Sunday, March 28, 2010

Fill 'er up

Mr. D and I were in the car not too long ago and a song came on about giving love away.
He asked "why would you give your love away?"
I said, "we give it away because it makes others feel better. Just like when Mommy hugs and kisses you , or when you tell Mommy you love her."
"Or when I share with my sister" he replied.
"Yes, that's right. You've got it!" I said.
"What if I don't have any love to give?" He asked.
I said, "Well, then you tell God you need more to give and He will fill you up. That's what God teaches us. That if we ask, He will give us love to give to others. We will never be empty because God will always give us more."
"I think I might be empty" he stated sadly.
"Tell God", I replied.
"God, can you fill my tank up, please?" He asked expectantly.

It is so easy to teach my children, but do I ever listen to my own words? I often feel empty, but I don't often ask for a fill up. I do other "things" like read my Bible, study my books, listen to praise music. All of these things are good and edifying and they work. I guess because I am a "grown up" I feel like I need to behave like a grown up. I should love God in a grown up way. But then, there is Matthew 18:3 unless you become like little children you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. With God I don't always have to be an adult. No matter what my age, I will always be His child. And that is grace. God will always love me and always give me what I need.

Father, please fill me up. My love tank is empty.

Friday, March 26, 2010

My first giveaway!

I am giving away this beautiful pendant (necklace not included). I took pictures on black and denim, so you could see the pretty pale green color. It is a small pendant less than 1 inch long.

It is made of Lake Huron beach glass, sterling silver and Swarovski crystals. It features a small charm that simply says "faith". We can all use a little faith sometimes!

one Lord, one faith, one baptism
-Ephesians 4:5

There are two ways to be entered into the drawing:
1. add a comment to this post
2. become a follower of this blog.
You can do both, for two entries.

The drawing will take place on Sunday, April 11. Please check back for the winner and leave your email if I don't already have it!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Oil of Gladness

Easter is so close. I am thinking a lot about death right now because someone special to me is very sick. We don't know what is going to happen. There is so much pain in loss. We feel it here.

God made the biggest sacrifice by sending his only son to die for us. That must have been a painful decision to make. But, it was necessary. The Lord does not want anyone to perish. (2 Peter 3:9) Time after time, God watched as people denied Him or chose to do things on their own. (Sounds like me.) The people of Israel couldn't do it- they were God's chosen people. Exodus 19:5 If you obey me and keep my covenant- you will be my treasured possession. Yet, they made golden calves (Ex 32:7-8) and built high places to worship other gods (2 Kings 17:9).

God knew from the beginning that his people needed a savior. When He created the garden of Eden, he already had Calvary planned. He knew why he was sending his son to earth. Yet He had to do it. He loved us so much that he sent his son (John 3:16) to die a terrible, painful and tortuous death (Matthew 27:27-50).

It reminds me of my loved one, watching someone we love in pain and suffering. God watched his son and could not take that from him. Like us, Jesus asked his Father to take it away. In fact, he asked twice, Matthew 26:39 & 42. But, God could not. Jesus had to die so that we could know heaven (John 3:16). It is difficult to watch someone we love, hurt and know there is nothing more we can do.

I am not comparing my loved one to Jesus. I am saying that God understands the pain and hurt that we experience.

You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.

- Psalm 56:8

Instead of turning against Him, we need to turn towards Him. He is the God of all comforts (2 Cor 1:3-4) and that is why he sent his son.

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,

and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.

Isaiah 61:1-3

Friday, March 19, 2010


My kids are currently taking swimming lessons through our community center. I am not allowed to take my son into the women's locker room. That is the rule. No matter what age, children of the opposite sex are not allowed in the locker room. I get it. They have a family locker room for this. There are individual rooms to shower and change. Very convenient, and easier to keep an eye on the kids... locked in a room all to ourselves. However, they happen to take swimming lessons at one of the busiest possible times. Therefore, we have waited up to 25 minutes to get a room (not fun for Mom with wet children).

There are no rules for getting a room. There is no specified line, in which to wait, and to say it is a free-for-all is an understatement. People leave class early to get a room, they save rooms for other people, adults without children come in to have their own private shower and people steal rooms. By this, I mean if they happen to be standing next to a room that opens up they will walk in ahead of anyone else who may have been waiting before them. It is not fun! I dread the after-swimming experience.

I came home this week VERY upset. I was angry. Why are people so sneaky? Why do people cut in front of others? Why don't people follow the same rules I do? I'm not trying to cut in front of you, if you were here first, you get a room before I do.

Then came the guilt. Why am I letting this upset me? It is not really a big deal. What does God say about this? What guidance can I gain from Him? So I went to His word. Let me tell you, the Bible does not say anything about line etiquette. I looked.

What is written?

Luke 9:48 For he who is least among you all—he is the greatest

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

Romans 12:9-21 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

So, that is good. But, it didn't sit well with me. I didn't find peace. No peace, no God. Today, He brought it to me. Pride. The reason I was so upset was pure pride!

Luke 18:11-14 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'

14"Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

Proverbs 3:34 & James 4:6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."

One of the greatest gifts my parents ever gave me was forcing me to go to Youth Group. I didn't want to go at first, but the friendships I formed and the experiences I gained built a firm foundation for the woman I am now. Our youth leader had several standard answers that we all despised! We knew they were coming, but it didn't stop the groaning or the protests that came, loudly, from 50+ high-schoolers. Whenever there was a competition he would announce the winners and the losers and then he would calmly say, "the first shall be last and the last shall be first".

I found that scripture this week. It is written four times in the new testament (Matthew 19:30, 20:16, Mark 10:31 and Luke 13:30). And then, I noticed something, in the NIV study bible the note on Mark 10:43 says "Jesus overturns the value structure of the world. The life of discipleship is to be characterized by humble and loving service." I added, "NOT PRIDE".

Jesus called them together and said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."(Mark 10:42-25)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Am I boring?

I read an article quite a while ago. It left a big impression on me. In fact, it was one that I kept. I'm not sure how I feel about it though.

It was written by Paul Scanlon. He is the founder of Abundant Life Church Ministries. Scanlon writes, "Christianity is not boring, but many Christians are because their interests go no further than all things churchy. If my one interest is church, then obviously I will only connect with church people, but it won't help me reach the vast majority of the planet who don't live in that world. If I only socialize with Christians, listen to Christian music, read Christian books, watch Christian television, attend a Christian school, vacation at Christian resorts, attend Christian exercise classes and go to my Christian hairdresser, then I think it's safe to say I need to get out more.

Millions of us burned our Elvis records, gave up our interests in politics, business, media, fashion, the arts, technology, entertainment and show business. We did it all for Jesus, who never asked us to give it up in the first place! We've become uncomfortable and at times dysfunctional in the worlds we left, worlds we demonized and theologized into becoming our enemies, worlds that God loves and hardwired us to flourish in. We were designed by God to prosper behind enemy lines- not for comfort, safety or retreat."

He concludes, "God made you to be interesting, so don't let the church make you boring. Don't work on developing a new personality, just work on building some bridges of interest. And before you know it, you will be in another world of potential new relationships and influence. If the great apostle Paul was willing to become "all things to all men," so can we. And whatever happens, it will be interesting!"

You can read the entire article here Are you Bored? on pages 24 & 25.

So what is written?

John 15:19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

John 17:14-15 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.

1 John 2:15- 17 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

I recently read this, by Beth Moore, "To live victoriously, every day we must learn to pour out our hearts to God, confess sin daily, acknowledge every hollow place and invite Him to fill us fully! Then we need to continue to fan the flame of His love by reading Scripture, listening to edifying music, and praying often. We also need to avoid things that obviously quench His spirit."

Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.

Proverbs 17:24 A discerning man keeps wisdom in view, but a fool's eyes wander to the ends of the earth.

Proverbs 23:12 Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.

I had a computer programming professor that always said "garbage in, garbage out". He was referring to the programs that we wrote, but could the same be said about our mind?

In order to become "interesting", I can watch Grey's Anatomy and make conversation with others who like that show. But, are those the images and situations that I want to put in my head? I can listen to main-stream music, but what are the messages I am I hearing? I can go to a bar with friends, with the intention of finding someone to minister to, but what am I exposing myself to, in the meantime?

I am NOT trying to condemn anyone, believe me, I have my own guilty pleasures! I am not saying any of these things are right or wrong. I think it would be easy to go off the chart- marking everything as either right or wrong. I don't believe that God calls us to hide out and limit our interactions with the world, as we cannot win others to Christ that way. So, where do we draw the line?

When we are filling our time, and ultimately our minds, do we say this is "good" or do we strive for this is "great"?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

My way or the High way?

I am a private person. I have a VERY short list of people that I confide in. There have been times I have shared things with people that I thought were "safe", and I have been burned! I have built walls to keep people out and to keep me safe. Therefore, this blog is a very big and scary step for me. I'm not going to spill everything, but I am still sharing pieces of myself that I don't normally share with people.

I also like to be in control. I like to plan... how my day will go, what I will do, what I will say. This often leads to frustration. Because, this is life! Things don't go my way. It is not my plan. I can't control what others say or do. I can't control what happens to me. (Lots of me's and I's in there!)

God has really been working on me this week about trust. Trust in Him and who He is. About surrendering my thoughts and actions to Him. There are so many thoughts that come at me during the day. Whether they are from others, from myself or even from the evil one. And I dwell on them, especially the bad and scary ones! Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Things are never going to go my way. But, that isn't a bad thing. God is love. Love is who he is. He cannot do anything that is not based in love. Jeremiah 29:11-13 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity." By surrendering my ways, I will be free of anything that holds me back from the person He created me to be. Trying to do it my way is weighing me down and holding me captive. I have to seek Him first (Matthew 6:33)!

As only God can, he taught me this week, and then presented the perfect opportunity to test my new "wisdom". The old me (from last week) would have tried to take control of the situation. Doing it my way. I stepped back from the situation. Recalled what God had showed me this week. I prayed and felt Him pushing me in a direction. "Really? You want me to do what?" I felt a confirmation, that is direction that he was pushing me. And I say pushing, because it was very against my own instincts! And then, He showed me... "Let go. I AM in control". I wasn't a vision with smoke and celestial lights, but I could see it written, with I AM in capital letters. "Ok. Ok, Father, I got it". So, I obeyed. It was scary, but I knew it was right.

I'm not sure how this situation will work out. But that isn't important, is it?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Close Encounters

Have you ever had one of those study times when it feels like God is right there talking to you? I love that feeling! I had one today.

I am currently doing the "Breaking Free" study by Beth Moore with my small group (Beth's words and ideas are in blue). The study today was all about
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

As only Beth can, she dissected the scripture, explained each of the pieces, then put it back together so that I could apply it to my life. "Strongholds are like concrete fortresses we've constructed around our lives for protection and comfort. These fortresses become prisons. At some point we realize we no longer control them. They control us." Hmmm.... giving other people too much weight, power and control over my life? Sounds like a stronghold! One that I have dealt with so many times in my life. I am a pleaser. I want to make others happy. I want others to be happy with me. I don't want to offend anyone. Insecurity plays a major role in strongholds. I was/am not confident in who God made me. Unbelief that God can do anything (which is a sin). "We often rationalize our strongholds. We maintain excuses for not surrendering areas of our lives to the authority of Christ". My excuse: I need this or that (person, approval) to be ok.

divine power to demolish strongholds (v.4)
The truth is that I really only need Jesus to be ok.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God (v.5) I thought I knew what was best. I didn't seek God first and ask Him. Another sin- pride!

we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (v.5) We become victors through surrender to Christ. I need to surrender to Christ. I may have to do this everyday or even several times a day.

So here is the prayer I wrote in my notebook:
I am still so easily swayed by the enemies lies! God please break any strongholds in my life. I want to live in your perfect will today and everyday. I do not want to put anyone or anything in the place that only you should be.

I still had a few minutes, before I needed to get ready for the day. So, I opened another favorite, Come Away My Beloved by Frances J. Roberts. I turned to the bookmarked page and found:Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Roberts wrote, "Put down your anxieties, and trust Me for everything. You need nothing but what I am fully able to supply, with no effort on your part. I do not ask all My children to live in so complete a degree of trust, but I require it of you, because you cannot please Me with anything less."

I can feel the heat from the refining! Discipline has never felt so great... and freeing!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Don't Get Mad....

Last night at dinner, Mr. D said "Mom, don't get mad, get glad". I thought he was just parroting a commercial he had heard, but then it came back to me again today. Maybe there is more to it?

What is written?
Habakkuk 3:17-18 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my savior. Now that is trouble! It is so easy to get upset and frustrated during the day. Things don't go as I plan and it seems that I can't get past it- the anger and frustration keeps stacking up. I recently heard Beth Moore talking about trouble she said "irritations are not tribulations". I face irritations everyday! I need to work on keeping it all in perspective.

Philippians 4:4,7 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Why rejoice again and again? When we are rejoicing and praising God, even in the midst of trouble, we are focusing on the good not the bad. We cannot be rejoicing and sinning at the same time. Prov 29:22 An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins. And Prov 10:19 When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. It is not what happens to me but how I react that really matters, so rejoice (as long as it takes)!

John 16:33 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. James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. We will face trials of many kinds, but this testing is what makes us more like Christ.

So the next time there are three spills during dinner and library books and homework are ruined in the process.... I will remember "Don't get mad, get glad and rejoice!" (I hope.)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Test

I heard this several times last week and it has really stuck with me. To me, it is really the same question asked different ways.

You get to go to heaven. It is everything you ever imagined and more. Everyone you know/knew and love is there. You want for nothing. But, Christ is not there. Would you still go? Would you want to stay?

You are a modern day Job. You lose everything and everyone that is important to you. But, you still have Jesus. Is He enough? Do you still lift your hands in praise?


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