Friday, December 26, 2008 be a Blessing

Often when we hear the Christmas story, we look in chapter 2 in the book of Luke and hear about the birth of Jesus. However, the story actually starts back in chapter 1 when some extraordinary events happen.

Let's say you're sitting alone some evening. You are scheduled to be married soon to a local carpenter. You've kept the purity ring and are looking forward to your wedding night. All of a sudden, from nowhere, an angel appears! Aside from being freaked out would you be able to stay and listen to what the angel came to say? Mary, the mother of Jesus had an experience with an angel:

Luke 1 (NLT) 28
Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”

29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”

38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.

Mary is told she has found favor with God. She has been hand picked to carry out an amazing mission. She will become the mother of Jesus, he'll have a kingdom...she'll be the mother of a King! She must have felt very overwhelmed. She was young and now she would be pregnant. What would her soon-to-be husband say? What would other people say?

She did not seem to hesitate as she gives her response, I am the Lord's servant. She sings a song of praise.

The Magnificat: Mary’s Song of Praise

46 Mary responded, “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
47 How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
48 For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
49 For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me.
50 He shows mercy from generation to generation.....

She mentions being blessed. Because she is willing to accept being blessed, she becomes a blessing for generations to come. She is not the only one God has called.

In the Old Testament, when God called Abram to leave his family, God promises to make him a great nation. He did! By being willing to be blessed, he became a blessing.

Genesis 12:2 I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to receive being blessed by someone. Consider this a little reminder that if we let someone bless us, we can become a blessing to someone else. That seemingly little act will ripple outward in a wave of blessings.

Have a blessed life and watch for those little opportunities to either be blessed OR be a blessing to someone else.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Free to be.....ME!

Just heard this song, Free to be me by Francesca Battistelli. (see below, not the greatest video, just the album cover) A great reminder that we don't need to be perfect for God to love us. Very good song!

Reminded me of a devotional I wrote awhile ago. It's called How Much is Free?

John 8:34-36 - Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (NIV)

Luke 14:28 - Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? (NIV)

My mom told me that when I was a small girl, I had a hard time figuring out what "free" meant. I would ask, "How much is 'free'?" Everything has to "cost" something, right?

Now that I am a grown-up, I appreciate "free". I like a bargain. I also understand that sometimes something can appear to be free, but have hidden costs. An e-mail message claims to give that desired item for free, but in the small print it states that to earn the gift, many "offers" need to be completed first.

There are many things that we can do that are free in terms of monetary cost -- like showing appreciation and giving encouragement. They may cost a little time and effort, but the rewards ripple into others' lives, and we feel good as well.

Jesus offers us the most real free deal of all. Grace, mercy, understanding, and everlasting life are all ours for the asking. If we ask how free Jesus wants us to be, He'll reply with His arms open wide as He did on the cross. "This much!"

Psalm 118:5 - In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free. (NIV)

Ephesians 2:8-10 - For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (NIV)

Prayer: God, thank You that we don't have to ask You how much "free" is. You freely offer everything You have to us, not because we're good enough or on account of anything we do, but because You love us enough to cover any costs for us. Help us to not be afraid to ask that You set us free, today! Amen.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I Wish.....desire, dream!

I heard this song by Point of Grace on the radio and before I even knew who/what it was, I could relate! I heard the line, "I wish my hair was smoother" and KNEW I would like the rest of it. :) I heard the song on JQ99.3, a Christian station. I first thought, what is a song about wishing doing on a Christian station? Yikes, I still judge quickly.

BUT, when I dig a little deeper, I find that wishing can and is a very Christian principle AND it is in the Bible numerous times.

John 15:7 (NIV) If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.

Now, you know that is not the kind of genie wish like in Aladdin! That verse shows some real Godly power behind it. Does that mean we'll get everything we want/wish? I don't think so. Think of our kids. They wish for LOTS of things. As their parent we know that some of the things they ask for are not good for them and we say no. I believe God, as our loving heavenly father does the same thing.

Sometimes, wishing is not enough. There needs to be action with the words.

James 2:16 (NIV) If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?

I looked up the word "wish" on and the word is a verb (meaning action in case it's been awhile since you've been to English class!). The main definition and synonym involved the word "desire".

Hmmmm, also Biblical. Psalm 37:4 (NIV) Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Another cool thing? We're not limited to three! So dream big! What do you wish for?

The video I liked on YouTube was removed, so you can still hear it here.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Field of Dreams to come....God style

I was thinking of a scene from the movie Field of Dreams recently. You know the one, "If you build it, he will come", "Ease his pain" etc. in a haunty, whispery voice.....

In the scene, the brother-in-law is not able to see the "baseball men" in the field that Ray built. He thinks the family is looking at an empty field. Until a tragedy and one of the players crosses the boundry and helps the little girl. Then, the brother-in-law says, "When did these ball players get here?" Just in case you don't remember, I included it below.

Revelation 7: 13 Then one of the elders asked me, "These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?" 14 I answered, "Sir, you know." (NIV)

I was blessed to be brought up in church. Still didn't understand the whole relationship with God aspect until I was much older. However, I was thinking that there are people in the world that probably have similar thoughts about Christians. "What are they looking at anyway?" "God, Jesus, who?" They might be a neighbor or someone in your family or someone God brings across your path. Maybe they notice something different about you, the way you handle stressful situations or that you go to church.

It is our assignment to help them be able to "see" and be brought into God's light where they can meet God and realize He's been here for them all along....waiting for them to recognize he's here waiting to be noticed.

Revelation 21 1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (NIV)

Romans 14:10-12 (NIV)
10 You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. 11 It is written: " 'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.' "12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Forget the baseball field and the field of dreams. Help somebody find that foundation you have. "If you build it, HE will come." AND when we go Home, we'll hear "well done, good and faithful servant". OR in Field of Dreams quote, "Hey Rookie! You were good."

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Just enough for today

Exodus 16 (NIV) 4 Then the LORD said to Moses, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.

17 The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. 18 And when they measured it by the omer, he who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little. Each one gathered as much as he needed.
19 Then Moses said to them, "No one is to keep any of it until morning."
20 However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them.

Yesterday, I read a thought about manna and I thought about writing this. Then, flipping through channels on 54 TCT the minister was talking about the Israelites and manna too which just confirmed it further. So before more of today gets away from thought on manna.

The Israelites had left Egypt. They had seen the wonders of God as He parted the Red Sea for them to walk through on dry land....and come crashing down on their pursuers. God would show up in a cloud by day and a fire by night to show them when to pick up and move and when to stay. They could SEE God in action. But then they got hungry and their fears started taking over and they whined to Moses. They actually mentioned that they had it better in Egypt! They were slaves there so their comments show their fear and frustration.

In response, God provided manna EVERY DAY for 40 years! They were to take just enough for that day. No extra. Some people didn't trust that God would provide so they took more than enough. When they did that, the manna was ruined for the next day. It did not pay for them to take more. They had to believe that what God said was true. He would bring it today AND He would bring it tomorrow.

Fast forward to today. We don't get manna. However, we get food, unexpected blessings that show up just when needed and God's promise that it will be there again tomorrow. Fear will try and get in the way and circumstances might try to block our view of God's faithfulness. Fight past the fear and believe that God will provide just enough for today, whatever it is that you need. AND He will provide just enough the next day, and the next day, etc.! :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Giving Thanks!

Psalm 95:1-2 (NIV)
1 Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.

How timely! Not only because of Thanksgiving, which is a mere week away. I'm thankful, my mom is home! After a month in the hospital and a rehabilitation facility, she is home after her heart attack. I am thankful for the drs, nurses and the care she received. I am thankful for brothers and a sister that helped us get through this time of life. I appreciate the foundation of faith my parents gave me (even though I grumbled about going to church 2 x on Sunday GASP!....and occasionally missing the beginning of the Wonderful World of Disney...oh, I am so showing my age!) I am grateful that our mom is here for another Thanksgiving.

I just told a friend tonight we are all living on borrowed time. It is just that some of us get reminders that our time on this round sphere called Earth will end at some point in time.

Further on in Psalm 95, we are reminded that we are God's people, under his care. We are also reminded not to harden our hearts. We are living in difficult times. I struggle to remember to move closer TO God during those times. He has not moved, He waits for us to make a decision to let Him handle the good, the bad and the ugly in our lives.

Sometimes we don't get our way or the answer we want when we want it. That doesn't mean that God does not listen or is uncaring. Thank goodness we don't get everything we pray for! We don't always see the whole picture.

Psalm 95:6-8 (NIV)
6 Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;
7 for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts......

Praying that you will find God during this season of life and Thanksgiving and moving into Christmas. We do not walk alone.....even when it feels like it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Missed opportunity?

2 Corinthians 5:11-13 (NLT)
We Are God’s Ambassadors
11 Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too. 12 Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart. 13 If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit.

Recently, I was in a dollar store. Through talking to the clerk, she mentioned her husband had died 3 weeks ago while waiting for a liver transplant. I have a friend that received a transplant. I know how hard that wait is. I expressed my sympathy, we finished the transaction and our conversation and I walked out. As I got in the car, I got the feeling/almost a small voice saying I should go back in and give her a hug. ???? That would not be something I would normally do to a stranger.....OK, maybe every once in awhile as the Spirit leads. Unfortunately, I argued myself out of it and didn't do it. I've thought about it for the past few days. The more I think about it, I know it wasn't me talking to myself. I didn't listen. What if God wanted to use me to let her know she's not alone? Missed opportunity!

Tonight, I started reading a book I "happened" to pick up at the library over a week ago. It's called God Speaks To Me....Stories of Triumph Over Tragedy from Women Who Listened to God. The first main point "Sacred Lesson" of the first story? "Your Intution Is Really God Sending You a Private Message"

And I thought I was good at deciphering the small voice as not my own. As the above story shows, sometimes inconvenience and discomfort get in the way. Sometimes I have heard words repeated in my head that did not stop until I said them, then it seemed more obvious it was God. Sometimes, apparently, we get one chance.

I wrote this over the summer. Ties right in.....even when/if we don't listen, it doesn't mean God stops trying to get our attention!

Still Small Voice

We know that God does not often shout
so why do we try so hard to drown His voice out?

We turn up the music, and the TV, invite over friends,
rarely content to be by ourselves.

But if we never make time for quiet, how can we expect to hear?
The still small voice of God telling us He’s here.

He tells us that He knows us:
the us we hide from the world
the us we WANT to be.
The way that He made us
to sit and talk with Him.

If we don’t take time and turn off the noise,
The still small voice remains….still.


If you are given the opportunity to carry out a mission, take God up on it. Who knows where it might lead and who it might bless!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Good reminder.....

Psalm 55:22 (NLT) Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.

I am always amazed and I don't know why anymore because it has happened frequently. When God wants you to know something, he finds a way and a time to let you know. For me? Sometimes still working on the listening part. Many times recently I have run across a verse that BAM fits the moment. The above is a great one for right now.

We have had a laundry list of "stuff" happen recently. I'll spare you the details as I'm sure you could let me know yours too. Suffice it to say, I got the thought today that if I wrote fiction, I'd try a modern day story of Job - female style.....still might.....someday!

This is why this verse came at just the right time. If there's a + and - column of burdens/stuff, we're covered. As long as we keep God on the + side, the sting of the - column feels easier. He will take care of us and our stuff going on in life. We need to keep relying on him and less on ourselves.

MORE (good) God (if you leave out the other "o") reminders:

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV) 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

Sometimes God even uses license plates. The one I was behind the other day? I RISE

Keep lookin' up and around and EXPECT God to meet you where you're at.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Concrete Faith

Hebrews 11: 1-2 The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.
3 By faith, we see the world called into existence by God's word, what we see created by what we don't see. (MSG)

I have a problem with judging distance....always have as far as I know. Overall, this has not caused too many problems except some with driving and parking (as my family will attest to!) :) One of my biggest problems has always been with parking ramps. I try to avoid them at all costs.

For the last week, my mom has been in the hospital. The hospital has a parking ramp. A couple of days during the week, I had no choice but to park in the ramp (and bonus, the hospital validates so it's free). The first day, I cautiously approached the ramp. I drive a van. The bar hangs at 7'. My head knows that in most ramps, the van will fit. My eyes tell me a different story. My eyes make me think that I will be bashing my way through IF I get in at all.

I have had to learn that my eyes are not always my most accurate source of information. Sometimes I need to lean on the fact that there is more to something than what my eyes see. As I was pulling into the ramp that first day, I was reminded that faith is often like that and I remembered the above verse. There are many versions. Basically, it boils down to the fact that faith is not based on what we see. It is believing in what we don't/can't/won't see.

Our family has had to have a lot of faith over the past week. Faith that God has the best interest of our mom as his main focus. We knew that whatever happened she was going to be fine. She still will. She's one of the main reasons for my faith. This week just reminded me that faith is much more firm and structured than I thought and had been feeling.

Faith is what my heart knows, but my head (logic) and eyes try to convince me otherwise. Keep your eyes and heart open for those little ways that God uses to let you know he's there. One other way last week? A car moved over in front of me on one of those rough days. The license plate? LORDGOD I smile.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Balance or Float? UNSINKABLE

Balance is quite the buzz word. If we can just achieve balance...between home and work, family and friends, our money and bills...and the list goes on. The thing about balance is it is similar to a teeter totter. If anything gets on either end? Bye bye balance. We tilt to one side or the other.

I'm reading a book "Lessons in Buoyancy: Letting Go of the Perfect Proverbs 31 Woman" by Kathy Vick. Actually, I'm reading it for the 2nd time. I still hold on to perfectionism a little to tightly. Perfection seeking can REALLY mess up any balance thought to be achieved.

In the book, she mentions buoyancy - floating. If we can float, we don't need to worry so much about balance. When things come our way - good or bad - we ride it out, over the troubled waters of life. With God as our life ring, we can relax a little knowing that He is in control. Even when the waves look too big and we're afraid we're going down, God helps us to be UNSINKABLE.

Genesis 7:17-18 For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. 18 The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water.

Friday, October 17, 2008

God is there....and He cares about even the little details!

“The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare.”- Psalm 25:14-15 (NIV)

Wow, did I need that today (it was the verse of the day). I SO love God's timing. It is so much better than mine.

One of my struggles with keeping busy is because I feel like if I get quiet, God starts to deal with my mind and heart....which is truly a good thing, but it's still kind of scary. The first part of this verse deals with that. He WANTS to confide in us during those times. So instead of pushing away, we should pull closer. It's during those times of quiet that we're able to seek and find God.

Lately, I've felt myself slipping back toward not feeling like myself. I hate the feeling of falling back into that hole where it's hard to see the light. However, during those times I realize I have not been keeping my eyes on God so he can release "my feet from the snare".

When I do something I consider dumb, I replay it in my head over and over....what a waste of precious time. God forgives me, why am I so hard on myself? I suppose if I keep my eyes on God, I wouldn't have to replay it. My lesson learned for today.

Give yourself a break. God's up all night anyway and he is MORE THAN capable of handling our worries and concerns...and there will be more things tomorrow to worry about anyway.

Matthew 6:27 (NIV) Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

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

So in shampoo terms: Let Go, Let God, repeat

OR in math terms: God > me

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Simple Pleasure, K.I.S.S.

1 Corinthians 7:29 (MSG) I do want to point out, friends, that time is of the essence. There is no time to waste, so don't complicate your lives unnecessarily. Keep it simple —in marriage, grief, joy, whatever. Even in ordinary things—your daily routines of shopping, and so on. Deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts on you. This world as you see it is on its way out.

Sometimes it takes us realizing the cost of something to treasure it more. I needed the above reminder to keep me on my toes about the 24 hours I have in a day. I kept track of my 24 hour days for two weeks (kind of like a food journal...but for time!) What an eye opener. I waste more time than I thought. I need to be more selective with the activities I pursue. Which ones will really make a long-term/eternal impact? There are times I have overcomplicated relationships by being worried what the other person thought of me. Should it matter? For years, I've thought of sleep as a timewaster....but how effective am I if I stay up too long and let my body run down? Sleep is not the enemy. It is a time of rest to re-energize for another day.

Too many days I am waiting for the NEXT big thing instead of enjoying what I'm doing right then. Living for tomorrow as today slips away! I will be on the lookout for the simple pleasures that bring joy to me or let me be a joy to others.

So, note to by the K.I.S.S. method (Keep It Sweet & Simple)

Friday, October 03, 2008

Another Fear Fighter....THE Fear Fighter

Hebrews 2:14-16 (NIV) 14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants.
A little corny, but worth the watch. I got goose bumps. Holy ghost power!

Psalm 23:4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 27:1[ Of David. ] The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 34:4I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

Luke 8:25He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. "Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him."

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Fighting fear with PEACE

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.”- Proverbs 29:25 (NIV)

Let's admit it....especially lately, there are a lot of things that can drag our fears out into the open. Wall Street, stock market, election (the end of political ads, YEAH!), other countries, etc. AND that's just the stuff that affects everybody....not even the stuff that affects our own personal lives and family.

The verse above states what trips us up: fear of man. All the things listed are "us" created they are not from God.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."John 16:33 (NIV)

God knew we would have troubles and fears here. However, he sent Jesus so we could regain peace. He has overcome death AND the world. So where do you want your focus?

We can fight and struggle on our own, or accept the peace God offers. Then even when the troubles of this world seem overwhelming and our emotions are getting the best of us, there is still peace to fall back on.

Philippians 4:6-8 (NIV)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

What a great picture, God's peace TRANSCENDS (/ to rise above or go beyond the limits of b: to triumph over the negative or restrictive aspects of : overcome, c: to be prior to, beyond, and above limits) our anxiousness. Just ask.

We heard a sermon on peace Sunday. I was reminded of a song from Sunday School (another verse of Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy, Down in my Heart)

I have the peace that passes understanding down in my heart (where?)
Down in my heart (where?)
Down in my heart
I have the peace that passes understanding down in my heart,
Down in my heart to stay.

And I'm so happy, so very happy,
I've got the love of Jesus in my heart!

Look beyond your own understanding. God stands with arms open wide to welcome us back to fear-free living. Take Him up on it! :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Suffering, perseverance, character AND HOPE!

I recently read "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch and would highly recommend it. I have some thoughts I want to write about, but I saw the following verse...and it seems to fit the moment, so I'm going with it.

Romans 5:3-4 (NIV)
3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.

This was the verse of the day for today. (By the way, if you don't always find time to open the Bible, check it out. GREAT resource!)

This comes during a time over the past week that gas prices have continued to go up and down, wall street took a tumble, government bail-outs, and some movies coming out that are downright disgusting!

I'm thinking the above verses not only are just for us, but for the world. Wow, is there suffering! Lost jobs, lost loves, illnesses, hurricanes, etc. Knowing that we don't suffer in vain is a small comfort. I love the word perseverance. That is truly a gift God has given us as humans. We can all use a little more character and then we get HOPE. My current buzzword.

I urge you to look beyond your front door. There may be suffering in your life right now, don't be afraid to reach out and get help....also don't forget...God might be using YOU to be somebody else's help...and HOPE. Don't let suffering be in vain. Use the pain to help somebody else through their struggle. A lot of times just realizing you are not alone in this big world is a huge relief!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Finding level ground

Since the last post (figured I better post something and move that one further down the page!), we've had Labor Day and school has started. Time continues to go by too fast. There seems to be lots of "stuff" happening to lots of people. It's easy to lose ground and feel frustrated and confused, etc.

Bible Gateway had Psalm 143:10 as the verse of the day. I liked the "lead me on level ground". I could use a little level ground after the ups and downs of the past month(s). My/our issues aren't even that bad when compared to what some are going through. Some days it doesn't take much to make me feel far from God...which is my fault. He's there, but I need to remember to talk to Him and include Him in my plans....not going it on my own (which, honestly, I do a lot). I read a little further. It's a Psalm by David, as in King David. That man had a lot of issues especially for the time period he was in.

Psalm 143 (NIV) 8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. 9 Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD, for I hide myself in you. 10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

So, how do we get to level ground? Put trust in God, request God to show us the way, hide ourselves in him, let God be our teacher and let the good Spirit lead. Will life always be easy? Unfortunately, never this side of heaven. Can we take things a little more in stride? We can try. The following verses come before those above. Sheds some clues on how to get to level ground.

Psalm 143 (NIV) 4 So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed. 5 I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. 6 I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.

When we're feeling those bumps along the way, we remember and meditate on the ways God has done for us before....even when we didn't see the whole picture until we look back. We continue to praise God because our soul is thirsty and God is the everlasting drink.

I'm feeling like a rah rah cheerleader girl. I guess part of that is because it's easier to talk about depending on God when we're coming out of the darkness instead of being in the midst of it.

PS The word has been surrender, surgery definitely made me do more of that...including asking for help, which I'm not good at. The word for now? HOPE I heard it many times today!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bound up

Ok, let me warn you ahead of time that part of this will be gross and very personal. In fact, I have been arguing within myself since at least yesterday to even write anything about this. AND my husband has the right to laugh at me because I got mad at him for sharing some of this info earlier.

I am normally a VERY personal person. I hold things in (literally, no pun intended)....until when something pushes me over the edge....every emotion pours out. Stay with me....I have a point(s). Not sure on the verse yet, but I'll find one before I'm done. Peaked your interest now, didn't I?

First, a piece of medical advice, which will lead to the (in my humble...or not so humble opinion) the gross part. If you have surgery and are put on pain medications, there are side effects. Duh! However, who reads the small print they put in those litle papers? The print needs a magnifying glass and they have to list EVERY test, etc. that's been done on it. BORING and time consuming. I figure if the side effect is bad enough they'll tell me. Yeah.

Well, apparently, one of the side effects of pain meds is constipation (hence, the title Bound up....for those of you with foresight, you can see where I'm heading with this, can't you?). SO, I have my surgery July 31. Days pass, I feel yucky, I sleep a lot, and all of a sudden, it's a few weeks into August. I think nothing of the fact that I've been getting grumpier OR the fact that I have now not gone #2 (in kid's terms) for I don't even know how long. This is not terribly unusual for me, but in this case, I finally noticed!

As personal as I am, I finally ask my sister the nurse who gave me the above info and should be taking additional "products" to take care of that issue. You can also be sure I mentioned it at my first dr's appointment after surgery! SO, the "issue" finally resolves, I feel further details necessary. I now know the reason for the "cleansing products" that commercials claim to make you feel so much better. OK, for those of you who have kept up with me, this ends the gross part! :)

I started joking with friends about a term I've heard before "emotionally constipated". I've always laughed, but I can see how this is true. When we hold in emotions that we should be letting out, we're mentally bound up. I've been doing that to myself for a long time. Time to work on letting some of that out as well.

OK, so I'm looking up some verses for bound. There are many references to how Christ was bound up to be led away to the cross. Not quite what I'm going for here, but worth thinking about.

The one I think I like the best is this:

Hebrews 6:16-18 (New Living Translation)
16 Now when people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath is binding. 17 God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. 18 So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.

And this:
Ezekiel 34:3-5 (New Living Translation)
3 You drink the milk, wear the wool, and butcher the best animals, but you let your flocks starve. 4 You have not taken care of the weak. You have not tended the sick or bound up the injured. You have not gone looking for those who have wandered away and are lost. Instead, you have ruled them with harshness and cruelty. 5 So my sheep have been scattered without a shepherd, and they are easy prey for any wild animal.

OK, it's a leap, but how true are those? I personally now like to think of bound as a promise. In Hebrews, God gave us a promise, we can have hope. In Ezekiel, we are told to take care of those who are lost. Have you been "bound up" in sharing your faith with someone else?

When I first typed in bound in the search on, most of the words that came up were "boundary". This is making me think that the lack of boundries can lead to being bound up. (Believe me here I am preaching to myself!)

I need to get to sleep. I don't even know if this will help anybody. But it feels good to get it out (no pun intended). Work on boundaries, mental and physical. Either way, you'll feel better! :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Night/Early AM thoughts

I admit I like nighttime for the fact that it is quiet (most of the time) and it feels like it's MY time....I don't feel like I need to be depended on or needed.....for real or just in my own head to FEEL important. BUT nighttime is also the time that I try to get quiet....and sometimes that's scary because that's when I can feel those little (and sometimes not so little) God nudges.

I have felt REALLY emotional lately. I'm sure a lot of it has to do with the pills I'm on for pain. The fact that I sleep during the day and stay up at night, but the world runs on day time so I feel at least 3 steps behind always isn't helping either.

Overall, I cannot complain. My surgery went well. It's been over 2 weeks already. I have another appointment with an x-ray and the dr. on the 29th. So far, I'm not able to drive because of the soft collar I need to wear to keep my neck stabilized. It's like when the power went out. I forget how grateful I need to be when I can just gather the kids, get in the car and go. And not worry about lifting too much weight or scheduling rides. I have taken a lot for granted and I think that's why I'm feeling emotional too.

When I've done a better job at reading devotionals or the Bible, I continue to be amazed when I read JUST what I need for the time I need it. God is good at providing when we take the time to show up!

So, a few minutes ago, I looked at Bible Gateway and the verse pretty much covered what I'm feeling like:

It's Psalm 42. The one that starts out with "as the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants after you." (OK, not the Bible quote, but you get the point)

Verse 8 (NIV) 8 By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life.

Pretty much covered the night and day thing. I've also been feeling really down about the whole world situation. Sure, there are individual groups trying to make a world difference, but as a whole world, we need some serious work!

Then I kept reading:

9 I say to God my Rock, "Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?" 10 My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, "Where is your God?" 11 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Isn't it awesome that God knows we will not always be happy campers? So, I will keep putting my hope where it belongs. I will answer that God is alive and well and continues to watch over us. Our enemies WILL BE defeated. There will be a day when we will all know that we are not forgotten and we do not need to mourn.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Why Not Me?

Philippians 4 : 12 (MSG) I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.

Did you ever notice that we are quick to ask "Why me?" when things are not going well or we feel overwhelmed? Our family has had a lot of junk going on lately....I will refer to them as joy-stealers, and tomorrow I go in for surgery on my neck. Fear is fighting hard to take over....but.... as the above verse states I will be content (happy) in my circumstances....not for them, but IN them I will choose joy because I am not walking alone.

When things are going wonderfully without the bumps of joy stealers, I rarely ask why me.

So whether perceived good or bad, I will begin to ask myself "why not me?" Sometimes we are asked to walk through things we would not choose, but God trusts us enough and/or has a bigger picture in mind of what He wants accomplished. May people see how we handle our circumstances and see God through us.

As someone mentioned to me recently, sometimes we need to be laying down to look up. Very profound!

Matthew 5: 14, 16 (NIV) “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

I saw this a few days ago and it made quite an impact on me. Thought I'd share. If you have a few minutes, definitely worth a watch.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Peace Stealers - Guard Your Heart

The last couple of days have gone by in a blur. I feel like I'm on some sort of countdown to get everything I can done before the end of the month...but really not feeling like doing anything! I feel tired and stressed out...letting little things bother me and turn me into a not so nice person to live with. It seems when one or two things happen, we can manage. When those little things start to pile up, our feeling of peace can get stolen away.

There are different kinds of peace stealers. Things we can control and those we can't. I think my lesson for myself right now is to limit the things I know are stealing my peace. If we don't guard our hearts, no one else will. Stay alert, find peace where you can and keep God in the picture. He's there to help, but we need to reach back.

Philippians 4:6-8 (NIV) 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Focus....where's yours? Push through and look up.

Sunday I had another right time right place moment.

I have been feeling REALLY stressed out. At my Friday appt. we scheduled surgery for the end of the month. Transportation issues. Lack of/poor use of time. Son has not been feeling well and trying to figure out why. Tonight, the toilet overflowed for no apparent reason and is bubbling up when I run the washer....ahhh life! I'm sure your list could compare or even top mine.

The van acted up on the way to church. I was already running late (suprise, not!). I was bound and determined to get there as I feel like I'm running on empty....and not just the gas tank! I drove slower and through parking lots, but I finally got there.

The sermon? How to Listen to a Spirit. The Holy Spirit rarely screams to get our attention. It's more like a constant hum that's there if we listen, but it's easily overcome and drowned out by the tune of everyday life issues. Sometimes it is through the counsel of a trusted person.

After the service, there was a "healing service". Hmmm...just wrote about that I believe. I usually do not seek out assistance (ie: ask for help). I am working on it, but normally I am really bad at it. I felt kind of guilty as I had my little laundry list of stuff going on. I was prayed for: peace for upcoming surgery and watching son feel bad and not knowing what to do, blessings for the drs, we even prayed for the van! I wasn't instantly healed (and neither was the van...should be covered by warranty), but that big bag of worries felt a little lighter and I had a more peaceful feeling. For a few moments, I focused on the fix instead of the problem.

Now I'm thinking about focus and where mine has been. I have been focusing on the problems/mountains. I also believe the devil works overtime on keeping our focus ON the problem/circumstances so we are less effective in God's kingdom.

Psalm 121 (NIV) 1 I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there? 2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! 3 He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. 4 Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. 5 The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. 6 The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. 7 The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. 8 The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.

I need to look higher than the mountains. My help will come from God. My focus needs to be where my help will come from....not looking and worrying about how big the problems seem. God is bigger than all of them! BUT I need to be willing to get quiet and focus.

Psalm 46 : 10 (NIV) "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

Push through, look up and keep listening and watching for answers. Often, the answers will come in ways you never anticipated.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Thorn (s) ....

I knew time was flying by, but it's been over a month since I posted here! We've been enjoying the summer and dealing with weather in all it's glory....good and bad. During the last big storm, our power went out for a few days. I forget how thankful I need to be when I flip a switch and the light goes on! :)

I've also been going to therapy for my neck issue. This has taken more time than I thought it would. I am blessed that the therapy place is close by my work. Therapy so far has not helped as much as it was hoped (in my opinion). I have a dr. appt. on Friday to see where we go from here....which brings me to my topic of thorn(s).

I have struggled for a long time with the issue of healing. If God CAN heal any of us at any time, how come He doesn't? How come there are still people dealing with chronic pain, diabetes, MS, cancer, ADHD, etc? I have heard people say that while they've fought the battle they have learned lessons they would not have learned any other way.

I got to thinking about Paul in the Bible. He was a very Godly person (after a round about conversion!). He talks about a "thorn" that he asked to be removed. Not just once, but three times.

2 Corinthians 12 : 7-10 7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I don't pretend to know what Paul's thorn was or why it was given to him. I haven't read further to see if it is taken care of and removed. However, I really like verses 9 and 10. God wasn't away from him. God reminded Paul of his grace and his power. Maybe half of the "fix" is realizing that whatever thorns we deal with, we are not dealing with them alone.

For myself, pain and my realization that I can't control everything that happens to me has made me rely on God more than I have been. I had been drifting again....not taking time to BE with God through reading the Bible, prayer, worship, etc. And I have also realized that God's way of removing the thorn may not be my ideal solution. Sometimes we are provided with doctors and/or medicines that become part of the solution.

I don't know if I will ever be able to say I "delight" in the thorns, but I will do my best to remember that when I am weak, then I am strong because I'm not leaning on my own power. I hope and pray the same for you whatever thorns you're dealing with now.

Once we get past the thorns, we'll enjoy the rose! ;)

Friday, June 06, 2008

Too busy.....take time.....

Lately, it seems like there has been something written in every one of my little daily calendar boxes that is keeping me busy. Not always productive, but busy. Some by necessity, some by choice. In my head, I think it makes me feel important to look and feel busy.

However, it is amazing how perspective on time and busy can change when given a worse choice.

Example, I've been having some problems with my neck. I've had to find time for dr. appts., x-ray, and an MRI (THANK GOD for insurance!). I was then given the choice of physical therapy, pain shots or a visit to another dr. I kept thinking, I don't have time for therapy. BUT when faced with pain shots or surgery, suddenly physical therapy didn't sound so bad. So I'm taking time for therapy appointments. I'm also finding that some of my previous choices have caused my current problem. I slouch and have pretty poor posture. So, part of therapy is teaching me to sit and stand correctly.

I used to say I'd make time for things that would come up. I finally realized I can't MAKE time. We all get the same 24 hours in a day, approx. 30 days per month, 12 months a year. I now realize I TAKE time from one thing to give to another. If I take time to sit around and watch TV, other stuff piles up. This is an ongoing struggle for me.

I am a logical thinker. My head often tries to undermine my heart when it comes to God stuff. In my heart, I know God loves and cares about each minute of my day. My head tries to be logical, how can God be with everybody, everywhere?

So, I took great comfort in the prayer below. I hope and pray you do too. Paul wrote it to the Ephesians, but it could have been written to any of us.

Ephesians 3:14-21 (NIV) A Prayer for the Ephesians
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Always special in my daddy's eyes....

I had the honor of being my nephew's "special person" at his school earlier this week. It was actually grandparent and/or special person day. As I was in line with the others waiting to get into school, I was feeling very treasured that I meant that much to him. During the few hours I was at school, we got to do things we don't always take the time to do....hear a story, draw pictures, play a game, and go out for recess! I was glad I had the time to go. I used to have a job that took up WAY too much of my kids younger years.

I got to thinking it would be nice if everyone knew that they were special to somebody. A lot of times, I think we assume people know how much we care for them. Even if they do know, it is good to remind them through a card, words, a call, or time spent with them.

I found a video on Godtube called Father's Love Letter. It quotes many verses from the Bible woven together to be a "letter" to remind us how special we are to God. I don't often think of God as my "father" or daddy. Gives that phrase "who's your daddy?" a whole new meaning doesn't it?

In God's eyes I am special because He made me in his image. I am special because He knows all the days He has for me. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. So are you. So today, rest in the fact that you are always special in your heavenly daddy's eyes.

WOW Rainbow cloud

Saw this at field day last week and luckily had the camera with me. It was like a rainbow with no end, peeking through clouds so it looked like a cloud. Way too cool! I love rainbows anyway, but this was a really don't do it justice.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Father, Son and ........

I have never really given a lot of thought to the Holy Spirit. I know it is part of the trinity and the triune God. I looked up some information and Bible verses which show the Holy Spirit is powerful and a gift. The Holy Spirit was a promised gift given at Pentecost. Pentecost is 50 days (7 Sundays) after Easter. I have overlooked the importance of the Holy Spirit in today's world.

Sometimes God is compared to the wind. We can't see the wind, but we know it is there and we feel the power. The way the Spirit was given is powerful:

Acts 2:1-4 The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost (NIV) 1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

God still wants to give us the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13 (NIV) 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

God wants us to keep the Spirit working in our lives and let it help us persevere (I'm beginning to really like that word persevere) through bad news, pain, rising gas prices and concerns.

Jude 1:17-20 (NIV) A call to persevere 17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, "In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires." 19 These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.
20 But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. 21 Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

Since we are mind, body and spirit, I believe we communicate more with the Holy Spirit than we realize.

Romans 8:26-27 (NIV) 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

May we truly appreciate the gift that God gave us by providing the Holy Spirit. May we be more willing to keep moving our faith forward and use all the help God has already given us. May we get over the fear of letting others know how much they are missing when they are not fully relying on the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I'm glad I'm a mom because.....

OK, this is off topic from what I've been blogging about, but I thought I'd share this anyway.

I recently got an e-mail from Hearts at Home ( - a great mom resource!) They're having a contest in honor of Mother's Day. The topic is: I'm glad I'm a mom because.... and you're supposed to answer in 50 words or less. Note: 50 words is not all that much. I had to work it down until I got it to 47. It was REALLY easy to go over so this is the 3rd or 4th try.

I’m glad I’m a mom because God handpicked my kids for me. Sometimes I think He gave me more than I can handle. Sometimes I rise to the challenge and grow in the process. Sometimes I get frustrated. Then I remember they’re only mine for some time.

Wow (Mom upside down...think about're picturing it in your head aren't you?) :)
A new perspective. Now, to remember when the ortho appliance is having ANOTHER problem, during homework time, getting them off the computer/guitar hero, etc., "He/She called me a name!" (whiny voice) .....and the list goes on.

I would expand this to anyone who has an influence in a child's life. Do you know how important you are? Give yourself a pat on the back and move ahead two spaces in the game of life, take the little car...oh wait with gas prices you better walk...and enjoy the view.

Now, go call your mother or somebody else who has helped make you who you are today...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Doubting (put your name here), stop doubting and believe

In the Bible, it was Thomas:

John 20:24 - 29 (NIV)
24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" 27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." 28 Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" 29 Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Today, it could be any one of us....we can read the Bible, we can feel God's presence and peace, but that little feeling of doubt is never too far away. Thomas didn't just want somebody's word for it. He wanted proof! If we're honest, would we have asked for anything less? Do we now?

Jesus told Thomas to go ahead and touch his hands and side and then, "Stop doubting and believe." Thomas did and THEN he believed.

Jesus knew it would be more difficult for us. Look at verse 29. "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Jesus looked far into the future and knew that there would be days when you and I know we love God, but He just doesn't feel real close right then. Jesus still offers us His hands and side as proof that He did what He said He would do. He died on the cross, rose the 3rd day and went back with His father to prepare a place for us to live eternally.

Deuteronomy 7:8-9 (NIV)
8 But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.

We're one of those thousand generations. He is faithful. He still welcomes doubters, seekers or whatever we need to call ourselves when things aren't going like we think they should. Ask Him to prove Himself to you. He will, no doubt about it.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

He is not here.....

Luke 24:5-7 (NIV)
5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.' "

He is not here....the more I think about it, the more excited I feel about 4 little words. Christian faith boils down to those 4 words. If he was there when the women came, he could not have been who he said he was. He had told his disciples that he would die, but would rise again. They didn't get it. Even when some of them saw him later. He couldn't be alive, they had seen him die a horrible death. Yet there they were, the stone was gone, his body was gone and they were told that Jesus was NOT there, He was among the living not the dead.

When Jesus had gone to Martha after hearing of the death of Lazarus, her brother and his friend:

John 11:25-26 (NIV) Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

Do you? He is not here......

Saturday, April 05, 2008

What about those 3 days?

Tonight, my mind is wandering about what happened those three days Jesus was dead and in the grave. It seems at Easter time we go from Friday and his death to Easter Sunday and his resurrection. I'm thinking we're overlooking a major reason Jesus was here. He came to beat sin AND death. His blood covered the sin of the world. His resurrection beat death, but how unless Jesus was still fighting for us those 3 days?

I know in the Apostles Creed it states: "He descended into hell" I have done some searching to find biblical references to this.

Matthew 12:40 (NIV) For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

So is the "heart of the earth" just the tomb? Or is it where all of us deserve to go because of our sin...where Jesus went to battle for our right to eternal life with God in Heaven?

1 Peter 3:18-22 (NIV) 18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, 19 through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison 20 who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

Ephesians 6 speaks of our spiritual armor and that our fight is against the devil's schemes and our struggle is with the spiritual forces of evil. Jesus fought against those powers and won!

Hebrews 2:14-18 (NIV) 14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

When I have read about Gethsemane, I kind of assumed that Jesus asked for "the cup" to be taken away if possible because of the cross and the physical pain of being crucified. Maybe it was more because of the spiritual battle that would ensue after his physical death. He knew he would have to fight this battle while feeling forsaken by God, but on that 3rd day? He knew he was not forsaken.

Some really good info here: and

For now, I'm going to think on these things with the anticipation of realizing that Jesus has suffered more and took on more than I have ever imagined. And He did it for me, for us.......

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Gethsemane - Place of surrender

OK, honestly, I should have written about this around Good Friday time, but as I've warned you before: I procrastinate....and I didn't think of this until today when the word surrender came up yet again!

I'm also thinking of Easter a little differently this year. You know how at Christmas you kind of promise yourself to keep that giving spirit going into the new year or to really be "in the moment"? And then right around January 2 or 3 when everybody heads back to school and time gets short, you stop having that Christmas feeling. (If not, maybe it's just me!) ;) I would like to think of Easter that way this year. Not just a one day/weekend thing, but reminding myself throughout the coming weeks that Jesus rose from the dead and we serve a risen, living King!

While I was thinking about surrender, I got to thinking about Jesus in Gethsemane. He went there to pray before the mob came to get him. He knew what was coming. He'd been preparing for it for about 33 years. He took some of his buddies, presumably to keep watch and maybe even pray for him...yeah, they fell asleep....not once, but three times! Meanwhile, Jesus is going through some serious agony.

Matthew 26:36-46 (NIV) 36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."
40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter. 41 "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."
42 He went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done."
43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!"

Even Jesus had to surrender his will and let God's will be done. I take comfort in these verses. It shows a very human side to Jesus. He felt troubled and overwhelmed with sorrow. Mark 14:33 says in part he was deeply distressed. He asked for the burden to be taken away, but asked that God's will be done. If it is possible, take it away. "Not as I will, but as you will" "The spirit is willing, but the body is weak" If it is not possible, unless I do it "May your will be done". Jesus surrendered His own will so we would have the right to choose to surrender to God as well. Jesus knows how hard that is.

He knows the overwhelmed troubled feelings. Given a choice, we'd probably all ask for our paths to be a little (or maybe a lot!) smoother. However, knowing Jesus came out victorious should give us comfort that even as Jesus hung on the cross, God was waiting for him to come home. Same as He is for us....waiting....and watching us grow in the process.

Praying for Easter blessings that continue on throughout the year. May you feel God's arms around you when you're at your worst...and God's arms raised in victory when you're at your best! May you feel valuable because Jesus has paid the ultimate price for you. Easter blessings!

Friday, March 21, 2008

1 vs the "mob", Good/God Friday

In the game show 1 vs 100, a contestant takes on the "mob". He or she answers a question and matches it up against the 100. The contestant then has the choice to take the money or the mob.

Jesus was 1 who faced a mob. No promise of money either. He faced the mob that came to get him with swords and clubs.

Matthew 26 : 55-56 (The Message) Then Jesus addressed the mob: "What is this—coming out after me with swords and clubs as if I were a dangerous criminal? Day after day I have been sitting in the Temple teaching, and you never so much as lifted a hand against me.

He faced a mob of Sanhedrin who were looking for any evidence to put Jesus to death. They were scared of him as people saw the miracles he did and believed in him.

Matthew 26:59-63 (NIV) The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. 60 But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward.
Finally two came forward 61 and declared, "This fellow said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.' "
62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, "Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?" 63 But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, "I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God."

Finally, after being taken to the governor, Pilate, the mob demanded that Jesus be crucified.

Luke 23:23-25 (The Message) But they kept at it, a shouting mob, demanding that he be crucified. And finally they shouted him down. Pilate caved in and gave them what they wanted. He released the man thrown in prison for rioting and murder, and gave them Jesus to do whatever they wanted.

Jesus was then beaten and forced to carry his own cross to the place where he would be put on the cross for the sins of the world to fulfill prophecy that was written long before.

Isaiah 42:1-7 (NIV) The Servant of the Lord
1 "Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations.
2 He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets.
3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; 4 he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his law the islands will put their hope."
5 This is what God the LORD says—he who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it:
6 "I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, 7 to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

I've always struggled with why the day Jesus dies would be called "Good Friday". What's good about it? As I'm reading the above verses, I'm thinking it wasn't good for Jesus. It was good for us. He did it all for you and me: He will bring justice, He will be our light, He will open our blinded eyes, and free us from our earthly prison. God is for us...all the time.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A King? THE King? Hosanna!

1 Samuel 8 (NIV) Israel Asks for a King 4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, "You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have."
6 But when they said, "Give us a king to lead us," this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. 7 And the LORD told him: "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do."

19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. "No!" they said. "We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles."
21 When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the LORD. 22 The LORD answered, "Listen to them and give them a king."

SO Israel got what they asked for. They got A king. They could have had the best King then, but they chose to think they knew better. Everything God told Samuel to pass on to the people about what would happen with a king...did. Years later, a new generation was still looking for a king. They thought they found him in Jesus and they praised him.

John 12:12-13 (NIV)
The Triumphal Entry 12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna![
a]" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the King of Israel!"

[a] A Hebrew expression meaning "Save!" which became an exclamation of praise

A few days pass and they find out Jesus is not the king they are looking for. He doesn't lead a rebellion against the Roman government and he doesn't get their taxes lowered. They want a fighting leader, not a savior.

Today, what are we looking for? Are we looking for the quick fix? The long term answer? A king when we need THE King?

This week, think about what side you're on. Are you the disciple/friends of Jesus or are you in the crowd anxiously awaiting the rebellion?

This is an especially important time to consider this as we approach Friday. We are also in an election year where essentially we're looking for our nation's next leader. Please be in prayer for the decisions our nation faces.


Thursday, March 06, 2008

March on to Spring! Birds and do not worry....

Psalm 104:12 (NIV)
The birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches.

Matthew 6:25-27 (NIV)
Do Not Worry

25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

Wow, it's March already! I am SO looking forward to Spring! I've been seeing and hearing glimpses of its approach. Some green grass is peeking through the melted back snow. Our sump pump is running approx. every 1 1/2 minutes! AND I heard birds the last couple of days.

I looked up some verses past Genesis (where birds of the air are mentioned a lot) and found the above verses. I like Psalm 104, but Matthew 6 goes beyond the birds and tells us not to worry. I figured that's a good reminder too. If God keeps the birds safe, we are even more valuable. So why do I worry so much when God's got it covered? No need to answer...I'm sure I'm not the only one who worries about stuff that never ends up happening. What a waste of time and energy! Now to remember that in the midst of crisis and chaos. (How's that for the name of a blog...or a book...Crisis and Chaos) :)

One quote I have always liked goes something like: Worry is like a rocking chair, it keeps you busy but it doesn't get you anywhere.

I tried to look up who said the above and found it credited to a couple of different people...and worded slightly different each time. The following site had some other great quotes about worry.

I looked up worry at and found: to subject to persistent or nagging attention or effort similar words were: torment and struggle. That certainly puts worry more in perspective!

So a prayer when feeling overwhelmed or struggling:
You know me better than I know myself. Help me to put my attention and effort toward things that can make a difference in my life and for others. When worry starts to make me frustrated, remind me that you have the situation handled even when it is not in the time I wish or the answer I expect. Help me to not feel like I need to do everything on my own or perfectly. Thank you for caring about all the little details in my life.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Time and Cinderella - the clock will strike midnight before you know it!

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV)
A Time for Everything

1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

Time is an important commodity that is often underrated and overspent. Looking back, I have wasted time that I'm sorry I spent the way I did. If I had known how fast time would go now, I would (at least I'd like to THINK I would) have used my time more wisely.

The verses above show that God knows we will need different things during different seasons of our lives. If our activity under heaven right now is parenting or being in the life of a child, take the time to enjoy it. It really will be gone before we know it.

I had heard and cried along with the song, Cinderella, on the radio. I did some searching and found out it is by Steven Curtis Chapman. I'm sure this will become a hit for the father/daughter dance at weddings! I looked for a video of it. The one I found isn't the highest quality, but pay attention to the shadows dancing. It illustrates how fast our kids grow. Get the tissues!

PS Mom and Dad, I love you! :) Thanks for ALL you do for all of us.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

How's Your Flashlight and a reading suggestion

John 8:12 (NIV) When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

God provides an awesome light to help guide us through the pitfalls of this life. However, it is up to us if we will walk in light or darkness. It's almost like we are given a flashlight. It doesn't matter how powerful the beam would be. If we don't put the batteries in the flashlight, it doesn't matter what we light.

So, how do we get those batteries and keep them in place and charged? Jesus is the battery. Believe in him and accept him as your savior and you're on your way. Keep it charged by surrounding yourself with other Christians, reading the Bible and praying. Then our light can help others get their own flashlight.

I've heard numerous people ask lately, "Where do I start reading the Bible?" I picked up an excellent Bible quite a few years ago called the Journey Bible. They suggest a 5 alive plan by reading through these books: Genesis, Deuteronomy, John, Acts, and Romans for a general overview of the Bible. I have also heard of reading through Proverbs in a month as there are 31 chapters and 30-31 days in a month (Usually!). There are many versions of the Bible. Find the one easiest to read. There are even chronological Bibles that put the Bible in historical order without some of the repetition.

No matter what you choose, the important part is just do it. A little quiet time in the AM (or whenever you can take some time) goes a L-O-N-G way.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Martha and Mary & Faith and Works

Luke 10: 38-42 38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
41 "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." (NIV)

Wow! A complete story and contrast of two women in 5 verses. I had the privilege of attending a women's retreat this past weekend (who can't use one of those?) where these verses were the main discussion. As a side note, thanks to my husband for taking care of the kids Fri night and Sat AND cleaning up too! Guess this weekend, I got the faith and he got the works.... ;)

I haven't completely read through all the info, but I've been doing some other reading and had some thoughts.

Martha and Mary are sisters. They lived in a time when it was expected that women would serve and not spend time learning. Martha showed her gift of hospitality by opening up her home to Jesus and the disciples. She had guests and details to take care of. Her sister, Mary, sat at the feet of Jesus listening to what he said. Martha started getting ticked off. Here she was doing all the work while her sister just sat.

But is that all Mary was doing? By sitting and listening to Jesus, she was refilling her spiritual tank and enjoying the time with Jesus. Martha was
"distracted by all the preparations" and running on empty. Martha was bound to break down. She sounds a little whiny as she comes in and asks Jesus to tell her sister to help. She was probably surprised when he told her that Mary was doing the right thing. Jesus answers Martha, "you are worried and upset about many things". This makes it sound like this is not a one time thing with Martha. It sounds like she needed a reminder of why she worked so hard.

BUT if all we do is sit and listen and don't go out and share the love that we've learned about? Then it stops with us and others will not know what they are missing.

Later, Martha is serving again and Mary serves Jesus by pouring expensive perfume on his feet and wiping it with her hair. (John 12:2-3) She was ridiculed that she had wasted a year's wages.

How many times do we get caught up in the details at the expense of spending some time at Jesus' feet? Mary had the right idea. First things first. May God give us a Mary heart with Martha's hands.

Love Jesus first so we can work more effectively and bring glory to God.

I've heard this song before called Screen Door by Rich Mullins. It talks about faith without works being as useless as a screen door on a submarine. I think this song sums up both sisters. See what you think.....

Monday, February 18, 2008

More Than Wishy Washy Separation Anxiety

Romans 8: 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIV)

Part of the above was the verse of the day on BibleGateway. It started with just 38 and 39. I read back a few verses. The title for verses 28-39 was More Than Conquerors.

So, the first part I read was "For I am convinced"....I started thinking, when was the last time I've been convinced of something? By nature, I am pretty indecisive. If it comes to making a choice, I usually let others around me make it. I kind of "go with the flow". I can usually see both sides of an issue.

Am I convinced about what theses verses state? I looked up convince on and found: to bring (as by argument) to belief, consent, or a course of action. Maybe my course of action needs to be allowing myself to be convinced that there is NOTHING (no thing) that can get God away from me.

There are times I have let some of those things mentioned get in the way of feeling God's love. I need to remember though...during those times I've started having some separation anxiety? I'm the one who has moved away. God has stayed there waiting for me to be convinced again. Good thing He's patient! I've been learning....and relearning....this lesson for awhile now!

I am "more than" what I have allowed myself to become. So are you! We can be convinced that God is there for us. The wishy washy indecision can be taken away when we become convinced that Jesus is the bridge that covers the separation from God to us.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

:) LOVE day!

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

The verses above are some of the most well known verses in the Bible. They are often used in weddings. Read back over them s-l-o-w-l-y. There is a lot of wisdom in those 3 little verses. One thing I noticed while reviewing is that the list for what love is NOT is almost equal to what love is!

To review:
Love is: patient, kind, keeps no record of wrongs, rejoices with the truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love does not: envy, boast, proud, rude, self-seeking, anger easily, delight in evil

I don't know about you, but I have some work to do! I do not always love like this. In fact, many times I'm doing what love is not supposed to be. Let today be a reminder of how we want others to love us and how we should be loving them.

I received this in an e-mail and it is a great reminder of the ultimate love:

For God so loVed the world,
That He gAve
His onLy
That whosoever
Believeth In Him
Should Not perish,
But have Everlasting life.
John 3:16