Saturday, May 31, 2008

Taking A Day Off!

It's an absolutely gorgeous morning. I'm in a bit of a hurry, so I'll be taking the day off to spend with family. May you have a fantastic and blessed weekend. I know we will!


Friday, May 30, 2008


"In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?" Psalm 56:4

I consider myself a fairly rational person. I have actual fears of tornadoes, driving off a bridge, and heights, but I manage to keep them in check. I still drive over bridges, climb up observation towers, and I am able to monitor a tornado warning calm and collected. So why is it that the fear of people can make my knees buckle? And I'm not even talking about the fear of a scary big man walking past me in the dark. I'm talking about the fear of what someone will say to me. When I'm immersed in a conversation and someone starts telling me about their rough week, or how they're not feeling well, I just want to stop talking and ask them if I can pray for them. But I don't. Because I'm a big fat chicken.

One of the things that I've been praying for is boldness. I just don't have it. I can be ostentatious, and I can walk into a room and command attention if I truly want to, but to open my mouth and say something outlandish like "can I pray for you?" just makes my palms start to sweat and my tongue start to swell and feel like sawdust. Maybe part of it is because I've never before been "that person", I've never been someone that people turn to in times of crisis. But I could be. I know that potential is there. I know for a fact that there is power in prayer, and that the words that leave my mouth have some weight behind them. But that doesn't help get over that initial fear. I mean, what if that person doesn't want to be prayed for? What if I start praying and I say something totally wrong?

Clearly this is a work in progress. But I'm praying about it. I'm praying for courage and boldness, and for the right words. Because having the courage to speak to someone does me no good if I don't have the right words to say to them. May the Holy Spirit guide me when I need to pray for someone and show me what to do so that I don't scare them away. And most importantly, may the words I speak be effective and laced with God's Love.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Big Bad Stress

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-8

A friend of mine recently told me about a doctor visit she had. She had gone in for something and the doctor told her she had high blood pressure. She'd had a very, very busy couple of weeks, and honestly wasn't surprised by the high pressure. But then the doctor told her that she shouldn't still be stressing about something from several days gone past, and it was like a light bulb moment. The doctor was absolutely right, why do we dwell on things so? It's as if we're asking to keep the stress around just a little bit longer. Thankfully, we have the Bible to turn to for answers to this particular predicament.

We find the answers here in Philippians. When we're feeling anxious and stressed and at the end of our ropes, we can turn to Jesus. When we find that anxiety creeping up from the bottom of our toes we can halt it in its tracks and pray for the peace of God to fill us and give us strength to finish the task before us. God will help us through, I swear to you. All you need to do is take a moment, take a few minutes in the morning and simply ask God to give you the strength and the motivation you need to get through the day. He will never fail you.

You will notice that this verse doesn't say anything like " do not be anxious, pray, and God will take your troubles away." We need those troubles. We need those times that cause a wee bit of stress to help make us a stronger person. God will help us through...he will give us the strength and energy we need to make it through, because then we will be a much stronger person because of it.

There is one other thing I feel worth noting, although not entirely related to this verse, and that is to take the stress one stressor at a time. It does you no good to deal with the stress today head on, and at the same time worry about tomorrow's stress. Set tomorrows stress aside and focus on the one in front of you. Stress and anxiety are tools of the enemy, sent in to try and drag us down, to try and break us and give him a crack to squeeze into our lives. Don't let him! Recognize the stress head on and claim the strength that God is offering you. You can do all things, through Christ who strengthens you!

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Parent's Example

"Everything is permissible"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is constructive. 24Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others." 1 Corinthians 10:23-24

Children learn best by example. There is no better statement that describes how a child learns. If Dad refuses to eat his vegetables, kids will refuse their vegetables. If Mom smokes, kids will imitate that smoking. If Grandma cusses up a storm at every person she meets, kids will learn that cussing and taking the Lord's name in vain is okay. Of course, it also works in the positive. If kids see Mom and Dad praying when times are tough, kids learn to turn to God to solve their problems. When Mom and Dad set aside their hobbies to play a game of Candyland, that tells children that they are more important than finishing that scrapbook page or getting that cake frosted just so.

We frequently find ourselves telling our children that we don't need a lot. When they start inundating us with questions for this and that, we explain why they really don't need most of it. But then what does it say to them when we do that and then the very next day we spend the afternoon trolling the mall looking for bargains, or even spend a few hours checking out yard sales- just in case someone has something we want. One of the biggest fights that we have fought in our life is that of materialism. It is so hard to not want all that "stuff" that the world says we need. Don't think for a second that kids don't see that. They see the "do as I say, not as I do" and they remember, they file that away.

That's not how I want to raise my kids. I want my actions to speak for themselves. Instead of rushing out and buying the next great thing, we think about it. We research it and seek it out and see what the best options are, and then determine if we actually need it. This past weekend we were shopping and Andy and I spotted a bed we liked. We really went back and forth on whether or not to pick it up. It was an impulse to find a bed we liked. Ultimately, it came down to the fact that we really didn't need it. Did we want it? Of course, it was exactly what I would like in our bedroom. But we didn't need it, and ultimately, we decided there were better places to put our money for now.

Everything is permissible, but not everything is constructive. When my children see me drinking a glass of wine with dinner, they see me being responsible with alcohol, they see that it is okay to have an occasional drink as long as you are responsible about doing so. If my children were to see me slobbering drunk, that would send them the message that drunkenness is okay, that impaired judgement is fun to experience. Drunkenness is not constructive in the least.

I need to remember that there are always little eyes watching me. There are two pairs of eyes who see me waste away an entire afternoon surfing the Internet while ignoring the housework. There are two pairs of ears that hear me fume about the neighbors. More than anything, I want to be an example for my children. I want them to see that it is possible to love everyone with Jesus' love. I want them to feel that love for themselves and make that choice for themselves when the time is right. But first, I need to show them that the choice I have made, the decision to follow Jesus is worthwhile. May God keep me mindful of my choices and my actions, that I may be a great example to the two charges He has placed in my care.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Where is the Passion?

"Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John." Acts 18:23-24

I heard this mentioned last night and I thought it would be fitting for a fairly quick post this morning. The key word in the above passage is the word fervor. The Mirriam-Webster online dictionary defines fervor as "intensity of feeling or expression". Last night the question was posed about our passion for Christ. Where is it? Why is it that when we talk about our passions, God doesn't come up? We can get passionate about sports, scrap booking, cooking, knitting, woodworking, etc, and could talk about our passions for days, but when it comes to matters of God, we clam up. Even within the church! We spend so much time talking and visiting all in the name of "fellowship" but we seldom actually talk about God! I've seen it...I've seen someone ask me how I'm doing and I say something like "wonderful, God's really blessed us this week" and the other person gets that glazed over look in their eyes and mumbles something like "that's great, I gotta go find the kids" or "nice! Hey, did you watch the game the other night?"

This is interesting to think on, and I know that I am totally guilty of it myself. If someone asks me about food or cooking I can go on and on for hours, but if someone asks me about church or God I tread lightly, so as not to offend that person with something God-related. In fact, thinking on it more, we use our hobbies and our interests as a way to connect with other people. Think of all the men who get together and talk sports- it's a common bond, something for them to talk about with each other. So shouldn't our conversations with our fellow believers be even better? What if we let our guards down and let that passion come out? Why do we place sports and hobbies above our faith? If I have a common bond with someone about cooking, and we could talk for hours about food- wouldn't our conversation be even better with the common bond of Christ? What if we actually took the time to talk about what God is doing in our lives, what we've been learning, what Bible verses or songs have been coming to mind.

Where is our passion? Where is my passion? Where is your passion? I admit it, my thought process a lot these days has revolved around God and what He is doing in my life. He's doing an amazing work, and some of it, I can't really put words to. But that shouldn't stop me from being passionate about God. That's what he wants, he wants the passion, he wants the fervor. And her deserves it, he deserves all of it.

Lord, help me to let my passion show in all that I do.

Friday, May 23, 2008

I Am NOT A Material Girl!

"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world." 1 John 2:15-16

Ask, and ye shall receive. I wonder how many times over the last two years of blogging the Bible that I have mentioned struggling with the shopping demon. I always have been in a vicious cycle of spending- if we had money in the bank account, it needed to be spent. With Andy's job in fluctuation, we would just barely scrape by in the lean months, and then in the months when he was working and bringing in an income, we would be overwhelmed by the extra and blow every last cent- and then a few. I have asked God time and time again to help me be a better money manager, but I really think it was one of those prayers that I prayed when I was desperate- not when we were solvent and doing well.

And that, I think is what God wanted from me. He wanted me to ask him for help when I thought I didn't need the help. He wanted me to ask Him what to do with the paychecks instead of just throwing it here and there and then, oops, it's gone, you'll have to wait until Friday to put gas in the car. When Andy got his first real paycheck... I immediately wrote out our tithe check and then asked God to help me be wise with the rest of it. And I've done that with every check since- and it's working. I have felt the desire well up inside me to go buy something, and I'll actually hop in the van, drive to town and look at the something I wanted to buy. And then I will physically not be able to. Literally and in all seriousness. I wanted a patio set- not a fancy one, but something that we could have company over and we could sit comfortably outside. I looked and looked at sets and found one I liked that was reasonably priced. I looked at it and looked at it. In fact, I was downright staring at it, picturing it on my porch and this overwhelming urge to just walk away took over and I left without the patio set. And wouldn't you know. A week later, I have a like-new patio set on my patio that I didn't have to pay a penny for. It needed new cushions, which I was able to purchase with no problems, and it fits our needs exactly.

But the last month has been just like that. Even grocery shopping, I'll get it in my head on the way in that "today is the day I'm going to splurge and buy shrimp" and then I'll look at it at the store and not buy it. Then this past week for our group dinner, one of our group members brought shrimp to share! So I still got to eat some shrimp! We needed a new lawnmower, and I picked one out, but without consulting my husband first. I went to the store to buy it twice, and neither time, was I able to put it in my cart. It was only after Andy and I discussed it together, researched and agreed that this was the model we wanted, and then we went together to buy it. Even my online shopping has been affected!! That was my ultimate downfall before, because I can buy anything with the click of a mouse! I will look, put something in a shopping cart, and then the overwhelming urge to exit the site without checking out will take over.

I know, without a doubt, that those overwhelming urges to walk away or click the red x are the Holy Spirit guiding me. And while it's been a tad frustrating at times, I am oh-so thankful for it. There have been opportunities to give that have come up, and because I haven't been all spendy-spendy, we've been able to give when we've felt prompted to do so. This weekend we're making a little getaway, and we're able to do so without worrying if we have enough money for gas. I can't tell you how thankful I am for the Spirit guiding me with our money. The desire to spend spend spend just isn't there anymore. I had to go buy the kids clothes, and while I was at least able to do so, the second I felt that I'd bought enough, we left. The needs of my children have been met, but not to the excess that I may have been prone to before.

God's grace is wonderful, and I love simply knowing that he heard my cries for help. He heard me when I asked for guidance with our money. Am I perfect yet? Far from it, but it's amazing how much better life is when I am not spending every hour worrying about this check clearing or that check bouncing, or will I have enough gas this week? Because I am not worrying all the time I am able to focus better. Tasks have been getting done that needed to get done, and that oh-so important time with God has become even sweeter, because I am not distracted by money matters.

So what's next? I fully expect this:

"And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten" Joel 2:25

All these years that we've just wasted what we had... I am trusting God to take care of it. Perhaps by sharing our experience with others we can help them prevent a financial disaster altogether. Our locusts are gone, and perhaps we can help others prevent the locusts completely. With God's help, anything is possible.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I Choose To Not Take The Offense

"Hatred stirs up quarrels,
but love makes up for all offenses." Proverbs 10:12 (NLT)

"A man's wisdom gives him patience;
it is to his glory to overlook an offense." Proverbs 19:11 (NIV)

"If the temper of the ruler rises up against you, do not leave your place [or show a resisting spirit]; for gentleness and calmness prevent or put a stop to great offenses." Ecclesiastes 10:4 (AMP)

God's been working on me with something, and yesterday was the first time I found it put into action. I am talking today about being offended. Somewhere along the line we seem to have turned into a society that tries to avoid offending at all costs. We worry that if we say the wrong thing we are going to offend someone. We buy 12 flavors of coffee creamer because we don't want to offend the people who must have french vanilla in their coffee- if we didn't have it they'd be offended. Yet despite watching what we say and do, we frequently find ourselves in the position of causing an offense to someone (usually not on purpose) OR we find ourselves the recipient of being offended.

Someone may say something innocuous and it just strikes us the wrong way. Or perhaps our leaders make a change or a decision that really bothers us, and we work it up into such a way that we become offended. Or one that I've seen time and time again is that I'll put a lot of work into something only to have someone else come along and undo that work to fit their ideas better. And you know, for the most part, I think that I don't easily become offended, but when I do... Except that God's been talking to me about this. In the past two weeks I have heard several times that we need to learn to simply not be offended. Offenses will come, no doubt, but those offenses are an opportunity for the enemy to sneak in and stir the trouble-causing pot. Think about it, if someone within my church causes me offense, that right there is an opportunity for the devil to try and creep in and cause division. Large churches have split over trivial offenses. Imagine the strength of the body if we were to learn to do away with such offenses.

And let me tell you, it's a freeing experience. :-) Without going into the details, yesterday I learned of something that really bothered me. And at first, I started stewing about it. I even called my husband to stew to him about it. Then last night as I settled in to see what God had to tell me last night, I kept being distracted by this very thing, and I'd lose my focus and find myself dwelling on this matter. Then it came to me, and I know it was the Holy Spirit speaking to me and telling me to let goof the offense. If I had been being filmed for a movie, a choir of angels would have started singing the moment I realized what was going on. Immediately I turned my thoughts to prayer and I said out loud, "I choose to not take this offense" and I swear to you, instantly a great weight was lifted from my body. That spirit of animosity and offense lifted right off of me. I was able to really focus and hear what God was saying to me after that. Talk about an amazing experience! And then this morning as I was going about my morning tasks, I was reminded of the matter that bothered me in the first place, and I didn't dwell on it in the least. It's as if I was never offended in the first place.

As a Christian, the offenses will come, but we need to recognize those offenses for what they are. They are tools of the devil, a way for him to try and squeeze into our lives and create havoc and animosity. Offenses will come, but it is up to us to choose to not accept them. It is up to us to choose to let the offense go. It is a choice. A choice that I don't think changes based on severity of the offense. If I'm going to let a silly, petty offense go, I also need to let the major heart-breaking offenses go. I have to tell you, this morning I am just feeling so thankful and grateful that I am learning this lesson. Imagine how much more pleasant everyday life will be if I choose to not take any offenses. I am so thankful to God for His messengers that bring me encouragement every day, and I am so thankful for the scripture He has given us to help guide us in the way we need to go. I am learning so much right now, it's almost like I am in school, the amount of information that He has been pouring into me these last several weeks is almost overwhelming. Every day I am reminded of His love for us, and I know that I am not worthy of that love.

Give it a try once. When you feel that offense coming on, rebuke it and send it away. When you feel your spirit being crushed or quenched by someone else's words, ask the Holy Spirit to help you reject that crushing. Once we stop looking for ways to be offended, it's a whole new world out there. Make the choice today, I swear that I don't regret it in the least.

"Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others]" 1 Peter 4:8 (AMP)

"So also My heavenly Father will deal with every one of you if you do not freely forgive your brother from your heart his offenses." Matthew 18:35 (AMP)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hope and Faith

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1

I read this great devotional this morning and I decided that it would be perfect to share here today. It was about anticipation, and expecting God to answer our prayers. Think of a child, asking their parent a question, "Mom, do you think we could go to Grandma's house next weekend?" They ask a question, and first of all, they expect a response. As a parent we're not going to simply ignore our child and their question. But maybe we were putting clothes in the washer or something and we didn't hear. What is our child going to do? They are going to ask again- and maybe a little more fervently to make sure that we hear them. So we respond, "why, yes, we can do that." And then our child is eagerly anticipating the day their hope comes to fruition, because they know that Mom isn't going to lie to them.

So to, is it with God. We're missing something that even a child has- and that is hope coupled with our faith. When we are praying and asking God for this or that, so often it's with an attitude of "well, if you feel like answering God, I'm here. And if you don't answer, well, you must be busy." Or we pray for something because praying is the right thing to do, but we don't really expect an answer. Why not?! Where is our anticipation- our fervency with our prayers? Faith is a belief in the things we cannot see. We need to place our faith back in our Heavenly Father and know that He hears us each and every time we pray. Now sometimes His answer isn't immediate, but that just means we have more time to anticipate His answer! How many times in our life do we ask Him for direction? I know Andy and I have been asking that for several years, and only now do we start to have a glimmer of direction. God will give us what we ask for when the proper time comes. Or, He will provide a better alternative.

"The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.

16 You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing." Psalm 145:15-16

It's time to put away the "if" prayers. Just ask Him. Just place your faith in our wonderful God and ask Him for the desires of your heart. Then anticipate His response- look forward to the day that He answers you. He will never just ignore us and swipe our requests under the rug, He loves us as a parent loves a child and wants to see all of our desires fulfilled.

"I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I put my hope." Psalm 130:5

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 15:5-6

When I was growing up, I had the belief that the church I was going to was the only church where someone could be saved at. I would ask my friends to come to church with me all the time- even though they all had their own churches they belonged to, because I was under the mistaken impression that our way was the only way.

Thank God I know better now! It's interesting as you spend more time walking with God that you see that there are different ways to worship God, and none of them are "the only way". Every church has a different style, and they are all okay for that group of people. But every once in a while, someone gets a bee in their bonnet about this or that and then a crack starts to form within the church body. Especially in this day and age, it's so important to stay focused and see the beginnings of division for what it is- the enemy trying to breech the stronghold.

Our focus should be God. When we find ourselves getting annoyed by this or that within the church we should take a look within and see how we're allowing a distraction to prevent us from praising God. And everything we do within the church should be to bring glory to God. If I can't bring glory to God through my percussion, then I shouldn't be doing it. When it becomes about me, and not about Him, then I need to stop doing it. It's not about me. And I think if we all just keep reminding ourselves of that, we will go a long way in avoiding and preventing division within the church. And when I say "the church" I don't specifically mean my church or your church, I mean our church. I mean that our two very different churches have a common purpose- a common denominator in that we want to see more souls won for Jesus, we just may have different ways about going about that. And that's fantastic. Not everyone likes vanilla ice cream, some people prefer chocolate, and are more likely to walk in the door of the place that sells chocolate over the place that sells just vanilla. God is worth all of our efforts, lets just remember to keep in mind that our efforts are united by the same end goal.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Learning About Fasting

"Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty." John 6:35

Yesterday at church our Pastor gave a message on fasting. I have to admit, I wasn't that thrilled about the idea of a message on fasting. For the most part, I guess you could say that I've been an anti-faster. Every time I hear about someone fasting I get...defensive. I know nutrition. I understand nutrition and my body, and I know what makes me tick. I know that I need to eat a protein with every meal or I get a headache. I know that if I skip a meal I get weak and shaky. I know that if I eat a sweet and sugary breakfast (like donuts) that later in the morning I will be super tired and feel like I want a nap. So fasting, where you do not eat for a period of time has always seemed like such a bad idea to me.

So last week, in anticipation of the coming sermon, I decided to fast for a day. I had heard a friend once say, in defense of fasting, that it says in the Bible to fast, and if we weren't going to follow God's directions to fast, that we might as well just give up altogether. If we weren't going to follow all his directions, it wasn't worth it. So I decided that I needed to see what fasting was about for myself and chose a day to fast completely.

The first thing I will mention is that it didn't take long in the morning for me to decide I was hungry. It seemed like I was hungry the second I woke up instead of an hour or two later. I did allow myself one cup of coffee in the morning, but the rest of the day it was only water. My stomach rumbled All. Day. Long. As someone who has dieted in the past, I can't begin to describe how unusual that was. When dieting, I learned to just ignore that hunger, and eventually, the rumbling would stop. But with fasting... I knew the enemy wanted to defeat me before I really got going. So I was logical about fasting. I fixed food for the kids that wasn't appealing to me, that was something I wouldn't want to eat, because I wanted to avoid all the temptations. When I felt like I just had to eat something, I would close my eyes for a few minutes and thank God for living in a nation of abundance, where my family doesn't ever need to know the feeling of being hungry for days at a time.

I spent quite a bit of time praying that day, I also read my Bible more than usual, and I actually got a lot done as well. On a normal day, when I feel like being busy, I head to the kitchen and cook something up. Fasting meant I needed to stay away from the kitchen, so I got quite a few tasks done that I had been holding off on. And then in the evening, after I tucked the kids into bed, I spent my time with God and I felt that I had successfully made it through the day of fasting. I'm not typically an evening muncher, so even though I was still hungry, I was able to fully ignore it and spend my time with God.

So. Was my time with God any different because I fasted? Was fasting all that? Well, I didn't find my time in the evening any sweeter than normal, it was still wonderful, fasting or not. I do think I spent a little more time in prayer throughout the day than normal, but honestly, not that much more since I spend a bit of time praying throughout the day anyways. I didn't get the headaches that I expected throughout the day, so that was good. But let me tell you, the following morning I had a doozy. I was on my way to a migraine. Thankfully I was able to stave it off with some ibuprofen and a small bowl of oatmeal, but I spent a good deal of the morning not really functioning well. This was where I was puzzled, because I didn't feel any kind of revelation during my day of fasting, and if I then had to spend a day recovering, was fasting really a good idea for me?

Then yesterday during our Pastor's sermon, I heard a revelation. Fasting doesn't necessarily mean food. Think about it, think about the people who really can't fast food- like the diabetics who can't miss a meal or even a snack or their body gets all wacky. How do these people follow God's command of fasting? The answer is that they fast something else. They stop watching TV for a period of time, they stop using the Internet for a period of time. They abstain from coffee for a week, or they stop doing their morning workout and instead spend the time in prayer. It really was a revelation to me! Here I had been fasting, I just didn't know it! It was a definite light bulb moment for me because I was kind of unhappy about my day of fasting experience, it just wasn't what I was expecting, but the fasting I really have been doing has been an experience.

So the point is that I am no longer afraid of fasting, nor am I against the idea of fasting. In fact, I say fast away! But choose carefully what you want to fast, it should be something that enables you to spend more time with God. Maybe you need to stop playing video games or computer games. Maybe you need to turn off the TV or the radio. Maybe you want to fast reading books other than the Bible, or maybe you need to fast going to a chat room or bulletin board online. Then again, maybe food is the ideal means of fasting for you. I have learned that it wasn't for me, so if you feel discouraged after a time of fasting, maybe try again,but fasting something else. With time, I think that you will find the area of your life that gets you closer to God when you give it up for a while. I know I have, and the growth I've been experiencing has been totally worth it.

"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Matthew 6:16-18

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Just Imagine

"Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!" Romans 11:33

Just imagine what God knows. :-) Just imagine all the things that he knows. Even just thinking on the small scale, like he knows what I am thinking and he knows what you are thinking, and then add to that that he keeps us all straight, and he even knows the number of hairs on our heads. he knows how many stars are in the sky, and He knows how far the galaxy expands.

He knows everything. And our minds, our human minds have a difficult time fathoming that depth of knowledge. Our God is truly an amazing and wonderful God, and I love the idea that he knows what tomorrow is going to bring! How exciting! He knows exactly what is around the corner for us, and first of all, that can bring someone comfort, when they're going through a difficult time. We can take comfort in knowing that God knows where the end of the trial is. And when there is a time of spiritual prosperity, as Andy and I are experiencing right now, God knows what the next phase will be. And all I can say is that this one is so great, that the anticipation of what lies ahead is just crazy!

God can choose to share that knowledge. Last night I had a real vivid dream about praying for someone I didn't know. It was a situation where I wasn't sure first if I was supposed to pray for that person at all, and then I wasn't sure what to pray or how to pray for that person. And then in my dream I had visions running through my head. I woke up shortly thereafter and I thought to myself that was how it was going to be. That when the time came and I was needed, that I would know what to do. That the Holy Spirit would guide me in what needed to be done, I just need to trust His Voice when it shows itself. Since God knows what I am going to encounter before I encounter it, I can trust in Him and know that he will guide my footsteps along the path I need to follow.

Thank you God for your omniscience that I can put my trust in completely.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Respecting Our Elders

"They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God," they said. 23Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust." Acts 14:21-23

Sometimes we as church members simply don't agree with something within the church. Whether it be a policy, a doctrine, the way a service is done, or the simple wording of the bulletin. Or maybe it's one of a myriad of other things. What's important to know about these types of disagreement is the way to handle them. What would be the easy thing to do? To complain. To complain to anyone who will listen about how you don't like the color of paint in the ladies room. (As an example, we'll go with that.) So every time you see someone from church, you squeeze your complaint about paint into conversation. And before you know it, the church is buzzing about the bad paint color in the ladies room. Some people like the color, some people don't, and what you have essentially done, is caused division in the church. People are divided over the paint, and before you know it, other complaints are brought forth, and soon the whole church is in turmoil all because you couldn't agree with the paint decisions.

While true division in the church may not stem from something as basic as paint color, it could also stem from that very thing, sadly enough. What we need to realize is that these complaints, these feelings of unrest that we have are the enemy trying to squeeze in. If he can use something as basic as paint color to keep God from working within the body, by golly he's going to use the paint color to his very advantage. Our enemy is sneaky like that. So what do we do?

We turn to the body of elders that we put into a role of leadership at our church. When we have a complaint, we address our governing body, and then trust that they will do what is best for the body as a whole. But wait, you're saying, my complaints are about the governing body! My answer to you on that then is when was the last time you prayed for those people? When was the last time you spent some time praying for each of those people individually? As we see in the verse above, Paul and Barnabas did that very thing. They established leadership in the church and then spent serious time praying and fasting for them. When one of our elders is struggling with something, that's the devil trying to get his foot in the door, and that's when we need to be praying for them even more, so they can battle away those demons and remain strong in their walk with the Lord.

It's so important to respect those who have been called to leadership. Disrespect can lead to division, which needs to be avoided at all costs. If there is something we want to see changed, first we need to pray on it, and see if that desire is truly from God. Once we think we know that change is from God, then we need to bring it before our leadership in love, and then we need to trust those we've put into that position to make the best choice for the body of believers. Sometimes, that change isn't meant for now, and we need to respect that decision of our elders. But that doesn't mean that we can't keep praying. More than anything, we need to continue to pray for our leadership because they need it. Paul and Barnabas went through so many hardships...perhaps some of those hardships were division caused by paint. Hardship comes, as the enemy will always try to get in the door. But we can beat that hardship away through prayer and respect. And remembering to trust those we've selected as our leaders.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Bit of Advice

“As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things." Ecclesiastes 11:5

I heard this nice bit of advice the other day, and while it was so simple, it's something I don't think I've ever heard said. This verse in Ecclesiastes fits right in with it. As we see this verse it says plain and clear that we cannot understand the work of God. And the advice given the other day was to not even try. Think about it. We are naturally curious people, we want to know how things work and why they work. So when we see something new or something we've never seen before,we want to know how it happens. And sometimes we get so caught up in figuring out the hows and whys that we miss the wonder of the new. So rather than spend our time trying to understand something that we cannot anyways, we should try and set aside that curiousness. Simply enjoy the sense of wonder, and enjoy the creation and work of our God. We can't analyze God, so let's not even try.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bring It On

Then Moses said, "Now show me your glory." Exodus 33:18

If you had told me when we first started studying Exodus that we would learn so much, I would have laughed at you. I knew we would enjoy the study, and would pick up a thing or two, but by golly, Exodus has truly been amazing to go over. Moses truly is an example to model after, and we can take to heart all the lessons learned by the Israelite people, because they still apply today! This one sentence today from Moses says so much to me this morning, because these last few weeks have been such a time of learning for me.

I've finally been able to let go. While I have been diligently reading my Bible daily since I started this blog, and praying as needs came up, there was something still missing, something that I was afraid of. I was afraid to get close to God and open myself up, I was afraid to just spend some quiet time with Him and worship Him and adore Him. Part of me was afraid because who knows what will come to light when there is nothing between God and myself. Part of me was afraid because I worried about what God would tell me. Would He really tell me to pack up our belongings and move to a foreign place? Would He tell me to do something within the church that I really didn't want to do. It was such a scary thought, this intimacy with God. Just saying the word intimacy is scary! And I guess that part of me was also worried that I would, in actuality, become a Jesus freak.

I'm laughing a bit about that now, because I guess that I am a Jesus freak, and that's not such a bad thing. As Andy has been working out of town again, God placed a time on my heart to spend with Him. I was always looking to morning as my answer, but could never let it go. My children rise with the sun, to wake even earlier meant a lot earlier to spend time with God. And then there was also the idea of limiting God's time to a portion of the morning instead of just letting it happen. So just over two weeks ago I did something I said I would never do. I turned off the TV. Completely. The kids went to bed, I turned off the TV, and I turned my eyes to God and said "show me Your Glory" just as Moses did. By spending my time with God in the evening, I wasn't giving it a time limit, and I liked that idea. I could focus on Him and just let what happened happen, and sometimes I spend a good 3 hours just praising His name, sometimes it's shorter. But the point is, I'm doing it.

You have no idea how difficult this was for me to do. I love my time in the evening watching tv, it's relaxing, and I love, love, love some reality shows like Survivor. So of course, as I am turning off the Tv and making the choice for God, I start hearing rumblings about the best episodes ever, and part of me is oh, so tempted to just skip that one hour and catch up. *smile* Except that I haven't. I haven't even checked the DVR to see that it recorded! Monday morning I saw online who won, smiled, read the re-cap and I really didn't feel like I missed a thing because My God is better. My God is worth every single episode of Survivor in the future.

I don't know how long this 'no tv' thing will last. When Andy is home on the weekends he joins me, and we really are finding that time together to be special, and he is really missing it while he is out of town. Next week we could feel that sense of urgency gone, but right now, I spend all day looking forward to my time with God. He's changing me. Every night when I curl up in bed I am a different person than I was earlier in the day. These last few weeks have been amazing. My days are full of energy and accomplishment, and my evenings are full of glory. God is truly amazing, and I feel like I don't want to miss a second of it.

And that intimacy that I was so afraid's like a drug. I can't get enough of Him. I wish there were more hours in the day so that I could spend more time in His Presence, because it is full of glory. The Holy Spirit is doing an amazing work on me, even as I type this, and my eyes and ears are open to what He has to show me. It turns out there was nothing to be afraid of. God is a loving God and I feel that love each and every day. God is Great, and greatly to be praised.

Maybe you've been thinking about getting closer to God. Maybe you've been eyeing up that intimate time with Him, but are afraid just as I was. I'd like to pray with you about that. I have found over the last few weeks that my words towards Heaven are worth something. If you'd like to share with me how I can pray with you, please send me an e-mail to, God loves you too and He wants you to share in what He has been showing me. All it takes is a moment, a willing heart and a bit of "show me your glory" attitude.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Put The Praise Where It Belongs

"But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours." Matthew 17:27

I heard a sermon this past Sunday that mentioned this particular verse in the Bible. It's at the end of Matthew 17, after a little discussion Jesus had with Peter about paying taxes. What the Pastor mentioned about this verse really struck a chord with me. He was talking about giving God the glory for the wondrous things we see done in his name, and not the person behind the wonders. Right here, Jesus performed a miracle by providing tax money from the mouth of a fish. What do you suppose the response was? I can tell you that Jesus and Peter did not bow down and start praising the fish for providing them with their coin. The fish was simply a tool to be used by God as a means of provision, it's God who gets the glory for the coin being there, not the fish.

As another way of looking at it, people came to John the Baptist to be baptized, to hear the words of the Lord, to hear him talk about the coming King. When they were in the presence of John the Baptist, the people worshipped God with him, they didn't worship him instead.

"People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River." Matthew 3:5-6

Sometimes I think we just get really caught up in making sure that people are recognized for their talents and what they do. We live in an age where awards are constantly being handed out for greatness, whether they be for best picture, best songwriter, or the Nobel peace prize. Instead of honoring the people for their actions, shouldn't we be honoring God? Shouldn't we be thanking God and praising him for using these people? We can thank the people responsible for allowing God's work to be done through them, and we need to remember to pray for these people who are willing servants as well, but the glory should go to God. We should be praising God for the abilities we have, not ourselves. I think it's important to remember that, that when we do something in Jesus' name, it's not us who is doing it, it is God working through us. We need to put the praise back where it belongs, and that's on the One who made all things possible.

Monday, May 12, 2008

"He Knows My Name..."

Do you know that song? We sing it at church and it just now popped into my head. This is the part that I have rolling through my head this morning: "He knows my name, he knows my every thought. He sees each tear that falls, and hears me when I call." And the reason that this particular song started rolling through my head is because I looked at the verse of the day today and it was instantly a shot in the arm for me, and exactly what I needed to hear this morning. I love it when God sends me a little boost.

"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness." Proverbs 31:10,27

I'm a little tired this morning, and I have a to-do list that seems to get longer all the time. It can be a little challenging for me to find motivation when Andy is out of town. And as it's warmed up enough to throw open the windows from time to time, I've been tackling the spring cleaning list a tiny bit at a time. But I still have a lot to do, and I just keep procrastinating and finding reasons to not tackle my to-do list. I have music things for church I need to work on, but then I put that off because I'm putting my housework aside, and...well, the to-do list just keeps growing instead of shrinking.

So this morning, the very first scripture verse that I see is the one that motivates me every time. It's a reminder to me of how so very much I want to be the wife of noble character. Dipping into the luxury of idleness from time to time isn't part of her character. So this morning I feel a renewed sense of purpose, and a desire to cross a few more things off of my ever-lengthening list. And while I may not actually ever reach the end of my list, I can do my best. I can continue moving from one task to the next. While earlier I may have spent time at the computer for awhile, and then I might have done a load of laundry or something, all of the sudden, I feel inspired.

God knew that I needed some help today, and by golly, did he deliver. He does know my name, and he knows exactly what I need in the morning to get my day going in the right direction.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

"Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her" Proverbs 31:28

Every day should be mother's day. As we take one day a year every year to let our mothers have a day of rest, maybe a special lunch or dinner, maybe a greeting card or a gift, and quite honestly, one day a year isn't enough. Yet, I look forward to mothers day every year for one simple reason, and that is that my kids look forward to it. Yesterday my daughter snuck in after school and dashed off to her room to hide a special treasure for Mommy. She will spend the whole day smiling at me and giving me hugs, and you just can't beat that. Any day that makes my daughter spend the day with a smile on her face is worth celebrating, even if I think it's a tad bit cheesy.

But lets talk about this verse shall we?

"Her children and arise and call her blessed." Think about your own mother maybe. I know I always think of mine when I see this verse, because she is very blessed.She has always been a phenomenal example to me of how to be a good mom, and she still continues to be an example as she lives her life according to Christ's wishes for her life. She is an amazing woman! She sets an example that is a goal worth striving for every single day. There are two great honors that a mother can truly receive in her life- one from her own mother, and one from her children. One from her mother complimenting on the job she is doing, and the second honor is when her children have grown and realize just how wonderful their own mother has been all their life.

Yet there is a third honor, and that is found in the second half of this verse- "her husband also, and he praises her." One of the greatest honors a wife can receive is from her husband. It used to be that I would wonder about how Andy really felt about me staying at home while he worked hard every day. I don't wonder anymore, because I know that he values the work I do in the home, and I also know that he is not one of those guys who complains about me all day to everyone.

I guess I find myself pretty lucky and pretty blessed myself these days. Being a mom has been the greatest thing I think I could experience. And while I do pray that someday I will be able to hear my children call me blessed, right now, I just pray that every day they fill their hearts with love for Jesus, and that I can continue to be an example for them.

Friday, May 09, 2008

We Cannot Do It Alone

"Moses' father-in-law replied, "What you are doing is not good. 18 You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone." Exodus 18:17-18

When we read this chapter a few weeks ago for our small group study, it really left an impression on me. One of the reasons is because we see that later on, Moses actually listens to this advice. He payed attention to what his father-in-law told him, and he did delegate responsibility to others. He shared the load and had a much easier time because of it. But the second reason it struck me was simply because of how true it is about most everything. We cannot do it alone.

You can apply this to most anything. There's a reason that God didn't design as us solitary creatures, and that is because we need other people. We need help from time to time. We've all heard the old proverb that "it takes a village to raise a child" and it really does. I see it all the time, I see the lessons that my children pick up from other adults that they would never pick up from me. Parenting itself is a task best suited to a pair of people. Sure, there are single parents, but I will bet you that when those parents need to make a major decision, they turn to their parents or other relatives in those times of need.

And we cannot minister to the world alone. One person could not run a church all by themselves, that would most certainly lead to a burn-out. There's a reason that there are different people gifted in different areas of ministry, yet the ministry leaders don't really do their work on their own, they have the other people to lean on and ask for help should the need arise. And because we have this great example of leadership reaching out for help in Exodus, we need not feel any shame in asking for help ourselves. In fact, the moment when you do finally ask for help, could be the moment that someone has decided they are willing to serve. Not only do you get the help you so desperately need, but the other person gets the opportunity to serve.

And we lean on others in times of need. When one of our brothers or sisters are in trouble, we are there to help support them and back them up. Without each other, we wouldn't have that support system, and we'd quickly crumble under the enemy's hand. And when I think that God created us in his own image...he must be some kind of social character. :-)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Seasoned With Salt

"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. " Colossians 4:5-6

Anytime there is a cooking reference in the Bible, it always perks my interest. This is one of those verses, and when I saw it this morning, I thought it was very relevant to yesterday's post. I love this- let your conversation be seasoned with salt. What on earth does that mean? Let's talk a little about that salt. Salt is essential to great cooking. Ask any chef what one thing they could never cook without, and they would say salt. A steak could be cooked over a fire with no tools, but if you didn't have salt, it would simply be a hunk of meat. It's the salt that makes it a steak. Salt brings out the flavor in everything you use it in. I use it when making candies and sweets because just a pinch of salt helps round out the flavors and highlight a beautiful ingredient like caramel. Salt is an enhancer, essentially.

Think about that, think about an enhanced conversation. What would that be? Maybe instead of "Hi, how are you doing?" "Well how are you doing? It's great to see you!" Or instead, when someone asks how you are doing, instead of "fine, how are you?" you say "I'm doing great! God has blessed me with such a beautiful day/family/job." We're adding some exuberance, some interest instead of the formed responses we are all used to saying and hearing. In the last few weeks I've been changing things up a bit, and I tell you, I do notice a difference. At church on Sunday I was unable to talk beyond a whisper, but when someone asked me how I was doing, I was exuberant "I'm doing great!" and I got such a look! I think this person was surprised first of all, that I would say I was doing great in the first place- great sounds like life is perfect. And I couldn't talk! So despite the fact that I had no voice and I was still doing great...I do think that says something. God is great, so why wouldn't I feel great?

Enhanced conversations don't always have to come from a great start either. Think about how many times you see someone and ask how they are doing, and they kind of sigh, and then start telling you about something bad that happened, or something that's weighing on their mind. What is our usual response? For me, it's usually a little sympathy, some empathy perhaps, and then I'll say something trite like 'well, I'll be praying for that' or something along those lines. An enhanced, salted conversation would be more like, "gosh, that just sounds overwhelming for one person, here, let's go in this room over here and pray about it and give the problem to God. That way you can enjoy your day."

Any opportunity to get out the salt shaker is a good one. By focusing on the good that God has been doing in your life, you're getting plenty of opportunity to share that God with others. And in addition, you will find that by focusing on the good yourself that your own mood and disposition will improve greatly. This is one of those win-win situations where everyone leaves feeling better. All it takes is one person, one joyful person to catch someone else up in their joy. One person can start a revolution of joy, and that's one revolution I would love to be guilty of starting.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Under A Magnifying Glass

"Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us." 1 Peter 2:12

You never know who might be watching. You never know which neighbor or passerby is going to hear you say that foul word, and then you know what they're thinking? They're thinking "figures, those Christians never practice what they preach." As you lean over the backyard fence and engage in the neighborhood gossip, it may feel nice to be chatting with the neighbors, but gossip is still gossip, whether it's about someone inside the church or outside. Someone could still be hurt by what is being said between two people.

And you never notice who is also going to notice the good. You don't know which neighbor notices that you take the time every single day to push your son on the swing for however long he wants. You don't know which passerby notices every day that you smile at them as they walk on by. You don't know which neighbor notices that every single Sunday you head to church without fail, and they wonder what could be so great about church to get you to go in the midst of a blizzard.

And even when we are alone...we simply never know. And the thing I keep thinking is, why do I want to have to watch my actions? Wouldn't it be more difficult to go through life wondering who is watching? Instead of tailoring my actions to fit who may be peeking inside, I should be concentrating on changing my actions in the first place. I'm thinking that if there is something I'm doing that I don't want anyone to see, than perhaps that is something I shouldn't be doing, and that it isn't pleasing to God to witness. The closer I get to God, the more I want my actions and my thoughts to please him. I want him to be proud of the way I carry myself throughout the day. And sometimes, that does mean a great bit of prayer asking him for strength. That old question, "what would Jesus do?" is a great one for when you just aren't sure. When you're not sure if you should be doing what you are doing, just ask yourself if Jesus were alive today, would he participate in that activity? Would he yell and scream and rant at the children? No. He would tell them a story that points out how what they did was wrong, and he would hug them and love them.

What would Jesus do? One of the best things we can do to share God's love with those around us is to be an example. And when that magnifying glass is getting a little uncomfortable, then we need to examine what we are doing and reconsider. And remember, in all things, the goal we are striving for is to bring glory to God in everything we do.

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

What it's all about

"Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'" Matthew 22:37

This verse really sums it all up. This is what life is all about. We spend our time here on earth learning to love God more each day so that when we finally get to meet him in Heaven, we'll be ready for an eternity of love. Loving God is the key, because as we love God more and more, he fills us with that love, which we in turn share with others around us. When we get to heaven, and we're standing in judgement, we want God to say that we loved. Do you sneer at your neighbor in contempt for mowing their lawn in the morning? Do you scowl at the lady at the grocery store who zipped in front of you at the last second? Do you roll your eyes at the one person who always seems to have something to complain about? We need to ask God to help us change our attitudes about all of those. We need to love these people, we need to let God's love shine through us.

Try sharing God's love in unexpected ways. Next time you are at the grocery store, waiting in a line three people deep, let that person with the basket go in front of you. The next time your neighbor mows his lawn in the morning- join him! Then you'll have the rest of your day ahead of you to do as you please, and the lawn will be done. Take your neighbor out for coffee afterwards. The next time the chronic complainer complains, ask them if you can pray with them for that problem, then compliment them on their ability to be honest and forthcoming. I bet they stop complaining.

There is no point in doing anything if we can't learn to love. It's all about love. God loves you, and he wants you to share that love. What could be better than that?

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:34,35

Monday, May 05, 2008

Relax In God's Timing

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

I love this. I absolutely love this. I read this verse of the day this morning and it was like a shot of energy went right through me. It was as if I were languishing and someone hooked up an IV and started the drip and I instantly felt relief. Just look at this verse, read it a few times and let it roll over you. Let the peace and calmness settle in.

Let's start at the beginning of the verse, shall we? Right there off the bat it catches you, "do not be anxious." Oh, what wonderful word of wisdom! We live in a world filled with anxiousness, we deal with deadlines and timelines and checklists and that fantastic sense of urgency that says that everything must be done yesterday. Do not be anxious, but notice that it doesn't say to discard your troubles. It says next that "in everything...present your requests to God". It says everything! It doesn't say only the things that God will think important, it says everything. No matter what it is that is making you anxious, you turn to God and ask for his help.

This verse also tells us exactly how to ask God for his help. "By prayer and petition, with thanksgiving." In particular, notice the thanksgiving. It doesn't say with wailing and moaning and gnashing of teeth, it says with thanksgiving. Right off the bat, we need to thank God for taking care of our troubles before he even does it. And to me, I think that right there is the entire key to this verse I think. With thanksgiving. By thanking God we are putting out trust in Him. We are thanking Him before he does a work in us, showing that we have faith in His power and His love. Think about it. Let's say you are facing a harried week ahead. You have several tasks that need to be done, and you are dreading. Maybe you have a few meetings scheduled. You also have 3 or 4 activities you need to get your children to, and in there, you also need to fit in time to do some household tasks and feed your family. You are not looking forward to Monday morning. But you pray about it. You come before God and thank him for the week behind us, and thank Him for the opportunities of the week ahead. You ask for His help in accomplishing all your tasks smoothly and on time, and then you thank Him for his help and for his peace.

Boom, right there. You have put your trust in God that he will be with you throughout the coming week. And that is where this verse concludes, because then the peace of God will fill you. You will know that your week will run its course, and that God will be with you. Right there, the anxiousness and anxiety will wash away, and instead of being anxious about the week ahead, you are ready to tackle it head on, because you have God on your side. You have asked, and you will receive. The peace of God transcends all understanding. We don't need to understand it, actually, we just need to accept it and receive it.

Now how great is that?

Saturday, May 03, 2008

The Best Week Ever

"Who among the gods is like you, O LORD ? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?" Exodus 15:11

"When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it." John 11:4

Really. God has blessed me with having a wonderful week. I'll tell you, normally when Andy is out of town working, life is boring and dull. Not this time. I've been busy and getting so much done, and I just feel like my heart is ready to burst at all times.

A normal day for me is slow and sometimes boring. I wake and get Abigail ready for school, and then Zander and I spend the morning putzing about, maybe doing dishes or laundry, I spend time blogging and cruising sites on the internet. I always think about getting things done, but most often I just never get to them. Zander and I spend a lot of time together, but when we're not playing together, I feel like I should get something accomplished, and I end up sitting down to just check e-mail or something. An hour later, the time-sucker as accomplished its mission, and I'm off to play again with Zander. Abigail comes home from school, and Zander transfers to her, and I often spend that time cleaning up the kitchen or putting away laundry before making dinner. And then once the kids are in bed for the night, I sit and veg. Sometimes I read, but most often, I plop in front of the TV and catch up on my favorite dramas and reality TV.

But I didn't do that this week. Not once did I turn on the television. The kids watched a few things this week, but I didn't turn on the TV even a single time to watch something for me. Instead, I made the choice this week to get closer to God. I would kiss my kids goodnight, and then spend the next several hours praising Jesus. And what a week it has been. I would spend my days dashing from activity to activity, getting odd jobs accomplished that have been begging my attention for weeks. I spent plenty of time with Zander during the day, and then with both kids in the late afternoon. Where I normally run out of energy and start chugging coffee throughout the day, I felt energized and full of life, and as the days progressed, I found myself beginning to look eagerly towards that time with God. He's addicting!

So what inspired me to spend the week with God? I was told that a revival has broken out, and I wanted to be a part of it. 30 days ago, a church in Florida started a 5-day crusade, and it hasn't stopped since. They've moved from a 700 seat church to an auditorium, and last night, they were praising God in a stadium! People are being healed of terminal diseases, they are walking after being paralyzed, and it is truly amazing. And I am so in awe that I can experience this from my living room. Through the miracle of technology, this revival is being carried throughout the world. Over 200 countries are receiving the broadcasts- what a way to share the love of God!!!

So I'm walking on air this week. God is doing a great work in me, and I welcome it completely. If you are reading this, and you are interested in checking it out, you can too! The evening service is from 6:00pm to 10:00pm Central Time, but at this website you can click on the little video icons and watch the footage from the days gone past. It is amazing, and it is only a matter of time before it's sweeping through every part of the country and world- don't miss it! Let it catch you, and I promise it will be worthwhile.

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12

Friday, May 02, 2008

He Always Hears Us

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him." 1 John 5:14-15

Andy and I have reached a point in our faith where we know that we can ask God for anything. And as a result, we do. We literally ask him for the desires of our heart. We've often been asked by people "but what if God doesn't answer, or God says no, will you love him less?" And all we can do is smile and say no, we'll love him even more, because his answer means that he truly knows what is best for us. The thing is, you never really know why he says no, but sometimes, it may come to light down the road. Here's an example.

When I was in grade school, my brother got chicken pox. We were getting very close to the week I was to go to summer camp, and I prayed and prayed that I wouldn't get the chicken pox. And of course, the day before I was to leave, the first poc mark showed up on my hand. I was so sad and disappointed, but there were many reasons to be grateful that I did get the chicken pox. The first being that had that mark not shown up when it did, I would have gone to camp and infected who knows how many people with the virus. Thank God he kept me home! And the second being that had I not gotten the chicken pox then, I could have instead gotten them later in life when it is much more dangerous to have the disease. I still have the scar on my left hand where that first poc showed up, and to me it's always a reminder that God truly does know best.

A number of years ago, we had an opportunity to buy the duplex we were living in. We wanted it so bad, and we prayed about it and prayed about it, and others were praying about it for us and with us. And it ended up that God told us no. We really were not in a position to buy a house, and God did not let that opportunity come to fruition. Instead, he blessed us with a home that had the room we so desperately needed. While we didn't know it at the time, had we bought that house, we likely would have had some serious trouble, as the last few years have seen ups and downs with Andy's job. Thank God for his answers of no! Had we bought that house...who knows what would have happened. God was looking out for us.

There are also the times that God says yes. A few years back we received a statement in the mail from the state government telling them that we owed them over $90,000 in back sales taxes from Andy's prior business. It was incorrect, but there was nothing we could do about it. We had no paperwork, no proof that we didn't owe it, so the state started taking a garnishment out of Andy's wages to pay it back. I remember I finally sent a desperate e-mail to someone in the state office, and praying as I wrote that e-mail. It was also during that time that Andy and I started feeling pressured to tithe. We really felt God calling us to tithe 10% of what little he was making, so we took that leap as well. A few weeks later, we received a statement in the mail saying that the error had been corrected, and that we had remitted what we owed the state. That $90,000 debt was gone, like magic, only we know it was heavenly magic. God gave us a miracle to show us his love for us.

So I guess the point is, that you can ask God for anything. Absolutely anything. Sometimes he says yes and gives you what you ask for, and sometimes he says no, but that means he has better plans- a better idea for you. Think of a child who asks "mom, can we go to the park today?" and Mom says no, not today, we have other plans. The child is crushed, because they wanted to go to the playground. But what that child doesn't know is that the family is spending the day at an amusement park, and those other plans are way better than what the child originally asked for. That's something to remember. When we're asking God for a playground, sometimes he gives us the playground. But sometimes, he wants us to have the amusement park instead.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

A Thought For Today

"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

42"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." Matthew 24:36-44

I simply have a question today. Something to really think on for awhile. We read here in Matthew that no one except God knows when Jesus will return to earth to gather his followers to him. No one knows. But lets just say you did. What if you knew with absolute certainty that Jesus would return in our lifetime. What if you knew? If you knew that Jesus would be returning soon...what would you change? What would you do differently? Would you change your priorities and what you do from day to day? Would you be a little more bold in your faith? Think about it. What would you change if you knew that Jesus was coming in your lifetime?