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

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hide and Seek

1...2...3...4...5...6...7...8...9...10! Ready or not, here I come!

I was reminded of the old hide and seek game the other day when I heard a song entitled, Hide, on the radio. The more I'm thinking about it, Hide and Seek is more than just a kid's game. Some of us still haven't outgrown the "need" to play hide and seek. Not with other kids, but with ourselves ... and God. We kid ourselves into thinking God's not there, seeking us and wanting us to seek Him every time we have a problem. Too many times, we're the ones hiding behind things that don't matter and keeping ourselves too busy to seek after God's will for us.

Luke 8:16-17 "No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.

There are many verses in the Bible where people asked God not to hide himself from them. Unfortunately, many times it is us hiding from Him! God calls us to come out of hiding and continue to seek Him while He may be found.

Isaiah 55:6 (NIV) Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.

1 Chronicles 16:10-12 (NIV) Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,

So, in our new, updated version of no more hide and lots of seek....
10...9...8...7...6...5...4...3...2...1! He is here!

This is a video for the song Hide by Joy Williams. There are some really cool pictures within pictures. One is:

GODISNOWHERE (looks like God is nowhere), but if split up differently?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Doing nothing is a choice. Abortion. Roe vs Wade 35th "anniversary"

Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

On Jan. 22, 2008, the 35th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision, I wanted to write something to mark the day. I wasn't sure what though, so I let the day pass. It is an issue I know needs to be dealt with and unfortunately doing nothing is a way of dealing with it. Lately, I have been convicted that ignoring issues does not make them go away. How do I write about such an emotionally charged issue? I know how I feel about abortion, but what if my situation(s) had been different?

Then, in Saturday's mail, I got a newsletter from Focus on the Family with an interesting website. It is a short multiple choice quiz to check your knowledge on the case that made abortion legal. Knowledge is the beginning of doing something. Sharing with others is another step. I urge you to click the above link and take the quiz. It doesn't take more than 5 minutes. Then forward on to others.

Please know I am not writing about this to condemn anyone on choices that have been made. I truly believe though that the whole truth about abortion is not being told. There is research that when a woman sees an ultrasound before having an abortion sometimes her mind is changed. At that point, it is hard to see moving parts on an ultrasound screen as just a "fetus".

Some of the sites below are for post abortion healing, some have information on the details of abortion. View at your own discretion and with caution. At the bottom is a YouTube video of the song A Baby's Prayer by Kathy Troccoli (worth a listen!)

A Baby's Prayer by Kathy Troccoli

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Gotta have faith.....By faith,.... Anyway

No, I don't mean the George Michael/Wham kind of faith (Wow, fly back to the 80's!). The song will probably be back around thanks to the Eli Stone show. I just listened to the whole song again (and watched the video). Yikes! I used to sing the words and not even think about them. DEFINITELY not the kind of faith, faith, faith I'm thinking of!

I'm thinking the Hebrews 11 kind of faith.

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

Many of the verses in this chapter begin with "by faith". In fact, the NIV version lists "by faith" over 20 times in 40 verses! Some of the things and people mentioned "by faith": Creation, Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses’ parents, Moses, Israelites, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets. Looking at these names, I realized these were not perfect people. Many of them had messed up, but still had faith that God would be with them during their times of trouble.

Reading on, I discovered a surprising fact.

Hebrews 11:13-16 (NIV) 13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

Hebrews 11:39 (NIV) These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.

How often do we believe that if we live by faith that entitles us to what God promises? We are blessed, definitely. I believe that part of the reason we do not receive ALL that has been promised is because we still live in a fallen world. If life was so great here, would we yearn to eventually go to our promised, much better forever home?

Another version I read mentioned not receiving the prize at the end of the race until we finish the race. We're still running the race, the prize lies ahead. Run on, one step at a time, to the prize! :)

Sometimes we get glimpses, unexpected blessings, prizes along the way. A few weeks ago, I was treated to time with my mom and a Martina McBride concert. I did not realize how much I would enjoy the concert and her many songs.

The following link is to her video for Anyway. Kind of follows the faith theme. Believe anyway, even when it doesn't make sense, even when you don't see the prize right now. Have faith in what you can't see. We don't "see" the wind either, but we know it's there and we feel it's power!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Be Strong and Courageous .... STAND!

Joshua 1:9 (NIV) “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

John 16:33 (NIV) "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."

Yesterday (Wednesday), was rather a blah day again...and not just because of the weather. It is amazing how fast my emotions can take control and drag me under. I was even reminded on Tuesday that the light God gives us isn't just around is IN us! I was sure doing my best to be in the dark. Hubby brought up maybe we're suffering from T.M.S. (Too Much "Stuff"). Luckily, hubby and I are not down on the same days! God is good.

So I'm finding some verses to remind me to look for the light and STAND even when I feel like laying down and giving up. I had heard this song before, but it sure fit the mood. The song is "Stand In the Rain" by SuperChick.

2 Chronicles 20:17 (NIV) You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.' "

1 Corinthians 15 : 57-58 (NIV) 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Ephesians 6:12-13 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Psalm 40:1-3 (NIV)
1 I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.

Keep the faith. God knows and cares even on the darkest days, even when we don't look to him first, and even when we want to stand on our own strength instead of borrowing His. Be strong and courageous! STAND!