Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Irene

"He stirs up the sea with His power,And by His understanding He breaks up the storm."  Job 26:12

I am praying this morning that Monday morning's blog post is not a call to prayer for hurricane devastation.  There is still time for God to do something really cool and spare the East Coast from some terrifying weather.

What else is there to say, really, other than mentioning that maybe if enough of God's people will pray, He will hear us, and He will send this mighty hurricane in the opposite direction- out to sea where it will dissipate and cause no more destruction.

So I guess I'm going to keep it quite short this morning.  All I keep thinking of is that a few weeks ago, for just a few minutes, Andy had turned on a TV program that was airing some footage from Hurricane Katrina, and I just cannot stop thinking of all those people who needed help in the aftermath.  I am praying that the situation doesn't repeat itself- that people have learned, and that if they are in an evacuation area, that they are in fact leaving. 

God is still a God of mercy.  May He be merciful to all the millions of people who live in that densely populated part of the country.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


“ And it shall come to pass afterward
      That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
      Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
      Your old men shall dream dreams,
      Your young men shall see visions."  Joel 2:28

Last night when I went to bed I found myself thinking of the strangest thing.  I was completely (randomly) thinking about Mickey Mouse. Truly, the thought came out of nowhere, and all the sudden I couldn't stop thinking about this cartoon character who always, ALWAYS brings a smile to me.  Mickey Mouse is one of those rare treasures that, no matter how old you get, you will never be too old for Mickey.  That got me thinking about other characters on TV and in movies, and I thought of my kids who used to be huge fans of things like Sesame Street, Barney, and the Backyardigans, and now they would never consider themselves fans of those baby shows.  But Mickey Mouse?  He will always be welcome.

And that got me thinking about Walt Disney.  I know a lot of Christian organizations and people have problems with the Disney corporation as a whole, but I have to say that Walt Disney was a true visionary who had the heart of God.  He really did.  His goal in life was to entertain- to bring joy and happiness to children and families.  His goal wasn't actually this billion dollar corporation that Disney now is today, that happened as a result of his visions.  A few months ago we watched a documentary on the life of Walt Disney that was really neat to see.  It was really something to hear how his ideas way back then were met with such criticism and skepticism, and yet he persevered and created something truly magical every single time. 

One thing that really stuck with me though from that documentary was when they were discussing how Walt had this vision of creating a TV show for the first time.  The show was called "Disneyland" and when they were discussing the very first episode, they showed us a picture of Walt working on his notes for the show.  Right there, in the middle of the page, I very clearly caught in bold letters "The Parable of The Talents".  That struck me big time, that not only did Walt Disney want to bring joy and happiness through entertainment, but that he also wanted to share the truths from the Bible.   I have no idea if he was successful with that- did the parable of the talents end up on Disneyland?  I'll probably never know, but it really cemented for me that Walt Disney really had the heart of God, and that his visions and dreams for the Disney corporation- the movies, the theme parks, the TV shows, the merchandise, etc. all came from God.

Which makes it completely ironic that so many Christians take a stance that "Disney is evil", don't you think?

But the whole point in thinking on Walt Disney- both last night and this morning, is thinking on this idea of a visionary.  When is the last time we heard of one?  When I hear the word visionary, I immediately think of Disney, and I think of Henry Ford.  But who are our modern day visionaries?  Who are these people who have the heart of God and are going to help shape our future?  Could it be retiring Apple CEO Steve Jobs?  Could it be Microsoft's Bill Gates?  Could it be one of the many people high up in the tech world?  Or could it be some second grader living in Santa Fe who has dreams of a city in the sky? Could it be some unknown microbiologist who makes unique discoveries about water that will literally change the way we live?

I want to pray for these visionaries of the future.  I want to pray that God would embolden them and give them the tools they need to see these ideas come to fruition.  I want to pray that these visionaries ideas will bring great joy and happiness to people once again- just as Walt Disney did in times that certainly needed joy.  Joel says that "your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions".   These people are here, now.  They are out there having these dreams and these visions and wondering if there is anything to these dreams and visions.  I am praying that God will show them the truth and give them everything they need to make these visions and dreams a reality.  Because God knows, we need more people on this world like Walt Disney- a man who knew the heart of God and loved all people, but especially children. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Warfare Wednesday: Earthquake!

"When it shall be thus in the midst of the land among the people,
It shall be like the shaking of an olive tree,
      Like the gleaning of grapes when the vintage is done.
       14 They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing;
      For the majesty of the LORD
      They shall cry aloud from the sea."  Isaiah 24:13-14

Wow! Yesterday afternoon I was sitting down at the computer for a little break in my day and checked the news channel to see if anything newsworthy was going on.  When I saw the bright red urgent banner across the top of the screen that said "Earthquake in DC" I have to admit- I wasn't really concerned, I was excited.  I was excited, because I knew in my spirit that this was totally a God thing.  That our government- and the entire eastern coast was being shaken.  And I thought- it's about time! 

The practical side of me spent some time with the various news channels to see if there was anything serious to be concerned about with this earthquake, but it didn't take long to see that there really wasn't.  I thought about that.  I thought about the fact that this earthquake, while centered in Virginia was felt all up and down the east coast (and into Canada!) and there were no reports of serious injury or death or of major buildings toppling over.   It was a God rumble- it was a wake up call, and a sign that God is watching our country and wants us to know that it's time to "shake it up".   Even more telling that this was a God rumble?  One of the few buildings to receive damage was our National Cathedral.  Three of the four spires on top of that beautiful building was broken.  The church in America is broken- and it's time for the new church to rise up from the dust and proclaim that America belongs to the Kingdom of God!

I am praying, though, that this was not a "before-shock", that there are not bigger earthquakes to come to that region of the country.   I am also praying this morning for the hurricane that is on its way.  The predictions are not good, and I am praying that God would show mercy to the people on the east coast of our country, and would send the right winds to calm the storm.  May it hit land as no more than a severe thunderstorm- as rain would be good for that parched area of the country.

I am also praying this morning for President Obama and his family.  They are currently supposed to be on vacation, and I suspect it's hardly a vacation.  With events going on around the world, and in our country, the President isn't getting very much time to just relax and enjoy his family.  I would pray that the time they do get to spend together is sweet and wonderful.  And I would pray that even though this seems to be a working vacation instead of true time off, that it would feel like true time off when the President returns to his office.

As I'm thinking about the earthquake yesterday, and the hurricane that's on its way, I can't help but think that as individual people in this country, we should be thinking a little more about being prepared for an emergency or disaster situation.  I read online yesterday that within minutes of the earthquake in areas, there were people who piled into their cars and headed for the grocery store to stock up on the basics.  They were simply prompted by a rumble in the ground to go get the basic necessities that should have already been on hand anyway. For myself and my family, I am praying that God would show us what we need to do to be prepared for an emergency in our neck of the woods.  We have this beautiful gift in God that we can rely on Him to supply all our needs, but at the same time, it would be nice to be able to be a blessing to those around us who may not have been so prepared. 

May God grant the people of this nation wisdom, and may eyes be opened to the rumblings yesterday, and may God get the glory for the fact that there really was no serious issues to emerge because of it.  May Hurricane Irene peter out as it rolls toward the coast- and the only explanation for it is that God caused it to dissipate.  God can do that, and God will get the glory for it when it happens.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Tiny Bit of Practical Advice

For Bible reading that is.

I've really been struggling with my Bible reading for a while now.  It's not so much that I'm not reading, it's more that when I go to read my Bible, it's just not capturing me.  It's almost been like sitting down with a textbook instead of the living, breathing tool that it is.  My readings have mostly been short because of this, and it's taking me forever to make any progress on my "read my Bible in a certain amount of time" plan.

This past Sunday, God totally revealed to me why I was having troubles with my Bible reading.  During the Sunday morning message, the preacher went to Matthew 17 to make one of his points.  I was following along in my Bible, except that part of what he shared was completely and totally missing from my translation of the Bible. Often times I'll see a meaning that is skewed or changed a bit because of what the translators were doing, but this was really the first time that I saw a piece of scripture completely omitted.  Here, I'll show you. Matthew 17, verses 20 and 21, first in the New King James Version:

"So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (NKJV)

And now, here those verse are in the NIV version, which is what my regular Bible is:

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (NIV)

I'm not kidding when I say that verse 21 was completely omitted.  Now, on Bible Gateway there is a footnote that the verse in some translations verse 21 is similar to Mark 9:29, but there certainly wasn't in my physical Bible.   It just was a light bulb moment for me right there.  I was stuck in that train of thought for a while during the message, and then, as if to really cement the message, during the Sunday night message something similar happened, though I don't remember the passage from that one. 

Pretty much, I've come to the conclusion that it's time for me to "level up" as a video gamer might say.  I've been reading from the NIV version of the Bible for years.  I've always been comfortable with it, my various study Bibles are of the same translation, and my Story Bible is the NIV version as well.  But I guess my thoughts from Sunday were that it's time to see what another translation has to say- time to see what I can glean out of a different way of translation.  So yesterday, for my Bible reading time, I went and pulled out a Bible that we have that has four different translations side by side and opened it up.  I turned to the book of Ezekiel, and my intention had been to read the first two chapters in each version and see which one spoke to me the most.  I found that I started reading in the King James version and just kept going.  I was enjoying what I was reading again.  Maybe today I'll try one of the other versions.

After struggling with my Bible reading for, oh, probably, honestly and truthfully, a whole year now, it's so refreshing to finally figure out what my trouble was.  I am so thankful that God took me to those verses on Sunday and showed me what He showed me.  It was very eye-opening to me, though I do want to add that if you are currently reading the NIV and are comfortable with it, stick with it.  This is a personal post- it's speaking specifically to me, and showing me that I need to start taking something new into me.  And maybe it's something that you'll remember down the road when you're struggling with your own scripture reading.  Try a different translation- even just for a few days. Scripture translation is not a precise science, so different translations may be better at different stages of your spiritual journey.  I'm discovering that for myself right here and right now.   

Monday, August 22, 2011

Practice Hospitality

"Contribute to the needs of God's people [sharing in the necessities of the saints]; pursue the practice of hospitality."  Romans 12:13 (AMP)

This is something that has really been on my mind for a while. For a long while.  Once upon a time, we felt we were doing a good job of practicing hospitality.  We were in a season where we were hosting a small Bible study group one day a week, every week- including a full meal with the study.  We enjoyed it each and every week, and when that season abruptly ended for us, we began to wonder how we were to practice hospitality.  One of the problems at that specific time was that God was clearly moving our circle of influence, and we were living a good 25 miles away from the center of our new circle.  And then we moved.

When we moved in, it was very, very clear to us that one of the reasons God brought us to this specific house was for the purpose of hospitality.  We envisioned plenty of dinner parties, gatherings, and we also had something new here: plenty of room to shelter overnight guests.  We were excited, and over the last year, when we've had time, we have taken full advantage of inviting anybody and everybody to spend time with us.  The one area that has continued to puzzle us though is the full out hospitality, which to us means overnight guests.  Every time we've made the offer to someone to stay here in our home, we've been turned down for various reasons.  I certainly wouldn't say that we've been disappointed by all of that, but it has been puzzling, because as certain as I know that my eyes are blue, I know that God wanted us to offer our home for overnight company.

So what's the deal?  Well, I was talking to God about that at the beginning of summer.  And as you all should know by now, when God and I talk, He doesn't seem to waste much time in putting our talks into action.   My extended family had a reunion this summer, and one of my cousins and his family needed a place to stay for the weekend.  We hoped into action, offered them a place to stay, and we all had a wonderful weekend.  They were very grateful for the landing space during the busy weekend, and overall, WE were pleased with how the logistics of putting a family in our home worked out.  And you know what I did after that?  I told God our trial run went very well, and He should bring it on.

And is He ever!  Next week, we will be hosting, in our  home, some people we've never who are coming to town to look at a college.  I'm kind of excited about it, because while we've never met these people, they are kindred spirits.  They are a homeschooling, Christian family, and I'm really looking forward to meeting them and getting to spend time blessing them on their college hunt. 

The thing is, late Saturday night, Andy and I got around to discussing this family coming, and he mentioned that he couldn't help but think that we were supposed to do more of this type of thing.  Specifically, our discussion turned to the area of the conferences our church hosts.  There are plenty of people who come from out of town and spend the weekend in a hotel, and we've often (lightly) mentioned that it would be nice to be able to offer someone a place to stay.  Except that we are very, very busy during that time, and while we would be able to offer a place to sleep, we wouldn't be able to entertain or even offer a meal beyond breakfast.  There were other issues as well.  One being, that when we have company, Andy and I give up our room and move to the basement where we sleep on an air mattress.  Only I don't sleep well on that mattress AT ALL.  And at conference time, I get so little sleep, that when I do get to go to bed, an air mattress is not going to be beneficial. 

I mentioned this to Andy, and casually said that if we were to do this- offer up our home on a regular basis- we would have to look into getting a futon or pull out sofa bed to put in the basement and really make a nice guest room.  And while we were talking, we were sitting at the computers, so I thought I'd just go onto Craigslist and see what used furniture of that type is going for.  I expected several hundred dollars, though with it being "going to college" season, thought maybe we'd find a deal.  And there, just listed 20 minuted prior was a sleeper sofa, located nearby, and he only wanted thirty bucks for it.  Seriously.  Andy and a friend went and got it yesterday.  It needs just a little, minor TLC, but otherwise it's in very nice condition, and it's comfortable.

You know, when God wants you to do something, and you're open to the doing of it, He will make a way for it every single time. And yet, even though I know this- I know this and believe it with all my heart- I am amazed at how EASY He makes things happen.  When you make yourselves willing to His purposes, He will always make the way to accomplish that purpose. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Little Provision Story

"And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:19 (AMP)

I thought I'd kick of the weekend with a little story of how God truly does supply our needs.  It's going to be a great weekend, as it's birthday weekend here at the Waz household.  My beautiful girl turns 11 tomorrow, and the Sunday I get to spend my birthday rocking out in the House of the Lord.  What could be better than that? Well, I'll tell you what could be better- knowing that my God is with me and not against me, and knowing that God truly does care for His children and takes care of all their needs.

Homeschool materials is one such need. I'll tell you, it's been a crazy couple of months here as I've tried to plan for the school year.  I can't tell you how many times I had the fleeting thought that if I just put the kids in public school I wouldn't have to worry about curriculum costs.  And then I would question myself a bit, and think about how clearly God called us to this homeschooling adventure, and I then I would be led in a completely different direction of thought with regards to material.  I truly believe that the curriculum choices I've made for the kids ARE completely God directed, because it truly was the last option on the table for me when we first began.  It was a curriculum I didn't want to use... until I really looked it over, and then God filled my heart immediately and I knew this was the right direction to go.

And yet, this summer, like thinking about putting them in brick-and-mortar schools, I was also thinking, well, maybe this is the year I look for something different.  Maybe we use something less costly this year and come back next year. There just has been no way to come up with the funds to pay for these materials, which, when all is said and done, reach past the thousand-dollar mark. 

But then a few weeks ago at our conference, a woman shared about how they gave in the offering and she asked God to help them figure out how to buy their homeschool curriculum that they need for the coming year.  While they were at the conference, someone called them and said they wanted to buy the curriculum for them!  What a blessing! Several hundred dollars worth of curriculum was being purchased for them.  I was so excited to hear this, because I know my scriptures. So I immediately rejoiced with this woman, because this was my prayer too- and I was so excited to hear that God met someone else's need in that regard!  And then I had a little chat with God and reminded Him that I had the same need, and I was going to trust that if He would provide curriculum for this family, that He would do the same for me. 

"And Peter opened his mouth and said: Most certainly and thoroughly I now perceive and understand that God shows no partiality and is no respecter of persons,"  Acts 10:34

I've been talking to God ever since about this.  I keep reminding him how He provided curriculum for this other family, and I was trusting that He would do the same.   And I have to tell you, I've been so full of faith that this would happen, that every time I see the Fed Ex truck in the neighborhood, I wonder if he's going to stop by with two huge boxes full of curriculum for my kids, even though I haven't placed an order.  Because God could totally do that, and I wasn't about to limit God's provision in any way.

In the meantime though, I keep assessing what we need, and I've been keeping my eye on used options, because that is a way to go that is much less expensive.  I just don't prefer it, because I don't want other people's notes in my homeschool material.  But, if it comes to it, used materials is certainly an option- especially since most of our items are books that we read, not consumable materials like workbooks and worksheets. 

And then last Saturday, late in the day, Andy got a phone call for desperate help. A friend and a neighbor were trying to take care of a tree, and things had gone wrong- could Andy possibly come out and help?  As it happened, we had no plans, Andy was free, and rushed over to save them from their peril.  Unexpectedly, the neighbor paid Andy for coming out to help, and he paid him quite well.  That money went into the bank, and we all delighted in how God provided this extra little bit of income.  It sat there, and I thanked God for it, but  I also reminded Him that I needed more than that to buy much for the kids.  Lol.  Do you know I have a Dad who listens?  Because a check showed up in the mail this week, that when I added the two together, I thought I could do something pretty significant at picking up some of our materials.  God wasn't going to let that stop there though.

He took me to one of the used curriculum sites, where I browsed our specific needs.  I was trying very hard to figure out how best to use these unexpected monies to get the most bang for the buck when I found a completely unexpected ad.  Abigail's curriculum this year is quite pricey- even used, I haven't been able to find a good source of the materials for under $400.   But right there, on this page, I found a package of Abigail's curriculum for the exact amount that these two checks added up to.   I prayed that this wasn't a fluke, because I've never seen this material so low, and shot off an e-mail to see about purchasing it.  Of course, it was still available, and while there were a few books missing, the missing book list is very, very small compared to the 50+ books that it still has.  So just like that, God has provided a serious chunk of our materials for the coming year.  I'm so excited that yesterday I cleaned off the shelf where it will all go.  It will likely be a few days before we see the box come in, but I feel like such a weight has been lifted!

And now, of course, I'm also very excited to see how the rest is going to come in.  I still need Zander's materials and a few other things, but do you know that God doesn't just start something and then not finish it?

"And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you."  Philippians 1:6

God doesn't do something partway or halfway or even most of the way.  God is the God of completion, and I'm trusting completely in His provision for our school year.  I love going back to the verse I started with today and reading it in the Amplified version- which all the verses are in today.  Scroll up and look at what it says in parenthesis there- it says fill to the full.  God will fill my bookshelves to the full, because our homeschool materials are a very real need for us.  He has called us to this lifestyle of homeschooling for this season, and He will be certain that we have absolutely everything we need for the school year, and then some.  Because He is also the God of abundance.

"The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)."  John 10:10

I fully expect that our school shelves this school year will be abundant.  We will have everything we need on our shelves plus a whole bunch of extra stuff that we can use whenever the mood strikes.  God is just so good, and I expect nothing less from His Goodness.

Happy Friday everyone! Have a blessed and blissful weekend.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Next Verse

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."  Jeremiah 29:11

I love this verse, it's one of my favorites, and it gets me through all the troubled times much easier than if I didn't have this verse.  It's such a great reminder that God is there, God knows exactly what you're going through, and we can have faith that we will get through to the other side of the struggle. 

But last night, when this verse was shared in a message at church, I looked beyond this verse to the next one, and I was caught up in what the next verse had to say.  Let's look at it.

"Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you."  Jeremiah 29:12

There's a word there in that verse that means something truly special, and that is the word listen.  It doesn't just say "and I will hear you", it says that "I will listen to you".  That makes a huge difference, and makes it even more special, so to speak.  To hear something just means that sound is received to your ear.  You maybe understand what you're hearing, maybe not, but maybe you're not even focused, and you don't even really recognize what you're hearing.  But to listen!  To listen means to pay attention, and to hear something with thoughtful attention- to give consideration.  It means a concentrated effort on the part of the listener to truly hear us and understand what we are saying.  It's incredible to think that God would actually listen to me!

God listening goes so far beyond just hearing what I say!  It means that when I pray for someone to be healed, that God will listen- He will give thoughtful attention to my request, and will follow through.  Wow.  I think of how my children listen.  Sometimes they simply hear me ask them to clean up their mess.  They know I've said to clean up, but they are focused on finishing up what they are doing first- they are slow to respond, and are not really listening.  When I say to clean up a mess and they actually listen, the response is immediate.  They take to action, immediately doing the task that I have set them to.

You know how there are those people who pray to God, and then it seems like their prayers are always answered?  As I read these verses, it seems to me that those people are the people who have already been through the fire- they held to their faith and made it through, and now they have drawn so much closer to God because of it, and they have the ear of the Lord when their prayers and petitions are being made.  These people have read and listened to the very next verse in Jeremiah 29:

"And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart."  Jeremiah 29:13

When we search for God with all our heart, when we get to the point where we really realize that everything we do is for Him and His purposes and His glory, THEN we will truly find Him.  And just like the prodigal son was welcomed wholeheartedly and showered with gifts by his father- despite the errors of his ways- God will show the same consideration to us.  When we truly turn to Him with all our heart, it will be as if we've always been there.   I think that too many of us are afraid of what we will find when we do decide to turn to Him with all our heart.  Maybe we're afraid of a scolding or of being assigned a penance.  But the fact is that God loves us so much, and that's really all He wants from us- our hearts and our souls.  He wants us, and our whole heart.

Will you let Him have it?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My Quiver IS Full

 "Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
         The fruit of the womb
is a reward.
 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
are the children of one’s youth.
 5 Happy
is the man who has his quiver full of them;"  Psalm 127:3-5

Not a day goes by that I don't find myself admiring and treasuring my children.  Every. Single. Day.  And that's sooo not an exaggeration.  I adore my children, and I often find myself just wanting to spend time watching them interact together- even if it's something as basic and simple as going for a walk or playing a video game.

The other night we had a thunderstorm and with the first crack of thunder Zander came dashing into our bedroom, looking for some snuggles.  I was not about to miss this opportunity to comfort my little boy.  He's growing so fast, and the day will come where he does not need such comfort in the middle of the night.  As I held him and snuggled him, I thought about his first few years of life and how we spent so much of our time in the very same position- snuggling and loving.

They are just such cool people!  I frequently get asked by other people why we haven't decided to have more children- because what could be better than having MORE of these cool little people in our family.  The fact is, that after Zander was born, our family felt complete.  And it still feels complete, and when I read the verses in Psalms up above, I can most assuredly say that our quiver is full to overflowing.   It's been argued many a time that the more children a family has- the more full their quiver is.  But I have to disagree.  A soldier in battle does not truly care about the quantity of arrows in his quiver- he is more concerned about the quality of those arrows.   Two of the most expertly made arrows will be able to be used again and again, and will bring down a foe with one shot.  The quality of the two arrows that God has blessed Andy and I with is staggering.  They are of the finest workmanship- created to be just like Jesus in every way possible.

I could honestly and truly go on for days talking about how wonderful my children are.  And that wouldn't even just be the pride of a mother talking, it would be absolute truth.  They are such willing helpers, and caring people- they want everyone to be included when they play something.  That makes it very interesting when we have a houseful of kids that range in age from 18 months to 10.  My kids are so insistent that even the littlest one be included- sometimes I can honestly say that they have the mind of Christ, saying "let the little children come to me".

My children truly are a gift and a blessing. They are going to be incredible people when they are grown and leave the nest, and while there is a part of me that is eager to see the path that God has planned for them.  Every once in a while I will catch myself about to say something to that effect- telling them they are going to be a great this or that.  Thankfully I always catch myself, because God's plans are between Him and them.  I am not going to cause confusion for them and say something like "someday you'll make a great Preacher" to Zander.  God may very well have plans for him to be a preacher, but God may also have plans for him to do something else with his life, and the last thing I want to do is plant a seed of an idea that shouldn't even be there.  What if Zander is to be a doctor or a marine or a politician?  If I spend time encouraging him to be something he isn't meant to be, that could cause great problems for him down the road.  So what do I do when I see him doing something and I want to say something?  I follow the example that Mary showed to me long ago:

"But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart."  Luke 2:19

I keep these things in my heart.  For Abigail too.  Every once in a while I get a small glimpse of what God might have for her future, and I keep my mouth close.  I ponder them and treasure them in my heart.  And if the day ever comes where we need to have a conversation about the future- and career paths and such- we will sit together and pray about it, and ask God to show my child the direction they should take. THAT is my goal with my children.  I am not educating them at home to steer them in any particular direction.  Oh, I have plans for them- make no mistake about that- I have a path for them through high school, and I know what I want them to do beyond high school.  BUT, that is for me to know and for them to work toward.  And when the days come that those plans need to be made, we will see if that is still God's will for them.  It could change, and that's perfectly fine by me.  What's important now is that today we do what God wants us to do.  And tomorrow, we'll do what God wants us to do.

And for today, I will love my children with all my heart, and together we will live life and enjoy each other's company and love.  I will enjoy the gifts that God has given us, and enjoy the fact that my quiver is not only full, but it's full to bursting. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Seed... What Are You Sowing?

"As it is written, He [the benevolent person] scatters abroad; He gives to the poor; His deeds of justice and goodness and kindness and benevolence will go on and endure forever!
    10And [God] Who provides seed for the sower and bread for eating will also provide and multiply your [resources for] sowing and increase the fruits of your righteousness [which manifests itself in active goodness, kindness, and charity].
    11Thus you will be enriched in all things and in every way, so that you can be generous, and [your generosity as it is] administered by us will bring forth thanksgiving to God."  2 Corinthians 9:9-11 (AMP)

I often hear these verses used in the context of taking an offering.  And we should, they are excellent verses to help us build up our faith for making an offering in the first place.  In those instances, the offering (money) is our seed, and the more we increase what we are giving, the more God is able to increase what is coming into our storehouse.  That's a fact.  More than once in our married lives, Andy and I have seen an increase in our finances after a time where we purposed to increase our giving.  God works like that, and it is always wonderful, because when we have a time of increase, we can increase our giving even more- and help those who truly need it.

But this morning my thoughts were more in a direction of what other "things" we can sow.  What other seed can we sow into different situations? I immediately thought of the seed of time.  Time today has become almost as precious as money- so many people have become protective of their time because they just don't have much of it to do as they wish with it.  What I like about the concept of sowing time as my seed is that sometimes, there just isn't extra money to do some sowing with.  We all go through seasons of life where there just isn't quite enough money to go around, but I'll tell you, every single one of us can probably find an hour or two of extra time to sow.  And what you do with the time isn't limited to an offering plate!  That's the cool part!  With an extra couple of hours you can visit a shut-in and take them a meal.  You can visit a sick friend in the hospital, you can give your time to a philanthropic organization- such as a food pantry or homeless shelter.  You can give some time to your own church with weekly cleaning, lawn care, or something extra, like freshly painting a long-overdue classroom. You can give time by teaching a class or helping to organize an activity- the options are truly endless.

But the best part about sowing your time is what happens to the rest of your time as a direct result.  Since I began cleaning our church one year ago, I have had an abundance of time.  Oh, there are the occasional moments where I wish I had a few more hours, but for the most part, each and every day there is more than enough time to get everything accomplished that I want to accomplish.  Even better, sometimes I will have entire days where nothing is earmarked, and I can spend the day doing as I wish.  It's incredible! Truly, even on the days where I have a fully heaped plate where I have to move from task to task, I always find a little extra time at the end of it.  Life overall has become so much more relaxed for me, because I don't feel the stress of time- even with the many activities we have during the week!

But what do you do if you truly don't have the extra time to physically go and do something? A busy mom with a family of little ones barely has time to take a shower everyday, let alone find a few moments to volunteer.  That's where you sow something completely different.  You sow your prayers, and you sow your tears.  A mom who is nursing her new little one has plenty of time to devote to prayers- even if it's just praying for the little one in her arms.  Every prayer is important, and every prayer is a seed to sow.  I think that those moms who do just that are the women who, in their older years, become the most powerful intercessors in the church, because they've spent so much time already sowing into their prayer life.  Sowing prayers is actually something that I think everyone could improve upon.  The more prayers we sow, the more it becomes natural to do so.  I pray a lot when I'm doing housework- specifically, when I do dishes and fold laundry.  I've just found that those are great times to talk to God about what's on my mind.  And I know He doesn't mind that I'm multi-tasking either.  Sometimes that's the only time we can find to give to talking to Him, and I know that He's more than okay with that.

So whether it be money, time, prayers or tears, there is always something that we can sow.  When we hear all those messages about sowing money into something worthwhile, we don't have to feel badly about not being able to do so.  What we can do, is ask God for other opportunities to sow what we can.  Sometimes that may be a snip of time to help someone out.  Sometimes, that opportunity may come in the form of an e-mail asking for prayer.  Sometimes, our tears of compassion as we read about a tragedy in the news is opportunity as well.  God will provide seed to sow- we just need to be open to what kind of sowing He would have us do.  Because sometimes, it's the sowing of money that comes easy.  It's the other kinds of sowing that become a sacrifice and a struggle.  But God wants them from us all the same. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Warfare Wednesday

"God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble."  Psalm 46:1

Is our country in trouble or what?  I love how this verse specifically says that God is our "very present help" in trouble. God is our help in this great time of need for our country- it's time we stop looking to man to fulfill that need!  Every day I can read on many different news sources how people are looking to the next election cycle- for fresh blood for offices to step in and fix the many troubles in this country.  As long as we continue to look to man to solve our problems, it just isn't going to happen!  Yes, we need to do our part and research candidates, choose the best person for the job, and then vote.  That's part of living in this free nation!  But it's so much MORE important that we are doing our part in lifting our country in prayer.  And more than that, we need to encourage our leaders to do the same exact thing.  A country who prays together will be the country who finds God's favor and finds solutions to their troubles. 

And God WILL Bless America Abundantly!

Beyond our borders this week though, I am also deeply in thought and prayer over the rioting situation in the United Kingdom.  You know, you expect to hear about riots in less developed nations- or in troubled nations.  But in London?  London is the capital of civilization, and yet there are riots in the streets, and this attitude is spreading.  The worst part about these riots is that there is truly no reason for them.  None.  These people who are rioting and looting and causing trouble are simply participating in an act of lawlessness.  And the people who are not participating are hiding in their homes in fear.  May the Peace of God flow through the streets of London, and through all the towns and cities in the United Kingdom.  May this desire to riot be quelled by the peace that passes all understanding, and may the people of London not give in to this spirit of fear.  May they be encouraged by the love of God that surrounds them and wants to fill them with peace.

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."  2 Timothy 1:7

Back in our country, I can't help but continue to be drawn to all the headlines about the finances of the U.S.  Right now, as there has been the last two days, there are headlines about Wall Street dropping an alarming number of points. I would just pray this morning that all those people who worry and focus on the areas of finance would truly look at our money and see what it says.  "In God We Trust."  The United States of America trusts in God, not in the dollar to guide the footsteps of our country.

And may God truly bless the people of America.  May we stop fighting each other and start working together to bring justice to all those who need it.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011


" Ask of Me, and I will give You
         The nations
for Your inheritance,
         And the ends of the earth
for Your possession."  Psalm 2:8

I'm still thinking about this past weekend.  This one is going to sit with me a very long time, because it was just so full, and there is still so much to digest.  I've never really been interested in listening to CD's of old messages, but this time I may make an exception, because I feel like there was so much good preaching, and I want to make sure that I get all of it!

Anyway, Thursday evening at the first service, there was a lovely time of ministry, where one of the speakers spent time calling out individual people and giving them words, encouragement, or healing.  It was really cool and wonderful to see.  As I left that night, I wondered what it would actually be like to get a word in that regard, and then I thought to myself that I don't really have anything to get a good word about.  Life is grand, I know what our short term future looks like, and I didn't have any burning questions or desires that I wanted God to answer for me.  But then, in the back of my mind, I thought about how for almost two years now I've had a burning desire in me to pray for Haiti, and then I had a very quick, fleeting thought about  how I wondered if I was supposed to do more than just pray for this troubled little Caribbean country.  Truly, it was a fleeting thought, and while I did think a very, very quick little prayer about it at that moment, I quickly dismissed it and went about whatever it was I was doing.

I have most definitely posted here before about my desire to pray for the country of Haiti.  It makes a regular appearance on my Warfare Wednesday posts, because I just believe that God has such great plans for this country that seems to only know disaster and hardship.  God placed this desire in my heart to pray for Haiti a few weeks before the devastating earthquake early last year, and I've been praying ever since.  Every once in a while, I've had very small thoughts about what it would be like to actually go there and do something- anything. And while there was always a part of me that would get excited about that prospect- of going to a foreign country to serve the Lord, the reality part of me would kick in.  I'm hardly a world traveler.  While I think every once in a while about the idea of traveling to some exotic location- the country of India comes to mind- the reality is most likely that I like being here in the U.S.A.  Plus, we're not exactly rolling in the finances, trying to plan anything like that is a little crazy when we're struggling simply to meet all the bills each month.

And yet, God knows my heart.  And Sunday morning I was called out and asked about my love for Haiti.  Because I do love Haiti, and there is so much injustice there, it breaks my heart.  There are so many orphanages and there is so much hurt and despair, but the people are so beautiful.  And in the next few moments Sunday morning, I was prayed for, and spoken over, and encouraged that I will walk on the ground of Haiti, and that I will go there and do practical helps for this beautiful country.   It was an amazing and overwhelming moment for me.  I'm still overwhelmed to think of it.  Me?  Physically go to Haiti and help?  You know, no one has ever asked me if I actually wanted to go there, but the minute the speaker asked me if I wanted to go, tears filled my eyes, and all I could do was nod my head, because I knew that was what my heart wanted more than anything.  God has asked me if I would go, and I have said yes.  Until that moment in time, I may not have really known that was what I wanted, but my heart knew- and God knew.

So what does that mean for me?  I have no idea! Other than it means that at some point, I am going to get to go to Haiti to serve.  There will be a whole lot of prayer going into this, as Andy and I will both need to talk to God about it and explore if this is supposed to be something I do on my own or if we do it as a couple or as a family.   At this time, I don't think it's supposed to be any kind of long term missionary thing, but more along the lines of short term missions trips- like two weeks at a time. This could be something years down the road, it could be next year, but I do know this one thing.  That when it is time, I will know.  I have complete confidence that God didn't just tell me this and then He will forget all about it.  He will make a way where there seems to be no way.  God will put the right ministry in front of me to take me there, and He will provide the means, the tools, and everything needed to go and minister.  And He's already started!  The French language the kids and I have been learning?  French is spoken in Haiti, although many of the poor don't speak French, but rather, a Haitian Creole that has roots in French.  I have already endeavored in my heart that I am going to work heartily on my French, and then learn what I can about the Creole.

"And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."  Mark 16:15

I may not be going to preach- but it looks like I may get to go into the world after all and serve the poorest of the poor.  I'm humbled and overwhelmed, and I can't wait to see what this looks like. 

Monday, August 08, 2011


"She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands." Proverbs 31:13
I'm not even sure how to begin this morning with my posting here.  It's really been a remarkable weekend, and when I keep thinking on it, I'm totally overwhelmed.  Truly overwhelmed, because God spoke to me this weekend, and I'm still processing how incredible this was. And the thing is, when Thursday evening arrived- the first night of this weekend's conference, I was totally chastising myself.  I was feeling like I'd not appropriately prepared myself for the weekend.  In the days leading up, I would think about really sitting down with my Bible, even fasting in preparation, and I did nothing.  I did the barest Bible reading last week- I think I only progressed through about four chapters in six days.  So I kind of scolded myself, but then I decided that I was not going to dwell on that at all, and I was really going to dig in and experience this weekend.  I was not going to let the distractions going on in normal everyday life get to me this weekend while we were spending time with God.

It was a great weekend.  And I think I'll be spending a bit of this week sharing bits and pieces.  Because it's way too much to share at once.  My brain cannot process it all at once.   But one thing that came to mind to me this morning, just now was how my attitude was this weekend.  I just wanted to make the most of it.  The last conference we had was in the middle of a busy recital weekend, so while I was able to participate, I had to keep my mind on the clock and on my kids, and I just wasn't able to really just focus on what was going on in front of me.  So this weekend, I purposed to focus.  And it was delightful.

God reminded me of something this weekend in a very big way.  Two years ago, I came up with this crazy idea to bake and pray.  At the time I was excited about it, but the more I thought on the idea of baking and praying for people while I baked just started to sound silly.  Add to that that since then, the checkbook has been a little snug, so buying extra ingredients for baking sprees hasn't been much in the cards.  I've thought on that a lot since then, and every once in a while I'll have a thought to bake something for someone- and then I dismiss it.  Well.  Apparently I need to stop dismissing, because God used an international speaker, television producer and author to tell me from the pulpit that I needed to get back to this baking.  Seriously. 

It was an extremely cool moment for me, because what she was telling me about baking was not new news to me.  She was saying how my baking will bless people- and I knew that.  But this was, in fact, complete 100% confirmation to me that this idea I had had two years ago, was not a nutball idea.  It was a God idea, and I need to take action on it.   Of course the practical part of my flesh kicked right in as soon as she was done speaking to me, and I thought, baking is all well and good, but it costs money to buy ingredients.  Literally, within seconds of sitting back down, these were the very thoughts that went through my head.  It's incredible to me how quickly the devil will try to steal something from a person.  Within seconds, I went from this awesome feeling to second-guessing it.  

"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."  John 10:10

Well, I saw what was going on, and I started praying about baking. I had a nice little talk with God about it, and I thanked Him for sharing with me in that way, and then I told Him that I was going to be expecting the ability to do this baking.  By that, I meant that the ingredients would be there- the finances would be there to buy them, and the time would be there to do the baking itself.   And I assured God that I was not going to let the devil steal this away from me a second time.  I was going to cling to it and remind myself about it, and I was going to get into gear to do this baking.  I'm going to be spending time in the next few weeks going through my favorite baking cookbooks and making notes- notes about which people come to mind when I see a specific recipe.  Seriously, in the last few weeks I've had such an itch to work on some cookie baking.  I have thoughts and ideas and I've wanted to work on a few new recipes, but lack of funds for such an endeavor has kept me from doing so.

I am a very firm believer that if God plants a seed of an idea inside of us, that He wants us to bring to fruition, that He will make a way for that idea to blossom.  I just know that I know that I know that God wants me to do this baking- AND HE will make a way for that baking to be done in all areas of my life.  He will make a way with the extra time to do the baking, and He will provide the necessary ingredients and tools as well.  And most importantly, He will keep this desire alive inside of me, and show me, through the Holy Spirit, when I am supposed to activate this baking ministry.  He will show me who needs the blessing of baking, and He will make that possible.

And I think with that, I may go see if I can find something to bake today.  Tomorrow I will share something else that God spoke to me about this weekend.  Something that, well, I truly did not expect. 

Thursday, August 04, 2011

One Of The Purposes of Prophecy

" In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.’”
2 Then he turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the LORD, saying, 3 “Remember now, O LORD, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done
what was good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
4 And it happened, before Isaiah had gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying, 5 “Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD. 6 And I will add to your days fifteen years. I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake, and for the sake of My servant David.”’” 

This passage in the Bible has been on my mind all week.  In my Bible reading, I keep coming back to it and reading it again, because it really shows what the purpose is in prophecy.  There are so many times where I'll read about someone prophesying a disaster, and I wonder why we are to know about it ahead of time- what is the purpose there?

The purpose in this case was so that prayer could happen.  Isaiah went to Hezekiah and told him, basically to prepare for death, that his time was up, and he should get his affairs in order before God took him home.  Hezekiah had two choices there- was he going to accept the word of the prophet and simply do as told- prepare to die- OR was he going to head to his knees and ask God for mercy.  Hezekiah chose the second one and asked God to change his mind.  And He did.  Before Isaiah had even left the building, he returned to Hezekiah and told him that God had heard his pleas, and would grant him his request.  The more I read this, the more I think that it is just really cool!

Maybe there are times where you see or hear how a prophet has shared that a disaster is coming to an area.  You hear that, and there are two things that you can do.  One, you can just accept that the disaster is coming, and prepare accordingly.  OR you can do as Hezekiah did, and spend time interceding and talking to God about it.  THAT is one of the prime purposes of prophecy.  God warns us about some things because He wants to hear us.  He wants to hear His children in prayer, asking Him for forgiveness and mercy.

And honestly, the same can be said for any time anyone shares something of a prophetic nature with us- even something personal.  If someone were to come up to me and tell me that they really felt that God wanted me to be a Pastor, I wouldn't just automatically go, oh, okay, and then take the necessary steps- like going to Bible school. Instead I would think on that, and spend a lot of time praying about it, talking to God about it, and most importantly- in that case, I would want confirmation.   And that would really apply to anything- if someone came up to me and said that I was supposed to be a missionary to some country, I would want confirmation.  If someone came up to me and told me something about one of my children, I would really want confirmation.  But in all these things, my number one response would be prayer.

Over the years I have heard more words and prophecies regarding the future of this country, and my response to them all has been exactly the same.  I pray.  I started Warfare Wednesday to pray for the President, because I don't think that enough Christians ARE praying for our president.  But as this presidency has gone on, I've also spent a lot of my Wednesdays praying for our country and other countries around the world as they come to mind.  Because God wants to hear His children talk to Him.  Maybe it doesn't make total sense.  Why would God send a prophecy about a natural disaster and then change his mind?  And yet He does!  Just look back to when the earthquake and tsunami hit in Japan, and there was a serious tsunami headed towards Hawaii and the West Coast of this country.  I truly believe that it was the prayer and intercession of the Christians in this country that caused God to stay the waves and cause very little damage. 

I know there are many people out there who are against or on the fence about the whole idea of prophecy and prophetic words.  I get that- maybe it seems a little to Old Testament, or a little out there.  But let me just say this.  If our reaction to prophecy is to pray, how can it really be bad?  Oh, there are bad prophets and bad prophetic words, but regardless, if our reaction to any word- whether for ourselves, those around us, or for our region- is to go to our knees and talk to God about it, how can it be bad.  If it's not meant to be heeded- if it's a false word, it won't happen anyways, and instead, we've just added our prayer to others prayers and, well, we've just spent time talking to God! That's never a bad thing- to talk to our Heavenly Father.

And that should be our reaction.  Whether we agree or disagree with the whole idea of prophecy- when we do hear it, rather than just dismiss it entirely, simply commit the matter to prayer.  Talk to God about it, and He will direct you in the way you are to go.  He's a loving Father, and He will not steer us in a bad direction.  People may steer us in a bad direction, but when we turn to God, He will help us get back to the right path and will show us the truth.  Lean on God, and let Him deal with right or wrong. 

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart
   and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
   and he will make your paths straight."  Proverbs 3:5,6

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Warfare Wednesday

"Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. 33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. 34 Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, 35 and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need."  Acts 4:32-35

I had a dream last night or early this morning about vegetables.  In this dream, we were in a town that was growing vegetables.  By that, I mean, that instead of flowers, decorative plants, and trees.  They were grown along the sides of roads and in patches where there was simply green space before.  And the best part of all these vegetables was that anyone could simply help themselves when they needed it.  And they did.  I watched as people would harvest a melon, a few zucchini and a few beets and take them home to make dinner.  No one sat and harvested everything and no one hoarded it all to themselves.  Vegetables for everyone!

I woke up thinking about that place- a place where people were not going hungry, and everyone was willing to share with everyone else.  There was no selfishness by anyone, and the city workers who were planting and tending these vegetables were overjoyed to do their job.  AS I really think on this- what an incredibly simple idea that in reality, could work on so many levels.  Oh, I don't think cities and communities will start planting kale and zucchini instead of flowers in their planters, but the simple idea of having real community gardens.  There are community gardens all over the place, but normally they are of the type that people rent out plots of specific spaces and then can treat that small space as their own. Instead, these different kind of community gardens would simply be in neighborhoods of need, and people could help themselves as they needed them.

This dream comes on the heels of another investigation into salmonella-tainted meat AND the discovery of a resistant strain of salmonella- a superbug that won't respond to the usual medications used to treat it.  While my dream was delightful and idyllic, the sobering reality is that we still need to be praying for one of the basic necessities for human life- food.  This is a multi-purpose prayer this morning, because we clearly need to pray for the safety of our food supply.  We need to pray that superbugs and germs will cease to exist and contaminate our food- and we need to pray that those who would wish to do harm by introducing these things into our food would be stopped before they could do so.  Additionally though, we need to be praying for the people who have serious food needs.  There are just so many- I was just reading in the paper about how every single food pantry in our area has reported an increase in use.   This shouldn't be!  In an affluent society, there should not be people struggling to put food on the table. 

Additionally, talking about people who don't have enough to eat completely reminds me of the heartbreaking situation in Somalia.  There is severe drought there, and the people are literally starving to death. As if that wasn't bad enough, when relief organizations try to deliver food to the shanty towns of starving people, terrorists threaten the relief workers, and the food is sent away undelivered.   Completely heart wrenching.  I would pray that these terrorists will have a change of heart- may their eyes be opened to the truth, and may they experience a love and compassion like never before!  Their fellow countrymen are starving to death for what?  To simply prove a point?  I am praying that food will get to these people- and not just a little handful of this or that, but real food- substantial sustenance that will nourish and fill those bellies.

As I sit here writing this morning, my stomach is indeed empty.  I woke up hungry, and actually, I think I went to bed feeling a little hungry.  But the fact is, that I can get up at any time and walk to the kitchen and get myself something to eat.  There are dozens of options available to me.  For millions of people around the world, these hunger pains are normal, everyday, and they can go days without anything to put in their bellies.

People should not be hungry for food.  Ever.  This is a terrible injustice, and to be honest, I don't even know how to pray for it!  I guess I would pray that people's eyes would be opened to the need around them- and that those who have would be moved to help those who have not.   God knows the answers to the extreme hunger around the world.  God certainly loves those people in Somalia, may the rest of the world see that love and be moved to do something about the great need there.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The Princesses Will Wake Up!

"Awake, awake, Deborah!
      Awake, awake, sing a song!"  Judges 5:12

When I first began digging into this Bible blogging thing, I was amazed with how many Bible blogs were out there.  In the five years that I've been doing this, that number has grown exponentially- there are so many people out there blogging about the Bible.  And why not?  Blogging is a fabulous way to do some journaling- to chronicle our individual journeys to becoming what God wants us to be.  I have no doubt that if Paul were alive today, he would be an exceptional blogger.  That would be a fun blog to visit each and every day!  Five years ago I was particularly interested in all the blogs that spoke directly to women.  There were many women out there striving to be the best wife/mother/help meet they could be, and would tell their tales and share scripture that encouraged them.

The thing about many of these women who blog?  That's their only voice, because they're trying to live the life of a silent, shrinking violet.  Titus 2 is often the chosen passage leading these women into subservience.

"the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed."  Titus 2:4,5

Somehow, women all over the place have decided that "reverent in behavior" means that they are to be silent and submissive.  So I looked up reverence, and it simply means to show honor and respect.  It does not mean to stay silent, to have downcast eyes, and it does not mean that because you are a women, you are no better than a piece of furniture.  In the most basic of examples, we show respect to someone when we allow them to finish speaking before we interject.  We show respect to a pregnant woman by standing up and offering our seat when we can.  We show respect when we hold the door open for the person behind us. We honor someone by remembering to wish them a happy birthday.  We honor someone by giving them a small gift to let them know we were thinking of them.  We honor someone by simply listening to what they have to say.

And look! Women are to be teachers of good things!  And good things is not just the life of a domestic servant- how to cook, clean, sew and bear children.  Yes, I am a housewife, I take care of the household needs to the best of my abilities, it's part of who I am and who I am meant to be.  But I am also meant to be a teacher of good things!  What could be more good than the goodness of God?  When God speaks to me or shows me something, I am supposed to share it, to teach it to others- I am not meant to keep it to myself and only speak when spoken to...

I think that things are changing in the church.  For far too long, women have had a secondary role, and it's time for them to wake up!  It's time for the women to share all these wonderful things that God has been giving them, but they haven't been able to share! 

I also decided to look up the word "discreet" in the dictionary, because I have a mental image of doing something in secret or quiet.  But in actuality, the word discreet means "to show discernment or good judgement in conduct and in speech".  It means that you think twice before gossiping, and then choose not to share those gossipy details.  It means that you pray for wise words before going to someone and discussing something personal to them.  It means that you are thoughtful, simply thinking before speaking instead of just blurting something hurtful out.  It means that instead of tying one on at that wedding and drinking yourself into a stupor, you wisely chose one glass of wine with dinner and then have soft drinks the rest of the evening.

I am a quiet person myself.  I just prefer to take everything in, and not fill the air with meaningless chatter.  That's just who I am.  But someone once told me that people often think that the quiet ones get walked all over and dismissed, but in fact, are actually the people who are confident and know who they are.  What the women in the church need today is confidence.  For too long they've been told that they are second rate simply because they are women- they are first rate, and God wants them to know that.  The fact of the matter is that I am a daughter of the King, which means that I truly am a princess.  A princess is not a wallflower meant to be silent and admired from afar.  A princess takes an active role in her duties, giving direction and assistance to the people around her.

Almost every single little girl goes through a period in her life where she wants to be a princess.  I remember when Abigail was four and we went to Disney, she wanted to meet the princesses more than anything.  She wanted a princess dress so she could be just like Sleeping Beauty, so we got her one, and she spent the day floating about just like a princess.  The truly incredible thing about all the princess playing that little girls do is that it really isn't as pretend as we all make it out to be.  Every girl and woman is a daughter of God.  When they accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, they attain the rights to put on the princess tiara and carry themselves accordingly.  She should be proud to be a daughter of the King, and no longer be afraid to speak up.  It's time for a whole legion of princesses to wake up and realize that they DO in fact have something to say- and something to do. 

Do you know what one of the best, most stereotypical traits of a princess is?  She is benevolent- caring and compassionate.  A princess will have compassion on those in need around her, and will go the extra mile to see that everyone is clothed and fed, and has a roof over their head.  We just need to take that a step further, and in addition to the physical well-being, we should pray for spiritual well-being for those around us.  

We are to be wallflowers no longer.  We are to rise up and take our proper places as Princesses of the Kingdom of God. 

Monday, August 01, 2011


"You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word."  Psalm 119:114

"Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."  Romans 5:5

There is always hope. I was thinking about hope on my drive home from church last night, because I just felt it.  The last couple of months have been a little tough at times for me.  There have been moments where I've almost felt despair at different situations, and it looks like things are just impossible.  But I've kept those things in prayer, and spent time talking to God and reminding Him of promises, and last night as I drove home, thinking that this morning was a new beginning to a new month, I was just flooded with so much hope. 

And that got me thinking about many of the books I read and the movies I've watched in the past.  I read quite a bit of fantasy, and there is one consistent among all the different books I've read- there is always hope for someone in the story.  Even in disaster type movies, where things are coming to an end, parents will hide children away and then fight themselves to the death, because as long as their children are alive to live on, there is always hope.

I'm waiting this morning for news of a new nephews arrival, and as I think of that precious new life, there is another kind of hope- hope for this new life, that he may find such joy in everything he sets his hands and mind to. 

See, there's always a new day!  I can have the worst day on earth, but at the end of it, I get to go to bed and sleep, and then wake up with a whole new day- yesterday is never coming back, it can't be re-lived, so there is always hope that tomorrow will be better. 

And there is always hope in God,and there is hope in knowing that all the struggles we go through here on earth are helping to shape us and mold us into the people that God wants us to be.  He doesn't send the struggles our way- we do that to ourselves, or the destroyer does it to us- but God will use those struggles, He will use them to help us learn to hear His voice, and He will use them to teach us so many valuable lessons.  That in itself is a great hope.  When I'm going through something, I love to focus on the hope that God gives- I have hope that there will be an end to the struggle, and I look forward to looking back and seeing the lessons learned along the way.

Just look at that verse above from Romans- just reading it again this morning floods my very being with warmth and hope.

"Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."  Romans 5:5

The love of God has been poured out into our hearts... THAT is a great hope and a wonderful feeling.  And it gives me so much hope for the day ahead- it's going to be a great day indeed.  In fact, this whole week is going to be wonderful, and the whole month of August is going to be special, because as of right now- it's new.  It's new and it's beautiful, and it gives me great hope this morning.

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."  Jeremiah 29:11