Thursday, December 31, 2009

Clean Sweep

Last summer Kelly took a small group of students to the Purpose Driven Youth Leadership Conference in California. It was an amazing trip as we were challenged to grow in worship, through the various postures of prayer, and in finding our own personal Kingdom Assignment.

Strangely enough, the one thing I use most often with my own children is something we were told the very first day of the conference. We were asked to behave in such a way that we didn't make the hotel staff where we were staying or the PDYM staff at Saddleback sorry that we had come. We were encouraged to make those around us happy that we were there.

Today as I continue my Read Thru the Bible in a Year, I read Genesis chapters 5-8 and was reminded of this instruction. Unfortunately, God's creation made Him sorry that they were there. Chapter 6 verses 5 & 6 state, "God saw that human evil was out of control. People thought evil, imagined evil - evil, evil, evil from morning to night. God was sorry that He had made the human race in the first place; it broke His heart."

WOW! God was sorry that He had made man. His very own creation broke His heart.

"But Noah was different." Oh, what a great verse. God didn't like what he saw in His creation, but He loved what He saw in Noah. Noah chose to live in the world but not of the world. Enoch was Noah's great-grandfather, and although he was taken by God before Noah was born, I wonder if his legacy affected Noah. Twice in the four verses talking about Enoch, it states that Enoch walked steadily with God.
Steadily. Direct or sure in movement. Unfaltering.

What a way to walk with God. What a testimony for all Christ followers to strive toward. A life lived in that manner would definitely affect the family. I'm sure Noah's father and grandfather reflected the life of Enoch on Noah as he was growing up. And in Noah, God was not sorry. He was not sad that Noah was alive and He chose to preserve his life. Even in the midst of His clean sweep.

God chose to get rid of all evil in the world. He chose to rid the earth of all things that entangled creation and kept them from the abundant life that God had prepared for them.

Hebrews 12:1 states "Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses [Enoch, for example], let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perserverence the race marked out for us."

Let us make a clean sweep as we enter this new year. Prayerfully consider all those things that hinder your growth in Christ and choose to get rid of them. Name the sins that so easily entangle you. What is it that Satan uses time after time to trip you up and pull you away from the One who died for you? Get rid of that sin. Allow the blood that Jesus shed to wash that sin away and through your voice in prayer, defeat Satan. At the very mention of the name of Jesus, he must flee.

Make a clean sweep of Satan's hold on your life. Sweep him up and throw him out.

Make 2010 a victoriously clean year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Poison or Fruit

I'm accepting the "Read the Bible in a Year" Challenge from Mark Batterson in his book, "Primal." I've always wanted to do this and even have a Bible designed for this purpose. And yet, I do not make it all 365 days. Why my precious Savior isn't worth my time on a daily basis for a daily intimate conversation is truly beyond me. Intimacy requires time and concentration; undivided attention to the details in the words and meanings.
So, in remembrance of my weaknesses, I am getting a headstart! :) Genesis 1-4 shows us God active participation in our lives...the very beginning of our lives. Over and over in chapter 1 it tells us, "God spoke...and there it was." As a result of His voice everything we see, and everything we don't see came into being. His voice produces fruit...and not just actual fruit made during creation! (apple, anyone?)

God spoke goodness over His creation as He contemplated His work. He took pride in His workmanship and teamwork as He called on the Son and Holy Spirit to join Him in creating man. This time, however, He got His hands dirty. He got involved with His entire being in creating man, including His very breath that entered Adam.

With His voice, God invited Adam to participate in His creation by giving him the privilege of naming every living creature. With His voice, He offered Adam an opportunity to keep the Garden of Eden in order and even gave him delicious food to eat. God also gave the first instruction when He told Adam to eat of any tree except one.

Satan also had a voice, in the form of the serpent and he used his voice to deceive and tempt. Eve used her voice in response with inaccurate information. She changed what God had actually instructed to make it seem more confining and restrictive. Eve also used her voice to influence Adam to join her in disobedience. Unfortunately, Adam did not use his voice to tell her, "No!"

Once again, with His voice, God searches for Adam. He wants to have a conversation; to share intimacy with His very creation. Instead, God must use His voice for correction; for discipline. I love Genesis 3:21. In the midst of disciplining His children, God shows compassion by making leather clothing for Adam and Eve. Then, He dresses them Himself. Talk about a designer label and stylist! Vera Wang's got nothing on Him.

In Genesis 4:6-7, God is once again instructing when He talks with Cain and He says, "Sin is lying in wait for you, ready to pounce; it's out to get you, you've got to master it." That same instruction is repeated in II Corinthians 10:5. "Take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ." Remember Ropes. Handcuffs. Duct Tape.

God used His words to give life; to produce fruit in creation and in our lives. Satan used words to kill; to poison a relationship that Adam and Eve had with their Creator.

"Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit - you choose." Proverbs 18:21

What words will you choose today?

Poison? Fruit?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Today Has Been a Great Day!

This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Today has truly been a great day!

It didn't turn out exactly as planned. Rain kept us from riding our bikes to the park. Lack of brown sugar in the pantry and gas in the car kept us from making chocolate chip cookies. Risk took forever today and it kept us from playing Monopoly. Phog kept using the corner by the front door as his bathroom. Cameron flipped over a teammate at basketball and landed on his head on the gym floor.

We improvised! We watched a new movie from Christmas instead of riding bikes. We waited on Kelly to bring us some brown sugar and had cookies for dessert after dinner instead of an afternoon snack. Monopoly will be the first priority for tomorrow. Nothing can make Phog's actions positive. :( And, Cameron's injury is not the first; nor will it be his last.

Today has been a great day! I got to spend it at home with my children having fun and making memories. It is a blessing from God that I do not take for granted. Life is but a vapor and we need to be intentionally opportunistic to take advantage of every moment God gifts us with.

One gift from today came as the boys were washing dishes and I was putting fresh from the dryer sheets on their beds. Chloe was in the living room singing a song that she was making up as she went at the top of her voice. The song became monotonous as she repeated the same words over and over interspersed with "Trust me" and "It's not funny." I got out the video camera and taped her. I tried to be sneaky, but in our little duplex you just can't hide.

I'm not sure what tomorrow holds...besides Monopoly, but I know God will be working and I fully intend to join Him! How about you?

Ropes. Handcuffs. Duct Tape.

For me, Mark Batterson's words are convicting; straight from my Heavenly Father. I have had difficulty reading a complete chapter of "Primal" in one sitting. Not because of poor writing, but because the Holy Spirit is speaking...He is moving and I do not want to miss anything. I want to move on to the last section on the Strength of Christianity, and I have started. Yet, I have to continue my focus on a portion from the Mind of Christianity a little longer.

"Take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ." II Corinthians 10:5

Bind up. Ropes. Handcuffs. Duct Tape. Sounds like capturing a villain; someone unwanted; someone who wants to harm; someone who wants to steal, kill and destroy. I've quoted this verse time and time again as Satan lures me into sin. He knows my weaknesses and uses my active imagination to create fear, loneliness, and belief in things not true. He has led me down paths that I truly didn't want to take. He has had me believe that my desires were more important than my commitments. I have experienced victory because of spiritual ropes, handcuffs and duct tape. (The duct tape is necessary because my thoughts are loud...we are talkers!)

However, Mark Batterson casts a new perspective on this verse that has gripped me. And I can't shake it. He states that my interpretation of this verse is only "half the battle."
"This verse is not just about capturing sinful thoughts and getting them out of
our minds; it's also about capturing creative thoughts and keeping them in
our minds. It means stewarding every word, every thought, every
impression, and every revelation inspired by the Spirit of God."
Capturing creative thoughts. WOW! Like I said, I have an active imagination and would love to have a job where someone paid me for all of my ideas. I may not be organized and detailed enough to implement the ideas, but I can surely come up with some doozies! Sadly, most of my ideas are simply dreams; they have never been captured and brought to reality.

One, though, has been with me since the fall of 2002 when I was living in Kansas with Kelly's sister. An idea for a book. I have a file with articles and ideas and a little research. I have made phone calls and personal requests for people to participate. I have brainstormed interview questions with a close friend. I have written a preface. Yet, feelings of inadequacy keep me captive. I am the one tied up, handcuffed and duct taped.

So, I am asking you to hold me accountable for the next twelve months. Come alongside me and pray that I will take this God Idea and hold it captive. Encourage me to be obedient to the most creative inventor and follow through on a dream that is getting old. I desire to be used of God to shape the next generation of missionaries. I want to be a part of the salvation of that last one. I want to be used to usher in the trumpet sound.

Imagine with day, somewhere in the world, a Christian leads someone to Jesus and immediately the trumpet sounds and Jesus returns!

The harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Quest Continued

"Love the Lord your God with all your mind."

Mark Batterson begins the section on the Mind of Christianity in his book, Primal, with a quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes.

"A mind stretched by a new idea never returns to its original shape."

I love this quote! It makes me think of a balloon that has been blown up and released before it is tied off. You can picture it now I am sure. The pressure of the air releasing causes the balloon to shoot around the room as it falls to the ground. The balloon is now softer and all stretched out. It will never be the same again. This quote parallels our minds to a balloon and air to a new idea.

Mark backs up this quote with a couple of studies that prove the point. One of them takes us to the part of our brain that notices every car on the road that is the same as the one we just purchased. The very car that we would have sworn noone else had...until we bought it. Now it seems to be everywhere! Our mind has been stretched and it is no longer the same.

I have always said that reading and memorizing will cause our brains to grow. A friend even purchased books for my first newborn and wrote in the front cover, "Enjoy the story as your brain grows." A Sunday School class of ladies went in on a gift together and surprised me with a whole collection of books at my first baby shower. My husband has complained about the number of books that my sister and I purchase because there is simply no more room for them. And, yet I know that the more we read and learn the greater our capacity for learning. So, we are having built-in bookshelves built into our new home because I will never stop reading.

This conviction of mine is explained by Mark as the posterior hippocampus. God created us with the ability to learn something new everyday! Mark says, "Learning isn't a luxury; it's a stewardship issue." WOW! Not only is every good teacher a good learner, but seems like every good...growing Christian is a learner.

In Primal, Mark challenges us to continue reading about every subject that sparks an interest in us, to memorize scripture and dig deep. It makes me think of science. Every good scientist asks questions...all kinds of questions, but especially the ones that noone can yet answer. Every good science fair project leads to another project. It simply creates curiousity; a desire to find out more.

What else can I learn about God? What can I discover? What am I missing out on? I love it when students ask me questions that I can't answer. I keep a post-it note on my podium at school and when there is a question that I'm unsure of I will jot it down and then start the search. I ask others that know more than I do. I search the internet. I read books. I dig for answers. It is definitely fulfilling when I can go back to my students and tell them the answer and how I discovered it, because there isn't anything I do that a fifth grader cannot do on their own.

Proverbs 25:2 "God delights in concealing things; scientists delight in discovering things."

Mark Batterson says he thinks God loves it when we discover something or experience something that is new to us, even if those discoveries are common knowledge. Just as a parent loves to hear their preschooler say the ABCs or their kindergartener read their first book, God loves to have us discover His hidden riches.

Loving God with all our mind means to continually learn and discover God's hidden treasures.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Quest Continues

In Primal, Mark Batterson focuses my attention on the Great Commandment.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength."

I have read and heard that Scripture so many times that I have truly lost touch with the depth of its meaning. As I have embarked on this quest, I have longed for more time to be alone with God to truly reflect on the journey He has led me on.

Mark equates the four primal elements of the Great Commandment as follows: "The heart of Christianity is primal compassion. The soul of Chrisitanity is primal wonder. The mind of Christianity is primal curiousity. The strength of Christianity is primal energy."

Now, one of my spiritual gifts is giving so I assumed the chapters on the heart would be the easy ones to read...not much soul searching or conviction. How silly of me. Mark shared an experience he had while attending a Civil Forum on Global Health sponsored by Saddleback Church. A video was shown portraying the effects of AIDS. "Eight thousand people will die from AIDS today. Then, after all the stories and numbers and faces, the documentary posed this question: 'Are you okay with this?'"

That question got me. Not so much because of my answer but because of lack of proof to back up my answer. No! This is not okay. I am not okay with this. I am not okay that children in my country or city are hungry as they try to fall asleep. I am not okay that a child is crying themself to sleep because they have been beaten and abused. I am not okay that little ones are abandoned. I am not okay that people are dying without hearing the name of Jesus. But what am I doing about it?

"Where your treasure is, there your heart is also."

The only way to know if my heart truly breaks for the things that break Gods heart is to look at my bank statement and calendar. What is my money and time spent on? Where is my energy expended? Where is my heart drained? If the heart of Christianity is compassion then my heart needs to be bursting with love that is in action. The action of giving and going; sharing and speaking.

The soul of Christianity is wonder. Christmas is the perfect time of year to ponder this sentiment. A single strand of Christmas lights from the dollar store can transform a child's smile into a radiant glow! Now take that same child by a home that is decked out in Christmas spirit and they are giddy with excitement.

Chloe equates the amount of Christmas lights with how much someone loves Jesus! Right after Thanksgiving a neighbor down the street put up more Christmas lights than I imagined possible in places I never expected to see lights. The first time we drove past this display Chloe said, "Look Mommy! They must really love Jesus because they have so much Christmas spirit." As soon as we were home I got the wreaths on our outside windows! I love Jesus, too!

As adults, we drive past decorated homes with a focus straight ahead. We have somewhere to be and need to get there quickly. But children have a sense of wonder. They are awed by the glow and the twinkles. Their eyes shine with excitement and their imaginations full of possibilities! I have seen it all before. I've lived through so many Christmases, twelve of them in Branson! Silver Dollar City has as many lights as all the stars in heaven! (I'm sure the guys who put them all up would agree with this.) After a while, the thrill seems to wear away.

As a follower of the Almighty God, I desperately pray that the thrill stays new! I yearn for a childlike wonder to fill my soul as I search for how God is moving around me. I keep mementos of the moments that God has floored me with His power and involvement in my life. Items such as a busted communion cup and a photo of a fake tattoo on my son's wrist.

I have yet to delve into the elements of curiousity and energy, but I will. Trust me...I am committed to allowing God to penetrate my being and proof Himself real in every area of my life. In my heart. In my soul. In my mind. In my strength.

I am His.

Join me on this quest.

The book will be availabe for purchase on December 22nd. My copy was provided for review by Waterbrook Multnomah.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Quest for the Soul of my Christianity

I'm taking a journey this month to rediscover the heart of my Christian experience. Searching for the days when my Savior was the sole focus of my heart, soul, mind and strength as I read and pray through Mark Batterson's new book, Primal.

I remember times in high school when I knew God wanted to speak with me; times in college when He strengthened me with His provision and peace; times as a new wife as He inspired me to write and witness; and times as I reached my 40th birthday that He gripped my heart with a passion that I feel inadequate to possess.

In the midst of a busy career with active children and a husband that spends his days building the Kingdom of Christ, I find it easy to lose sight of who I truly am in Christ...who He truly desires me to become. He would not place desires and dreams in my soul if He did not believe they would be used for His glory and His good.

I pray that as I go through this adventure, I will truly rediscover the authentic soul of my relationship with my sweet Jesus.

Join me on this quest.

The book will be availabe for purchase on December 22nd. My copy was provided for review by Waterbrook Multnomah.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Power in the Blood

There's power in the blood of Jesus! Cameron experienced Ps 91:11 in his life as God's angels kept Satan @ bay. NO FEAR!

Cameron is the athlete in our family. He loves sports of all kind and excels. He was named MVP at Bill Self's (head coach at the University of Kansas) Basketball Camp and voted to the All-Star Team in baseball. He has great instinct, good hands and is fast. This was his first year to play tackle football and he was so excited. Truly, we simply expected things to go like they always do for him and sports.

However, he found himself paralyzed by fear. He was afraid of messing up. He was afraid of letting down his coaches and teammates. Most especially, he was afraid of getting hurt. Fear has always touched him when he tries new things. He has stood frozen at the top of a six foot skateboard ramp not able to let himself go. He has been frozen at the edge of the diving board unable to backflip into the water.

He has memorized II Timothy 1:7..."God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind." He knows that fear is from Satan and power is from God. He has heard the question, "Are you going to let Satan control you or the all-powerful God?" Needless to say, the six-foot ramp is a piece of cake and backflips are beautiful!

I assumed he would follow his pattern of quoting the word of God, remember who he wants controlling his life and be "cured." Football season has not gone this way. Last week, it was so bad that fear completely paralyzed him. Cameron is the backup quarterback and in our divisional playoff game, the starting quarterback was injured in the beginning of the game. Cameron came out and on his first snap, the runningback wasn't where Cameron expected him and the handoff was fumbled. The other team came up with the ball. Cameron went to the sideline and you could see his shoulders slump.

Our defense forced a fumble and we have the ball back. Cameron comes out for three more plays and then it happened. He grabbed his stomach, went to the sideline and took off his helmet. He sat on the bench and there he remained for the rest of the game. Fear had paralyzed him once again and this time he was physically sick. He had severe stomach pains. At first, I was so mad at him for allowing Satan to control him in such a way. I knew his pain was real, but I wanted him to make a choice for Christ and stand against Satan.

I had to leave the game a little early to get Jackson to golf and while I was sitting under the trees during the golf lesson it dawned on me that Cameron is 9. It is my job to guide him to the truth of God's word. I am responsible for the spiritual battle that is being waged on my precious son. When I saw him later he expected me to be mad at him (how convicting that moment was!) and I told him I wasn't. I let him know that I simply wanted him to learn to let Christ have the victory over Satan.

We spent the week reading various portions of Scripture as we prayed over Cameron. Psalm 91 really got him. I read it as my prayer as he fell asleep. He asked me to read it over him several times throughout the week. He would repeat certain portions of it and memorized verse 11.

"You who sit down in the High God's presence,
spend the night in Shaddai's shadow,
say this: 'God, you're my refuge.
I trust in you and I'm safe!'
That's right - He rescues you from hidden traps,
shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you -
under them you're perfectly safe;
His arms fend off all harm.
FEAR NOTHING! Not wild wolves in the night,
not flying arrows in the day.
Not disease that prowls through the darkness,
not disaster that erupts at high noon....

Yes, because God's your refuge,
the High God your very own home,
Evil can't get close to you,
harm can't get through the door.
He ordered his angels
to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they'll catch you,
their job is to keep you from falling."

Cameron knows that Satan was the one bringing the fear. Satan was the one that was causing his pain. He realized that he was allowing Satan to have power in his life. He prayed and asked God, his high refuge to not allow Evil - Satan - to get close to him. Cameron prayed that through the power in the blood of Jesus that the angels God had placed around him to guard him would defeat Satan from having any touch on him.

Practices this week for Cameron were amazing. (btw, we won the division and were playing in the Super Bowl) He came alive and decided he loves defense. He intercepted some passes and caused some fumbles. He was learning that through the blood of Jesus, Satan cannot touch him.

Saturday came and as gametime approached Cameron became quieter and quieter. When it was time to dress for the game, we prayed, quoted our verses and he said he was ready. However, I wanted him to have a weapon down on that field. I wanted him to have something visual and available, so I went and found a sharpie. I wrote Ps 91:11 on his wrist and told him that when Satan came a-calling to hold it up and shout the name of Jesus! As Christians we are covered in the powerful blood and Satan has NO power over us.

Once again, the quarterback went down and Cameron was called in. He was a little tentative, but he played every down he was asked to play. He is on the kickoff return team and caught a kickoff and ran it down the field. He was tackled several times, hurt his back from a late hit but never felt pain. He never felt fear. He never gave in to Satan's attempts. And, he had a couple. He told me after the game that each time he felt like he was getting nervous or scared, he would make a fist, quote the verse in his mind and the feeling disappeared. Praise the Name of Jesus!

What a wonderful week of spiritual growth for my precious nine year old! So thankful that God allowed me to be the one to teach my son how to fight victoriously over the Evil One. Satan, watch out...Cameron is here!

(In case you are wondering, we lost the Super Bowl! 28-0. Who cares though?!! Jesus won during the Super Bowl!!! )

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Frisbees, Book Covers, Golf Balls & Fractions

Every morning before we begin our day at school we say the pledges and have a devotional thought. We all take turns reading a verse and sharing a little something about it, pray and then we are ready to begin class. It is an excellent way for kids to become comfortable reading the Bible and praying in front of others and I thoroughly enjoy hearing their insights. I especially get a kick out of some of the verses they choose.

Jackson is in my class this year and lately he has been reading out of Revelation for his devotional day. He loves the villains in all his sci-fi books and movies. General Greivous in Star Wars is his favorite and I have to say, he has the villainous laugh down pat. Not to mention the evil glare that goes with it. His insight after reading is that we need to tell the world about Jesus so they don't have to experience what will happen in the Tribulation. (So much for being the villain!)

Today was my turn and I always let the students bring in items, any item they want, to place in a box. I reach in, pull something out and then share the gospel of Jesus with whatever it is. I want them to truly grasp on to the fact that everything in this world can be used to share Jesus. You simply have to know Him and His word. He will not allow a moment to slip by without sharing an insight if you're heart's desire is to make Him known. As Beth Moore says, "When His glory is at stake, you can count on Him to come through!"

In all my years of doing this for students I have yet to be stumped and this class of students is determined. This morning one girl immediately began working with construction paper and tape to form...we are not sure what. But, when it was pulled out of the box God gave an insight and the gospel was shared. The box contained a book cover...easy, the blood of Jesus covers you; a fold up frisbee...John 10:10 is one of my favorites - Jesus came to give us life more abundantly; a golf ball which proved to be more challenging but as I talked about the goal of golf being a hole in one the gospel fell into place (My heart is the hole and Jesus is a golf ball!); and a bag of fraction manipulatives...sin breaks us into pieces, but the forgiveness of Jesus through His shed blood makes us whole.

The best part of the devotional time this morning is that my students began participating!! They wanted to come grab something out of the box! I absolutely loved hearing them use the items, everyday ordinary items, to share the love of Jesus. I just know that with practice, lessons in using their voices, they will be able to boldly, confidently share the love of Jesus with the world. And, I am a part of it.

Thank you, Lord for the ways you use me to build Your kingdom. May I never fail You!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Timidity vs. Meekness

One of my favorite things about being a mom, teacher and youth pastor's wife is learning from the kids. I am inspired when the Holy Spirit teaches me while I am trying to teach little ones and impressed when teenagers take their knowledge and share it with the world. I am blessed to be a part of God's work in the lives of young Christians.

My husband and I have experienced a rough six years and though we were praying for the end of this season, the past six months have proved that our rain is still pouring. I pray that through it all God receives the glory from our actions, inactions and hearts. I find myself before His throne confessing and pleading as David did, that he would search me, know me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. God faithfully answers this prayer, as His word promises, and I have sought forgiveness from those I have hurt and God has blessed me with sound sleep as I lay my head down each night, right in His eyes.

And yet, I still feel daggers of attack, most recently through harsh, critical words. My initial reaction is to use my words and defend myself. I want to answer each attack with my side of the story and gather witnesses to prove my points. And, yet, through Godly wisdom of my family, prayer partner and accountability partner, I remain silent. God is telling me to be quiet. To be still. To know that He is God.

Amazingly enough, I'm okay with this. I say amazing because God is used to me wanting my own way. He is used to me trying to rationalize why my way is the better way. I bet He even expects me to cry through my arguing with Him, all the while knowing that my bark is always bigger than my bite! He has known me so long!

Tonight as I strolled through facebook, I find one of our teenagers status that is one of my Wam Bam Walla (Thanks, Tammy Whitehurst! :) ) verses. 2 Timothy 1:7 which says that "God did not give us the spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love and self-discipline."

A comment was made about the contradiction of spirit of timidity verse and the meek shall inherit the earth. So, as a good teacher, I went to the dictionary and discovered that timidity means lacking in self-assurance, courage, or bravery; easily alarmed; timorous; shy...fearful. While being meek means humbly patient or docile, as under provocation from others.

Light bulb!! The humility of meekness through biting words and comments of others is only possible because the Holy Spirit did not give us the spirit of timidity.

Gotta love it when it all comes together! The Bible never contradicts confirms itself!

My friend went on to say in a comment, "When we became Christians, Jesus gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; Titus 3:3-7). The Spirit lives in us, making our bodies a Temple (1 Cor. 6:19-20) and blessing us in many ways (Romans 8). We can be courageous people even in the face of attack, criticism, and ridicule because of the Spirit's presence. The fruit that the Spirit produces (Gal. 5:22-23) and the love that the Spirit pours into our heart (Rom. 5:5) do not make us weak. Instead, the Spirit's presence is a powerful force to help us overcome sin (Rom. 8:13) and live self-disciplined lives."

So, even though I want to shout from the rooftops, I am contentedly silent. I choose to allow the "Spirit's presence to be a powerful force to help a self-disciplined life" in "the face of attack, criticism and ridicule" because the Holy Spirit is alive and well inside of me.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

NIV stands for...

This morning, Cameron and I were talking about all the Bible verses he is to memorize for church and school. James 1:19 is his church verse and we always add one or two for him because his memory is so amazing and the Bible so powerful and effective. He suggested verse 20 and I commented about how much I love verse 17 and quoted it for him. Remember, I am a just-turned 40 year old, steeped in the good 'ol King James Version.

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."

Cameron looked at me a little funny and said, "No, Mom. That's not right. It says, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." I laughed and reminded him that when I was his age we always used the King James Version. He looked at the edge of his Bible and said, "Oh. I have the New Improved Version!"

I laughed and laughed! He turned a little pink as I corrected him, but what a truth he has placed in my heart today. I do not need a new and improved God. Hebrews 13:8 says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever." He doesn't need to improve. He is all I need right now and in the future. His words do not need to improve. They hold life for me...they are life for me.

In the age of upgrades, be content in the knowledge that Jesus Is. You can't get any better than Him...just as He is.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lessons from Chris

"Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492." This little ditty is learned by school children all across the United States. It is an important date in American history. What was the purpose of Christopher's exploration? Well, besides business, he wanted to prove that the earth was round. Although he didn't actually circumnavigate the globe, he did challenge the world's thinking. He went against the flow. He stood up to the majority. As the Harris twins say, he did the hard thing.

Being one of the crowd is an easy thing to do. Agreeing with the majority is comfortable and secures a place for us. We are welcomed and included when we think like everyone around us. However, does this benefit us? Does it benefit the Kingdom? No. Not at all.

How can we stand up and challenge the world's thinking? What platform do we have to stand up and say, "Jesus is the only way to heaven." Do we take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to us? Pastors from California call it a Kingdom Assignment. Some call it divine appointments. Call it what you will, but when God wants you to do something, be sure to obey. Be intentionally opportunistic!

Ephesians 5:8-17 (the message)
"You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You're out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true - these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it. Don't waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness.

Expose these things for the sham they are.

It's a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ. Wake up from your sleep, climb out of your coffins; Christ will show you the light!

So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times! Don't live careless, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants."

Use what the world dishes out and point it for Christ. Yesterday was "National Coming Out" Day. I challenged the youth at my church to Come Out for Christ! According to the little children's Sunday School song..."Hide it under a bushel...NO! I'm going to let it shine!"

Stand up and be counted! Challenge the world's thinking and lead them to Christ!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Friends We Keep

Last week in small group I was led to challenge my teenage girls to search for friends who challenge them to think right, do right and grow spiritually. I asked each of them if they have at least one friend to fit this category and they all agreed, if ever so quietly, they did. The next morning I posted my status on facebook as a "Friend Wanted: someone to challenge me to think right, do right and grow spiritually." I included II Timothy 2:22 "Run after mature righteousness - faith, love, peace - joining those who are in honest and serious prayer before God." (msg.)

Coming from a strong small group which met together for a couple of years, I felt confident that at least 7 people would say, "Yes! I am that friend for you." I cannot express the sadness and disappointment I felt to the responses that I received. One from that small group said she couldn't live up to the standard. At least she responded...none of the others did. I had 3 takers...out of almost 500 facebook friends. One was a friend of a friend for a season during college (20 years ago), one was a parent of my son's friend and the other is a friend in ministry in my hometown. None of the three have ever been part of my spiritual growth to this point, but I truly look forward to the ways my Savior is going to use them to make me more like Him.

The following is a review of the book "The Friends We Keep" by Sarah Zacharias Davis.

"During a particularly painful time in her life, Sarah Zacharias Davis learned how delightful–and wounding–women can be in friendship. She saw how some friendships end badly, others die slow deaths, and how a chance acquaintance can become that enduring friend you need.

The Friends We Keep is Sarah’s thoughtful account of her own story and the stories of other women about navigating friendship. Her revealing discoveries tackle the questions every woman asks:
• Why do we long so for women friends?
• Do we need friends like we need air or food or water?
• What causes cattiness, competition, and co-dependency in too many friendships?
• Why do some friendships last forever and others only a season?
• How do I foster friendship?
• When is it time to let a friend go, and how do I do so?

With heartfelt, intelligent writing, Sarah explores these questions and more with personal stories, cultural references and history, faith, and grace. In the process, she delivers wisdom for navigating the challenges, mysteries, and delights of friendship: why we need friendships with other women, what it means to be safe in relationship, and how to embrace what a friend has to offer, whether meager or generous."

I loved the book. The stories of real women and their relationships with friends is real and I could see myself and friendships I have had in most of the situations. It is an encouraging and inspiring book which helps you search out true friends and how to become one in the process. You can pick up your copy at

The Friends We Keep

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

House Progress

Since moving into the duplex while our home is built, we are without internet. (SHOCK!! I know. Another thing the general population of our world takes for granted!) And, I am behind in showing the progress of our home. So, here are quite a few pictures. It is moving slower than I would hope, but "good things come to those who wait", and "slow and steady wins the race." Whatever else you can say to make me feel good about it all would be greatly appreciated! :)
Obviously, the pictures are not in sequential order. I have tried several times to correct this problem...but I have smart friends and you can figure it out. :)
The house is farther along than this, but the up-to-date pics are on my phone...I'm a work in progress.

Friday, May 22, 2009

New Home

We are finally beginning construction on our new home! We chose a floor plan... ...of course, with slight modifications. We were blessed in finding our builder. Stanley Graves with United Contractors. We purchased our lot, and finally trees are being cleared to make way for our new home!

And, yes, we will be replanting the same number of trees that have to be removed. The trees just need to be strategically placed! Keep up-to-date on the progress here. And, offer feedback! I love to hear everyone's opinions.
"Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain." Psalm 127:1