bear your weight, now have life and energy back in them. Your mind and words which fumbled often are now free. Best of all, well aside from being with the Greatest Physician of all, grandma is there with you. What a reunion that must have been! So grandpa, although we will miss you tremendously, even your crabby times, I am so very grateful you knew the Greatest Healer of all because that means I get to see you again. I love you grandpa. 

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