Wednesday, December 23, 2009
My devotion this morning reminded me that is ok, to sit and rest.
I Kings 19:4-5
"...he himself...came and sat under a broom tree...he lay and slept..."
Verse seven says that the angel told him to arise and eat for the journey has been too great for him.
Even Elijah who knew no death and was taken up by the Lord needed basic life necessities food and rest. As we do, also.
I'm too tired to trust and too tired to pray,
Said I, as my overtaxed strength gave way.
The one conscious thought that my mind possessed,
Is, oh, could I just drop it all and rest.
Will God forgive me, do you suppose,
If I go right to sleep as a baby goes,
Without questioning if I may,
Without even trying to trust and pray?
Will God forgive you? Think back, dear heart,
When language to you was an unknown art,
Did your mother deny you needed rest,
Or refuse to pillow your head on her breast?
Did she let you want when you could not ask?
Did she give her child an unequal task?
Or did she cradle you in her arms,
And then guard your slumber against alarms?
Oh, how quickly a mother's love can see,
The unconscious yearnings of infancy.
When you've grown too tired to trust and pray,
When overworked nature has quite given way:
Then just drop it all, and give up to rest,
As you used to do on mother's breast,
He knows all about it-the dear Lord knows,
So just go to sleep as a baby goes;
Without even asking if you may,
God knows when His child is too tired to pray.
He judges no solely by uttered prayer,
He knows when the yearnings of love are there.
He knows you do pray, He knows you do trust,
And He knows, too, the limits of poor, weak dust.
Oh, the wonderful sympathy of Christ,
For His chosen ones in that midnight tryst,
When He told them, "Sleep and take your rest,"
While on Him the guilt of the whole world pressed-
You have trusted your life to Him to keep,
Then don't be afraid to go right to sleep.
-----Ella Conrad Cowherd
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Isn't that the purpose of God's rules and our submission to Him? To protect us and keep us safe from oncoming harm that we can't always see?
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Who Defines Your Worth?
Isaiah 43:4a (NIV) "You are precious and honored in my sight..."
Friend to Friend
Last winter, I bought my daughter a really cute jacket at the mall. It's a hoodie that's made of a cuddly fabric with cream, lavender, and mint green horizontal stripes. The jacket zips up in the front and is well crafted, stylish, and simply adorable.
When I bought it, I felt like the price on the tag was a fair one, so I gladly pulled out my wallet and paid the retail amount. I was a kid in a candy store on the way home. I fully anticipated a shriek of happiness from my little bag of beans when I gave it to her. Delightfully, I wasn't disappointed. Kennedy loved her new coat, and I was pleased with my purchase. Happy dances all around - until a week later, when I saw the same jacket in the same store at a greatly reduced price. Are you tensing up with me? Suddenly, I felt schnookered! Ripped off. Taken advantage of. As soon as I saw the red line on the price tag of the unsold coats, everything changed - Kennedy's jacket wasn't worth what I paid for it.
When we speak of the worth of something, we often consider it to be a relative term. One that has shifting factors. For example, last week the cute jacket was thirty-nine dollars, and now it's nineteen ninety-nine. The jacket didn't change, but its perceived worth did.
Now, consider the worth of a woman. Are the factors that determine her value based upon variable, shifting factors or are they based upon fixed factors? Seems to be a silly question, doesn't it? Fixed, of course! But, if the answer is so glaringly obvious, why do we struggle so much as women with feeling worthless? Why do we walk around feeling like that red lined jacket? I think it's because we often allow variable earthly factors to define our worth.
What kind of variable factors?
There are so many reasons why women feel worthless:
* Because they've been abused (raped, molested, physically abused, verbally abused...)
* Because they've been told that they're worthless (by a parent, spouse, sibling, teenage child, or another...)
* Because of choices they've made (divorce, infidelity, abortion, promiscuity, eating disorders, addictions, uncontrolled anger...)
* Because they've been cheated on (infidelity, internet affair, pornography...)
* Because they're co-dependent (conclude their value based upon other people - "If my husband isn't okay, I'm not okay.")
* Because they don't collect a paycheck (stay at home moms that have left the work force, laid off employees, displaced employees, those on disability...)
* Because they've battled an illness (unable to care for family, perform basic home duties, participate in ministry or Bible study like they once did, can't drive, cook...)
Unfortunately, the variable factors that we use to define our worth are endless. Many of us feel worthless. Why? We've felt ignored, invisible, insignificant, useless, undesired, ugly, unloved, or forgotten. We girls are emotional, broken in many ways. Great portions of our identity and of our personal value are wrapped into combustible packages of emotion - how we feel about this or that. The truth is, our worth has nothing to do with our feelings.
Trust me, I'm not going to try to convince you that I know everything there is to know about feeling like a woman of worth. Or about being a woman of worth. I am in the trenches with you. I struggle with normal woman things. I don't live a fancy schmancy, rose-colored wonder-life. I hit the snooze button several times each morning. I pack lunches for my kids. I spend countless hours of my life each year sitting in the car pool line. It's a never-ending struggle for me to keep the laundry done and my kids often have to fish for a matching pair of socks in the clean-clothes basket. My husband is my soul mate, but is far from perfect. For that matter, Brad should win a lifetime achievement award for enduring the drama of me! And my kids bring me both great joy and great frustration on a daily basis.
Is this sounding at all familiar to you?
See - I'm just like you, and I'm walking this faith journey right beside you. In fact, the more I know God, the less inclined I am to pretend to have life or faith figured out. Amen? I'm constantly tempted to define my worth with activities, emotions, and accomplishments. I've come to realize, however, that way of thinking is a spiritual dead end road. Scripture tells us that anything we do in our own strength or of our own goodness is of no value to God. "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6a, emphasis mine).
What I do know is this: because of Jesus Christ, I'm a woman of highest worth. Not because of anything else. I'm a grace girl. Not perfect by a long stretch. I've been changed by the unconditional love of God and restored to perfect beauty through the shed blood of Jesus. Because of love, we are His daughters, precious in His sight. In light of this, we need to set aside feelings that diminish our value, and embrace our proper identity: Child of the King of Kings.
Hear this, friend: feelings of worthlessness are from Satan himself. It burns me up that the enemy has such a strong grip on God's daughters in this area. We need to associate the word worthless with the word lie. That's exactly what it is, a big, fat lie! I talk to women all the time who bend a knee to negative feelings and live defeated lives because they don't quite know how to overcome their sense of worthlessness. God wants every one of us to experience healing and have an appropriate sense of self-worth.
So let's go back to Kennedy's new coat for just a moment. Imagine walking into God's department store. There on the rack, you spy a coat that is just plain fabulous - I mean stop-you-in-your-tracks fabulous! One-size fits all, the tag reads. Yeah, right, you whisper under your breath. Then you flip over the price tag and it's crazy expensive. Way beyond what you could ever dream of paying. Like, if you added up every dollar that ever passed through your hands - then multiplied that by ten thousand - that kind of expensive. Then imagine the storeowner walking over to you, slipping the coat off the rack and onto your shoulders.
"It's a perfect fit," He smiles.
"Sir," you manage with a whisper, "I could never afford such a coat. This is meant for royalty and I'm, well, just an ordinary girl."
"Oh precious woman, this coat is made especially for you, and the price has already been paid in full."
As the owner straightens the sleeves on your arms and adjusts the collar around your neck, you notice his hands - nail pierced hands. And suddenly you realize that this is the covering you were meant to wear all along.
You see, the Bible tells us that because of what Jesus did on the cross, we can be clothed with the "robe of righteousness." The apostle Paul tells us that when we are reconciled to God, we become His righteousness. "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21). There's no way we could ever afford or earn such a robe but Jesus gave His life for us - He earned it for us. He paid the price and we receive the gift. Why? Because you're worth it. You are precious and highly valuable in the eyes of the One who sees. And you never, never, never have to worry about being on anyone's bargain rack again.
Holy Father, I'm humbled at the very thought that I could be viewed as precious in Your eyes. Thank You for taking on my sin so that I could take on your righteousness. Please help me to see myself as You see me. Help me to thrive in Your beauty!
In Jesus' Name,
I wish I could reach through my computer screen, grab your hands, and pray with you right now. I don't know what you are going through, but our loving Father is keenly aware of your circumstances, your feelings, and your needs
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Tenth Avenue North - Hold My Heart
From the album Over And Underneath
How long must I pray
Must I pray to You?
How long must I wait
Must I wait for You?
How long till I see Your face
See You shining through I'm on my knees
Begging You to notice me
I'm on my knees Father, will you turn to me
One tear in the driving rain
One voice in a sea of pain
Could the maker of the stars
Hear the sound of my breaking heart
One life, that's all I am
Right now I can barely stand If
You're everything You say You are
Would You come close and hold my heart
I've been so afraid, afraid to close my eyes
So much can slip away before I say goodbye
But if there's no other way I'm done asking why
I'm on my knees Begging You to turn to me
I'm on my knees Father, will you run to me
So many questions without answers
Your promises remain I can't see but I'll take my chances to hear You call my name
To hear You call my name
Lyrics may not be reproduced without permission from the publisher.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Today I would like to share the devotion from Proverbs Ministries. My running buddies and I were just discussing last night during our run accountability to be in the word frequently, ultimately daily. I find it exhilarating when God encourages us through His own word.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Fret Not Over Evil-doers
"Fret not thyself" (Ps. 37:1).
Do not get into a perilous heat about things. If ever heat were justified, it was surely justified in the circumstances outlined in the Psalm. Evil-doers were moving about clothed in purple and fine linen, and faring sumptuously every day. "Workers of iniquity" were climbing into the supreme places of power, and were tyrannizing their less fortunate brethren. Sinful men and women were stalking through the land in the pride of life and basking in the light and comfort of great prosperity, and good men were becoming heated and fretful.
"Fret not thyself." Do not get unduly heated! Keep cool! Even in a good cause, fretfulness is not a wise help-meet. Fretting only heats the bearings; it does not generate the steam. It is no help to a train for the axles to get hot; their heat is only a hindrance. When the axles get heated, it is because of unnecessary friction; dry surfaces are grinding together, which ought to be kept in smooth co-operation by a delicate cushion of oil.
And is it not a suggestive fact that this word "fret" is closely akin to the word "friction," and is an indication of absence of the anointing oil of the grace of God?
In fretfulness, a little bit of grit gets into the bearings--some slight disappointment, some ingratitude, some discourtesy--and the smooth working of the life is checked. Friction begets heat; and with the heat, most dangerous conditions are created.
Do not let thy bearings get hot. Let the oil of the Lord keep thee cool, lest by reason of an unholy heat thou be reckoned among the evil-doers. --The Silver Lining
Dear restless heart, be still; don't fret and worry so;
God has a thousand ways His love and help to show;
Just trust, and trust, and trust, until His will you know.
Dear restless heart, be still, for peace is God's own smile,
His love can every wrong and sorrow reconcile;
Just love, and love, and love, and calmly wait awhile.
Dear restless heart, be brave; don't moan and sorrow so,
He hath a meaning kind in chilly winds that blow;
Just hope, and hope, and hope, until you braver grow.
Dear restless heart, repose upon His breast this hour,
His grace is strength and life, His love is bloom and flower;
Just rest, and rest, and rest, within His tender power.
Dear restless heart, be still! Don't struggle to be free;
God's life is in your life, from Him you may not flee;
Just pray, and pray, and pray, till you have faith to see.
--Edith Willis Linn
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Here in the account of Luke, a leper says to the Lord, 'if you are willing, make me clean.' Now, go with me, as I recount the verses that came as I camped on this verse:
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from sin.
I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned and by which they have transgressed against Me.
...that he might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners and purify your hearts, you double minded.
I John 1:9
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him, but the things from which come out of him, those are the things that can defile him.
For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts,...
Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.
With the swine flu in our midst the reoccurring caution is the washing of our hands to prevent germs from spreading. In the Holman Bible dictionary clean/cleanness - "A clean person is one who habitually maintains a pattern of personal cleanliness and hygiene, while at the same time taking care to ensure that his or her environment is in a clean condition so as to forestall possible accidents, infections or disease."
In Strongs cleanse was also defined as to make clean, purify,purified, purifying, purge, purging, to cleanse oneself, made clean. It is a process, an ongoing work, not just a one time event.
As it should be with our minds. If regular hand washing prevents germs from spreading and viruses from setting in, what would a regular 'mind washing' do for us? Traveling through this world, mud and muck accumulate in the crevices or our minds, as it does on our shoes or cars. The disciplines' feet were washed upon the arriving at a house from traveling in sandals on dirty, dusty roads. Now we wash our hands on regular basis with the intention of preventing the swine flu. As it should be with our minds. Our 'mind washing' should be with the washing of the Word, to prevent Satan from getting footholds. Maintenance, so to speak. Daily washing of water by the word to clean off the mud and muck of this dark word.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great of a cloud of witnesses (who have borne testimony to the truth), let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us.
This verse was brought before me three times in one day from various sources. I am not sure about you, but I find when God's word, the same word, is presented to me repeatedly from different sources, there must be a message that God is trying to get through to me. I am not sure if I have it yet, but I have done some thinking and wondering.
Witness in the original Greek is martyr. Holman's Bible dictionary reveals that in the Old Testament this term rarely denotes one killed for his or her testimony. Witnesses also bear testimony about moral, religious, or spiritual truths and views of which we are convinced by faith. In "Tortured for Christ" the forward notes that the New Testament martyr not only personally testified to the truth and power of Jesus Christ, but was instructed to take that witness of others, regardless the cost.
So, are you living a full witness of Christ? Are you a martyr at whatever the costs? Are you throwing off all weights that encumber you? Those hindrances can be insecurities, fears, logic,...remember the heart itself is deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). I think of Paul as one who was unencumbered and ran the race with patient endurance, the race of spreading the gospel (the story of Christ, died for my sins (your sins), buried and raised from the dead on the third day). Let's run the race together.
Monday, October 5, 2009
And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.
These were the words that coursed through my mind as I stood amongst the throng of 3000 plus cyclists in San Antonio awaiting our turn to be released for the first 72 miles of 132 mile ride over two days. It was the 20th anniversary of the MS150 (Multiple Sclerosis) formerly Ride to the Beach now Ride to the River. It was my first MS ride. My husband's sixth. I was as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. This verse that coursed through my mind brought the beginnings of comfort and solace. We started off in the rain, so my nerves were rattled from the point of a being an amateur on wet roads, let alone so many cyclists and such a long ride. I was questioning my preparation for this 132 mile endeavor, are my legs prepared, is my body conditioned for this, did I do enough to get ready? I kept hearing..."I have gone before you"... The way had been prepared for me, the path had been paved, I could trust my Lord to hold me and protect me and shield me from harm. I had done what I could, now the time was at hand to put to the test of my faith. I knew this and it settled in my heart as my legs got warm and I got comfortable cleaning my breaks from time to time of the water on my rims, more comfortable as my fingers clasped loosely over my breaks in the event that I had to break suddenly, steady as the gentle rolling hills slowed me (no hills where I am from!), and a little confident as I passed others in the wind (I am fortunate to get to train in the wind...hahaha). The Lord had indeed gone before me. I completed 72 miles that day with only five miles of whining when my knees spoke very loudly to me. The Lord had indeed gone before me! He had indeed prepared the way for me.
Have you trusted the path (marriage, children, relationships, work, finances, friendships, family) before you to the Lord? Has you heart settled that "He has gone before you"? Ask the Lord to take your anxious heart and settle His word into it, knowing that He will never leave nor forsake you and that He indeed has gone before you.
(As for the second day, well the LORD had indeed gone before me. Mother nature brought lightening, thunder and torrential downpours (flash floods, low water crossings) and forced the MS organizers to cancel the second day. Slightly disappointed that I didn't get to complete the ride and slightly relieved that I didn't have to put my knees to the test. Funny, this has been the driest year in Texas, I have attempted two MS rides and both have been rained out this year. Things that make you go mmmm.....)
Monday, September 7, 2009
Oh, and my confirmation after seeds were planted on Friday and my brain raced to realign itself with the new truths in my heart came Saturday morning through my quiet time:
Streams in the Desert 9/4
I longed to walk along an easy road,
And leave behind the dull routine of home,
Thinking in other fields to serve my God;
But Jesus said, "My time has not yet come".
I longed to sow the seed in other soil,
To be unshackled in the work and be free,
To join with other laborers in their toil;
But Jesus said, "It's not My choice for thee".
I longed to leave the desert, and be led
To go work where souls were sunk in sin and shame,
That I might win them; but the Master said,
"I have not called you, publish here My name."
I long to fight the battles of my King,
Lift high His standards in the thickest of strife;
But my Captain had me wait and sing
Songs of His conquests in my quiet life.
I longed to leave the hard and difficult sphere,
Where all alone I seemed to stand and wait,
To feel I had some human helper near,
But Jesus had me guard on lonely gate.
I longed to leave the common daily toil,
Where no one seemed to understand or care;
But Jesus said, "I choose for you this soil,
That you might raise for Me some blossoms rare."
And now I have no longing to do
At home, or far away, His blessed will,
To work amid the many or the few;
Thus "choosing not to choose," my heart is still.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
My dear friends that is what the Lord and I are working on together. Where are you at? Do you plan your days? Do you allow the Spirit to work in the mist of you and use you? If you have children, they are only little once. They are number one God-appointed God-annointed job. Ask the Lord to show you where you might have 'control issues' where you might could exercise some flexibility. The growing is worth every stretch. Go for it!
Friday, July 17, 2009
A week or more ago, I realized that with tuition for the girls school and a couple of not so stable clients that I will be relying on God to make tuition each month, relying on Him in a way that I haven't had to experience since becoming a 'walking' Christian. A few days later, I fell into a conversation with a man from our church in need of my services. We agreed to talk in a month and see if I can meet his business needs. I walked away saying to God, "God thank you for reminding me of your provision". I felt Him come back to me and say "There you go again, limiting me." What? The next thought was Him telling me "Why don't think He is your next client, do you not think I would bless you with such?". Ouch! Ok, it is one thing to know that God can do anything. It is another to believe Him to do something. Hence, my next experience.
Where I live I have to cross a bridge to get to the barrier island I live on, or off for that matter. For three or four nights they were doing construction on the bridge, after the peak of the bridge on each side. So that when you come upon the bridge and peak, the construction is on you and a surprise. Granted the construction signs are up, but you were unaware of the extent of construction till you were on it. Tuesday morning my husband called me before he flew out for New Jersey to warn me be careful on the bridge. I was, but not enough. Coming back that morning after dropping off the girls at a half day camp, I peaked the bridge and had slowed significantly with anticipation of the work. I got to the cut concrete and hit the transition back up and hit hard at 40mph. This new used car is slung low, really low. My husband said 'you'll know when you hit metal'. I drove down to the mail place just down the road, parked, got out and cautiously bent to look under the car. My heart sunk to the pits of my stomach and suddenly I felt sick, as I watched my oil pour out onto the parking lot, producing a rather large puddle of black oil. I had busted the oil pan. The very thing my husband warned me about, I did. I was so frazzled that when I went into the mail place to borrow their phone I couldn't remember anyone's number let alone think of anyone I could call to come get me and help me. I managed to get my letters and package mailed. I went back out to the car, got my purse, locked the car and started to walk down the little embankment to walk home. When I was in the mail place I felt a gentleman, who was also mailing some things, looking at me. Granted, you must realize, I was distraught and my face probably looked ghostly pale in comparison to my natural olive skin enhanced my the summer sun. As I began down the embankment, I felt nudged to go ask that man for ride home. I had noticed that there was a marine sticker on the back window of his large F150 and felt secure enough to ask. I walked up to his window with tears streaming down my face and asked for a favor. 'Sure'. 'Can you take me home please?'. 'Sure'. I got in and proceeded to tell him my predicament. I just busted my oil pan, my girls were at camp in town, my husband was in the air to New Jersey and our second vehicle was sitting at the airport thirty miles from here. He volunteered to take me to the airport and I accepted graciously. He took me by my house to drop off the sausage I picked up at the store on my way home and by the auto shop on the island to drop off the key to the car. And then to the airport. On our ride we talked about my husband and how I dreaded his response to what had happened and we talked about him, a former marine and now a fishing guide. I witnessed to him (a little seed) as we got to the airport as well as I could considering he was angry at God for his buddies being killed in Iraq and him being there to watch. I shared that my husband and I have a small group in our home. A few people seeking to maintain peace in a world with no peace. A small testimony, but testimony nonetheless.
For the rest of the day I wrestled with guilt, not really knowing ...was this my fault or could I have prevented it. After crossing the bridge three more times that day in the SUV I realized the only way to have prevented it was to come to a complete stop to maneuver my way up the bump of a transition. Side note, that morning the signage was "uneven lanes". Somewhere between 2pm and 3pm the signage changed to the large digital signs with flashing caution lights stating "bump ahead, speed advisory 40mph". By that time I had made several phone calls to state that "uneven lanes" was inadequate warning to the damage that could be done to the car. They had received several complaints. As I made my way through these phone calls, it was made known to me that these contractors carry insurance for such as things as this. You mean that I could be compensated for the damages?? So as I went through these phone calls, in my head I thought 'if they just paid for the oil pan, I would be content and grateful'. God came back and said 'there you go again, limiting me'. What?
Ok, ok, ok, I am tired of limiting you. I finished my phone calls. At this point as well, I hadn't eaten all day and I claimed a fast for myself until this was resolved. Into my quiet times I went thinking of what God was saying to me about limiting Him, I meditated on scripture. Much of the scripture in the previous post and some others that God brought to my mind I dwelled on.
Galations 3:5 (AMP) Then does He who supplies you with His marvelous (Holy) Spirit and works powerfully and miraculously among you do so on (the grounds of your doing) what the law demands, or because of your believing in and adhering to and trusting in and relying on the message that you heard?
So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.
Finally, and most significantly,
The kings heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.
So, my prayer became, ok God, your word says that I have not because I ask not. Your word says that if we being evil think we can give good gifts to our children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Ok, Lord I am asking. I ask that the damage be limited to the oil pan only. I ask that I find favor in the insurance company eyes and they compensate me fully for the damage done to the car. Ok, Lord, I am asking what I feel is a big hairy audacious pray (Pray Big, Will Davis Jr.), I am asking in your name based on your Word.
Tuesday the claim had been filed.
Wednesday I had a claim number and found the damage limited to the oil pan.
Thursday I found out the damages would be covered by the insurance company and they would get me a rental, which I didn't need and did decline.
Now, I am reminiscing over the past few days and gaping in awe at my Lord at how He put through this test and I believe I came out approved. Oh, my Small Group pastor told me "I can't help but to think that in part, at least, that God is rewarding you for your boldness in sharing Him with two families during this crisis." There was the former marine who graciously took me to the airport and our new neighbors as of Tuesday, my girls invited their son to VBS and I shared a very similar story about my husband and I to them. (They were brought up in the same faiths as my husband and I were, two extremes, they hadn't been to church and I invited them, knowing that my husband and I could completely relate).
So, there you have it. Are you limiting God? Have you asked in faith. I had to muster all the faith I could to believe with mega faith. Doubt creeped in and I had to banish it right away. Doubt is the opposite of faith and the two can not co-exist. Ask God to help you with your unbelief, as I did, and muster all the faith you can to believe Him for His promises not just the fact that you know He can, but that He will.
Monday, June 29, 2009
When gas prices originally started rising, my husband and I, trying to be good stewards, sold his V8 truck. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to me at the time, I was being prideful and insisted on another SUV 4X4 (another V6, but not exactly what God was trying get me to). Two SUV V6 4X4s later, God opened my eyes to my pride. I confessed, repented and asked forgiveness from my husband. I confessed, repented and asked forgiveness from God. I knew I had to pay a 'price' so to speak. Now we realized we needed to find something more economical than what we had, not to mention part of the price I was to pay was that that second vehicle now had mechanic integrity issues. In addition to the mechanical issues, I would pay the price of time. When David sinned with Bathesheba, he confessed, repented and was forgiven, but he still lost his son. He still suffered consequences to his disobedience. Ok, my pride didn't make me pay that steep of a price, but pride is sin and there was a consequence to that sin.
Over a year later, we were still looking. We were aiming for a vehicle that would get us at least 10 more mpg than my SUV. Upon looking at a car locally, we stumbled upon (by God's grace) a diesel car. Our eyes were being opened to a possibility of double the mpg than my SUV. WHOA! This one in particular had too many miles, but now my husband went back to the computer and did his research and within a couple of days a new posting appeared within geographical reach for us. We had a mechanic check it out, he 'blessed' it so to speak. We drove up, gave our final inspection and drove away with 45+mpg.
On our return trip home, with a daughter asleep in the back and lost in my thoughts as my husband and I caravaned home, many scripture rolled through my head. I sat down today to write them out to see what God might be trying to say to me.
Let's start with Ephesians 3:20 in the AMP version:
Now to Him who, by (in consequence) the (action of His) power that is at work within us, is able to (carry out His purpose and) do superabundantly, far over and above all that we (dare) ask or think (infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams)---
the next thought/verse that came to me was Matthew 7:7
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
then Matthew 7:11
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
then James 1:17
Every good gift and perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
Now, James 4:2
...you do not have because you do not ask...
Matthew 26:39; 26:42; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42
...O Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; never the less, no as I will, but as you will.
My reflective thoughts on what had happened to us with a huge blessing beyond our wildest expectations brings me to wonder....
do I limit God, because I am not bolden enough to ask? Who am I to expect more than 30mpg? Who am I to ask for more? Don't misunderstand, lets make it clear that what we ask has to be in line with God's will and His desires for us. In looking for a more economical vehicle we were exercising His command to be good stewards of what He had given us (Luke 16). My husband and I are Dave Ramsey fans, we live on a budget, we did not buy a new vehicle, we bought a 10 year old vehicle and we did not go into debt over it. Well, to answer the question and share my revelation, I am a daughter to the King of kings and He is my Father who gives good and perfect gifts to His children. I was faithful with little and He gave me much more. (Luke 16:10)
Thursday, June 25, 2009
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandments of the LORD are pure, enlightening the eyes.
His instructions are:
His instructions will:
restore the soul
make wise the simple
revive the soul
bring joy to the heart
give insight to living
convert the soul
Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.
Praise you Lord for your word. For Your word is alive and full of power (making it active, operative, energizing and effective); it is sharper than any two edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and (the immortal) spirit, and of joints and marrow (of the deepest parts of our nature), exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of our heart. Hebrews 4:12 AMP
Monday, June 15, 2009
A. Doctrinal (chapters 1-3)
1. Our position in Christ (1:1-3:21)
B. Practical (chapters 4-6)
1. Our life in the world (4:1-6:9)
2. Our attitude to the enemy (6:10-24)
I have listened to sermons by Duane Sheriffwhere he talks of the being versus doing, where we get so caught up in the doing that we forget to be. Watchman Nee breaks down Ephesians and addresses our first position in Christ as "sit". Ephesians 2:6 "and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." In John 15 we are told to abide in Christ and He will abide in us. The Greek word for abide is meno meaning to be in a state that begins and continues, yet may or may not end or stop...in Christ.
I have been known to get caught up in the 'doing' that I forget to 'be' in Christ. I find that when I relax and 'sit' at His feet daily that the 'doing' comes naturally. There is no struggle to find balance, He is my balance. There is no struggle in 'doing', He strengthens me. The key though is to 'sit' and 'abide' in Him. I have found one slip into my natural tendencies to 'do' in my own self sufficiency, my balance is thrown off, I struggle in my own strength, ....I will ultimately fall on my face. A humbling place to be, but on my face nonetheless.
Are you 'being' or 'doing' today? What could you do to change to 'being'? Is it a life-time decision, a lifestyle alteration, a daily modification to get back to the basics? Seek Him for your answer.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Luke 16:10-12 (AMP)
He who is faithful in a very little (thing) is faithful also in much, and he who is dishonest and unjust in a very little (thing) is dishonest and unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the (case of) unrighteous mammon (deceitful riches, money, possessions) who will entrust you the true riches? And if you have not proved faithful in that which belongs to another (whether God or man), who will give you that which is your own (that is, the true riches)?
I heard it said once, "if you can't be faithful with $10 going into savings how can you expect to be given $100 to go into savings". Poverty mentality, he called it. Good stewardship is another descriptive term.
When our first daughter was born, my husband and I were both working. When I came home with our daughter and looked at this piece of perfect art made by the Master's hands, I suddenly had no desire to go back to work. I expressed my desires to my husband through tear filled eyes. My dearly beloved, said "I don't want you to either, let's figure it out". And we did. We trimmed, cut, eliminated, and went down to bare minimum. Essentially, if it wasn't a necessity, we did away with it. We got rid of extended cable, rid of long distance and purchased a prepaid calling card, minimized our expenses, put ourselves on a budget, and sold the car that had a note and went to a one car family. I put in my notice and I have been home ever since.
Where does the faithful part come in and given much? When I quit my job, we cut our income nearly in half. At that time my husband had been at this company for ten years or so. Within three years of us having our first child, my husband got promoted two times, more than making up for my lost income. This was God's word put into practice and His promises fulfilled.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
So, what makes balance for me? Remember I am a wife, a mother of two young girls, active in the women's ministry at our church and co-lead a small group with my husband. It can be easy to get out of balance and I did and I do. Back to the original question, what makes balance for me? Consistency. Let's not confuse consistency with complacency. Complacency is going through the motions and not feeling the emotion of devotion.
Consistency in God's word and His presence, consistency in exercise and good eating habits, and consistency in rest and sleep help me to keep my life in balance. You might think of it as a three legged stool. Remove one leg and the stool falls. I find when these three things are the three goals I simply aim for in consistency each day, God takes care of the rest.
I am not saying that just because I meet with God consistently every morning and spend time in His word that now I am perfect and I have all the answers. What that consistency does do though is allows me to be more in-tune with the Holy Spirit and less centered on myself. It allows me to hear God prompt my heart, direct my footsteps, guide me in conversations with my girls and others. It allows me to see where God is leading me being His child in this world and then I naturally fall into His work He is doing instead of seeking to do "good works".
I am not saying that just because I exercise and make good choices in my eating habits that suddenly I have a model's unblemished airbrushed body and that sexual desires pour out of me toward my husband in my unchanged busy schedule. What it does do though is it allows me to feel better about my self, more confident with my husband, as well as with others. It helps me feel more comfortable in my own skin; therefore, allowing me to focus less on me and more on what the Holy Spirit is working within me for my husband, my girls and others.
I am not saying that just because I have consistent rest and sleep that my girls naturally stop arguing and fighting, that the I stop struggling to seize those life teaching moments and that I suddenly can see past the faults of my husband, myself and others. What does happen though is that when I am well rested, consistently, I see the grace available to me, the scales fall off my eyes then I can see that I need that grace as much as the next person and it allows me to extend that grace to my husband, my girls and others more readily.
Now, lets not confuse consistency with perfection. As I mentioned earlier, I still manage to get out of balance here and there. That means I become inconsistent in one area or more on an occasion. Maybe the summer months with its heat and humidity discourage me from getting out for that run or bike ride for a week or more. Winter has known to keep me indoors for a month or more. If I let too many commitments into my schedule or I fall into old habits of staying up late (I am naturally a night owl), I have been known to sleep right on past my meeting time with God. The point in all this is though that I am aware of my imperfections. I recognize that I am not perfect. I stop trying to be the perfect wife, mother, and friend. I go back aiming for consistency. I am reminded of Matthew 6:33 "But seek you first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." Our first and foremost priority is Him.
So, would the goal of consistency make a difference in your life? If you stopped looking at the long range goals and simply aimed for consistency on a daily basis, in your quiet time, in the WORD, in exercise, in your breakfast, snack, lunch, dinner choices, could you look back one year, five years, ten years from now and see the goals accomplished that you would have set for yourself anyway. This is what has worked for me, I wonder...would it work for you?
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
"Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it" (Num. 21:17).
This was a strange song and a strange well. They had been traveling over the desert's barren sands, no water was in sight and they were famishing with thirst. Then God spake to Moses and said:
"Gather the people together, and I will give them water," and this is how it came.
They gathered in circles on the sands. They took their staves and dug deep down into the burning earth and as they dug, they sang,
"Spring up, O well, sing ye unto it," and lo, there came a gurgling sound, a rush of water and a flowing stream which filled the well and ran along the ground.
When they dug this well in the desert, they touched the stream that was running beneath, and reached the flowing tides that had long been out of sight.
How beautiful the picture given, telling us of the river of blessing that flows all through our lives, and we have only to reach by faith and praise to find our wants supplied in the most barren desert.
How did they reach the waters of this well? It was by praise. They sang upon the sand their song of faith, while with their staff of promise they dug the well.
Our praise will still open fountains in the desert, when murmuring will only bring us judgment, and even prayer may fail to reach the fountains of blessing.
There is nothing that pleases the Lord so much as praise. There is no test of faith so true as the grace of thanksgiving. Are you praising God enough? Are you thanking Him for your actual blessings that are more than can be numbered, and are you daring to praise Him even for those trials which are but blessings in disguise? Have you learned to praise Him in advance for the things that have not yet come? --Selected
"Thou waitest for deliverance!
O soul, thou waitest long!
Believe that now deliverance
Doth wait for thee in song!
"Sigh not until deliverance
Thy fettered feet doth free:
With songs of glad deliverance
God now doth compass thee."
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
"I endure all things for the sake of God's own people; so that they also may obtain salvation...and with it eternal glory" (2 Tim. 2:10, Weymouth).
If Job could have known as he sat there in the ashes, bruising his heart on this problem of Providence--that in the trouble that had come upon him he was doing what one man may do to work out the problem for the world, he might again have taken courage. No man lives to himself. Job's life is but your life and mine written in larger text....So, then, though we may not know what trials wait on any of us, we can believe that, as the days in which Job wrestled with his dark maladies are the only days that make him worth remembrance, and but for which his name had never been written in the book of life, so the days through which we struggle, finding no way, but never losing the light, will be the most significant we are called to live. --Robert Collyer
Who does not know that our most sorrowful days have been amongst our best? When the face is wreathed in smiles and we trip lightly over meadows bespangled with spring flowers, the heart is often running to waste.
The soul which is always blithe and gay misses the deepest life. It has its reward, and it is satisfied to its measure, though that measure is a very scanty one. But the heart is dwarfed; and the nature, which is capable of the highest heights, the deepest depths, is undeveloped; and life presently burns down to its socket without having known the resonance of the deepest chords of joy.
"Blessed are they that mourn." Stars shine brightest in the long dark night of winter. The gentians show their fairest bloom amid almost inaccessible heights of snow and ice.
God's promises seem to wait for the pressure of pain to trample out their richest juice as in a wine-press. Only those who have sorrowed know how tender is the "Man of Sorrows." --Selected
Thou hast but little sunshine, but thy long glooms are wisely appointed thee; for perhaps a stretch of summer weather would have made thee as a parched land and barren wilderness. Thy Lord knows best, and He has the clouds and the sun at His disposal. --Selected
"It is a gray day." "Yes, but dinna ye see the patch of blue?" --Scotch Shoemaker
Thursday, May 14, 2009
I find that is part of the Holy Spirit's job, if I am open to the things he shows me. The Spirit will gently point out my unkind tone to my husband, the sarcasm toward my girls, the prideful feeling I can have and on and on. The Spirit is not condemning, just convicting and convincing. The Spirit is willing to help us convert our ways, if we are willing to be shaped and molded to be more like Christ.
In Isaiah 32:9-20, the Isarealites were told about the consequences of complacency. They were told that in complacency (carelessness), they would loose their fruitful crops to overgrown briers and thorns; joyful and happy homes will be gone; the city will be deserted and towns empty.
If we are not careful, briers and thorns can overtake our fruitful lives, our homes can loose its joy, our relationships with our husbands, our children, and friends can become empty. Complacency is not a reward, not a goal, not a place to arrive. It is dangerous territory to settle in. Our enemy roams around like a lion seeking whom he may devour. His ultimate goal is to steal, kill and destroy. I know that the road grows weary, but we must persevere toward the goal laid before us, throwing off that which hinders us in the race.
I encourage you to not take your eyes off Him and to not get entangled with the affairs of this life, so that we may please Him who enlisted us.
Monday, May 4, 2009
You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind (both its inclination and character) is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.
Two weekends ago we went camping and mountain biking (Texas style). I sampled mountain biking when I lived in Arizona several years ago and really enjoyed it when I moved to central Texas and the "mountains" were more like gentle rolling hills. When I purchased my bike thirteen years ago, I chose a hard tail. It has front end suspension and no back end suspension. When I 'test' rode the full suspension bikes, I felt the back end was too cushy, too soft, and out of my control. My bike has served me well over the years. Just enough shock absorption in just the right places, my shoulders. When I moved to south (flat) coastal Texas nine or ten years ago, mountain biking gave way to running and road biking and mountain biking became a weekend retreat, joined by my brother, in the hill country. On my first ride this weekend, I found myself very cautious and conservative. It had been two years since I last road, due to family schedules (ours, now married with two little girls and my brother's, now married with two littler girls). At one point during our ride on Saturday my brakes locked up or I locked my breaks up (depending who you are talking to), and I went over my handle bars. My mechanically inclined and gifted husband fixed them the best they could be considering that my front rim was now not true to precision. I finished Saturday's ride with some continued friction on my front wheel rim. Sunday's ride presented me with the opportunity to ride my sister-in-laws newer full suspension (front and rear shocks) model of my bike, considering the state of my brakes on my bike, I felt that would be the wiser choice. This newer bike would be considered a Cadillac, according to my husband. Think of the technology that has improved over those years, namely lighter components. On the downhills my hard tail literally bounces all over causing my vision to appear blurred, as rocks, roots, and various obstacles are attempted to be avoided or jumped. It already feels like it bounces uncontrollably on the trails, let alone the downhills. Now the full suspension ride I experienced gave me a new level of confidence, clearer vision and a smoother ride. I felt like I was gliding downhill over the above mentioned obstacles. Complete difference in feel, ride and confidence. Smoother, more comfortable and less bounce.
Isn't that with the peace that our Father in heaven can give us through His word. He gave us a full suspension ride through this world, to soften the blows that come our way through the storms of life. Isn't that the difference between a hard tail choice of self sufficiency and a full suspension ride with the El Shaddai, the all sufficient One. It may not be an easy ride. It may require some effort to allow Him to work in us that peace. It certainly, guaranteed, won't even be a perfect ride. He gave us His word so that we could focus on Him and be cushioned when we hit the rocks, the roots, the obstacles that life can present. All we need to do is accept the full suspension of His word allowing it to guide us over those aforementioned obstacles and to absorb the bumps, smoothing the way before us.
Monday, April 27, 2009
If we are God's workmanship, His masterpiece, and we are to esteem (treasure, value) others above ourselves (Philippians 2:3-4), why do we as a society tend to chip away at the armor of confidence that our loved ones wear. A scripture in Ephesians (4:29) I quote quite a bit to the girls...."do not let unwholesome talk come out of your mouth other than which is good or necessary to build others up." My husband and I agreed that the home needed to be the one place that the girls felt secure in a very insecure world. So we will work (we are not perfect ourselves and do tend to fall into old habits)to monitor the talk that comes out of the girls mouths, as well as ours. I have listened to many christian couples and they, too, fall into the worldly sexiest jabs. I ask you to consider the model of marriage you are representing for your children or younger couples that may be looking to you for a model. Would you want their future husbands or wives to build your son or daughter up with encouraging words or words that are designed to put them down and possible keep them down? Belittling her or him, throwing little daggers at their esteem as a child of God as your child?
Unfortunately, I have witnessed the chain of events that evolve when a spouse does not esteem their husband/wife on more than one occasion....A very dear friend's husband spent time breaking my friend down, not building her up, not accepting her for who she was. My friend came close to the edge of falling into another's arms. She wasn't even aware of what was happening until she realized that her emotional needs were being met by another man and she was a trainwreck ready to happen. Someone dear to me had to point out how I spoke to my husband early on in our marriage. I had no respect in my words or tone (I still slip up). Changing my words and my tone has changed my marriage for the better. In turn, my husband has changed his ways with me to be more loving, without me saying a word. I believe God rewards our every effort to become better imitators of Christ.
Words are very powerful, much more powerful than I think anyone of us could even begin to fathom. I want to encourage you to consider your words. We are to be in the world, not of the world.
Monday, April 20, 2009
The phrase "leap of faith" is becoming a common phrase here, I am beginning to wonder if there is anything between here and there besides a big open span of "unknown". My husband was scheduled to ride the BP MS150 from Houston to Austin this past weekend (yes, that is a bicycle ride). Both his riding partners had to back out at the last minute for various reasons the week before. This left my husband to choose to ride on his own or not. He is a man of integrity and when he wrote his letter for pledges a couple of months ago, he gave his word and commitment. Thursday night he received additional sizable pledges from friends of our friend with MS. An additional layer of conviction of integrity was laid on him...and suddenly on me! ME? Suddenly, it overcame me that I was to ride with my husband. God had laid the idea in me earlier in the week and my husband and I rationally discussed it and dismissed it. Logistics played a huge role getting to Houston and getting back from Austin and care for our girls. Not to mention the longest I rode was 20 miles. Now, the feeling to ride with him was so heavy that any way I looked at alternatives or excuses did not leave me with peace. Ok, please understand spontaneity is not of my fiber. Flying by the seat of my britches is woven in my character.
My beloved and I prayed that if this was in fact God's will for me that the logistics were now in His hands and He had to make all the pieces fall into place. That meant asking for help. (Side note, I believe that asking for help goes against the grain of our self sufficient society, therefore, negates the development of the community that the earlier church modeled and that God desires for His children, you and I.) And He did provide all the pieces. One friend drove us half way to Houston, another picked us up. My brother was going to drive us down half way from Austin and another pick us up. One friend had our girls Friday afternoon, another that night, another Saturday until my parents arrived in town to take them till we got back on Sunday.
My husband had so graciously accepted, as I, that I was to walk in obedience and trust that God would see me through 150 miles peddling my bike. The scripture that kept repeating itself to me was "My thoughts are higher than your thoughts and My ways are higher are than your ways". The simple truth was I couldn't see the bigger picture and it wasn't for me to see.
Even though my nerves started to fray, I knew there was no alternative to obedience.
Thunderstorms were headed across Texas Saturday. The MS website Thursday night stated RAIN OR SHINE. Friday night after we made our relay trek to Houston and we had carbed up, the website stated that the first leg from Houston to La Grange had been CANCELED. Whoa! My husband and I sat in disbelief for a moment or two. He broke the silence and asked what I thought. I said I was at peace to go back home. He was, too.
Looking back, I'm still not sure what God's plan was. In my mind's eye I see many possibilities:
- Practice for my lack of spontaniety.
- Time with my husband away from responsibilities of mom and home.
- Witness to our friends or others who hear this.
- Overcoming my anxiety of a 150 mile bike ride for a worthy cause and my friend with MS to I WILL DO IT with my husband next time.
- Or was it a test of my faithfulness? I can trust Him, but could He trust me?
I am completely confident that we were used for His glory, but its not for me know the how, who or the why. I was just lucky to know the where.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Hold fast and keep firmly what I preached to you, unless you believed at first without effect and all for nothing. I Corinthians 15:2 AMP
....let us hold fast our confession (of faith in Him). Hebrews 4:14 AMP
Monday, March 23, 2009
"No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life...I will not leave you nor forsake you...Be strong and of good courage...Only be strong and very courageous...do according to all the law....commanded you...that you may prosper...you shall meditate in it day and night....then you will make your way prosperous, and then have good success...be strong and of good courage; do no be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go"
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I wanted to attend this conference last year. Being a wife, mom and at that time a ladies bible study facilitator for nearly six years, that desire just never made it to the top of the list of things to be done last year. Now, God has led me out of that of bible study facilitator to women's ministry 'facilitator'. So, now I find some additional teaching, coaching, training, is needed to move on and grow that which God has brought together. I have prayed for a mentor. A few possiblities have come and the equal desire is not evident or it's not God's timing. "She Speaks Conference" is coming this year and I began wondering ...could this be the vehicle in which God will use to infuse me with new ideas, to discover a gifting that I can't see because I am blinded by my own misbeliefs, could this possibly be a chance to unlock those dreams that I have stuffed aside not believing that those dreams could be mine?
You see the "She Speaks Conference" takes that desire of a wanna be/maybe I could be speaker, writer, and those women's ministry leaders and encourages them to perservere, encourages them to grow, equips them with a great cloud of witnesses to run the race throwing off that which hinders them to live the life that Christ came to give abundantly and to share it! Ladies walk away equipped and sure of their gifts and their abilities as a writer, speaker or women's ministry leader. I need that. I need to see the equipping that God has given me or else He wouldn't have spoken to me and formulated Heart2Heart Women's Ministry at our church. He wouldn't have pulled together this great group of ladies to fulfill the calling of ministering to the ladies of our church and reaching out to the community. I need that encouragement.
So here I go! The rest is up to God.