Saturday, December 27, 2008
In one chapter she writes about how we need a daily walk with God and we need to allow him to lead us daily and she offers a very interesting illustration which I'll summarize. Imagine going to heaven and stand by God as he shows you what His plan for your life was. I begins with your birth and ends with your death and every day is outlined. You see footprints walking through each day. Most of those days you notice 2 sets of footprints sometimes going in different directions, sometimes intersecting. So you ask God, "are those my footprints every day and the second set of footprints are when you joined me?" God replies, "no the consistent footprints are mine and the second set are when YOU joined ME."
That really hit me. How often we go off thinking we know what is best for our life and we don't consult the one who gave us this life. Sometimes we look back at old hurts, resentments. Sometimes we get distracted and end up in a different direction. Sometimes, we just stop altogether because we can't let go of the past. But that wasn't God's plan for our lives. In the end we may turn out ok but God wants so much more for us. His plan is perfect, even though, to us, with our limited knowledge it may not seem perfect, it is. I want my footprints to intersect with my Father's. That can only be achieved with daily and constantly consulting with him. So my prayer for the new year is that I will have less days where you can see two set of footprints.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Tim Russert from meet the press: "You can shower a child with presents or money, but what do they really mean, compared to the most valuable gift of all - your time? Vacations and special events are nice, but so often the best moments are the spontaneous ones. Being there. Every moment you spend with your child could be the one that really matters."
I asked a friend this past week when my teenage son was having a problem, what do i do to get him to open up to me. He just won't talk to me. He shared that the most wonderful talks he has with his kids are in the car. He has a captive audience. And it made me think about all the times that Ken and I share that are just "ours" and he opens up a good deal during those times. It's times when we "sneak" out at 10pm and get a milkshake or when we sit and "watch" our favorite tv show but do more talking than watching. It dawned on me that the reason that tv show is my favorite is because we talk so much and he really opens up during that time. Maybe that's why he likes it too?
My point here is that sometimes we try and make our time with our kids too complicated. We plan these grand events or take a pry bar and try and get them to talk to us when in reality we have so many moments that are so natural, we could miss them. Sometimes, a simple walk or a trip to the ice cream store, or a story time at bedtime is more important than any vacation or xbox could ever be.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Today, asking people to fast and pray on Thanksgiving probably is not an option. But we should at least keep the tradition of thanking God for our blessings. The Bible is full of references of people giving thanks to God. We praise Him with thanksgiving.
As I make my food preparations for tomorrow I wanted to take a moment to just thank God for my blessings.
First of which obviously would be my family. I have a wonderful husband and kids. I am so thankful for my church family and all of my wonderful friends both near and far. I'm thankful for friends that I've recently found after a long absence. I'm thankful for the town i live in, the fact that I have a home and may food preparations instead of not having enough. I am thankful for so many other things, it would be impossible to list them all.
What are you thankful for? Happy Thanksgiving!
"...whatever you do for the least of these you do for me..."
Monday, November 10, 2008
The season grew even busier for playoffs with several games throughout the week, practices whenever we could fit them in and four games this past Saturday. Our last game for Christopher's team was well fought today. He even caught what we were all sure would be the game winning touchdown in the last two minutes of the game. Unfortunately our quarterback finished the game in the last few seconds by throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown and we lost.
But the kids played great and I am so proud of both of the teams.
Now I am left with this feeling, unsure of what to do now. I know I have quite a bit to fill my schedule but without football to run me ragged, what will I do. I am all of a sudden filled with a sense that my schedule has just been opened up significantly. Then I realize, nope, I just won't have as many scheduling conflicts to work out.
Yep, that's my life in a nutshell, scheduling conflicts or not, I love it!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
My Story goes something like this. I took my son and his girlfriend to a Rise Against concert. Let me tell you, this was a fun night. I haven't felt so young in quite a while. The music literally coursing through my body. I could actually feel it. Looking around at all the kids who just are there to have fun and dance. Worry free and not a care in the world that night. The opening band is on stage and they announce, it's official, Barak Obama is the next president. It was then that I realized I was in a crammed room of nothing but Obama supporting democrats. I learned a lot last night. Those kids who had not a care in the world, were deeply concerned about this election and many were wearing their I Voted stickers. These are the next generation who care about politics and global warming and a host of other things. I also realized, I'm not as young as I used to be. The woman behind me screaming in my ear and killing me with her bouncing, weapon like breasts beating my in the back as she jumped up and down. The mosh pit! I still don't understand the mosh pit. The near riot that broke out when they discovered who had won the presidency just because they were excited. Oh to have that kind of excitement again. Then I thought, you know if some of these would put that kind of excitement into following Jesus. Wow! Imagine how much of the world we could change. I felt like breaking out in song of one of my favorite Christian bands and see if anyone would join along. I left there tired, exhausted really, my feel hurt, my back hurt, my head hurt and I smelled like the sweat of everyone around me. But it was worth it to have that insight into the lives of the next generation. It was rather eye opening. If I happen to go to one of these again, I'm getting a chair seat in the balcony, lovingly referred to as the old people section. Color me old.
My Prayer: Father in heaven, thank you so much that you hold this country in your hand. I thank you that you will take this presidential election and this country and create change in the coming four years. I trust that you will be in control. I ask that you forgive our country for our many sins and arrogances. my prayer is that this country will once again be a country of honor and integrity and I pray for our new leader(s). I pray that you will be first on their hearts and that they will be quick to listen to your guidance. I pray that they would have strength in the coming years to endure whatever may come, I pray that they would have integrity and honor, and I pray that you would protect our new president. I trust in your plans for our leaders and our country and I give it up to you. I ask that you would inspire each American to do their part in service around their community, in supporting our economy, and in continuing to pray not just today but for the next four years for this country and this administration. I pray that President Obama would seek you first in selecting his cabinet. I pray these things in Jesus name. Amen
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
So you college kids who might read this...call your mother! She misses you!
Monday, October 27, 2008
But let's not forget to praise God today for the thousands of students who were not injured at all. I think the radio reported they have 11,000 students at that university. With multiple assailants it's a miracle from God that so few people were hurt.
Join me in prayer and praise today. Also, don't forget to keep our economy and these elections in prayer.
Be informed, pray and vote.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
My life has been changed yet again when I read this book. It's amazing how God doesn't expect us to change all at once, it would be far too much for us to handle. But instead He asks us to change little by little. And then a book like this comes along and you realize just a hint of who God is and how much He loves us all.
Read the book and catch a glimpse of God's love. For He doesn't simply love...HE IS LOVE!
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
But it made me think. Pastor Chris said in his message this weekend (yes, I was listening) patience takes a lot of strength. To have patience takes strength and power. strength over your emotions. Jesus was so patient with so many. He was patient with cheaters, adulterers, liars, persecutors, prostitutes. To have so much patience took great strength, and He would need that strength on His journey to the cross. Before He was led away He went away to pray. He prayed with such passion and he prayed with strength. He knew what He would have to go through. He knew the humiliation He would have to face. He could have at any point lost his patience and said, Father it's not worth it. I'm done. But He didn't. Because He was strong.
Remember, he was here on earth in human form. He received this strength from God. Because he asked for it. That leads me to believe that this strength that He received is within reach for us all. The word says "ask and you will receive". The next time I'm running low on patience...I'm praying for that kind of strength. I'm praying that God's spirit will fill me with so much strength that I will be able to endure and withstand whatever He has for me.
Jesus had to endure cruel torture, he was made to carry his cross on which he would be crucified. We all have what we think is torture in our lives. We all have a cross to bear. Let's embrace the cross. We embrace the cross because this is what has been given us. As Jesus endured so much and carried his cross, through it all he prayed for those who were persecuting Him, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." I have to ask myself, how is my attitude when I'm taking up my cross? how is yours? Are we loving, patient, FORGIVING?
I long for the day when I can have it all together. In the meantime, I'm just trying to get through this life with a little bit of integrity, humility, and grace. Father, forgive me, for I know not what I do. But I'm trying to learn. As I learn, I thank you so much for your patience and grace. I thank you for your mercy. I ask that you show me areas of my life, and attitudes that you want to change. I ask for your strength in me so that I can change them.
May I never forget 1 Cor. 13: 7-8 Love...bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never fails.
Thank you for that kind of love and that kind of strength.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Wow! What a power scripture. This scripture has 2 parts. First it says, depart from evil and do good. It doesn't say hang around and see if you can change evil. It simply says depart. dark things are very powerful. Pastor Chris said it wonderfully today. being a Christian is hard. It's the hardest, most challenging thing you will ever do. evil, well it can be fun, it can look like the easier road. Chances are, if you stick around trying to change it, it will change you instead. This scripture says, depart from it. That doesn't mean you can't try and be a positive influence. some may argue that we can't be the light of Jesus if we are never around people who don't live right. That's true, but i submit that this scripture is telling us to keep our distance.
2nd part of this says SEEK PEACE then follows up with PURSUE IT. That is an action. now i don't think these 2 things are in the same verse accidentally. You flee from evil, keep yourself in check, make sure you are doing right and actively pursue peace.
The scriptures say whatever is pure, holy, just, honest, true think on these things. Peaceful thoughts lead to peaceful actions.
Let's face it, we are all going to be in difficult situations. We may be face with evil, we may be faced with something that tries our patience, we may be faced with hard decisions but if we are in the habit of ACTIVELY, day by day by day by day thinking on peaceful things, it will be natural for us to call upon those reserves when we need them.
Peaceful thoughts lead to peaceful actions.
Pursue peace...don't sit around and hope for it. don't be a dormat and lie around waiting for it, PURSUE it. don't be around people in constant turmoil looking for a fight. come away from that person or situation. Jesus had times when he came away from it all. He went into the wilderness, the garden of Gethsemane before they led him away. He came away from people and situations so that he could pray. He needed to pray and think on peaceful things. He needed to reconnect with His Father so he had reserves to tap into when He needed them. Let's remember Jesus was the son of God but he was in HUMAN form. Let's learn from that. He went away to pray. If you spend time in the Word each day, if you have a regular alone time with God, you will be building up your "reserves" so you have them to call on when you need them. AND you will need them.
What are you going to do this week to actively pursue peace? Share your comments with me.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Ok, so about a week ago I was beginning to pack and I found a card that I had stuck away. I had bought it for my mother and I was a little upset that I never gave it to her before she died.
Here I am unpacking and going through some of my mother's things that I had never gone through. My husband had put everything in a large box for me to go through when I was ready. I do a little here and a little there. Well, here I am going through this box and I found a key chain and a counted cross stitch kit that my mom had purchased with a little note that simply read, "For Michelle". The cross stitch kit has a lighthouse with rocky waves and reads "Guide and Protect us through life's storms." And then a key chain that reads "A Mother's Heart-God's home" and on the back "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith. Eph. 3:17"
The point of the story is that I've become my mother...or I'm becoming her. Whatever, we each bought something for the other that we never were able to give. Or perhaps my mother, knowing her time was short, bought this to comfort me somehow. I don't know. All I know is that through a few tears of missing her, I laugh hysterically because we are just too much alike.
And now, of course, since she was never able to do the cross stitch, I am faced with the challenge of finding someone who can complete it for me. I have never had the patience to sit and do one of those things. I tried, i just can't sit long enough to do it. maybe this is her backhanded way of teaching me patience. LOL She's too funny!
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Today I was in the doctor's office waiting for the doctor and Christopher was in there with me keeping me entertained. LOL anyway, he kept sitting in the doctor's rolling chair and I explained to him that was the doctor's chair and he wasn't allowed to sit in it, the doctor needed it when he came in. Christopher replied, "he doesn't own the chair." Of course I said, "yes he does". As quick as you can imagine years of children's church came rushing from his mouth and he said "NO he doesn't, God owns everything"
Once I pulled myself off the floor from laughing and not quite knowing how to respond to his logic and wisdom I let him know that yes God does indeed own everything but He also entrusts things to us as well and He has entrusted that chair to the doctor and we needed to respect God's plan for the chair.
Now, if you are finished laughing at our doctor's office conversation, you can indeed appreciate that kids remember everything you teach them. Teach them well. Pray for me as I teach mine and I'll pray for you as well.
This devotion was so good, I thought I would share.
When It's Hard to Forgive
By Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Do you have a situation where forgiveness seems impossible? Perhaps you're thinking, "I just can't forgive this person for what he's done to me. It's too painful to deal with. He's done it too many times. He's hurt me too deeply."
But the power—and the beauty—of the transformed Christian life is that "it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13 NKJV). It will never be the depth of your love that causes you to forgive such heartless acts and attitudes.
It will never be within your power to overlook the wicked lies and wild justifications of those who have made you distrustful of just about everybody. It will be—it can only be—the love of Christ transplanted into your believing heart that can exchange your weakness for His strength.
Several years ago, I met a dear woman named Lorna Wilkinson, whose husband had brought a great deal of discord and mistrust into their marriage. He was an alcoholic, and his condition had worsened over the years, bringing with it all the turmoil that tends to accompany substance abuse: financial pressure, irresponsibility, the chaos of never being able to depend on him, never knowing if he'd be where he said he would.
Finally Lorna decided that she had been through enough. She came to the conclusion that divorce was the only way out, the best way she knew to salvage what remained of her life.
So she took the step. She filed all the paperwork, asked him to leave, and prepared to move on.
She was not yet a believer. But providentially, right at that critical juncture in her life, she "happened" to tune in to a Revive Our Hearts radio program, when I was teaching about forgiveness. Her heart was gripped as she learned of the incredible forgiveness God offers through Christ, the way He deals with our sin by perfectly releasing us, thus enabling us to extend the same kind of forgiveness to others.
Day after day, this needy woman continued to listen to the broadcast, her thirsty heart drinking in the truth of the Word. Within a short period of time, her eyes had been opened and she was brought to faith in Christ.
But her divorce was still moving forward ... until the day her phone rang. It was her husband, saying he was sick.
"At the time, I was still frustrated and angry to some degree," she admits. "I said, 'Why are you calling me? Why don't you call 911?'"
He did. Just in time. Her husband was having a heart attack.
Extended family began to gather at the hospital, not sure if he was going to make it. Part of her wanted to be done with him, but somewhere in the depths of her heart, the Lord seemed to be saying, "Go whisper in your husband's ear that he doesn't have to worry about a place to live. Tell him he can come home."
That day, amid a tangle of tubes and wires and other life-saving devices, Lorna gave her husband the most revitalizing gift of all: the gift of forgiveness.
By God's grace, he did recover. He came home. He was a changed man. Miraculously, he no longer had the urge to smoke or drink. He landed a full-time job and began working faithfully to provide for his family. Newfound love entered their home, a desire to pray and worship, a focus on lasting priorities. There were flowers, postcards, candlelit dinners. Everything.
Early in the process of restoration, there were moments when those old feelings would flood back in Lorna's heart. "Lord, I can't do this," she would cry out in prayer. "I cannot love him the way You intended me to love. But I am asking You, Lord, to give me Your love, to just let it flow through me to this man."
And God's love slowly began to melt the awful memories. One by one, she began entering into each of those descriptive phrases in 1 Corinthians 13—"Love is patient and kind ... does not insist on its own way ... rejoices with the truth ... bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
As God's love began to fill their home, Lorna and her husband started to experience the kind of marriage she had always dreamed of but had given up hope of ever having. In fact, four months after they were reconciled, Lorna's husband woke her early one morning to say, "I now know that a man should love his wife the way God has loved us. I want to tell you, Lorna, at this moment, I love you that way."
These were the last words she would ever hear from his lips.
Within hours, a second massive heart attack took him home to be with the Lord. Imagine where Lorna and her children might be today if she had chosen the logical way, the natural way, the vengeful way—the bitter path of unforgiveness. Imagine the lives that would still be in shambles, the regrets that would have lingered for a lifetime.
"Do not give up on your marriage," she urged the listeners in an interview. "Do not give up on your spouse. Take it to the Lord in prayer and always remember: What you are not able to do for yourself, He will do it for you and in you."Certainly, not every marriage is remedied the way Lorna's was, even by forgiveness. But even when you can't see the results—though the situation may not clear up entirely or get any better at all—you can still know that you've done what God has required of you. You can continue to forgive as His grace and love flow through you. And you can walk in peace—His peace.
FOR MORE ON LOVE AND FORGIVENESS: Our pastor is teaching on love God's way right now. Visit us at ncclv.com and you can listen online or you can joint us at 10am or 11:30am for our new series on love entitled JESUS HD. You truly don't want to miss it! Yesterday was the first message in the series. it was so amazing! I couldn't contain myself. It truly was remarkable. Join us on this journey.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Breathmint was lovingly named that because he was the size of a breathmint to our other dogs. He was Brandon's friend and he was very loved. Tonight Breathmint fell into the pool and drowned. Our other dog Rocky tried to jump in and save Breathmint but was unable to do so. Please join me in remembering breathmint and please pray for Brandon as he grieves his loss.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.
Did you ever see the movie Bruce Almighty? A funny little movie about how God is trying to teach Bruce a lesson. Anyway, Bruce is really fed up with God and how he feels God is ignoring all of his hopes and dreams. So God pages Bruce on his beeper and tells him to come down for a job interview. When Bruce enters the building he sees this old gentleman in janitor's garb mopping the floor. Bruce was rather rude and condescending to him and it turns out this old gentleman is God.
Did I take long enough to get to my point? LOL The point here is BE NICE! You never know who you are being nice to or who you are helping, or giving money to or helping cross the street or letting out in traffic. You never know how your actions will affect them and who they might come across. You may be helping the next Bill Gates or you may be helping the next Joe Nobody. But God sees it all! God is love. Period, that's all. He didn't say love the lovely, He said love the unloveable. He didn't say be nice to people who are nice to you. He said love your enemy.
Allow God's love to overflow from you that there can be no denying that it is only God in us. Because you know who's watching, but you never know who you're loving.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
"it is not that we live everyday like it is our last, but every moment. Wanting to please our lord and honor him. It is not that he demands us to be perfect, but that we should try hard to keep our feet from evil." For the days are evil" are we just apart of them? Or separate? Even the prophets of old said please forgive me a man of unclean lips-for he understood "From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" he knew that his heart could lead him astray, that he needed to maintain a clean heart at all times to be used by GOD. So be diligent watchful, for the days are short, life is but a vapor. We are the new testament of the bible not just those between Matthew and Revelation. What is the world reading from your pages, how much power does GOD have to move mountains for you or through you?? "
From my pages, I want people to read about a person like Paul. I have a lot of work to do. Lord make me invisible so that others will see only you. Might I decrease so YOU may increase.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
I believe that as moms we have a "mom alarm". I read a devotion about the mom alarm today. as mom's we have a "6th sense" so to speak (i like to call it the Holy Spirit) that tells us when our kids need us and if they may be in trouble. How do we get from protecting our precious little one, to having a teen that is so out of control that you just drop them off and be done. You have loved and cared for this child for something like 15 years and then you drop them off. I don't get it.
So here I am, I am the mom of a 17 year old boy. He'll be 18 in 6 months. There have been many times over the last year that I have thought, "well, i must be done, he doesn't need me anymore" and I had to tell myself it's not true. He just likes to hide it.
Just because my teen is hiding the fact that he needs me because he wants to be an adult, just because he actively pushes my help away, does not mean he doesn't need it. It's my job to stick in there and love him when he's unlovable. To stick with it and yes, still punish him when he needs it. just because he turns 17 or 18 doesn't mean he doesn't need me anymore. In some ways, he needs me now more than ever. The decisions he's going to make over the next year are going to be the biggest in his life so far. He needs help making them even if he doesn't want to admit it. Also, he wants my help, he just doesn't want to admit that he wants my help.
In so many ways, we are the same way with God. We are like those pesky teenagers that push Him away because we can do it ourselves. We want to make our own decisions and prove we can do it on our own. Perhaps we want to show Him that we can be responsible, but in reality, we still and will always need Him. I'm so grateful he doesn't give up on me. I'm glad he doesn't think that because I may want to do things on my own that he doesn't turn his back on me. I'm so glad that when we are out of control he doesn't drop us off somewhere.
Father, thank you for your unconditional and unfailing love...even when I don't deserve it. Thank you for NOT giving me what I deserve.
Mothers can come in all shapes, sizes and genders and can enter your life when you least expect it. They are there because God has sent them, He hasn't given up on you...or me.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
"You know, there are people in everyone's life who you can't believe you have a relationship with, and you are truly in awe of them, because they are so iconic and so influential that you're just kind of pretending. You know if you behave the way you really behave, they would recognize that you're a complete dope and they would never have anything to do with you ever again. That was kind of the way I felt about Johnny. I was so worried that I would say something idiotic and he would just pull me out of his Rolodex. … I never got out from under the feeling that he and I really could be friends because I idolized him and I knew by any measure I would always fall short."
Ok - Wow, this speaks volumes doesn't it? I was recently hurt with the knowledge that I'm just not my brother's favorite person. Call me a Bible thumper or Jesus freak but he just doesn't like me. I've known this my whole life and yet I have also denied it my whole life. I have always wanted him to like me. I tried to be the sister he wanted, but the fact was, I am who I am and no matter how much I tried to hide it, he could always see through me. Finally I stopped trying to hide who I was and he doesn't really speak to me anymore.
My point? How many of us have looked at God (like I would look at my older brother) and we want him to like us so we try and be on our best behavior or something silly, hoping he can't really see who we are afraid he won't like us?
A friend of mine recently said, I would never do that, I'm at church, God might see me! I said to them, God's always within you...He can always see you.
God knows who you really are no matter how much you try and hide. God sees EVERYTHING you do and hears everything you say even before you say it. Guess what...He likes you anyway. He knows who you are at the very core and he loves you. He made you! Be open, don't hide, he sees you anyway and he knows your heart.
Ok, so you mess up from time to time. Sometimes you mess up really big. Sometimes you have bitterness in your heart. He still loves you and you can't hide it from him. When you hide who you are, all you are really succeeding in doing is separating yourself from God, the one who loves you no matter what. Embrace his friendship, Embrace his relationship, Embrace Him.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Recently at church, Pastor Chris made point number one which was "Refuse to Quit!" Soon following that message there were so many instances in which I wanted to quit. Things were hard, or it just seemed as if nothing was going to work out. I actually said, yep you guessed it. "I can't do this!" And clear as a bell I could hear God tell me, "Can't means you don't want to. All things are possible with Jesus Christ."
He was right of course, just as I had pointed out countless time, I was saying I can't but what I really meant was, this is really hard and I don't want to. Of course it was a momentary lapse, we all have them. Little moments when we doubt or are just plain tired. But there was a light that went on in my head. How many other times has God had the opportunity to throw my own words right back at me. I'm a parent, He's the ultimate parent. How many times has God had the opportunity to look at me like a spoiled kid who in reality has things so much easier in today's society than ever before.
I say things to my kids like, you don't know how good you have it. When I was your age I had to....well you know how the rest goes. insert your own story there. But the point is, God could say the same thing...you don't know how easy you have it. Why when the apostle Paul was traveling the world telling the Good news to the gentiles, he had to walk thousands of miles, get shipwrecked, stoned on the outskirts of town, why once i even made him blind for a time. you kids today are far too spoiled and you don't appreciate what you have...can't means you don't want to...let's practice first time listening.
Ok, maybe I'm oversimplifying it but the truth still holds firm. God is our parent and sometimes we are his bratty kids stuck in the terrible twos.
Never Quit! Refuse to Give up! God has never given up on his children. Can't means, you don't want to and you shouldn't ever settle for that.
May God bless you as you continue on even when it's hard and seems impossible. May God bless you as you continue your walk, refusing to give up, and doing everything with excellence...not perfection, but excellence, to the best of your ability. Oh and God knows what your best is, just as you know when your child is giving you their best.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Have I really been crucified with Christ? Do I truly no longer live? To be crucified with Christ requires radical change. Do we begin changing and then get to a comfortable place and stop, happy with who we are? I think we do. We have to be constantly reminded that God's not happy with where we are. He still wants us to change and grow into the person he created us. But that change can't ever stop, it won't be complete until the day we are with him.
How difficult it must have been for Jesus not to come down off the cross. he could have done it. They were daring him to do it. They were double dog daring him! But he didn't. He allowed himself to be beaten, tortured and completely humiliated...for us. Could I have suffered so much pain and humiliation and not come back with an "oh yeah! well watch this!"?
Let's not become complacent. God's not done growing us. Seek the growth opportunities even though it may be excrutiating and leave stretch marks!
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Those of you who know me will be very shocked to hear this. I know this will be difficult to believe but I enjoy being active. I don't want to just sit at home on the couch eating bon bons. I want to be out in the world, doing everything I can, tasting and enjoying life, playing with the kids, charity work, laughing with friends and even talking with people.
I told you that you'd be shocked!
Ok, so it probably wasn't much of a shock but keep reading anyway.
I was watching a commercial the other day for this program called Saving Grace. She was saying she liked to embrace life, laugh, play practical jokes, enjoy life and at the end she said "Embrace your Grace". So I was curious and I watched one of her programs. She is violent, seemingly immoral, I was very shocked by her behavior. I don't want to embrace that. The premise of the show, I really like, she has this angel following her around trying to save her and bring her to God. I love that! We all need someone trying to save us that just will never give up. But at this point in my life I embrace life a little differently than she does.
I love to hang out with my friends. My best friend Katie, we homeschool together, I just love going and hanging out with her. We go to the gym, shopping, shows, movies, shopping, you name it. It's always fun hanging out with her. We share each other's lives and I'm better for it. I love hanging out with all my friends, we just enjoy each other's company. I love going and serving at church. I think I have the best church in Vegas, the people are wonderful, the atmosphere is amazing. I go there and feel God's presence and see Him in the faces of those around me. I also enjoy charity work. You name, I'll do it. Some ministries near and dear to my heart are the homeless, victims of domestic violence, violence against children, I will participate in a run or walk, give money, time and energy. Right now I'm planning a garage sale and all the proceeds are going to charity right here in las vegas. Ok, I'm not trying to toot my own horn here. Give God the glory for everything. I am only able to do these things because he puts the desire in my heart and gives me the energy and resources I need. I'm not doing these things God is. But I love to do them. I could fill my days giving in outreach to the community and I would be the happiest person on earth. I love reaching out to the community. Why, because the community is full of Grace's that need to be saved. They need an angel that is going to keep giving even when you seem to be a lost cause and never give up. People are hurting and are in places they don't really want to be but can't seem to get out. They have lost hope because they don't see their angel. My desire is that everyone sees God. Hopefully it's through me but they need to see God in the faces of many.
I guess I do "embrace my Grace". Grace is tenacious. When she's trying to solve a crime she won't give up. Her methods are less than desirable sometimes but she doesn't give up. I hope my methods are little better but my point is I'm not giving up. I will "embrace my Grace" by being tenacious/persistent doing God's work. I will keep working until He tells me I'm through. That's one of things my mom had a problem with toward the end of her life. She felt like she couldn't do the work anymore and she so badly wanted to keep working. She didn't realize He just had her working in a different way.
You have a purpose. God has a plan for you.
"Embrace your Grace"
Monday, August 11, 2008
Ok, so I just received an email about someone who is facing the "jump and the net will appear" but what happens when you have multiple ways to jump and you don't know which way God is leading you. This is a very real question. Even for the seasoned Christian this can be tough. You think you are hearing from God but you're never quite sure.
Recently, one of our elders spoke about how you hear God. Now we all experience God is different ways, and "hear" him differently. Some hear God through all different types of books, some hear God through music, or through His written word in the Bible, others feel a tugging on the Spirit and can sometimes almost audibly hear God. However you hear God, first you have to be silent. Our elder spoke on meditating with God.
I love this part, get away some place alone and free of distraction. Clear your mind and focus on God. Breathe deeply and slowly and just focus on God. Many things will try and distract you. The first time I tried this I was interrupted by children who woke up way too early and just had to know the lyrics to the song There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly. Another time I tried it, I fell asleep and got some much needed rest but didn't hear from God. Don't give up! It will be worth it. Give yourself 20 minutes a day of just being still and quiet and focusing your attention on God. When you are silent and still and focused on the Conductor, you will hear the music. Remember, when the Conductor approaches the his musicians and lifts his little stick he finds musicians that are completely silent and still, focused on him, ready to perform. Are you poised?
If anyone tries this, share your stories with me. The funny ones are great to hear and the ones where you hear from God are even better.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
I was recently reading something about locusts. I know it sounds disgusting but it was not so much about locusts as it was about me. Apparently, locusts wait until the wind blows and then jumps, and the wind carries him to his destination. A locust cannot navigate where he goes or fly against the wind, change his direction, he just goes where the wind takes him. He's completely dependent on the wind. I want to be like a locust. Before you say the same thing, remember to be careful what you pray for. It might be hard. God might put you in a situation where you have to depend solely on him.
So here is what I'm thinking when I think about the locust. I fill my life with books and try and learn as much as I can and make informed and logical decisions. But there comes a time when I have to let go and let God. I must at some point stop thinking and when God moves, move with Him. There comes a time when I have to trust Him, recognize it's His timing, not mine, and just take a leap of faith.
I was watching an episode of Monk the other day and one of the characters said "jump and the net will appear". That struck me. It didn't say, wait until you see the net and then jump. It didn't say pray about it for a month, discuss it with joe, john and sally. It said jump and the net will appear. God is the net. The net is always there, but sometimes from our perspective or view we can't see the net, it doesn't mean it's not there.
Now imagine, you are at the circus and you see the highwire act. Before the acrobat jumps out onto the bar swinging in the air they wait for their cue to the music. They are so in tune with the music and so sensitive to the music, they really aren't paying much attention to the bars they have to catch and twirl on, they are focused completely on the music. God is the music. Be sensitive to His Spirit leading you. If you are sensitive to the Spirit you will hear the music, you will feel His wind and you will know when to "jump and the net will appear".
Don't focus on your past or what you think you can or cannot do or should or shouldn't do. Focus on the music. Let it guide you. "be strong and courageous for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go". People will think you are crazy, jumping before you see the net, people thought Jesus was crazy too. When God moves he doesn't call for a vote or take an opinion poll, he just moves and he's looking for strong and courageous people who will jump before seeing the net. People who will say "here I am! Send me!" without knowing where they are going.
I want to be courageous! I want to be like a locust or an acrobat and fly with the wind.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Now I know this is hard to believe but as a mother, a Christian, a wife, at 35+ year old woman I do still know how to have fun. Our mom's nights are a lot of fun. We don't drink, we just go out and let our hair down, enjoy each other's company and have fun. So the question is, who wouldn't want to be part of that?
I know that life gets in the way and people have husbands and children and can't always get away on the same night to have some fun but certainly more people should have been able to come out and play with us. So what's the problem?
We were talking the other night at church about creating a spirit of community at church where people didn't just go to church together but were friends with each other and we could go to the movies together or arrange to go for a hike as a group or something like that. So what stops us from doing that? I think it comes down to the very basic belief that we are just too busy. We are so busy with work and family and serving and whatever else that we don't have time to stop and have a little fun, smell the flowers so to speak. God didn't create us to work like a dog and isolate ourselves from other people. He created us with a zest for life. When Jesus came to earth he had some fun! Yes he was here to do serious work but I'm sure you can imagine Jesus as a child playing with his brothers and sisters, wrestling with them on the floor, being a kid. There were times when Jesus left the crowd to be alone. He needed to pray, He needed to talk to his father, maybe he just needed to get away from it for a minute.
My son is stressing out because he's 17 and he thinks he has to grow up and be this stuffy adult. Who is he kidding? Yes, the amount of responsibility does need to increase. Yes, he should have a job and college will be a bit harder. Yes, there will be bills to pay. But if I have taught him nothing in this life it is that you have to stop and smell the roses. Make some time in your schedule to enjoy something. Does it mean you have to do something completely selfish? No, I often have a wonderful time and feel very refreshed after feeding the homeless or helping a friend move, or decorating for a wedding. But there are also times when I go off by myself with a friend or 2, leave the kids at home and take care of that little part of me that needs to be let her hair down.
Life is too short, dance, laugh, live, love. Make a friend and make sure they know they are special. Go out on a mom's night or a dad's night, or a teen night or a singles night or for a hike with friends. Whatever the case may be or the option that is presented that applies to you. Love God with all your heart, mind, and soul. And have a little fun! Life is more fun when you have a community to share it with.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Then he says the following in verses 17-19
"Fig trees may not grow figs, and there may be no grapes on the vines. There may be no olives growing and no food growing in the fields. There may be no sheep in the pens and no cattle in the barns. But I will still be glad in the Lord, I will rejoin in God my savior. The Lord God is my strength."
in other words, we may be starving to death, our carcasses left out for the buzzards but I will be glad because this is God's plan and He will give us the strength we need.
Suddenly, I feel petty. I feel like my problems, although they seem tough to me, don't even compare to this and although, I do cry out to God and I do believe that his will is perfect, I wouldn't say I always rejoice in it. That's where I need to grow. Perhaps I am in the midst of growing in that area now. Whatever the case, I will rejoin in the Lord for He alone is my Savior and He alone gives me strength for whatever comes my way.
Monday, August 4, 2008
In a poll, In exchange for ten million dollars (really, right here, right now $10Million in cash):
25% of people would abandon their family
25% would abandon their church
23% would become a prostitute for a week
16% would give up their American citizenship
16% would leave their spouse
13% would put their children up for adoption
I know this adds up to more than 100%, that is because there was an alarming amount of people who said they would do more than one of those options for 10 million dollars. Two thirds of people polled would do at least one of those things.
That is astounding! two thirds of people would do at least one. I can imagine the people that are justifying it.
abandon your family, ok, i'd do it, i can send them money and they'd be better off
abandon your church, well, i'd still tithe, can you imagine the tithe check for my church
become a prostitute, it's only my body, it's not my heart, think of all the good i could do with 10 million dollars.
Is it really so easy to cast aside things that we have claimed are important in our lives. That's just nothing more than greed. The Word says "where your treasure is there your heart will be also". What do you treasure? do you treasure your children, your spouse, your church?
I know it's a crazy question, it won't ever happen. But think about it seriously...if it did...what would your answer be. Be honest with yourself, be honest with God. do you entertain the thought for just a moment? or do you quickly say, no amount of money on this earth, be it 10 million or 10 trillion is worth my family, my heart, or my soul?
What would your answer be?
Sunday, July 27, 2008
For a time you were my mother
I loved you like no other
You were amazing, loving and kind
To be like you was my dream
now i miss you so much i could scream
But I know God has a plan
He's enveloped me in His hand
Now to see you again is my hope
To be with Jesus, my only hope
My love for you will never end.
Save a seat for me cause
I'll see you again!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.
I am so thankful to have a heavenly Father who knows my pain, feels it with me, and holds me close.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
my mind drifts to things rather odd
like why trees grow so tall
and why leaves change color in the fall
Then He speaks to me and to my knees I go
I would have published the answers if I wanted you to know
Some things take faith before you can see
Sometimes I just want you on your knees
He said each day count your blessings one by one
When you do this, the enemy will be gone
I have blessed you with love, friends, family even material things
yet you still wonder why i don't grant every dream
Sometimes these dreams are not for your good
I've never failed to provide a roof or some food
Just trust in Me and allow My will to be done
Stop playing God, the battle's already won
I'll grant you things you can't even dream
I love you this much
That's why I sent you my Son.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Today I was supposed to meet a friend. A friend who tends to stand me up a lot. I will end up somewhere waiting and waiting. This time, I was stood up again and the situation she left me in was awkward, uncomfortable, and a bit scary. Having already had a difficult day, I didn't need the stress of the situation that she put me in on top of being stood up. I handled it. I prayed for the people in this situation and I went home. I went home feeling like I just wanted to give up on this relationship. It's so hard! I put in effort and I never get anything back. Half the time I'm left standing somewhere. I was just tired of people being inconsiderate, rude, and uncaring. Then I thought, wow, some pretty big rocks I'm throwing...hope my house isn't made of glass. How often do we leave God, our heavenly Father, thinking about how inconsiderate we are, rude, he puts in so much effort and never gets anything back. How many times have I done it to Him? I'm reminded again of the last part of that verse..."love never fails"
What does it mean to fail? I know that I give to people and love people because it's what God wants. I love people because God loves them. my Father tells us to love others and to give to them (seventy times seven) without expecting anything in return. And I don't expect to get anything from her but i guess i felt some consideration of my time and feelings would have been nice. So I move on from this day, feeling as if the Lord is showing me a little bit of something about myself and the person he wants me to be. Learning a little more about patience. Patience is loving someone who doesn't want to be loved, and waiting for the day that they will accept Jesus as their Savior. I long for that day. But I'll wait. God's timing is perfect.
Father, help me be a better person. Help me to love when it's hard.
"love never fails"
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8Love never fails.
Don't try and take on such a transforming task all at once. Do it one bit at a time and pray that God will transform you to fit this bill.
Today I think i will start with patience.
Love is patient. What does patient and kind really look like?
The dictionary defines patience as this: bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain, etc., with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger, or the like.
"bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune,etc, with fortitude and calm, without complaint."
Wow! I'm not sure I can say that of myself. Just yesterday I was provoked, and although I handled it so much better than I would have a few years ago and I was able to diffuse the situation I would not say I handled it with complete calm. Inside I was angry and definitely not without complaint. I also like the word fortitude. It reminds me of fortress.
The dictionary defines fortitude as mental and emotional strength in facing difficulty, adversity, danger, or temptation courageously.
That sounds like a fortress to me. God is my fortress and strength. I must bear provocation, misfortune, etc. with fortitude. To do that I need my fortress. I need my deliverer. I have to be so lost in Him that it's a very natural act to not turn to anger or other emotions but instead turn to my God. I believe God. He is my fortress. He is my strength. He is my deliverer and I will rest in Him.
Father, help me be patient. Help me to face all things with you as my fortress. I will stand steady and strong with your Spirit in me. I love you!
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
This scripture touches me. Marriage can be tough. It can take a lot of work but God designed it to be amazing! Not just a man and a woman being in love but actually becoming one person. Having so much unity between themselves that there are no lines where one person begins and the other ends.
Too often in a marriage people think too much of themselves. They want to be independent. They want to believe that their struggles are worse than their spouse's, their suffering is greater. Why are we trying to one up the people who are supposed to be closest to us?
Marriage can be hard. The enemy wants to divide marriages. When you are not feeling like you are one with your spouse, remember that you were united by God, you are one person in His sight. Then ask the Lord to show you how to get to that place of being one. Stop thinking about yourselves as 2 people, you are one. And being one is a really great thing.
Monday, June 30, 2008
I looked up the word mother on dictionary.com and here's what it said.
"something or someone that gives rise to or exercises protecting care over someone else"
A mother is supposed to love always, care for constantly, pray for, guide, teach and protect her child. It is a mother's natural instinct to protect her child from all harm even to her death. My mother did it. Right until the day she died she considered it her mission to love me, pray for me, teach me and protect me. Why then is it so hard for so many other mothers?
There are far too many mother's out there in the world today that don't take their God given role seriously. I take it seriously. But how do you protect your child from his own mother? That's what I struggle with. I know in reality that all I can do is love him and show him every moment of every day how much I love him and how special God created him to be. I know that I can encourage him in his creativity and help him discover the gifts God gave him. I know that I can pray for him unceasingly but then I have to leave it in God's hands. i know the struggles he goes through now will serve to create such wonderful things in him and God will use it in amazing ways. But my instinct is to take him in my arms and hide him away from all the pain.
Tonight his mother sent us a message that she doesn't ever want to speak to him again. How do I tell him that? How can I tell him that the person he seeks affirmation from doesn't want him to call her? I know it's important to guide him to seek affirmation from God, but that still has to hurt.
So tonight I pray and I hope that you will join me in praying for all of the mother's out there who somehow just don't get it. I pray that God will create in them a new heart, a heart of love and compassion, a heart of acceptance and joy and I pray that God will soften that heart toward Himself and toward their children. I pray for the children affected by all of this, that God would place people in their lives to love and encourage these kids, to tell them how special they are and help them find who God created them to be.
The Bible says to "love one another as I have loved you". My prayer is that more people will learn to live by that.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
So we married, and can I tell you honestly, marriage is hard work. I had a child that had to adjust to having a dad and a brother. He had a child with an ex-wife, custody issues and parents who lived with us. we both had baggage and the first few years were hard as we blended. But we did it with God right in the middle of us. It couldn't have been done any other way. We were so united as a couple and a family. Then he started traveling. A spouse that travels a lot can be difficult, you can feel like you're alone again and you can feel like a single mom. That's when the hard work really begins, being one and united while you're apart. But it can be done. Just because things start going well does not mean that trouble won't come again. The enemy is constantly trying to tear marriages apart. You see it every day, divorce is common where having your 2 original heterosexual parents still married after all these years is uncommon. We need to turn that around.
Let's take a stand for our marriages. For the sake of our children and our grandchildren, let's get in there and fight. And let's not fight for passivity or just keeping the peace. Let's make our homes so fun and full of love that the kids don't want to hit the road as soon as they turn 18. Let's make our husbands feel like that are important and loved and wanted.
We need to first go to the Father and ask Him to reveal where we have passive. We need to ask Him to show us how to love our husbands and what our role in the family needs to be. As He reveals that, let's be quick to respond in obedience to Him. And then, let the children see your love for one another. Your children will learn from what they see, let's fight for our marriages, for our families, for God.
We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
When we first turn out the lights at night everything is pitch black and I can't see a thing (like the dark chocolate)! However once my eyes get used to the darkness I find that it isn't quite as dark as I thought. I find that I can see quite well in the darkness (like the medium chocolate). But turn on the light and OMG, you realize you couldn't see much at all! (the white chocolate) Going even a little bit further here, if you stay too long in the dark and then turn on the light, the light actually hurts. And did you ever realize it takes only a few seconds to get used to the dark but it takes much longer to get used to the light.
I know, it's quite a long analogy but did you follow where I was going. Life and religion is like that. We spend so much time in the darkness that when we finally come into the light (Jesus) it takes a long time to get used to the light, it can even appear to "hurt" as we get used to the light. Far too often people give up before getting used to the light and they yell "turn it off!" before they have a chance to realize, the light is amazing and will take you so much farther!
I picked up the phone to call my mom again. I wanted to call her and tell her to come and join us on our sight seeing. Oh how she would have loved it. If we aren't careful missing loved ones that have gone on before us can put us into that darkness. Remember it only takes a short time to get used to the darkness. Turn on that light and turn to the Light. Run to your prayer closet and pray that He will take away that darkness. And then instead of thinking about what you don't have, focus on what you do have. It may hurt your eyes for a few minutes as you adjust, but it will get there. Think about your children, your spouse, your God. Try and find something special God has done in your life today. You know he's done something, He always does, we just don't always look for it, still too used to the fuzziness of the darkness.
Monday, June 23, 2008
I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
I thought back to junior high when my mom finally took me to the eye doctor for glasses. When I picked up my glasses and went outside I was just amazed! Everything was so bright! Colors were far more vivid than I had remembered, trees actually had separate leaves. It was as if I was seeing the world for the very first time. I thought I had seen it before but it was far more beautiful and detailed and lovely than I had ever seen before.
I believe that is what it is like when we allow the Light of the World to come into our lives. It's like we were seeing life all distorted and cloudy as if under water and then the light come into our life and we see everything so differently, so much better.
I am so thankful for the light. The light is just amazing. The Lord is faithful to give us new sight. I cannot wait to see what the future holds and I cannot wait until His return and I am given new eyes and see a world far different from what I've ever seen.