Wednesday, November 4, 2009

When a beating feels good....

This may or may not make any sense to anyone but to me and God.... but I feel like I want to put it out there anyway....

This has happened more than once in the past month or so.... I just got a beating from God.

This is how I really know that I belong to God.... not that I doubted, but this is just the proof.

Lately my mind has been being consumed more and more with something. And it was not God. But something that I WANTED to fix or control. My mind and my appetite for this had begun to take control of my thought life. I thought about it constantly... I tried to reason out that it was to protect someone I love. and with that excuse... I could justify what I was doing. Is trying to protect my loved one wrong? No, I don't believe it is. Was my thought life being consumed with the wrongs of someone else a sin? Oh yes.... I know it was.

God in His great mercy... in His great love for me... put a stop to it today. He showed it to me for what it really is.... SIN.

He just wouldn't let me be. He wouldn't let me keep going. Just like a parent that sees something in their child that they know is harmful... He knew the road that I was on was not good... so He opened my eyes to that today. I think my eyes were already at least halfway opened... but with them only halfway opened... I could just ignore the little nudging that I felt. But today.... I was smacked in the head with it.... STOP IT!! This is sin!!

Although it was painful for a few moments.... it was like a hand delivered invitation to get "right" with Him. God desires for me to stay in a "right" relationship with Him. And my mind being consumed with the wrongs of others had put a wedge in my "right" relationship with Him.

It was like a beating.... that felt good in the end.

Hebrews 12:5b-6 says,

"My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
Because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."

then it goes on to say in verses 10-11,

"Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those have been trained by it."

I so love the Lord.... He is so merciful and loving. He knows my heart. He knows the motives of my heart... even when I don't. OR even when I ignore them. But as my Father.... He disciplines me so that in time... I can share in His holiness. So that I can produce a harvest of righteousness because I have been trained by his discipline. AND.... then there is that peace. The peace that comes when you confess your sin to Him... believing He is faithful and just to forgive you... and catching back up with Him on the path. A right walk. Walking closely together.

The bottom line is that I didn't need to think that I could control anything. (umm... there is another sin... pride) By doing that... I was trying to take God's job. He is the one in control. And I am so thankful that He loves me enough to discipline me. For my own good. So that I can share in his holiness... and produce a harvest of righteousness and peace... because I have been trained by it. I pray that God always finds me willing to take a greatly needed beating for my own good... for His name's sake.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

The pain of others....

Man! It has been over two months since I have posted on my blog. Where did that time go??

What brings me back to my blog today is the pain of others. Why is it that the pain of others hurt more than your own?? Maybe it is because when I am going through something painful... I HAVE the peace that passes all understanding and the comfort of my Heavenly Father.... knowing that God loves me and has my best interest at heart.... but when I hurt for others.... I can't pass that along to them. I just have to sit back and hurt for them.

My brother is really going through a terrible time right now. His wife of 4 years left him about two weeks ago.... and this week he had to put his "best friend" to sleep because of an aggressive liver cancer... after having him for 12 years. Well... if that isn't enough to knock your feet out from underneath you.... I don't know what is. Watching him go through this is miserable for me. I don't want to lose my husband.... or my sweet dogs... but I would rather have to go through this myself than to watch him struggle through it. Isn't that the craziest thing??

God tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that....

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness"

To me... that tells me that at the very moment of my weakness.... or pain.... that is when His grace is sufficient for me. Not three hours before.... not three hours later. That is why so often when we look at the life of others.... and wonder how in the world they can go through what they are going through... it is because His grace is sufficient at that moment for them... NOT us. Even when they seem to be handling things in such a gracious way.... watching them is so painful... because the grace is theirs for that moment.... not ours.

Thankfully the Bible has much to say about being brokenhearted...

Psalm 34:18 "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

Psalm 147:3 "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds"

Isaiah 61:1 "The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to
preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim
freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners."

Each one of them speaks to the great care and love that God has for the brokenhearted. The last one.... Isaiah 61:1... is the job description for Jesus Christ. That is what He came here for.... to give us the good news... to bind up our brokenness... to free us from bondage... and bring us into His light.

That is something to be thankful for. Knowing that God's Word is 100% true... I am choosing to take that to the spiritual bank.

In Romans 12... the writer, Paul... gives us some instructions for living the christian life.... in verse 15 he says....

"Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn."

So... in the meantime.... that is what I will do. Mourn with him as he mourns. Cry with him as he cries. Wait on God as he waits on God.

You know.... life sure is hard sometimes. But God's Word is true.... and God is always GOOD. And none of that depends upon our circumstances.... BUT on God himself.

You know... there is something else that I have realized recently. When you tell others of your pain... or the pain of your loved ones.... no one can really take on the full extent of the pain. It just rolls right off their backs. They don't mean for it too.... it just doesn't bring the same pain to their heart.

Proverbs 14:10 says this...

"Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy."

Each heart alone feels the extent of the burden. No one else can share in that... 100%. The only one that can feel the exact burden we have is Jesus himself. That would explain our intense need for Christ during such a heartbreaking time. He is the only one that can totally understand our pain... AND better yet.... He is the only one that can do something about it. He came to bind up our broken hearts.

This is how much God loves us.... and this is worth jumping up and down for.

Isaiah 43:1-4 in the Message

"But now, God's Message,
the God who make you in the first place, Jacob.
The One who got you started Israel:
Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you.
I've called your name. You are mine.
When you are in over your head, I'll be there with you.
When you are in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you're between a rock and a hard place, it won't be a dead end--
Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
all of Egypt, with rich Bush and Seba thrown in!
THAT'S how much you mean to me!
THAT'S how much I love you!
I'd sell off the whole world to get you back,
trade the creation just for you."

I just love that.... He would trade creation just for me... just for you... and just for my brother. And... sell off the whole world... now that is love. I am so thankful for the comfort that comes from knowing that He truly loves me... and my brother. So... in the meantime I will be waiting on the Lord.

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Rubber Band...

Have you ever just felt like something is missing?? Can't really put your finger on it, but you know there is something missing?? Well... I have had that feeling for the last couple weeks. I had been doing all the same things.... but it just didn't feel the same.

So... I spent last weekend at the Deeper Still event with Kay Arthur, Priscilla Shirer, and Beth Moore. Those ladies didn't hold anything back. They really brought a Word from God. I thought I had received "my" Word. Priscilla really spoke to my heart about believing that God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. (Ephesians 3:20) I took that as "my" Word. There are so many times that I just ask God for the bare minimum... when I could ask Him for more.... because He is more than able to deliver. Like.... when I pray that my children will all come to know Him. When I could be asking Him to fill my children with an unbelievable love for Himself. Does that make sense?? There are many more examples that I could give.... but that's not the purpose of this post.

Monday, while reading the Living Proof Ministry Blog... I look through some of the comments that others had written about the Deeper Still event. There right in front of my face was a truth that slapped me right in the head.... someone else's comment included the statements that Beth said..... "if you are wondering what is missing, it's the FELLOWSHIP" and "in-depth Bible study is not fellowship". I just sat there. I realized that was it. Now... if the rest of you are shocked at that.... I am so sorry. I wish that it wasn't the truth, but I do believe that it is. I hope that none of you have ever experienced that.... but the truth is the truth.

First of all.... how did I miss that?? I heard her say that. I was listening. I knew that she said that. It just didn't register in my mind. But Monday.... it sure did.

That is what it is. I believe that I have been missing the fellowship. I have been "doing" the stuff. The Bible study, the prayer time, church, you know.... the stuff. But.... somewhere, I think I left the fellowship on the side of the road.

So... I sat down and just poured out my heart to the Lord. Seeking His forgiveness.... and begging Him to refresh me. I felt like I wanted to do something to "remind" myself of His constant presence.... and His desire to fellowship with me at every moment. So... I found myself a rubberband and put it on my left wrist.

Well.... Monday night I went to work. In case you don't know.... I work in the Emergency Room at a local hospital. I put gloves on and take them off at least 100 times a day. At some point... I looked down and the rubber band was gone. I guess while taking off my gloves, I slipped it of too. I wondered.... "how long has it been gone"?? I couldn't remember feeling it come off. It happened without my noticing it. I thought about my fellowship with God.... it had slipped away without my noticing also. How does that happen??

I thought about the time that I spend doing my Bible study... even discussing it with my friends that come to study with me. I thought about going to church week after week. I thought about singing to my praise music. I thought about speaking His Truth to others. None of that is fellowship WITH Him. There is a huge difference. If I spent time learning about my husband, spending time in his car, or even talking about him to my friends.... BUT never spent TIME really communicating with him, listening to him, telling about the things that matter to me, sharing dreams and desires.... what would our marriage be like???

So... there is another rubberband on my wrist. I am trying to be more careful with it... but I am really trying to be more careful with my fellowship with my Lord. He is so worth it....

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Where is my mirror??

Hmmm... have you ever thought much about the difference between a mircoscope and a mirror?? I had never really given it much thought.

The only times that I remember using a microscope is in science class. And, I have to admit that I really didn't like it. Usually it was looking at something yucky.... and honestly.... I couldn't really see in there all that well. I just couldn't get my eyes adjusted to looking into those two little lenses.... and ending up with a clear image.

But.... as a female, I certainly know how to use a mirror. I didn't say that I always like what I see.... but I do know how to use one. When I stop to think about it.... mirrors are much more accessible than microscopes. You can find mirrors everywhere.... in our homes.... in public places... and in our purses. But not microscopes. They are much harder to find.

While working through my current Bible study last week.... we were looking at what God has to say about legalism. Matthew 7:1-5 says...

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. " "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank our of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

So... why is it, that it is easier for us to find a microscope to inspect others.... than it is for us to find a mirror to inspect ourselves?? It should be the other way around.

That reminds me of the saying I have heard since I was a child.... "why do you think you have two ears and one mouth??" Of course the answer would be because we should do more listening than we do talking. According to James 1:19...

"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry."

So... that would explain why mirrors are so much more accessible than mircoscopes. We need to spend more time looking into our own hearts and lives than looking so closely and judgementally at the actions of others. Not to be "self absorbed".... but to examine our hearts and motives for what we do. God looks straight into our hearts. We just can't fool Him with our actions. He knows what we do... and why we do it.

My Tuesday night Bible Study group is doing Beth Moore's Breaking Free study. I did this same study about 5 or 6 years ago. It was life changing. I am not the same person now that I was then. But... I am afraid that as I lead my little group through it... I am focused more on their freedom than I am on looking inside myself to see if there are areas that God desires to free ME. As we looked at the 5 benefits that God intends for His children to enjoy... I noted the things that made such a huge difference in my thinking... and my life. I so wanted to make sure that my little group caught them. I didn't want them to miss anything that God had used to change me. AND... honestly I do want freedom for them. BUT....

Where is my mirror?? I dont want to miss this opportunity for God to show me areas of bondage in my life. I want to make sure that I am using my mirror... looking in.... checking out my motives... allowing God to show me areas that are standing in my way of living the abundant life He planned for me. No wonder there are more mirrors than there are microscopes. HE is more interested in my "in". He doesn't want my focus to be on inspecting the "out" of others. Does any of that make sense to anyone besides me?? There are so many mirrors around... surely I can find mine.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

One of the hard things about parenting...

You know... I wish someone had really warned me about how painful parenting really is. I doubt that I would have listened... but I would have remembered their warning now.

There have been many hard things that I have had to do as a parent. Some have to do with disciplining my children. Some have to do with keeping them from doing some of the things that they want to do... but one of the hardest is to watch them hurt or suffer.

Last year... about this same time... I took my youngest daughter to the eye doctor. At her request. She loved to try on my reading glasses... so when she told me that she couldn't see very well, I just thought that she wanted to wear glasses like mine. I actually put her off for about a month before I made the appointment. She asked me several times a week.... "have you made my appointment yet?"... to which I always answered, "no, not yet." The day finally arrived to go to the doctor.... and boy was I shocked when she couldn't read anything expect the big "E" with her left eye. So... she got her first pair of glasses that day. You could have knocked me over with a feather. I couldn't believe that she had been telling me this for a month or more.... and I ignored her. It killed me on the inside. She was absolutely thrilled.

Fast forward to last Tuesday. It was time for her one year check up. So.... imagine my shock when she climbed up in the chair.... with her glasses ON... and with that same little left eye... could only read that same big "E" on the top line. WHAT?? One year ago these glasses corrected the vision in her left eye to 20/20. Now... she can barely read the top line of the chart. So our newest solution is wearing new glasses, patching the GOOD eye, to hopefully strengthen that left eye. So this is her today... and for 8 hours everyday....

This picture shows her smiling.... but believe me when I tell you it was only for the picture. She started wearing it on Wednesday. Within the first couple hours, we went through about 10 patches. It itched. She pulled it off to scratch. It wouldn't stick back. She cried. It got wet from the tears. It was uncomfortable. We changed it again. We finally got one on that seemed to be comfortable... and dry. So... off to church we go. The closer we got to church, the more nervous she got. By the time we pulled into the parking lot... she was crying again. She didn't want to go in to the childrens activities with the patch on. She was afraid that the other children would make fun of her. So after about 10 minutes of watching her hurt and worry.... I told her to take it off.

To some... I know that this may not be a big deal. But to this mom... it is a huge deal. I hate to think that she is going to have to wear this everday for at least a month or more. It is painful to watch her try to cover it up with her hair while we are in public. It is painful to watch the other children stare at her. It is painful to watch her look at the ground while others are around... to keep them from making eye contact with her. It is killing me.

God must feel exactly the same when his children are hurting. As we suffer through difficult times in our lives. As we endure the consequences of poor decisions. As we ask 'why?" when we don't understand what is going on around us. He knows that He has our best interest at heart. He knows what will bring us to the place where He wants us to be.... so that we can bring Him glory.

So... knowing that it is for her best... I will stand back and watch her go through this. With His help I will continue to encourage her... and pray that this will accomplish its purpose. Sometimes is just hard to see the big picture in our little signature

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Summer Time...

It's summer. Our schedules are more relaxed. We get to sleep later. We have more time for fun. But, one thing that I really like about summer is that my Tuesday night Bible study girls don't have to rush home to get children in the bed for school the next morning. This allows us more time for discussing our current lessons. I am especially glad about that this week.... I think that my girls might even want to bring their pajamas tonight. This week has been a doosey!!

When we were finishing up our last study... I started praying about what study God would have us do next. I had narrowed it down to two or three different studies. I prayed and prayed for direction.... but I just didn't feel completely led to one study. When I talked with the group about them.... they kept bringing up the title of another study. Beth Moore's study... Breaking Free. Now... I've done that study before. And.... in my mind, I kept thinking.... "we are not doing that". Not because it isn't a great study.... but it is personal and intense. I just didn't think I could lead that. Well... in the next 24 hours, God made it pretty clear to me that this was the study He wanted us to do. So we started 2 weeks ago.

Oh my.... God has just thrilled me with this study so far. I have so much highlighted and written on the sides of my pages. I can't wait til tonight. Will you let me share some of it with you?????

**According to Isaiah 43:10 one of my chief purposes on this planet is to know God intimately! He wants me to know Him... and believe Him. Not just believe IN Him... but believe Him... what He says about himself... and about me.

**God never sheds light on our weaknesses or shortcomings for the sake of condemnation... only to make us aware of hinderances so He can set us free!! Only when I come face-to-face with my weaknesses can I allow Christ to heal me and make me whole and free.

**According to John 8:32 Christ continually uses the TRUTH as the means to our destination. It is His Word that will lead me to freedom.

**AND our destination is freedom according to Gal. 5:1. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.

**This statement just about brought me to tears.... A person can receive Christ as Savior, serve Him for decades, and meet Him face-to-face in glory without ever experiencing satisfaction IN Him on this earth. Oh Lord.... please don't let that be anyone in my Bible study group.... or anyone else for that matter. How tragic. To be satisfied with Christ... that is enough to make me have a spell.

**Along with the statement above.... there is a huge difference between salvation from sin and satisfaction of the soul. Salvation secures our lives for all eternity. Soul satisfaction insures abundant life on earth. I want the abundant life here on earth as well as security for eternity.

**The key to peace is authority. When we allow the Prince of Peace to govern our lives, peace either immediately or ultimately results. Peace accompanies authority.

I wish that I could share every single thought here.... but there is just too much.

I started this post on Tuesday morning.... and here it is on Thursday. Can I just tell you that I wasn't the only one that had lots to say on Tuesday night?? We were able to talk about three out of the five days worth of questions..... in almost 4 hours. No time for the video teaching. We will have to finish up next week. Now, that is a lot of talking.

I can see that God is up to something huge in our little group. I can't wait. I am so thankful to be an eye-witness to HIS work.

I hope that God is up to something in your life too. Why don't you tell me a little bit about it??

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Not guilty...

You have got to listen to this..... I have said before how much I LOVE Mandisa... but this will show you why...

There is nothing that I can add to this.......... my hands are in the air!!!!!!
Face to the ground!!!!

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

When God doesn't obey.....

Okay... I am way behind. I was suppose to post the winner of the giveaway this past weekend... and I am just now getting around to it... And the winner is...

Tammy from Not Mine but God's story

Tammy please send me your mailing address and I will get this little prize out to you.

On to what is on my mind today....

God is tricky sometimes. Okay, well... HE is really not tricky... but things about Him are. How do you prove to someone that God is good. Especially when He is not doing what they want Him to do??? I love it when Beth Moore says, "when God doesn't obey". And that is what we want isn't it?? We want Him to obey us. He want Him to do what we want Him to do. But fortunately.... God doesn't work that way.

And yes, I said fortunately.

If God did everything that we think we want Him to do... we would all be in a mess. Everyone would have more than enough money.... leaving us with no way to reach out and show God's love to others. Everyone would have perfect children... leaving us no way to teach them about forgiveness. Everyone would be healthy... both physically and mentally... leaving us no way to pour out our lives to help others, to show compassion and love in their times of trouble. And everyone would be saved and headed to Heaven... leaving us no way to serve God and carry out the great commission. And we would just be so self-sufficient that we would no longer need God. We just can't have what we want all the time. There are times that God has to say "no" to what we want. And even to somethings we think we NEED. It is all according to His calendar... not our watch.

I am glad that I can trust in my heart that if God says "no"... or "not now" it is because He can see the big picture and knows what is best for me and the ones around me. Not to mention for His Glory. I have been in some places that I would rather not be... but with God... knowing what I know about Him... and His character..... I can endure and persevere. I can lean on the verse in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 that says....

"Rejoice always, pray continually, and GIVE THANKS in ALL circumstances, for this IS GOD'S WILL FOR YOU in Christ Jesus."

I believe that God has a purpose in every circumstance that He allows me to be in. I can rest in that. I have come to realize that I don't have to like the circumstance.... but I can know that He is there... and it is His will for me to be there... for His glory. I am glad for the faith that HE has given me to trust in Him in times that seem bad.

But what do you do for someone that can't trust that??? Someone that just doesn't have that belief or trust into their heart yet????

That is where I am sitting today. I have come to the conclusion that I can't prove God's goodness to anyone. And I want to . I want to pour out some of what I have... into their heart so that they can trust too. Persevere. Endure. Grow. Believe. Trust. Wait. BUT I can't.

This morning I looked up every verse that speaks of goodness. They were all great verses.... but even they can't prove to someone that God is good. It comes from experience. It comes from walking the hard path. It comes from being in places that you don't want to be... and then coming out on the other side. Looking back. It comes from faith. It comes from studying God's Word and seeing the way He has dealt with man over time.

I have no answers. All I have is faith and trust.... How do you give it to someone else??

Any thoughts?? I'd love to hear them.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Seeing through someone else's eyes

My husband and I just celebrated our 22st wedding anniversary. We dated for almost 7 years before we got married... so we have been together for a LONG time. Like most married couples... we have had some really good times... and some really bad times. But to the Glory of God... we are still loving each other.

One thing that I really hate is.... I think I have stopped "seeing" him. What I mean by that is that I just go through my days... not noticing what he does. Let me give you an example.... I have noticed several times over the last couple months that I catch people talking about the "good things" he does.... that I didn't even notice. Several times I have caught some of my Tuesdays bragging on him. (my Sweet Tuesdays are my Bible study ladies) Like... he vacuums for me most Tuesdays before they get there... He will often cook enough food to share with them while they are there... He will run through the living room to catch the dogs so that they don't get in the way of our class.... (like he is not a distraction as he runs through.... but it is the thought that counts, right?). One of them has even pointed out that he needs to give lessons to other husbands...... I have realized that I don't really give him enough credit for all he does to help me. I don't always notice when he loads the dishwasher.... or empties it. I don't always notice that the clothes that I left in the dryer are folded and in the baskets... I don't notice how he seems to not mind at all that I don't cook him supper. And I don't seem to notice all the times that he makes tea. (which we discussed MANY years ago... and it is clearly my job.. AND I don't mind) The other day, one of my friends pointed out how sweet he was to cook us dinner and then clean up the kitchen while she and I went for a walk... the list seems to go on and on. Hearing someone else brag on your husband for something that you didn't even notice is quite sobbering. I don't like that... I don't mind at all when they brag on him... I just hate that somehow I have stopped seeing it. I am trying to watch for those things now... and give him the kuddos when he deserves it. And... I am sure that I still miss many opportunities to thank him.

I know the same is true for the "world" that I see. I don't always see it through God's eyes. I am looking through my eyes. The frustration. The inconvenience. The people. The needs. I filter them through my eyes... and my perspective. Not God's... which is what I need to be doing. How else can I try to make a difference in the world if I am not seeing things like God does??? I have really been thinking about this a lot lately. I need to put on my "God" glasses so that I can see more clearly.

I want to thank my husband for all the sweet things he does for me and our family. I want to let him know how much I love him and appreciate what he does. I want to stop looking through my eyes... and look through God's eyes. Then.... I think things will become much clearer.

Thanks Brad for all the things that you do for me and our family. You are a good man!! I am sorry that I don't tell you that as often as I should. I'm am blessed to have you!! And... thank you for putting up with me for the last 29 years. I love you!

AND... not only have we celebrated our wedding anniversary... this is my 100th post. So... in honor of this post... I will have a giveaway on May 28th. Just post a comment about something or someone you are thankful for. I can't wait to hear from you.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Moving like a snail...

There is just something about getting older. I weigh more... I don't have the energy that I used to... not as active... can't see without granny glasses.... and the list goes on and on. I had talked to God about this a while back... and knew that He told me to start walking some. But I just hadn't started it yet. This past week in my Bible study we were challenged to think of something that we had inquired of God about... gotten His instruction... and we were still waiting to obey. Well... He so graciously reminded me about walking. So a week ago... I started walking in my neighborhood. I don't do it everyday... my work schedule messes me up a couple times a week... but I have started.

The first day... I walked in silence. I could hear the birds singing and had time to think about lots of things. The second time... I walked and quoted my scripture memory verses. Then yesterday... I decided to use my daughters i-Pod. There is a great album on there of Francesca Battistelli. It was all I could do to walk... quietly. I wanted to dance. I wanted to jump up and down. And... I wanted to sing.... loudly.... like I do in the car. But... I like where we live... and I want to stay here. So I tried REALLY hard not to sing. I'm not sure if I succeeded or not. Anyway... while I was walking one of those days.... I saw a snail working to hard to cross the road.

I stopped and watched him. He was barely making it. He was moving so slow that I couldn't tell if he was making any progress or not. I thought to myself.... poor thing... he has to carry his house on his back. Then I tried to imagine how it would be if I had to carry my house on my back. There is no way I could stand under the weight of it. The more I thought about carrying things on my back... the slower I walked. Then I thought about all the things that I have carried on my back... that I didn't have to. Guilt. Shame. Unforgiveness. Jealousy. Struggles. Anger. Bitterness. Hurt. Man... it is amazing that I am still standing. My back should be broken in half by now. And... sometimes I would take it off my back... and just pack it away in my baggage... and just pull it around with me.

The thing is... God is more than willing to carry our "stuff" around for us. He calls out to us in
1 Peter 5:7...

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you. (NLT)

So why don't we do that?? And what about the times we do give them over to Him... and then we go back and pick them up again?? God has offered to be our caddy... to carry our heavy load for us.

Also in Matthew 11:28-30...

Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light".

When we weigh ourselves down with things that God would carry for us... we move slowly just like that snail. Our walk with the Lord may slow to a crawl as well. Our shoulders weren't made for that load... but God's were. Sometimes life is just too heavy.

Why, Oh why.... would we carry around a bunch of stuff we don't have to?? I so want to give all my cares and burdens to the Lord. I want His light load. I want rest for my soul. And something tells me that if someone were to offer to carry his house... that snail would take them up on it.

And... now I know why God was so insistant on my walking... He has so much to teach me.

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Spiritual Banking....

I will be the first one to admit that I don't always do really well with my checkbook. There have been many times that I have forgotten to write down a debit card purchase... only to realize later in the week that I am overdrawn. Now.... I don't know about you... but if I am overdrawn... I really don't have any extra money to give the bank for the fee. But... they take it anyway. Which only makes my bad situation worse. My checking account has money going in.... and money going out.

Imagine my thrill this week while I was listening to a Beth Moore teaching CD on the book of Romans. She was teaching in chapter 4. This is what verse 3 says...

"What does Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness"

then in verse 9...

"Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumsied? We have been saying that Abraham's faith was credited to him as righteousness."

and yet again in Genesis 15:6

"Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness"

She explained that the word "credited" is a banking term. It is added to our account. Like our spiritual checking account... picture that.... God making a deposit into MY account. I was thrilled to think of God filling out a deposit slip for my account. That was enough to make me jump up and down.

She then moved down to verse 7 and 8...

"Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him."

The word "count" is also an accounting term. She explained that this verse tells us that our sins are not counted against us... they don't get deposited into an account. They are gone. There is not a "sin account".... only a righteousness account. Well.... that thrilled me again.

God is not making a list of our sins... they are thrown into the sea of forgetfulness. Sins that are confessed... God promises to forgive them. (1 John 1:19)

The only thing that gets deposited into our spiritual righteousness account is when we exercise our faith. It is our faith... that makes God get out the deposit slips and make a deposit into our account. Okay... I could grasp that..... BUT then she said....

"not even our righteousness gets deposited into the righteousness account..." Did you get that?? All the righteous things that we do don't even make a difference in our righteousness account. The only deposits that are made is when we exercise faith.

Now... I don't know... that might not do a thing for you. Or maybe you had already thought that one out before. If so, just pardon me while I get excited about it.

Think about it... when we exercise our faith... our account just gets bigger and bigger. When we sin... it doesn't decrease the balance in our account. When we "do" all those righteous things that we do... our account doesn't get bigger. Just faith... Believing God... Trusting God... makes our account get fatter.

Maybe if my regular bank account worked like that I could keep from overdrawing... deposit... deposit... deposit.... nothing coming back out. Don't you wish it really worked like that at the bank.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Unexplained Emotions

God has truly humbled me by His mercy and grace. There have been so many times in the past that I have experienced His grace and mercy... but I don't remember any of those times having quite the same effect on me as it has the past couple days.

I have heard people say, "you don't know what I have done... God could never forgive ME". To which I say.... well.... God know everything you have ever done and thought about doing.... yet He is willing to forgive you.

I have heard other people say, "there is no way that person can go to heaven after what they have done..." To which I say... going to heaven has nothing to do with what we have done... and everything to do with what Jesus did!"

I have heard still others say, "I deserve better than this...." To which I often think... really?? I think the Bible says that we all deserve hell. So anything better than hell is more than you deserve.

BUT... since Saturday... I am saying....

"who are we that God would show us so much favor and save my son's life?" and then...

"how can I face others that have lost their children.... knowing that God chose to save mine?"

Now... this is a set of questions that I just haven't been able to answer to myself yet. Don't get me wrong... I know that God is sovereign. He can and does what He chooses... and what pleases Him. I know that He knows the beginning from the end... and His plan is perfect. BUT I just can't get over these humbling emotions. I have shed more tears over these questions that I have about the accident itself. Well... actually... I didn't shed any over the accident. I had immediate peace... and I knew that no matter what the outcome... I could trust God's plan. It almost seems to me that I could have accepted God's choice of "bad" easier than I can accept His choice of "good". It has left me speechless. I am in total awe of God that He would choose to save my son's life. That He would give him more time here...

These are certainly some unexplainable emotions that are swirling around in my head and in my heart. I am totally humbled by this. I know that God has a perfect plan. I know that all of this is part of it. I am totally surrendered to His plan... and I have come to understand... that I don't have to be able to explain it... or the emotions in my heart. But I do want to praise Him!

Father... again, you know my heart. It is so humbled by your sovereign choice to spare Jason's life. Please help me to get out of the way so that you can accomplish what you have purposed in his life and in mine. I praise you.... you alone are worthy!!

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Friday, April 24, 2009

God's mercy and Grace

Again... I am amazed at God's mercy and His grace. Today we went to look at the car that my son was driving when he had his accident... it is enough to make my heart sick. But.... knowing that God had his hand on this car as it slammed into a truck at 55mph or more... makes my heart sing. He is our protector. He is more merciful than we can ever imagine. Jason is doing fairly well. He is still extremely sleepy and groggy. He is weak and unsteady on his feet most of the time.... BUT he is alive. I thought that I would include a few pictures of the car. They are a little graphic.... AND the beer can under the car in one photo does not belong to my son... it is in the fence at the wreckage yard. Please take a moment and praise God that He chose to spare Jason's life. Please also pray that Jason will cooperate with God's purpose for this.

Father... I am in awe of you. You are so totally in control of all things. I cannot thank you enough for giving Jason more time here. Not only for me... But for him. Please have your way and your will with this. I will praise you forever. I am humbled... I have found myself looking up at your heavens in awe that you would do this for us.... more tears. I love you Lord.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Oh how good my Father is...

God has just been so good to me this week. I just need to take a few minutes and give Him some praise. Some of you may know that our computer has suffered for quite some time. After a severe cluster of viruses our precious... old... computer died. It just couldn't make it. I have been quite undone without a computer. It is amazing how much you can depend on something and not even realize it. So after at least a week or two with no computer... I was able to get a new one... and praise God... it is a laptop. Which is such a blessing for me today because....

Monday, my 18 years old son was in a bad car accident. While driving on a straight stretch of road... a truck ran through a stop sign into the path of the car that Jason was driving. (which was NOT his own car... that is a different story) Jason didn't even have time to apply the brakes. He hit the side of the heavy duty truck at approximately 55 mph or more. He was taken to our local hospital... but then transfered to the NeuroICU at another hospital. He has a skull fracture... and a epidural hematoma. (bleeding in the brain) I actually started this post while he was in the hospital several days ago... but didn't get finished until now.

Things like this bring you to a point that you have to choose... either to trust God or not.

I have chosen to trust God. I have walked with Him long enough to know that I don't have to like what happens... I just have to trust that it is part of God's perfect plan. His Word tells us that His plan is PERFECT. I don't trust God to do what I want Him to do. I just trust God.

This whole event has continued to bring back to my mind a sentence that I read in the book The Shack... no matter how you feel about this book... this sentence has the potential to change your thinking.

You have to give up the right to decide what is good and what is bad.

The world's eyes don't see things the same way that God's eyes see them. He sees the beginning from the end. He sees the character that comes from the suffering. He sees the result that comes from the trial. He sees the beauty that comes from the ashes.

A fractured skull... bad in the world's eyes.
Bleeding in the brain... bad in the world's eyes.
Being in the Neurosurgical ICU... bad in the world's eyes.

The truth remains... these may be good things in the overall plan that leads to eternity. Do I like that this has happened? No. Do I like that my son has had to go through what he has gone through since Monday? No. But I know that God can use it for His eternal purpose. That is what I am praying for.

God has been very gracious to my family this week. My son came home yesterday. He still has to take things easy for quite a while while his skull and brain try to recover from this injury. But... after seeing pictures of the car... it is an absolute a miracle that he is alive. I am completely humbled by God's goodness to us this week. Instead of bringing my son home... we could have been planning his funeral. Please pray with me that he will see God's real purpose in this. There is a reason why Jason is still here.... because by all appearences.... he shouldn't be. I'm trusting His plan.

My God is good. ALL the time.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Roadwork Ahead...

Ughh.... I can't tell you how tired I am of all the road work going on around here. Every time I go somewhere, I hit at least one or two miles of road work. A couple weeks ago... it was the opposite side of the road from my daughter's school. So every morning... I would go the long way home so that I didn't have to drive on the torn up road. They had torn up all of the old asphalt and prepared the road for new asphalt. Only... it seemed like forever between the time that they tore up the old... and put on the new. Imagine my surprise Monday morning when I turned to take my daughter to school.... and they were now on my side of the road. There is no way around it. I am going to have to drive that way every morning to take her to school. It is so bumpy... and rough. Loose stones flying around everywhere. A smooth way.... Is that really too much to ask for??

Today as I bumped along... my mind wandered to some other bumpy, rough, tough places. Like struggles that we go through in our life. Hurt. Pain. Loss. Frustration. Depression. Discouragement. Anger... among many other things. I thought about how God has to tear up the old existence... the old reactions... the old relationships... the old prideful ways... so that He can bring us to a smooth place. A place of beauty.

Isaiah 42:16 says...
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them,

and make the rough places smooth.

His goal is our holiness. Not our happiness. His goal is for us to be just like His Son. Not like who we are without Him. The final product is to be a beautiful planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor. (Isaiah 61:3)

I know that the goal of those sweet... sweaty... hardworking road men is for us to have a beautiful smooth road to drive on. But, it will not be that way until the old is torn up... and the new put down. So... maybe God is just going to remind me every morning that He is also in the road business... tearing up the old... to bring the new. Even though the way may be bumpy and rough.... I can trust that He will make it smooth.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

And the winner is...

Okay... I know that I have let March 31st come and go without announcing the winner of the giveaway... and I am sure that you few have been by here everyday to see if it is you. (okay... well, maybe not) I was pretending that I would figure out how to post a picture of the giveaway before I announced the winner.... but I didn't. I am sure that if I could have pinned one of my children down long enough they could have shown me... but that didn't happen either.

So.... with no more delay... the winner is

Elaine at Peace for the Journey

Elaine, please send me your mailing address so that I can get it in the mail to you.

Hopefully I can get a picture up soon.

Many of you know that my Tuesdays and I are working through the Beth Moore study entitled Jesus the One and Only. Awesome study. We are finishing up our study next week... so right now we are doing the homework for the last 24 hours of the life of Christ. Wow! What a great time of year to be studying this. I have been so blessed. There are more than a few things that really marked me... let me tell you about some of them...

Satan was able to enter Judas because he was available. Think about this... Judas had followed Christ for several years. He had seen His power. He had seen his life. BUT he had never really given his heart to Christ. This happens in churches too. There are people that have gone to church for years. Sang in the choir. Served in the nursery. Sat next to people that were authentic in their faith... but never really given their heart to Christ. Available.

Satan asked permission to sift Peter as wheat. Christ granted him permission. Christ wouldn't grant the devil permission to do anything that can't be used for God's glory and our good... if we let it. Christ also told Peter that He prayed for him. (Luke 22:31-32) And then He said... "when" you turn back strengthen your brothers. Think about this... Christ knew Peter's heart. He knew that even being sifted and shook up by the enemy wouldn't keep Peter from Him. The enemy can only read us from the outside.... Christ reads us on the inside. Christ knew that Peter could be trusted with the sifting. Am I trustworthy??

Not only did Christ DO so much for us on Calvary... there are things that He could have done that He chose not to. According to Matthew 26:54-56, He reminded them that He could call on His Father, and He would put at His disposal 12 legions of angels. But.... He chose not to. He was so totally God... He could have called the whole thing off... but because of His great love for us and His great desire to do His Father's will.... He chose to stay on that cross. Not only did God do what He didn't have to do... but He also didn't do what He could have done. Now that is powerful!!

Christ knew from the beginning that Judas would betray Him. The fact that the disciples discussed which one would be the one to betray Him shows us that Jesus never treated Judas any differently than the others. Even after Judas planted the betraying kiss on His check... Jesus called him "Friend". (Matthew 26:50) Christ loves us all the same. There is nothing that we can do to change His love for us.

Also... Can you imagine the look on Jesus' face when He and Peter made eye contact after the betrayal. What do you think His eyes said to Peter?? Do you think that they were full of condemnation?? I think His look must have been full of love. It is God's kindness that leads us to repentance. Peter had actually come face-to-face with the fact that in him no good thing dwelled. The sifting removed the unuseable in Peter... and left him useable to Christ. Although I really don't like to be sifted... I do want to be rid of the chaff and unuseable junk in my life so that Christ can use me.

God has really used this study to give me a deeper view of Calvary. I know that most of us have read and heard this story over and over.... but re-read it. Ask God to give you a fresh new look at it. I believe He longs to do that. And... don't be afraid of a little sifting....

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

What ever happened to kindness?

Yesterday I took my mom to the doctor's office. Actually we went to two different doctor's offices... for a total of 3 1/2 hours. We could have been grumpy about that... but we weren't. While we were at one office.... we had seen the doctor, and we were waiting to get bloodwork done. We were sitting in a little tiny waiting room with two other people. One lady... and one man. The lady told us all about her struggles with needing to pay the balance on her account before they would see her... a whopping $3.25. She shook the change in her pocket to show us that she had brought it. I think she shared this with us because they would not go ahead and allow me to make my husband an appointment while I was there... because he owed them $15 for missing an appointment. I didn't even take my purse with me... this was my mom's appointment. Anyway... a nurse appeared out of the back to tell the lady that the doctor would see her now.... as they started off... the little man stood up and said, "please... before the doctor goes in to see her... please have him sign a prescription for me to get a new glucometer... mine is broken and I haven't been able to check my blood sugar for over 24 hours". To which the nurse made some comment below her breath... and walked away.

This man started a conversation with my mom... and they realized that they were in school together. This meant that the man was about 73 years old. He said that he had been waiting for 1 1/2 hours to just get a piece of paper saying that he could get a new glucometer. He was a little vocal about his situation to my mom.... but he wasn't asking for the world... just a signed prescription that would allow the pharmacy to sell him a new glucometer.

Then... out of no where... a new person came up to the desk and called the little man up. She handed him a prescription for his glucometer... but proceeded to lay him out with her words. She said as loud as she could...

"you can't just walk in here and think that the doctor is going to drop everything he is doing just to get you a prescription.... you should have called first!!"

she then said.... " you said your glucometer broke yesterday... you had time to call us about this... you can't think we are going to just drop everything and take care of your needs because you walk in the door!"

He tried to explain that he was out of town when his glucometer broke... and he just came back to town and stopped by there. She was not taking that either.... she continued to just fuss at him.... she then told him.... "this is not the first time you have done this.... you have done this before!!"

He just hung his little head and said, "okay.... " took his prescription... and walked out the door.

I was fuming. What is the world has made people think that they can treat others any way they please?? I just don't get it!! I felt so bad for that little man.... You know... the thing is that in "his day" you could just walk into your doctor's office... who knew you by name.... and knew your family.... and talk directly to him. You wouldn't have even had to deal with a huge staff of meanies.

I don't know anything about the people in this office... besides the fact that they are not kind... nor flexible. I don't know where they stand with the Lord. But I can tell you what kind of fruit is on their tree.

Matthew 12:33 says this,
"Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit."

Oh... I want my fruit to be worthy of my Father. I want others to see fruit on my tree that is good.

There was another conversation that I was a part of the other morning at work. Several people were talking about a co-worker that talked ugly to them on a regular basis. When they were describing him... and I decided that I did know who they were talking about. He was the one that I was "short" with one time. Only.... conviction hit me so hard that I searched for him later that morning but couldn't find him.... so the next time I worked, I apologized to him. Needless to say... He was shocked that I would come and apologize for such a "small thing". His words... not mine. Not God's. He let me know in no uncertain terms that I was out of line.... my fruit wasn't lining up with my tree. I am sure that there are other times that my fruit doesn't line up. But that is not what I want. I want to be the REAL DEAL. When I told my co-workers about my apology to him... they ranted that they wouldn't apologize... they are just ugly back to him....

I so want to be the real deal. I want my fruit to be sweet and lead others to my Father. So tell me..... what makes you the real deal??

***It is almost my blogaversary.... leave a comment and I will choose one person to receive a gift.... I will draw on Tuesday, March 31st. If you don't have a blog... just leave a comment under anonymous... and include your name and email address.*****

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Let's go grocery shopping

Okay... after my last post that included my addictions.... I have gotten several questions about the grocery game. Ladies... it is so easy! The grocery game is a website that helps you match up sales and current coupons to get the absolute best deal on your grocery purchases. I have been doing this for a little over a year maybe.... and I promise it works. All it takes is a little bit of time... and the coupons that come in Sunday's newspaper. And... the space to put all of the "stuff".

My family is so sweet... I don't even purchase my own newspaper. My dad buys me one every Sunday while he is buying his. He buys the "big" paper in our area. Then my mother gives me the ones that come out of our "smaller" local paper. My aunt gives me her coupons as well. So... each week I usually end up with 3 sets of coupons. If I stay caught up, it takes me about one hour on Sunday afternoon to cut and organize my coupons. If I told you that I have a HUGE 3 ring binder full of coupons would you believe me?? I do. It is full of baseball card holder sheets (6 per sheet). Each different coupon has its own holder. If I have 3 of the same coupon... they go in the same sleeve.

You do have to pay a small fee to be a member of the grocery game. For example.... I get the list from 4 different grocery stores and it cost be $25 every 8 weeks. Now... at first glance, that may seem like a lot. But today alone... I saved $90 at Harris Teeter. So... that is at one store in just one day. My original bill was $215. With my VIC card and coupons, I ended up paying $124. Just imagine how much I save at 4 stores in 8 weeks. That $25 fee is back in my pocketbook in less than one trip to a grocery store.

My usual savings are at least 50% or more. The trick is that you buy more than one of an item at an extremely low price.... stockpile it.... and you never have to pay full price for it. Does that make sense?? If not.... please visit the website. It is so self-explanatory.

They offer a 4 week trial for only $1. You can get the list for every store in your area for that $1. BUT please don't sign up to do a trial until you have saved your coupons for at least 4 to 6 weeks. That way.... you will have some, if not most, of the coupons that they have on the list.

It is an absolute "high" to walk out of a store with tons of groceries for a small amount of money. I bet you didn't know this... but if you save "too much" money on your bill, the cashier actually has to call the manager to override the sale. They have to call for the "key". Now... that is too cool. It happened to me today.

Many times you can get items for free. I am pretty sure that we have enough toothpaste to do us til Jesus comes back!! Shampoo and conditioner too. At any given time... I usually have at least 60 rolls of toilet paper. We have enough bathroom spray to repaint the neighborhood... if it were paint. Cleaning supplies.... well... you would think that my house would be spotless. But it isn't.

I urge you to give it a try... if you have the space for the stock. Unless... of course you have more money than you know what to do with.

And... if you decide to sign up... please put me down as your reference. You will need my email address. You can either leave me a comment... or check my profile page. I can earn free weeks for referring you. Any more questions????? Just ask.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A very needed blessing

After my last post... which was just yesterday... I really needed a blessing. And God, in His wonderful faithfulness, showed up and gave me one. My sweet new bloggy friend Cricket at A Simple Girls Life gave me an award. I'm pretty sure that I didn't deserve it... but God, in His unbelievable grace, allowed me to receive it. Wow! What a blessing.

The funniest thing is that they used my body for the picture.... NOT! And I am quite sure that "Fabulous" is the overstatement of the year... but I am still blessed none the less.

There are only two rules to follow after accepting this award and they are...

1. Confess 5 things you are addicted to.
2. Pass the award on to 5 deserving bloggers.

I think this may have been a trap... to see my dark side... but since it shows most of the time anyway, especially yesterday... here goes.

1. Starbucks. I hate to admit that I pay that much for a cup of steamed milk and some expresso... but it is the truth. I do... actually, as often as I can. The great thing is that my bank gives points for using your debit card as a credit card... which I do obsessively... and use my points to get Starbucks gift cards. Free makes it taste even better.

2.The Grocery Game. I am so addicted to clipping coupons and saving money at the grocery store. I usually pay HALF or LESS for my groceries when all is said and done. It is better than using drugs.... it is such a "high".

3. My Tuesdays. This is my sweet little group of ladies that come over on Tuesday nights to study God's Word. These ladies bless me so much with their desire to know God. They keep me so excited. Which leads to another one of my addictions....

4. Bible study. I can't get enough. I am quite a Beth Moore junkie... but I do others as well. I not only do written studies... I love to listen to teaching CDs or sermon CDs in the car. I want to know God as deeply as I can here. I want as much of Him as I can get here.

5. And... Facebook. I have decided that I have an addictive personality. Anything that comes along seems to get me... It is just so easy to take a quick peek into your friends lives... see what they are up to... and it doesn't seem to take me as long as it does to post on my blog.

Now... this is what I am addicted to at this moment. It is possible for some of these to change without notice... although everything but Facebook has been around quite a while. There are also things like index cards, DoveTruffle eggs, praise music, my family, my friends, Sonic, and the list goes on..... I must just have quite an addictive personality.

And I want to give this same award to these people because their blogs bless me:

Libby at Daily Tidbits

Pamela at The Pinkshoe Lady

Susan at RunnerMom

Pamela at In His Graces

JeanMac at A Mountain too High

Check out these blogs... you will be blessed as well. Thank you to Cricket. Thank you God for your blessings.

ALSO... my one year Blogiversery is coming up.... check back later this week for a giveaway! And it won't be long until my 100th post.... another giveaway!

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Struggles with flesh....

I love it when God answers my prayers... just like I had hoped He would. But... it sure is a bummer when He decides to do things His way. I have been dreading this day for about three weeks now. I have prayed about it many, many, many times. This morning... I just bombarded His throne with my request. My request soon turned to begging. I so needed Him to intervene in this certain situation. For many different reasons... one for simplicities sake. Another for my daughter and her peace of mind. Another one for the other people that would be involved. But I soon realized that the biggest reason was my pride. Yippie.... those pride panties again. I thought I tried to take those off this morning. I so wanted to be more concerned and compassionate for my daughter and the others involved. But seeing how my flesh jumped in there and reacted.... and think it was my pride that won out. Gee, I really hate it when I do that.

I am so comforted by Paul's struggle with sin. In Romans 7:15 Paul says this...

"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do... I do not do, but what I hate... I do.

My reactions and attitude certainly prove his next statement...

"I know that nothing good lives in me, that is in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out."

"When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war at work within my members. What a wretched man I am!! Who will rescue me from this body of death?? "

Then my favorite part....

"Thanks be to God- through Jesus Christ our Lord."

I am so glad that Paul had this struggle. I am so glad that he was obedient enough to tell us about it.

Can I just say that I will still bless the Lord even though this day didn't turn out like I had hoped. After my fit... and my tears... and my bad attitude.... Jesus is still there... waiting to make me whole again. Thanks be to God!

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Swept clean and put in order...

Last week was a busy week for me. It started on Monday when my mom was put into the hospital. She is fine now, resting at home... ... but it just made it busy just the same. I didn't just go sit there everyday like I should have... or like I would want someone else to do if it were me in the hospital. But I constantly felt the pull to hurry what I was doing so that I could go up there to be with her. Wednesday morning she had a procedure that required me to go and sit in a waiting room for an extended period of time.... So I loaded up my Bible and my Bible study workbook and off I went.

The waiting room was practically full when I got there. I found myself a chair over to one side... and plopped down. I opened up my Bible study workbook, got out my three different colored highlighters, my ink pen, and my Bible. I started reading in Luke 11:17-26. I am usually distracted if I try to do my Bible study when other things are going on around me... but not this time. Although there were a lot of others around... it seemed like it was just me and God. I know I even made some noises while I was reading... you know... uhmm... uh huh... wooo... I would catch myself letting these noises escape... and just grin to myself.

Anyway... this is just one part that spoke volumes to me...

"When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find any. Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first."

I know this to be true. There was a time about 8 years ago that God really did a work in my heart about being in bondage to something. Through His work and my work.... I was free for about 3 or 4 years. Free. Swept clean and put in order just like the house in the scripture above. The problem is... I didn't permanently fill that empty space up with something else. I did for a while. But... then I fell back into old patterns... thinking that I was free... I let myself think about other things. Now... I realize that not only did the evil spirit move back in... he brought all his buddies with him... because I seem to be having a much harder time getting free this time. It seems so easy for me to fall back into the old patterns after a day or two of being obedient. I wish that I had moved some permanent furniture into that cleaned up space.

When we take a negative out of our lives.... we must turn around and fill it with something positive. Otherwise... there is a gaping cleaned up and put in order space sitting there just waiting on something to fill it. Our enemy is more than happy to find something to fill up that space. That is probably why people that are trying to stop smoking take up something else... like chewing gum or eating lollipops.

The enemy also knows that if we have tasted a little bit of freedom... like the 3 or 4 years that I did.... I am going to want to be there again. Therefore he brings his buddies with him so that it will be much harder this time around. He doesn't want to lose... again. Unfortunately.... he does knows the end of the story. He is going to lose. Big time. And he will do whatever he can to keep us in bondage before he loses. I love this scripture....

"His heart is secure, he will have no fear;
in the end he will look in triumph on his foes" Psalm 112:8

He is going to be the big loser. We will look in triumph over him in the end.... Now... if I can just get him out of my house again.

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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Springing Forward

Gee... it has been a long time since I posted. I think facebook has taking over my life. I cannot believe how quickly you (that is really "I") can get addicted to something. Anyway....

Today is the day that we had to spring our clocks forward one hour. There is just nothing like losing a whole hour of sleep. How ironic that I often feel like I lose whole hours during my day while I do something silly..... but that doesn't seem to have the same effect on me. I really need to re-think that. I just thought of that.... it wasn't even the reason for this post.

I just had a birthday.... I am right at my "mid" forties now. (How exciting...) But.... yet my sweet mother called me three times yesterday to remind me to move my clock ahead when I went to bed last night. I even got another message from a friend reminding me to do the same thing. (You know who you are.....) When I told my husband about it yesterday afternoon.... He just looked at me and said, "Do they think we are just stupid?" We got a good laugh from it.

While I got my family ready for church this morning... I started thinking. I am sure that I will never stop being their mom either. I will probably call them and remind them to move their clock ahead just like my mom did. I will probably call them to remind them of all kinds of things... not because they are stupid... but because I'm the Moma THAT"S WHY! I don't think that I will be able to stop being the mom... just because they are in their mid forties.... or fifties for that matter. Somehow it really made me grin to think about my mom then.... How blessed am I that she still wants to be my "mom". Blessed I tell you!!

Then I thought about how God reminds my heart of things during the day... sometimes during the night too. How He loves me. How He is paying attention to what is going on in my day. How He lets me hear the birds sing to Him in the morning so that I can join in their praise. How He sends me a love note in the middle of my Bible reading. How He gently nudges me when I am about to oversleep. Thankfully He never stops being my Father. His desire to parent me never ends.

My phone just rang... I smiled as I headed for it. I laughed and said... "Mom, I love you." But... the joke was on me. It was for my son. Oh well....

Thanks Father for being my Father. Thanks for giving me a mom that still parents me. Thanks for also reminding me that you have blessed me with the opportunity to do the same thing.

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Friday, February 27, 2009

Moving on...

I am not one that has moved around a lot.... I lived with my parents in the same house of my childhood until the day I got married. My honey and I then lived in the same place for 19 years. In December of 2006, we picked up only the things that we needed and moved a whole 4 minutes down the road. When I tell you that we only took the things that we needed.... I am not kidding. We took our "current" wardrobe (not all the stuff that hangs in the closet for years without being worn), our pots, pans, dishes, small kitchen appliances, a few pictures off the wall, the toys that my children loved, and that is about it. We just left the rest behind. We owned the place... and we figured that we could go back for it if we needed it. We never did. Several months later, my husband had some family that needed a place to stay so we allowed them to move in there. They packed up the rest of our stuff and moved it outside to a storage building. I have seen their son having a recurrent yard sale for several months.... I don't go look. It is probably our stuff. If I see it, I will probably want it back.... so I have just let it go. I have completely left all that behind. For good. Never to go back.

So, I don't have a lot of experience with moving around.

For a week or so, I have been listening to some CD's of a Beth Moore conference called Spiritual Mapping. Absolutely awesome teaching. It maps out our Spiritual journey... from Egypt (our place of slavery and worldliness), to the Wilderness (not where we used to be, but not exactly where God is taking us), to our Promised Land (where we are being used of God to accomplish His purpose). I've been thinking a lot about this.

Egypt is a place of slavery... even if we don't realize it. Sometimes it seems like home, because it is all that we have ever known. But we are slaves there. It is where we live for ourselves. We do what we want to do.... and we think that it is a place of freedom... but it really isn't. Again, we are slaves there. I know that I don't want to live there. I want to be free. So, Egypt is not the address that I want.

The Wilderness is outside of the slavery. At first mention... the wilderness doesn't sound like a good place to be. It makes me think of a desert, dry, miserable place. But wait... think about it... this is where the Israelites saw God in the cloud by day and saw Him in the fiery pillar by night. There was evidence that proved He was close to them at all times. They were fed manna straight from heaven. They saw His provisions day after day. They saw miracle after miracle. Their sandals and clothes never wore out. (mine would have just gotten too small.... sigh) HE was their wonder. Now... with all that, it almost sounds like a good place to be. But we have to remember.... this is still not the place that God wants to take us. HE has something so much better for us.

The Promised Land is where God wants us to live. It is the place that He designed specifically for us. It is a place where WE are being used by HIM to bear much fruit. We will be the wonder there. We will be the blessing. God will work through us to accomplish His purpose. It is a place that bears much fruit. It is where He wants us to be. Where He wants us to be.... being what He wants us to be.

The Israelites lived in the wilderness for a long time!! Many died in the wilderness. Oh Father... I don't want to die in the wilderness. I want to make it to the Promised Land.... not only make it there... but stay there. I want to be all that you want me to be...

I don't think that I am finished thinking about this. I think that it is going to roll around in my head for a while. Where am I living?? Where are you living?? I know where I want to be... and I may have lots of packing to do.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

"Just a minute...."

My little one is growing up. She turned 8 years old in November, just 2 months after starting public school for the first time. (after homeschooling) She has always been "my baby". We were just plain silly together. We always spent time together... whether we were watching TV, playing cards, reading a book, or whatever... we just loved being together. I still want that.

I remember my favorite time of the day would be mornings. She would come sleepy-eyed into the living room to find me when she woke up. Climb up on my lap... for what we call "some lulu loving". I don't really know where that name came from... but I sure did like it. She would lay in my lap for a good while... until she got hungry enough to want to get up for some breakfast.

Now... I have to go wake her up to get her ready for school. There is no time for "lulu loving". We have to stay on the schedule so that she won't be late for school.

When she first started to school... I could hardly sit in the car-line waiting on her to get out of school. When I would see her headed my way... I would think my heart was just about to explode. She looked like she couldn't wait to get in the car to see me too.

Now... she is anxious to get home and get her homework finished so she can call a friend over to play. Or go to a friends house.

Oh... why do our babies have to grow up??? I don't think I was ready.

Today... my mom picked her up from school. I was on the computer when they came in the door. I heard her go into the living room and turn on the TV. Within a few minutes, I heard her pick up the phone to call over a friend. She didn't run to my lap. My heart ached. I called out to her.... "wait a minute" was her answer. About 5 minutes later.... I called her again... same answer. Finally after about 15 minutes and 3 callings... she came walking in to see me. I got a quick hug and kiss.

I thought about it after she got down and went back to her business.... I wonder how many times I do that to God.

Just a minute... I need to check my email.
Just a minute... I need to put clothes in the washer.
Just a minute... I need to empty the dishwasher.
Just a minute... or probably more... because I need a little more sleep.

I wonder how often He longs to feel me climb up on His lap?? I wonder how often His heart aches when I choose to do something else besides spend time with Him?? I bet plenty!!

To think... God has the same longing in His heart for me that I have for my children is more than I can fathom at times. But He does. He wants to spend time with me. He longs for me to get up in the mornings and climb up in His lap for some "lulu loving". That is the picture I have in my mind right now.... I hope it is still there in the morning. I bet He does too.
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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Beauty Shop Talk

Yesterday I went to get my hair "conditioned". Now... if you are someone that really knows me well, you just translated that word "conditioned" to "colored". Anyway.... You know what talk can be like in the beauty shop. Sometimes you hear about someone that is sick. Sometimes you hear about someone caught up in a life of sin. Sometimes you hear about an arguement that someone just had.... or what they really don't like about their spouse. I know that "beauty shop talk" has a bad reputation.... but yesterday was different.

While I was laying back in the shampoo bowl... I could hear the lady in the next chair talking about something. I caught the words, "Beth Moore". My ears perked up. I strained to hear what they were saying. The customer was asking her hair stylist if she had ever done a Beth Moore Bible study. She said, "yes"....... Then my hair stylist got in on the conversation. They asked her if she had ever done one of her studies. Sadly... not only had she never done one... she didn't even know who she was. GASP! I couldn't believe my ears. I stayed quiet while my stylist then ripped out my eyebrows... and any other unwanted hair on my face. I couldn't wait to get into an upright position so that I could get in on their conversation. When I asked the other customer where she went to her study, we struck up a loooong conversation about studying the Bible. It was so refreshing to hear that kind of talk in the beauty shop. We shared about the studies that we had done... the ones that we were hoping to do next... and which ones were our favorites... She and I both shared about things that really spoke to us in the studies we are doing right now. I didn't even want to leave when it was time for me to go. She asked for my name, email address, and phone number so that we could be in contact again.

This morning when I got up.... I had an email from her. She suggested that we get our groups together sometime in the future. She shared with me that her group had even come up with a motto for themselves the night before.

God's timing is perfect. Meeting a new sister in Christ in the beauty shop... bringing Him glory in our conversation.... and who knows what else He has in store for us in the future. To God be the glory.

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Monday, February 9, 2009

A basket of blessings

Sometimes I just have a little to give. And many times I just need alot. This morning was one of those mornings. I didn't sleep very good. I woke up around 4 am and after a few restless minutes in bed... I decided to get up. There were many things rolling around in my mind. This seems to be happening often these days. One of the things rolling around in my head was the fact that we had no hot water. After I got my shower yesterday morning... I realized the hot water heater wasn't working. We all needed baths and the dishes needed washing. My heart is also heavy for a member of my family. Thoughts of this person had haunted me most of the night. My father-in-law is in the hospital and was scheduled for a heart cath this morning. AND... I had conferences scheduled with my middle school aged daughter's teachers. Before it was time to wake up my daughters for school.... I had enough time to pour out my heart's contents before the Lord. Only... then it was time to get up and start my day.

Within minutes of trying to wake up my oldest daughter... my eyes were stinging with tears. I thought to myself.... "this is ridiculous... what is the matter with me??" I felt the ache of that empty feeling inside. It was then that I realized that I had taken the time to pour out... but didn't take the time to allow God to fill me back up. As I rushed back down the stairs to get my Bible... I remembered an illustration that I have heard several times before. I was like a beggar... I had my empty cup out in front of me... begging for someone... anyone... to do something or say something that would fill me up. Something that would make me feel good. Something that would make me feel valuable. I have heard Beth Moore say that "if you allow God to fill you up... anything else you get all day will be gravy!"

I searched my concordance... I knew exactly what I was looking for. Psalm 90:14

Satisfy us (me) in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we (I) may sing for joy and be glad all our (my) days.

I kept repeating it... Lord, satisfy me this morning with your unfailing love. I want to sing for joy and be glad all day. It is your love that will satisfy me... your unfailing love.

Things got better. I didn't need to be vailidated by my poor daughters. It let them off the hook.

Tonight as I worked through my Bible study... it just happened to be about one of my favorite miracles of Jesus. Jesus feeding the 5000 with the little boys lunch. It is amazing how God will use the same story to speak to you at different times. The last time I remember reading the account in John's gospel... I was floored by the fact that they distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. I loved it that God used that story to show me that when I sit down... and position myself at His feet.... He will give me as much of HIM as I want. But tonight.... I kept thinking about no matter how "little" I have to give.... Jesus can multiply it beyond anything I can imagine. This morning... I had so little to give. When I went to him with my little bit... He multiplied it and supplied enough to make it through my day. He satisfied me with His unfailing love.... and the rest of my day was gravy!!

We have a new hot water heater. We all got baths and my dishes are washed. I cannot change my family member... so I just prayed for her. My father-in-law did well through his procedure... and received a new stent... he will not have to have by-pass surgery. And... I postponed the conferences with my daughter's teachers because of all of the other stuff that was happening. So I was able to sing with joy and be glad all day.

I thought about all the leftovers the disciples picked up after the 5000 ate... 12 baskets full. It must have looked a lot like gravy.

Then tonight as I was blog hopping.... I found this on Cricket's blog.... she gave me an award!!

Thanks so much Cricket.... this was part of my gravy today. You actually posted it on Friday, but God knew that I would need it today.

Also... I received another basket of blessings this past week from another blogger. It was actually a box... and it contained tons of Beth Moore CD's and DVD's. Gravy upon Gravy. My cup is overflowing. What started out as very little this morning... turned into more than I could imagine tonight. Glory to God!!
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