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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

life as i know it

I know life changes all the time but have I mentioned I really hate change. I just printed out the admission papers for my oldest son's college admission in January. Oh it's so unfair. I know God let me keep him for a while but why is it that the fact that our children grow up and move away hurts so much? I am so lucky to have homeschooled him all this time. I have a great relationship with him. But this part hurts.
So you college kids who might read this...call your mother! She misses you!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Prayer

As I was returning from driving my husband to the airport this morning I heard on the radio about a shooting at Univ of Central Arkansas. Apparently multiple assailants began shooting yesterday killing I think 3 and injuring 2 others. Let's be in prayer today for the families of those killed or injured, also for the students who may have witnessed this or been friends with those hurt.

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

The Shack

I just finished reading The Shack. Oh my, anyone who has read this book will tell you it is absolutely amazing and recommend you read it. As I go through my life, I try and live right and follow Christ. But as I read this book, my concept of right and wrong, good and evil, and light and dark have been forever altered. My concept of who God is has been forever altered. My concept of relationship with the Creator has been forever altered.

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

passion and patience

Tonight I watched the Passion of the Christ movie...yes again. I felt moved to watch it so I ordered it on netflix and to my mailbox it came. I love this movie. Not only does it portray the suffering that Jesus endured...for me and for us all but it shows him as a regular person. Don't misunderstand me. Jesus is the Son of God. But He came to earth in human form. He was susceptible to all of the same temptations, pressures, and pain that we all face. It shows his mother, Mary. And as a mother I cannot imagine what it must have been like to see her son endure so much.

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

peace

Psalm 34:14 Depart from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it.

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

Could we be more alike?


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!

Monday, October 6, 2008

kids say the funniest things

Be careful what you say to your children. They remember everything!
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.

Forgive?

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


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

strangers?

Hebrews 13:2
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.