Monday, December 29, 2008

New Beginnings

So, I was praying about the New Year, in different sorts of categories.

Ministry: Love! Be patient. Trust God. Ect. (Not very practical but much needed)

Family: Love, Laugh, Enjoy them.

Then to my surprise I added, My Thought Life: Memorize "Whatever is Pure, excellent, praiseworthy" verse. Do a study on "thoughts".

Here is the first verses I found: Eph 4:21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

I have been frustrated by my inability to act like a new creation. Is the key in our thought life and attitudes? Likely....

A New Year to learn more how to think like Christ and have an attitude that reflects Him and not my flesh. I am fine with that!

What is on your heart at this time of New Beginnings?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

And a Happy New Year!







Merry Christmas!

We had a lovely morning. The kids actually slept in until 7:00 (the first time ever) and we had time to get up and get ready. So the stove was going and the coffee was perking when they got up. I got snuggy stuff, a new robe and slippers and pjs and lots of Bath and Body works goodies. Yay. And an mp3 player I can download sermons on to. I have been wanting that for ages (well ok, about 6 months :).

We still have Christmas Dinner at my sisters to look forward too and I know she got a bunch of books I can't wait to read. :)

I hope your day is filled with joy. I love that Jesus gives us presents on His Birthday. :)

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Key to Freedom?

1 Cor 7:3o (Amplified Bible, first two parentheses mine)

And (let) those who weep and mourn (be) as though they were not weeping and mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they did not possess anything, And those who deal with this world [overusing the enjoyments of this life] as though they were not absorbed by it and as if they had no dealings with it. For the outward form of this world (the present world order) is passing away. 32aMy desire is to have you free from all anxiety and distressing care. 35Now I say this for your own welfare and profit, not to put [a halter of] restraint upon you, but to promote what is seemly and in good order and to secure your undistracted and undivided devotion to the Lord.

So is there anything distracting me from wholehearted devotion to the Lord? Anything causing me anxiety or absorbing me, that is of this world and will pass away?

Lord, let me live like there isn't!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Good Plans

Hebrews 11:39-40 (Amplified Bible)

39And all of these, though they won divine approval by [means of] their faith, did not receive the fulfillment of what was promised,40Because God had us in mind and had something better and greater in view for us, so that they [these heroes and heroines of faith] should not come to perfection apart from us [before we could join them].

I have never paid attention to these verses before this morning. I think it is shockingly wonderful that God has such a plan as this! All of the Saints, ever, reaching perfection, together. What a day that is going to be...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More on Judgment

These verses just make me smile: 1 Cor 4:3 Paul speaking,

As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. 4 My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.

5 So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.


We can trust God with everything, even the parts of our hearts and minds we don't understand yet.

Yay!

Monday, December 15, 2008

To Judge or Not to Judge?

Romans 14:44 Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 13Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.

I hear the second part of the latter verse quoted all the time. Reading it all in context today showed me something different. Yes, we shouldn't do anything to make our brothers and sisters in Christ stumble, which usually is us talking about alcohol consumption, but the other main point of this whole chapter is to trust God with other believer's personal lives, and not to condemn each other.

But then there are verses like these: 1 Cor 5:5 But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. ~12What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."

If anyone has studied this and has any insight, please share. The only thing I could see is that there is a difference between different convictions and blatant sin. We should not judge one another's convictions but we should be very careful about condoning the sin in someone's life. Which means we need to make sure we know the difference between sin and someone disagreeing with our convictions.

I have no idea why I am blogging about this. Except I am trying to figure all this judgement stuff out and it helps to write down my thoughts.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Back to Our Bodies, Again

Romans12:1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.



I can't get away from these verses!



What does it mean to really give our bodies to God? How do we become a living sacrifice? Practically? Do we treat our bodies any differently than the world does? I mean, really? We do seem to do a better job not sleeping around, if we stay married, that is. But is anything else different? Are we copying the world? Do we think any differently about our bodies than the world does? Is it as simple as just letting God's Spirit in us choose what we do in each moment?



Why are these questions so important? Because it is truly the way to worship Him! And it is how we know His good and pleasing and perfect will for us.



This is kind of humorous now that I think about it. I have spent years wondering if God even cares about our bodies at all, and now I am realizing that is the avenue for true worship.



Oh Lord, please teach me these things, soon! I want to worship You in spirit and in truth! For reals. What You actually mean when You use the word "worship". I don't want a contaminated worldly version. I want You.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Confession

I had to look these two verses up for my Bible study this morning:

Proverbs 28:13 People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just and will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The idea of God cleansing me from all unrighteousness has comforted me for years. I love that He wants us to confess our sins. He wants us to be honest with Him, even with the ugliest part of who we are. It is so interesting to me that in sharing our sin, exposing it, revealing it, we find healing. God wants us to be real with Him and with each other. All part of that love thing.

Of course, I don't think we need to confess our sin to everyone in the whole world, some people haven't come face to face with their own sin yet and they are not usually the merciful kind. We need to let God lead us to someone who will love us through our struggle.

Is there anything you have learned about confession that you would be willing to share?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Latest Question

Let love be your highest goal, but also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives, especially the gift of prophecy.
~I Cor 14:1

What is prophecy exactly? I have heard/seen many definitions but find them lacking, somehow.

This is my favorite so far: Prophecy is, at root, an especially acute insight into the mind of God on some subject or event. It doesn't have to predict the future. ~James Rutz

What do you think prophecy is?

Monday, December 1, 2008

My Thanksgiving

Whew! I was better by Thanksgiving. If any of you prayed for me, thank you.

We thought we were just going to have a quiet day with my and my sisters family. We ended up having my parents, grandparents, brother and family, and other sister. If we would have planned it, I would have been seriously stressed out. But since it just happened, it was really fun.

Friday we did nothing and it was nice.

Saturday we went and got our Christmas tree and the kids decorated the whole thing all by themselves and it actually looks decent.

Sunday we went to church and got groceries.

I realized as much as I want to love cranberries, I really barely like them. And I adore pumpkin.

I am thankful that life is so much deeper and richer than the surface of things. Even when they are good.

What is going on in your heart as we enter the Christmas Season?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Week

Ugg, I have been sick for three days. The last two days were kinda fun. I had an excuse to lay around reading books all weekend. Today, my ribs are sore from coughing and I am getting tired of reading and I really want to be well by Thursday.

I hope you have a Thankful Thanksgiving. :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

His Work

I was racking my brain like crazy yesterday trying to find this verse: For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him. ~Phil 2:13

My point? It is His work to change us. He does it. We just have to be willing. For anything and everything. Willing. He will make us able. In His perfect time. I may have said that yesterday as well. I am kinda ranting, but it feels good. :)

Ok, now I will go insert this in yesterdays post, where I wanted to put it in the first place. :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

God Will Not Fail Us

I am working on a theory. My heart has learned this lesson, the LONG HARD WAY but I am trying to develop it into something more solid.

Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself. Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. ~2Tim 2:11-14

Side track: Quarreling about words? What does that mean? Stirring words around and never getting to the real issue? Hmm, have to think about that.

OK, back to my theory. I spent decades of my life believing I was a failure. First, just as a human being and then after I became a Christian, I believed I was failing God.

Then God taught me, I am His work and He will not fail. I don't have to be afraid. Am I weak? Yes. Am I immature? Yes. Is my heart pure? No. Do I know how to love? No. Does He love me anyway? Yes. Will He finish the work He began in me? Yes.

I do not trust in my strength or my goodness or my maturity or my wisdom. Only He can save me. I do not rely on myself to figure anything out. Only He can guide me.

My theory: If we believe Jesus is the Son of God and that He came to save us and we are willing to do anything He asks of us (willing, not able...He will make us able in His time, Phil 2:13) we are not, and are incapable of being, failures. We can fail but we are not living, breathing, failures. Even in humongous struggles of sin and doubt. We are His masterpieces and we can trust in Him.

For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. ~Eph 2:10

O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.
~Is 21:1

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Upward Focus

Christy sent me this quote yesterday, she didn't tell me who said it:



"Faith is what makes life bearable, with all its tragedies and ambiguities and sudden, startling joys. "



This is part of what I wrote her in return:

The little mundane things have to be part of an exciting meaningful whole. Then I am good with the mundane. Because it is part of something more. Of course, everything IS part of a bigger, wonderful, meaningful whole. (God's Plan) I just lose sight of the big picture sometimes and experience ennui.


Do we all have such a hard time remembering our life is part of a bigger picture, or is it just me?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bored, again.

I am so bored, I relooked up bored on dictionary.com. I learned a new word. It could have my picture by it. This is me, so much of my life.

en·nui (ŏn-wē', ŏn'wē)
n. Listlessness and dissatisfaction resulting from lack of interest; boredom: "The servants relieved their ennui with gambling and gossip about their masters" (John Barth). Or
"Tawny relieved her ennui with eating and messing around on the computer"

[French, from Old French enui, from ennuyer, to annoy, bore; see annoy.]

Word History: Were they alive today, users of Classical Latin might be surprised to find that centuries later a phrase of theirs still survives, although as a single word. The phrase mihi in odiō est (literally translated as "to me in a condition of dislike or hatred is"), meaning "I hate or dislike," gave rise to the Vulgar Latin verb *inodiāre, "to make odious," the source of the Old French verb ennuyer or anoier, "to annoy, bore." This was borrowed into English by around 1275 as anoien, our annoy. From the Old French verb a noun meaning "worry, boredom" was derived, which became ennui in modern French. This noun, with the sense "boredom," was borrowed into English in the 18th century, perhaps filling a need in polite, cultivated society. (I had to put this in here to show how closely this word is tied with annoy which is also on my list of top 5 most frequent emotions.)
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

Life should be bigger than it is. I have known that since I was a little girl. How Lord? How do we live bigger with You? I don't want to just survive and be good. I want to dance. With You. With Your people. I am so tired of being bored with life. I am not bored with You, I am bored with me. Could You change me quicker? I know that will spice things up! Do I dare ask in Your Name? I think I will.....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What Does He See?

The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.
~2 Chro 16:9

I have been seeing this verse everywhere lately. I love it. I wonder how many committed hearts He finds as He searches the earth today? I am praying for God to show me if my heart is fully committed to Him, begging Him to purify my heart, so it will be pleasing to Him.

Oh, let's pray for each other's hearts. Without judgement, without criticism, but in love, lift each other up. And then live boldly, knowing He will give us strength. Strength to love and to live righteously before Him, no matter what the circumstances are.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Times Changing?

Mine was the generation that could have it all. Our ethos was built on the belief that we could control everything: our bodies, our minds, our bank accounts. Got a problem? Change channels, switch jobs, take a pill, to to the gym. Our bibles were our Day-Timers. Our god was self-reliance. Quote from "Walking the Bible" by Bruce Feiler

I checked to see how old he is. Around 45, I am guessing. I see our generation in the same light. Christian and non. I am wondering if all of that is about to change? Are we prepared? How do we prepare for the unknown?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Me, learning to love.

This is one of those morning when I wonder if I am a complete hypocrite. I woke up all happy, had a warm fuzzy quiet time, and then my kids got up. And one of them stuck their spoon in the other one's cereal. And a war broke out. I was not a calm, sweet, teaching sort of mom. I told them if they don't want to be friends and love each other, THEY BETTER ACT LIKE THEY DO. (For my sake, so I don't have to deal with them.) Faking love goes against everything I believe in. Yeah, I am a mature loving grown up. Laney left the house without saying Good-bye and Gabe left trying not to cry. The only good thing is, I refused to kick the dogs when they got in my way. Is that progress?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Trying to Explain Myself :)

I don't know if my last post made any sense. I am going to try and explain a little more and see if that helps or hurts. :)

I started life thinking I had all these "rights" as a human being. One by one, God has been showing me the truth. I thought I had the need to prove myself right and He taught me, Nope, it is all about love. I thought "love" was receiving love and He taught me, Nope, I am commanded to love whether I am loved in return or not. (Only He promises to love me unconditionally). He has taught me I don't need to defend myself. I don't need to prove myself worthy. And now He is teaching me it is ok to be owned. By Him. I am rejoicing in it, actually. I never, ever, ever thought I would be ok with someone owning me, not even God.

Ok, that is still weird and I am not sure it makes any sense. I just feel like I belong to Him completely. Spirit, soul, mind and body. And I like it!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Who Owns Me?

I have been thinking again lately about our bodies being "living sacrifices". I was listening to something about slavery on the radio and they mentioned how a slave did not even "own" their own body.

My horror at someone else owning my body made me realize, I have chosen to share my body with God, and my husband, offered it up as a tool for righteousness for God's kingdom,(Romans 6) but I still feel like my body should belong to me, to do with as I please, as long as I am not sinning. I am starting to realize that is a lie from the enemy. If I believe I have ownership of my body, I also shoulder the responsibility to care for it and to control it, on my own. If I don't give up my "rights" to my body, I am hanging on to my flesh, and giving Satan a tool to fight against me with, since I am not stronger than him in my own strength.

God doesn't ask us to separate ourselves from our bodies, only to consider ourselves dead already. (Romans 6 again) Is giving up ownership of our bodies part of dying to sin? Is that when we find out what our bodies are really for? Would giving our bodies be so much more joyful than keeping them for ourselves?

(I am very excited I figured out the little linky things, yay!)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What is your passion?

If I had to narrow down to one passion, it would have to be knowing and loving God. It would leave out too much of my life if I didn't mention my second greatest passion though. God's people. I know I am supposed to love ALL people but my passion is for God's people. I have a serious obsession with the Church. I don't mean the building, it is just a place to meet with the people, who are the Church.

The reason I say KNOWING God is because I don't think we can love someone well if we don't know them. And if we love them, that should inspire us to get to know them. One of my favorite things about God is there is always more to know about Him. An endless cycle of discovery and adoration. He will never get predictable and boring, if it truly Him we are interacting with.

I think part of loving our brothers and sisters in Christ is also getting to know them.

With all this in mind, I was wondering at how some of my interactions with people seemed orchestrated by God, Himself, and I realized.... God is teaching me how to love! One moment at a time. One situation at a time. I don't know about you, but I have always had the desire to love and be loved but had no idea what to do with the desire. I always do too much or too little. Say the wrong thing, come across in a way I don't mean. Have bad days and only care about myself. I realized we all have to learn how to love. Truly love. Not the selfish, I-just-want-you-to-make-me-feel-good-about-myself-love, but the I-will-consider-your-needs-before-my-own, (because I know God will take care of my needs), kind of love. (Phil 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.)

So, now I am wondering if all God given passions start with the greatest commandment? A little different twist on loving God and people? If you had to narrow down to your greatest passion, what would it be?

God is in Control

When the day arrived, Herod put on his royal robes, sat on his throne, and made a speech to them. The people gave him a great ovation, shouting, "It is the voice of a god, not of a man!" Instantly, an angel of the Lord struck Herod with a sickness, because he accepted the people's worship instead of giving the glory to God. So he was consumed with worms and died. Acts 12:21-23

I don't read Acts very often. I don't know why, I find the early church fascinating. I am reading Acts to study them again, actually. I long for the adventure with God, the openness to His work, the purity of their love and fellowship. Well, maybe it wasn't all that pure, they were humans. It did seem deeper and more real, though.

Anyway, I had forgotten this story. Is it really that easy for us to worship another person? Not in a subtle "I didn't really realize I was living for you, instead of God way" but in a "I am so impressed by your glorious humanity, I am going to actually call you a god!" way. Would we do that now? SCAREY!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Confidence vs Arrogance

I am feeling weird this morning. Learning balance in life is really difficult. I spent so many years hating myself and not having to worry at all about appearing arrogant, now that I am starting to like who God made me to be and enjoy my life, I feel weird. Almost like I grew another arm and I am not sure what to do with it.

He showed me a while ago that I need to quit worrying about appearing arrogant and just be concerned with actually being arrogant. That helped for a long time, but the happier I get, the more I don't know how to act. One of my friends and I were talking about how it almost seems wrong to be happy. Not to appear happy, but to claim we are truly, deeply happy. Happy to be alive, happy to be God's, happy to have the life that He gave us.

I used to think I would have to be pretty close to perfect to be happy. I am not sure I have even acheived goodness yet (as in the fruit of the Spirit, goodness), I am just learning to trust that God will complete His work in me, that nothing is impossible for Him, and that makes me feel so hopeful and secure. And of course, two hours from now I could be all upset about something again, blech, like the mouthful of coffee grounds that my new, sub-par french press created. Deep, I know.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Adventures in Prayer

The first time I started hankering for Starbucks, I was surprised where it led. I started thanking God. For all kinds of stuff that I usually take for granted. I never imagined that denial could lead so quickly to thankfulness. To feelings of quiet gratitude. It seems this is part of God changing my heart; from an anxious, frustrated heart to a thankful, quiet heart. It is unusual for me to recognize when transformation is taking place. I usually can't tell until it has been different for a while. Of course, this could be an forty year process, I don't always learn very fast.

All this to say, I guess I am not going to have any grand plans for my prayers, I will just take this prayer adventure one hankering at a time, and see where He leads me!

PS. Hot chocolate must be off limits too because the hot chocolate I had instead of coffee made me feel like I was going to throw up. And my daughter accidently broke my french press, so I am trying not to think that means anything. Other than I have to go out today and scour the town for a new one, of course. :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hi!

Don't you hate it when you feel like writing but nothing to write about?

That's me at the moment.

Jason lost his overtime, so he will be home with me on Fridays. The kids will be at school. Whoo Hoo! Starts tomorrow.

Gabriel has two cavities. Guess he should start brushing his teeth twice a day. (Good mother moment!)

My daughter is getting sassy! I think it is funny. (As long as the tone of voice is ok) I probably shouldn't let her know that.

I love 12 year olds.

I hate puppies. Too strong, I will clarify; I hate potty-training puppies.

Our articles for the newsletter are due next week. Maybe you could pray for me so mine doesn't resemble this?

Last thing: I told one of my friends that I would refrain from buying any fancy coffees for three weeks with her. I am not sure what I want to pray for, while I am wanting coffees. Any suggestions? We start tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Reality Check

I am still thinking about what is real and I am finding all sorts of verses that talk about the subject. Lovin this one: Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. Col 3:2-3

Why would God hide our real life? I am guessing it is something about faith, being certain of things we cannot see. So cool!

And here's another passage from Revelations: You say, `I am rich. I have everything I want. I don't need a thing!' And you don't realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. I advise you to buy gold from me--gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. And also buy white garments so you will not be shamed by your nakedness. And buy ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. ~Jesus

How would we buy something from Jesus? I doubt He has any use for American dollars. I am just asking that He will anoint my eyes so I can see things how they really are. Since He has already paid the price for my redemption.

On a more earthly note, I am extremely irritable this afternoon. For no reason again. Just thought I would let you know. :)


*****My friend Anni sent me these verses in a different translation that expain the "hidden" part very well. Thanks Anni!

Col 3:1-4
3:1 Since you became alive again, so to speak, when Christ arose from the dead, now set your sights on the rich treasures and joys of heaven where he sits beside God in the place of honor and power. 2 Let heaven fill your thoughts; don't spend your time worrying about things down here. 3 You should have as little desire for this world as a dead person does. Your real life is in heaven with Christ and God. 4 And when Christ who is our real life comes back again, you will shine with him and share in all his glories.
TLB

Friday, October 17, 2008

Examination Time

A couple days after I wrote the "Truth or Illusion" post, I read these verses in my Bible Study book: (Ps 33:13-22)

From heaven the Lord looks down
and sees all mankind;
from his dwelling place he watches
all who live on earth—
he who forms the hearts of all,
who considers everything they do.

No king is saved by the size of his army;
no warrior escapes by his great strength.
A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
despite all its great strength it cannot save.


But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.

We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.

May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord,
even as we put our hope in you.


It seems to be heart examination time for some of us. Well, me anyway. What am I trusting in? What am I hoping in? Do I feel as secure today with all of the uncertainty in our economy and politics as I did last year? Is my hope truly in God alone, so that circumstances don't matter? On the flip side, do I feel powerless because of my lack of strength?

I am so glad God knows exactly how to lead His people. We may find it uncomfortable, and even painful at times, but He is doing what is best for us.

May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Favorites

Hey Guys,

Just wanted to let you know, I think this is a super good blog, if you want to go check it out.

http://birgitwhelan.com/

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Truth or Illusion?

It is a glorious autumn day today. I actually went and took a walk. It was very similar to one of my first memories. Of me walking to kindergarten by myself on a windy fall day, thinking of how life feels like a dream. I am surprised I felt that way, being so young.

Today I was wondering about what is real. The things I can smell and see, the here and now, or the things going on behind the scenes that I can't even see? Will the future show me if this moment is real? Will I find out my life was what I thought it was, or will I find out I was just fooling myself?

I was thinking about how as believers, we are safe and secure. We are protected and provided for. But if we don't believe that, we don't feel safe. Does our fear make His provision less real? God gives us what is best for us, always. But His priorities are not our priorities. What He says is good and true and important, may not even appeal to us. I so desperately want His priorities instead of my own. I am not afraid of Him controlling my life anymore, I am begging Him to. I want what is real. I don't want to live so things can seem good and true and beautiful. I want to walk with Him, who is love and truth and beauty, so in the end, all that I lived for will not burn up in the flames.

So I guess it goes back to that old question...are we building our lives on the solid rock or the shifting sand? So glad He is a carpenter and our guide!


1 Cr 3:12-19
For no one can lay any other foundation than the one we already have-Jesus Christ. Now anyone who builds on that foundation may use gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But there is going to come a time of testing at the judgment day to see what kind of work each builder has done. Everyone's work will be put through the fire to see whether or not it keeps its value. If the work survives the fire, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builders themselves will be saved, but like someone escaping through a wall of flames. Don't you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? God will bring ruin upon anyone who ruins this temple. For God's temple is holy, and you Christians are that temple. Stop fooling yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world's standards, you will have to become a fool so you can become wise by God's standards. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, "God catches those who think they are wise in their own cleverness."

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Weather Watch

Whew, I think the storm is over and the Son is shining in my heart again. (Not that He ever left, of course, the cloud cover of my flesh was just getting in the way.) Thank you for praying for me. Hopefully, this not just the eye of the storm!

I am also so glad that I have friends that I don't have to pretend with. That will still love me if I go weird phases of despair for no real reason. Thank you!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sand-Blasted

Do you ever feel completely overwhelmed by the little things? A thousand little aggravations building up until you feel like it is just too hard to live? I am feeling that way right now.

Beaten by sand.

If you had hours to waste, we could sit down and I could start with Friday night and tell you every little thing that has bothered me since then and you would secretly wonder what the heck my problem is, because none of them are that big of a deal (I have a feeling quite a few of them would only bother me). From an eternal perspective, they are nothing. But right this moment, I am tired, I am irritable, I want to lay down and have somebody wake me up when Jesus comes back. I see more sand blowing in the wind of tomorrow and I really don't feel like walking into it. But I sense God calling me. I know it is for my good. I will go. I am not saying I am strong enough to go well, and certainly not gracefully, but I will go.

And the good thing is, no storm lasts forever.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pondering....

I have been overwhelmed lately with thoughts and experiences that are testing the way I think. What does a life lived for God alone look like? How does God feel when I long for something other than Him? Why is it so hard to trust God's involvement and timing? Why does being real have to be so embarrassing? What would it be like to trust His love and goodness so much that I can live without fear? Thankfully, I have also learned to trust Him a little bit and enjoy the sweet moments in life. And I know He loves us to seek Him in our questions. And He loves to be found. And who He is has never, ever disappointed me.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

Friday, September 26, 2008

Shifting Priorities

Ugg, I am a disaster right now. My heart is. I am not sure it is any worse than it has ever been, it may actually even be better, I am just becoming aware. So full of these subtle doubts and fears. All fidgety. I keep thinking about this verse: But I have stilled and quieted myself, just as a small child is quiet with its mother. Yes, like a small child is my soul within me. (Ps 131:) I am getting desperate for a still heart. For a quiet heart.

You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. (1 Pet 3:4) I used to hate this verse. Maybe hate is too strong a word, but who wants to trade beauty for gentleness and quietness? Didn't seem like such a good deal to me, especially since gentleness and quietness sounded BORING. I am starting to see the value in it.

Pray for me!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Life stuff




Well, one of the exciting changes in my life right now is my husband and I are actually doing some things, instead of just talking about them. We shut off our cell phone, changed our cable package (we just have Internet and phone), and sold our standard poodle, Sofi. She was my dog but we figured out she was costing us like, $400 a year! So Sunday we met some people in Union Creek (they are from Bend) and sold her for enough to buy a little, lower-maintenance dog. The people live on a farm and she is doing really well and having lots of fun learning that she can't chase chickens. (The picture of her is at their house, on Sunday) I am going to cancel netflix this weekend too. It is weird how we talk about things for years and never do them, and then all of a sudden do. I am sad about my dog, but I know we are making the right decision. Gabe's turning eight tomorrow and Dev will be turning 12 on the 2nd of October so we are going to be in Birthday madness for the next week or so. Parties, my favorite! (If any of you don't know me very well and care enough to still be reading, I better tell you, I hate planning parties with a passion.) I am hoping once all of this is over I will have time to start blogging again, since I find it extremely fun.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

living up to the dream?




I haven't been blogging much lately. Because I have been too busy living. I am a dreamer and sometimes I get discouraged because my life never lives up to my dreams. I just realized while I was dancing around my house cleaning, blasting Spirit 66 music, that my life and my dreams are starting to converge. Wow, God is good. Life hurts more than I ever imagined, but it is also sweeter and bigger and better. In Him. With Him. It is all Him. And His sweet wonderful people. He is opening up my eyes to what He sees in us. I can't see it well enough to explain it, yet, but it is changing my heart. Filling me with light and life. Hope and Love. Joy. Him.

Bring it on, Lord!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

We Don't Have to Live in Shame, EVER.

I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. ~Ps 34:4-5

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Love and Peace?

I started writing this post a couple days ago. I was feeling very positive that day. Last night I had a dream and I woke up and prayed about it and realized God may be asking something of me in this area that I am not able to do yet. I think He is strengthening my heart, getting me ready. So that is why this post starts out so differently than it finishes.

If you didn't know this-I have a mad, crazy passion for unity. In the family. In the Church. To me, there is nothing stronger, nothing sweeter, nothing better than unity. I believe it begins with honesty and transparency. Sometimes it requires emotional intimacy, sometimes not. In the last couple of years I have been so delighted to realize that God has this same passion for unity. (I know His came first) If you don't believe me, read John 17 again.

I love, love, love, that He is united with us. All of our unity with other people should come out of our shared unity with Him. I do not believe unity is just being in agreement. That is part of it, of course, but I think there is so much more to it.

Eph 4:2 Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love. 3Always keep yourselves united in the Holy Spirit, and bind yourselves together with peace. 4We are all one body, we have the same Spirit, and we have all been called to the same glorious future.

Col 2:14 And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.

1Pet 1:22b See to it that you really do love each other intensely with all your hearts.

Here's what I am thinking. I rarely do any of these things. Why? Because I am afraid to open myself up like that. Why? Because love HURTS. Why? Partly just because it is so fierce and strong and partly because WE DON'T USUALLY LOVE LIKE THAT so there is a very good chance people will just think we are out of our minds. I found it interesting how often love and peace were mentioned together. I have lots of growing to do because love and fear are still the pair for me. I am still so afraid of getting hurt, being embarrassed, being rejected, being misunderstood.

If we had strong, pure, fierce love for one another, the church would be a completely different place. The family would be a completely different thing. How many of us are still in it for ourselves? And as soon loving gets dangerous, we withdraw our hearts. We do not even let people really know us, let alone love us. We lonely and afraid, surrounded by our own families and God's family. This is wrong! Who is going to change it? Me? You?

Ok, I am being a little dramatic, but I still feel this heavy on my heart. A lot. Father, give us the courage and strength to love! Give Your people a vision of love. We are learning to serve the world and remembering to care for the poor but are we really united in Spirit and purpose and loving one another like You have taught us to do? Open our eyes and our hearts and change us Lord!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Relief

Whew, what a crazy week I am having. The evening Bible study started last Thurs and the morning started today. I am excited to see what God is going to do in His girls throughout the fall.

I have been thinking about my beauty post, off and on, and thought I should give you guys an update. After I did that last looonnnnggggggg post about it, I realized beauty has not been an idol for me for a long time. I was believing beauty was a requirement for godliness though and that is why I was feeling confused. After I did all that research for that post I felt SO much better. I do not think in is wrong to diet, exercise, and my hair is still wet from getting colored this afternoon. But now I don't have to feel like a failure anymore. I am not failing God if I don't figure out how to be skinny. I can work on it, as time and life and more important things permit and I will continue to take care of my body to the best of my ability but I am not less valuable to God. And my biggest fear was failing Him in some way. Whew, I hope this stuff is really worked out in my heart. Time will tell. :)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Learning to Trust HIS Faithfulness

Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be free from blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. God will surely do this for you, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he is the one who invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

~1 Cor 1:7-9 NLT

I don't get tempted to memorize verses very often but I found these so extremely comforting, I may have to. :) I still find it so hard to believe that God would "invite me into a partnership" with Jesus. Especially since He definitely knows who I am. I have to believe it though, He said it.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Quote For The Day

I read this in my devotion book last night. I desperately needed it:

Do not be disquieted about your faults. Love without ceasing and much will be forgiven you, because you have loved much. Faults perceived in peace, in the spirit of love, are immediately consumed by love itself; but faults perceived in a pettish fit of self-loved disturb peace, interrupt the presence of God, and the exercise of perfect love. Vexation of a fault is generally more at fault than the fault itself. ~ Francious De La Mothe Fenelon

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. ~1Pet 4:8

Sometimes words cannot express how grateful I am that the greatest commandment is to love.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Smashing my Beauty Idol

Lord, wrap your strong hands around mine as I wield the sword of the Spirit to destroy this idol I have been been trying to throw away and keep taking back just enough to make myself miserable. Crush it way beyond repair, My King. I ask in Your Name!

Are there any verses in the Bible that tell us we are supposed to try to be beautiful?

Prov 11:22 A woman who is beautiful but lacks discretion is like a gold ring in a pig's snout.

(This one seems to say discretion is more important.)

Prov 31:30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

(This one seems to say beauty doesn't last.)

1 Pet 3:3-4 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.

(I shouldn't worry about my outward beauty?)

These are all the verses that I found that could apply to eating and exercise, in my opinion:

1 Tim 4:8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

Go ahead, Child, run if you love to run, but remember there is something much more important to live for.

Ez 16:49 Sodom's sins were pride, laziness, and gluttony, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door.

Don't you dare eat more than you need while your neighbors are crying themselves to sleep because of hunger.

Prov 23:20-21 Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat,for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.

If all you care about is eating and drinking, you will waste your life and dishonor your King.

Math 6:25 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?

Are you alive or not? Truly alive? Dancing and singing in the Spirit, flooded with freedom and joy?

Luke 12:29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.

DO NOT WORRY ABOUT IT!!!! (Yes I am sorta cheating because these were both in the same context, but I like them so much!)

Romans 14 has a whole lot to say about food and eating and you can read it yourself. But bottom line it says life is not about food, it is about living before God with a clear conscience and loving your brother more than yourself.

What does God's word say about us being healthy?

Ps 73:26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.

Is 38:16 Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You have restored my health and have allowed me to live!

I could not find one verse that says we give God more glory if we are healthy and beautiful. He grants us health and beauty if He sees fit. Some people are beautiful, some are not. Some people are healthy, some are not. By His will and for His purposes. I didn't find one verse that says we are supposed to try and make ourselves healthy by diet and exercise. I didn't find one verse that said we are godlier if we never eat sugar. If anything, the Bible says NOT to worry about those things.

Thank you, Lord!!

My Conclusion:

If you can find some verses that disagree with my conclusion, please feel free to share them with me. We will have a very loving debate but don't bother bringing up the old law, if your ears are pierced. :)

Do not gorge yourself on meat. I am guessing probably not any other food either. Live for God's kingdom. Don't worship anything but Him. Don't flaunt your freedom. Live according to your convictions but don't judge others. (Rom 14)

Live for Him alone. Not health. Not beauty.

Mat 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

HIS righteousness, not our own. Beauty does not equal righteousness. That is where I was getting hung up. I wanted beauty to equal righteousness. Then I would be guaranteed to have some beauty someday. Guess I just have to trust my God to give whatever beauty He sees fit in His own time. We can not make ourselves righteous. Only He can. And He already did. Beaten and bruised. He wasn't pretty then! Lord, teach me Your truth. I know beauty has been WAY too important to me. May my heart have your priorities. You became ugly for me. May I be willing for anything for you.

Live free. Trust in Him. We have something a zillion times more valuable than earthly beauty.

We are the daughters of God.

Quote for the Day

"Being faithful to God is not behaving perfectly. It is trusting Him to our last breath."


His goodness, His power and His plan.


Because, ahem, we are losers without Him. In all sorts of ways.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Running With Him

I bawled my head off on the way to work today. I was begging God to make me completely His. To use me for His kingdom. To do whatever He wants with me, as long as it is pleasing to Him. I do NOT want to live for the things of this life. The things that won't last. I don't want to care about how my car looks, or my body looks or my house looks. I don't want to care about what people think about me or even what I think about me. I want Him to cut the ties of all of that earthly stuff so I can run freely in the path of His commands. I want to serve Him and serve Him well. I want to run with Him and do His will and give Him pleasure. I want to truly live for Him and not myself. I do not know how to live like this. I will have to trust that He will answer my prayers and purify my heart and lead me to this place of joy and freedom. I don't want to go there alone. I want to go there with His people.

Thank you to the people who are already with me. I cherish you.

I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free. Psalms 119:32

Monday, August 25, 2008

Home......

My heart and mind is so full right now, I don't even know where to start. God absolutely amazed me to death this weekend. The training was good, Living Proof Live was good, the healing and uniting that God did with our team was shockingly good. But mostly it was seeing His hand in everything that was so wonderful. He orchestrated our time on every level I can think of. Physically, spiritually, emotionally, individually, corporately. I love it when God performs extraordinary miracles with ordinary means. :)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Absent This Week

Just wanted to let you know I won't be blogging this week. I will be in TX for a training conference, followed up by a Living Proof Live seminar. Yay.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Daily Stuff

I really feel like blogging today, but I don't have anything to say. I read some cool stuff in Ephesians this morning about us being united with Christ and read in Ezekiel about God comparing Israel to His wife. (Not a very good wife either...more like a very bad wife) That was interesting and shows the intensity of His love for His people. Wow, those two thoughts go well together, I didn't think about that until I just wrote it down. If we are believers, we are united with Christ, whether we act like it or not. Hmm.....

Gotta get groceries. Bring someone dinner, which if you know me very well, is a small miracle. If I don't bring them Papa Murphy's Pizza it will be a little bit bigger miracle. Go to Costco with Jason, try not to find a book I "need". I am starting to get that Autumn cleaning feeling. I hope it grows and doesn't go away before I can do anything with it.

Link Group tonight which I am actually looking forward to. We are finally done talking about science in The Truth Project and talking about God stuff. It is all God stuff, I know, but I like studying God Himself better. Last week we talked about Social Order and that was very interesting. How God set the family up compared to the Trinity. Really liked it. The thought was Father and Son, with the Spirit proceeding from them and Husband and Wife with children proceeding from them, all still one. But then Del (Is that his name?) talked about the church being Christ and the leaders in the Church with the flock proceeding from them. I would like to believe that but it seems too simplified to me. Because the Father and the Spirit are also a huge part of the Church. And I am not sure the "leaders" have a closeness above the flock. (He drew a circle with the top two word across from each other and the third word underneath) In the Old Testament maybe, but we all share the same Spirit under the new covenant. If anyone has any clarity on that and wants to share it with me, that would be fun. :)

Off to the grocery store......

***Update***
I love those little star thingies. Anywho, while I was driving around town, I made a discovery. I am not Suzy Homemaker. (Shocking I know.) And as much as I would like to become her someday, I need to come up with a plan B. Like make enough money to get a housekeeper. Or quit buying cookbooks that I just read, instead of cooking from, so I can afford better simple food. :) I should probably work with who I am instead of trying to be everything I admire in someone else. This is a whole different track to explore. I will keep you posted, of course. :)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Adventure





I love adventure.

We just spent a lovely weekend at the Ocean.

We got to Brookings and our Bronco started making a weird noise and our tire was being held on with ONE lug nut instead of FIVE. I had prayed before we left. I have never done that before. (Not out loud with the family as we were driving out of town anyway.) I thought it was very interesting that we broke down 15 minutes before closing time, right by a tire store. The manager had them stay an hour late and fixed it for us.

Since the alternative was having an accident while we were driving down the mountain, I was very happy with my God.

My adventure longing is satisfied.

For the moment.

It got me thinking though. What is the real adventure of Life? What sorts of adventure should I be seeking? What are the adventures that really mean something?

As humans we have so many choices in how we spend our time and thoughts.
I know we are called to follow Christ. I know we are called to love those around us everyday and that isn't easy. Is there more? What am I missing?

I am so glad God isn't boring.....


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Quote for the Day

Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. NLT

Rejoice. Be restored, be encouraged, be of the same mind. HCSB

~ Paul in his letter to the Corinthians

I love that this shows that growing to maturity may be the same thing as being restored......

Monday, August 4, 2008

Singing Hearts

At the beginning of the Simulcast, we sang that song that says, "And I'm gonna praise you for the rest of my days". I realized I have not been rejoicing in God the way I was. I have gotten used to being a little bit happier and healthier, emotionally, and become ungrateful for all God has done in my life. I haven't been dreadfully anxious, but I have been letting my concerns steal some of my joy. I need to remember to trust Him completely so I can praise and rejoice in my heart. I also know that even if He never does one more thing for me, the rest of my time on earth, He has done enough to deserved my praise for the rest of my days.

This is from Ephesians 5 and how I want to learn to live: Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Teach our hearts to sing for You, my Lord!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Relaxing.....

Whew, the Simulcast is over. It was very, very good. I don't think my part in it was so great, I embarrassed myself to death, like always. But thankfully, I only had a very small part in it. The teaching was wonderful and the ladies were wonderful and God is wonderful.

I forgot to thank all the people who came early to help. I think all of you read my blog, so thank you!!!!!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Newsletter Spoiler :)

Encouragement From a Dry Spell

Do you ever feel like you are outwardly wasting away? I have been feeling that way lately. Not just with my body but with my whole life. Like the outward part of my life, the stuff people can see, is a mess. A wasteful mess. I feel like I should be able to “get it together”. After all, isn’t the Spirit of God dwelling inside of me, giving me His power? I am not doing as well as some unbelievers I know. I feel like a tree in the late Autumn when just the ugly brown leaves are left dangling from the limbs. Will I get to spring back to life outwardly soon, or do I have to wait for Heaven? This is a continual frustration for me. It is partly because I am horrible at doing the boring, mundane stuff that a pretty life requires, and it is partly because God won’t allow me to put anything before Him. If He would let me obsess about the things I want to change, I think I would do it. But then I neglect my relationship with Him or my husband or my kids. And then I have to repent from that and get my priorities back in order. Then the mess returns. Maybe this is a maturity thing, and someday I can do all the things in my life I would like to do. Maybe not. Maybe my life will become so much about God that I really don’t care what it looks like on the outside. I don’t know the answer to that yet. All of these thoughts tumbling around in my head have made me think of the verses in 2 Corinthians 4:15-16: Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. These verses encouraged me, because I do feel that inwardly I am being renewed day by day. I see myself being more loving to my kids when I want to scream at them. I see my husband’s perspective more when we disagree, and my heart is lighter and freer than ever before. So, I guess my life is like that tree and I will trust God for the Spring. Won’t Heaven be glorious when we get to see everything as it truly is?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Quote for the Day

Just letting you know, if I get any inspiration I have to use it on our Women's Ministry Newsletter so you might not hear from me for a few more days. Thank you for all your comments, it makes blogging so much more fun. :) Here's a quote from my friend Anni:

"When I was in my 20's I was very concerned what others were thinking of me. When I was in my 40's I no longer cared what others were thinking of me. When I turned 60 I realized no one had been thinking about me all along." --Steve Farrar

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Confession.....

I totally judged someone by their appearance yesterday. I thought I was beyond that. I realized I am just faking being beyond that. I gave this lady a fake smile instead of a real smile because I didn't like the way she looked. The ironic thing is, it was about 5 minutes after I apologized to one of my friends about how I looked. (I had a very busy morning and didn't have any makeup on and had barely run a brush through my hair.) So after I asked God to forgive me and change me, I started thinking, how often do I do that? And also, how honest with myself am I really? How many things do I do in my flesh and not even recognize? I can't just know what is right and wrong, I have to actually live it. I do not want to value people or judge people because of how well they do or do not take care of their bodies. Why I do is completely beyond me because I am not very good at that myself. But you know what? I think less of myself too. And it is all a bunch of nonsense. God loves us for our spirits and souls, He does not despise the weak and brokenhearted. Yes, our bodies are His temples and we can serve Him better if we are strong and healthy but if we just fake it and make our bodies strong and healthy, while our spirits are weak, we will regret it someday. That is all for God to determine, I need to love. Just love. Not judge. Not try and determine strangers emotional and spiritual states in one glance. Not despise, not be jealous, just love. I am glad there is no end to God's power and love or I might be in trouble.

Do you have any appearance "pet peeves"?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Seeing God in Pain?

I was at the beach this weekend with one of my friends. It was beautiful. Very windy, but I love the wind. I was praying that God would be with us in an unexpected way. There were so many shades of blue, in the water and in the sky. I love blue. I was praising Him in my heart and Anni was walking a little ahead of me (I REALLY need to get in shape) and a gust of wind picked up some sand and it stung my legs, harder than I liked. My reaction was "Hey, Lord! That wasn't nice, I was asking you to delight me, not pelt me with sand." (I did not say that to Him, that would be disrespectful, but He knows my heart and that is what my heart said). And the thought came to my mind, "Sometimes, I am in the pain."

I was shocked. I have known pain can be good for me, and that it expedites growth but I had never thought about looking for God in my pain. In pleasure and in beauty, always, but in pain?

Still pondering.....

Heb 12:11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

(And I don't mean "in" in a new-agey, God-is-in-the-trees way, but in a He-did-it-on-purpose way.)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I Love CS Lewis!!

I finally finished The Weight of Glory by CS Lewis. It is actually a collection of different speeches and writings. Some of them, I didn't understand AT ALL. (My fault, not his, of course) But 'The Inner Ring' and 'A Slip of the Tongue' were perspective altering for me. I love getting my world tilted. :)

Listen to this....This is my endlessly recurrent temptation: to go down to that Sea (I think St. John of the Cross called God a sea) and there neither dive nor swim nor float, but only dabble and splash, careful not to get out of my depth and holding on to the lifeline which connects me with my things temporal.

How cool is that?! It was also impacting because I read it while I was at my kid's swimming lessons, watching some of them dive into the water carefree and happy, while other kids screamed and clenched and resisted.

It also reminded me of the Red, White and Black trilogy by Ted Dekker. The swimming part was my favorite of those books.

The thought of swimming in God is beautiful to me. Especially considering that He is also what quenches our thirst. He is big enough for us to drink Him in, until we are full and satisfied, then dive into Him and be completely surrounded by His glory and never swim to the end of who He is..........

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Ecstasy of Community

My sister read me a part of Paul Brand's book, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, yesterday because she knew I would like it. It says, "Just as the complete identity code of my body inheres in each individual cell, so also the reality of God permeates every cell in Christ's Body, linking us members with a true, organic bond. I sense that bond when I meet strangers in India or Africa or California who share my loyalty to the Head; instantly we become brothers and sisters, fellow cells in Christ's Body. I share the ecstasy of community in a universal Body that includes every man and woman in whom God resides." We were laughing that the word ecstasy is a very strong word. But outside of being in God's presence, I have never felt anything stronger or sweeter than truly connecting with another person, in Christ. Is there anything better on this earth than loving and being loved, in a pure and godly way, sharing each other's joy or pain? Are we all fully aware and partaking in that delight? How often do we miss out on that joy because we are too afraid to trust our connection? For a million different reasons. Oh, to be free enough of ourselves to love well and strong and true.......

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Update

So, I told you guys I was asking God to reveal any idols to me. I think He is showing me is that I am not WORSHIPPING anything but Him, but I still have LOTS of dying to self I need to do. Way too much of my life is still about me instead of Him and others. My thoughts are still so much about me. It is amazing how much time we have to think! I remember when I first quit being depressed all the time, I was shocked at how much thought life that freed up. And time. So, if I quit thinking about myself all the time, I will have so much more time! Hmm...for prayer, maybe?


Anybody got anything they would like me to pray about? :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Lamentations is Brutal

So these are some of the verses I read last night. At first, I was thinking they were very appropriate for my middle of the night quiet time. Then I kept reading......

19 Rise during the night and cry out. Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord. Lift up your hands to him in prayer, pleading for your children, for in every street they are faint with hunger. (The small part that was cool in the middle of the night.)
20 “O Lord, think about this! Should you treat your own people this way? Should mothers eat their own children, those they once bounced on their knees? Should priests and prophets be killed within the Lord’s Temple?
21 “See them lying in the streets— young and old, boys and girls, killed by the swords of the enemy. You have killed them in your anger, slaughtering them without mercy.
22 “You have invited terrors from all around, as though you were calling them to a day of feasting. In the day of the Lord’s anger, no one has escaped or survived. The enemy has killed all the children whom I carried and raised.”


I haven't researched this yet, but I am assuming all of this is when Babylon conquered the Jews because God was disciplining them for worshiping other Gods. For generations. After they promised to follow Him.

It does get better and start talking about God's mercy later on. That was a relief. But I went back to bed, thinking "Wow, Lord, women eating their own children?" And then I realized, there is NOTHING worse than not believing in our God, who created us, loves us, died for us, rose again for us. There really truly is nothing worse than rejecting Him. That is the important choice in life. Not, do I go to college or not? Do I become a pastor or not? Do I get married? Do I have children? Do I move to a different town? The important question is do I believe God? Do I seek God? Do I love God? Do I reject God? Do I think I am wiser than Him? If we choose Him, He will direct our life. And it will be GOOD. Hard probably, but better than we could ever dream.

I used to read about people worshiping idols and thought God was overreacting. They didn't hurt anyone, just lit up a little incense to the wrong person, what is the big deal? They were tearing God's heart up. That is the big deal. I just was reading a book and it told us to ask Him if we had any idols. I did. Waiting for the answer......little bit wondering if that is why I can't sleep at night.......

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Growing Pains

Trusting through disapointment

Trusting through pain

You are good Lord, even in the rain

Make me like You

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Living Sacrifice?

I read Romans 12 again this morning and realized how much we NEED to be together. I am praying God will show me how to be more closely connected to His people. I feel like there is a ten foot pole between all of the different parts of the body. I assume that inhibits our effectiveness.

Romans 12 starts out with the verses about being a living sacrifice, pleasing and acceptable to God, which always launches me into thinking about diets and clear skin, I am sad to say. This morning, I realized the chapter starts out talking about us as individuals, and leads into us not thinking too highly of ourselves and then how we belong to each other and we should use our gifts and be devoted to one another. Hmm.... not self-focused! Is God showing us we need to give up our individual focus on our own bodies for the sake of His body? To offer up our bodies, not just to Him but also to His people? For Him to use for His people?

It seems to me like God's people are still so alone. Are we really sharing ourselves with one another? Are we really "doing life together", putting each other before ourselves? Do we really consider other believers as true family? Or are we all really out for ourselves and our physical families? Are we really any different from the world? Do we love any differently? Do I? I used to think I did, but I am starting to see, I haven't even started yet.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Afternoon Bliss

I just want to say.....I absolutely adore the hour I force my children to be quiet and read. If they talk, I add five minutes. I am getting ready to do that now. Hope I don't get carried away and add ten. I wonder how long it will take them to start counting the beeping noises the timer makes? Just kidding, I would NEVER take advantage of my children's ignorance! ;)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

More Spirit Stuff

I was driving to work yesterday and I was thinking about something weird. I prayed about it, "Why have I been thinking about this so much lately Lord? It doesn't make any sense." I was remembering when I was in training in the Army. It was right after basic training when males and females had been separated from each other for weeks and it was just like this big "attraction fest". I realized that God was showing me very clearly a time in my life when I was "controlled by sin." (I thought I was a believer, but I wasn't really.) I still was capable of performing righteous acts but my heart was controlled by sin. Versus now, when I am still capable of sinning but my heart is controlled by the Spirit. As in, now, when I realize I did something that would hurt God or someone else I am truly sorry and don't want to do it again. Before, I was afraid to sin because I didn't want the consequences but all of my desires were for that sin. Hopefully that makes sense. Yay! I love it when God explains stuff to me. :)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sharing His Spirit

I am going to try and think about having God's Spirit from a different angle. On Earth, if we said two people "shared the same spirit" what would we mean? That they were similar. In thoughts and expressions and passions and interests, right? Of course, they could not be united in actuality like we are with Christ. When I think of His Spirit and mine in that light, I see somethings I have never realized before. He is free; from fear, from cowardice, from selfishness, from pride. He is full of hope and joy and light. If I am in the Spirit, I should be more like Him and less like me.



Oh Lord, purify me so I live in Your Spirit and not my own. Teach me to worship You in Spirit and in Truth. To know what is Truth and what is a lie from the enemy to rob us of some of our sweet relationship on Earth. I want to share Your Life Lord, You work, Your hope, Your joy. I want to truly know You, on earth. Paul did, Peter did, David did. All those Marys did. I want all that You have for me. I get lost sometimes in my own flesh, in other people's ideas of what a relationship with You should look like. I want to know You. Purify my heart Lord, make me completely Yours. I ask in Your Name........

Friday, June 20, 2008

Too funny not to share.....

The Scene: Me, driving my two kids to the doctor for a follow up on Gabe's asthma. Realizing I forgot my check book.



Me: Bad word that no Christian mom should say in front of her kids.



Laney: Big shocked eyes looking at me from the passenger seat.



Me: Sorry Kids, Sorry Lord, for my potty mouth, thank you for dying for our sins.



Laney: Looks a little less horrified, did I mention she is my prudey child?



(I realize I am ok because I still have my planner with everything I need in it. But realizing we have another problem because we are already late and I turned down the wrong road.)



Me: Oh shoot, I went the wrong way, what am I retarded or something?



Laney: (in a very serious, deadpanned voice) Yes Mom, sometimes I honestly think you are....



Me: Laughing hysterically



Laney: Why is that so funny?



Me: You really believe that don't you?



Laney: Yeah, but don't tell Dad, he will get mad at me.



Me: Why don't you think I will be mad at you?



Laney: Because you know you are retarded sometimes.
Dad is more serious.



I am still laughing.........

Struggling with Sin....

I have been reading different parts of the first eight chapters of Romans over and over this week. Still working on all of this Spirit stuff. I hadn't put together that the context of a lot of the "living in the Spirit" verses were in the part of the Scripture talking about sin. How we should deal with sin in our lives and how we overcome it. (By "living in the Spirit") So I am going to share my conclusion with you: We were born sinners. If we are really Christ's, His Spirit lives in us, giving us new life. We should consider ourselves dead to sin and let the Spirit control our minds. We will always struggle with the sin that still lives in our bodies and eventually, it will kill us. (And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. Rom 8:10 NLT) But we need to hold fast to the FACT that that is not the end, only the beginning. That even though we are still struggling with sin, He will have the final victory. So, the key is to not lose hope in our struggles and to trust the work God is doing in our lives and in our hearts. The key for me anyway, because I am still struggling with thinking I should be doing a better job with life than I am. But oh yeah, life is not about me, it is about Him. I think I need to chant that to myself like a hundred times today......

No, actually, today I need to rejoice that I am His. That His love for me is unending. That He has saved me from sin. That He has wonderful plans for my life. That He wants to be with me for eternity. That He died to be with me. I want to live this day close to His heart. With my heart singing praises to His. I want to put aside myself and live in Him today. He is beautiful and He is real, and He is mine. And yours. He is big enough for all of us. He is good.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wanting More.....Again.

I have been feeling very restless the last couple of days. I have been reading that book "Same Kind of Different as Me". It is very inspiring. It makes me want to do more for God. Talking to Jason about God stuff has been very exciting. But I am longing for more. What, I am not completely sure.

When I was in the Army and used to love to run, sometimes I would start complaining in my head and want to quit. After a while, I realized that if I picked up my pace a little, I would be fine. I would be going fast enough that I could just focus on my breathing.

That is how I am feeling right now. I am not running fast enough. I am not doing enough that really matters.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Can We Hurt God?

James 4:1-5
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? (James is referring to the Holy Spirit, I checked to be sure)

I came across these verses again, when I was doing my Spirit search and I have been thinking about them off and on. I am not a theologian, so I may be wrong but here is what I came up with.

I wonder if God hates being ignored as much as we do??? Especially by people we love. Have you ever been in that situation? Where you really love someone and you can't tell if they care if you live or die? Well, they would probably go to your funeral, but by the next day, you suspect they would have forgotten all about you? And you want to rant and rave to get their attention, but you are too self-controlled and mature for that. :) (OK, I am being silly now...back to serious.)

This is what these verses say to me: As Christians we have all these ideas of right and wrong and some of us are willing to fight about them, saying we are doing it for God, when really, we are just wanting something. Something we could have, if we learn how to put God first and ask with pure motives. So we are distracted by our wants and the world. And then we can't figure out why we aren't happy. And God isn't happy with the situation either. Seems to me, anyway.

I like the thought of God being jealous because He wants my time and attention, so He can give me what I need and want instead of me scrounging for it and hurting others in the process.

Do you think God hates being ignored or do you think He is above that?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Keeping Perspective

I just reread Prince Caspian after we saw the movie.

I keep thinking about this part: "Oh dear, oh dear", said Lucy. "And I was so pleased at finding you again. And I thought you'd come roaring in and frighten all the enemies away-like last time. And now everything is going to be horrid."
"It is hard for you, little one," said Aslan. "But things never happen the same way twice. It has been hard for us all in Narnia before now." Lucy buried her head in his mane to hide from his face. But there must have been magic in his mane. She could feel lion-strength going into her. Quite suddenly she sat up. "I'm sorry , Aslan," she said . "I'm ready now."
"Now you are a lioness." said Aslan.

I need that to happen "in the Spirit" between my King and I. I need His strength because I have none of my own. Don't worry about me though, I do this every now and then. And I am actually thankful for it. It puts things back into perspective for me. I am nothing, He is everything. And He who is Everything is loving me who is nothing.

I so want to see His face......

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

In the Spirit......

In case you can't tell, I am seriously pondering all this "Spirit" stuff. So, I did a search, including; of the Spirit, through the Spirit, with the Spirit, and some others I can't remember right now and guess where I hit the jackpot? In the Spirit. A lot of cool stuff seemed to happen when someone was "in the Spirit". In the beginning of his Revelation John said, "On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet... " John was whisked all around his Revelation "in the Spirit".

That makes me think of a different translation of Gal 5:25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. It almost makes me wonder ~ if the Spirit inside of us, is lined up with whatever God is doing through His Spirit on earth, do we get to experience real God stuff? Does that make any sense? Kind of like the whole "Experiencing God" thing. If we are focused on Jesus and are seeking Him and trying to keep in step with what He is doing, we will be running strong, in the Spirit.

If we are living a little bit for God and mostly for ourselves, is that what keeps us from experiencing His power? Because we are not "keeping in step with Him". I think He will still save us, if we ask Him to, but will we miss out on doing His work here on this earth?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Following the Spirit

If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit's leading in every part of our lives. Gal 5:25

Spirit Filled Living......

What is it???? I have spent the last ten years asking God that question. He has taught me so much but I still feel like I am 40% spirit-controlled and 60% flesh-controlled in my daily life. I have been full of the Spirit and I have been controlled by the Spirit, sometimes I didn't even realize it until later, but I still don't know how to describe it. I don't know how I got there. By prayer, a lot of times, but not always. The one thing I know for sure is it always requires doing things His way and not mine.

I know some of the things living by the Spirit is not: It is not willpower, it is not beating ourselves until we bleed, it is not acting the martyr, or having a pretty, put-together life. I wasted too much time chasing after those things, thinking that is what God wanted me to do.

Another question I have asked God for years is,"Where is our power Lord?" Why are Christians so much like the world? Why don't we see the the things we see in the Book of Acts? Why are we so defeated by ourselves, whether we recognize it or not?"

He has shown me that His power only comes through His Spirit, and it is usually "faith expressing itself through love". It is not to wow us and make us to believe. It is to do His will. To further His kingdom. To show someone the love and power that He makes available to them. His power is ALWAYS about Him. Never about us.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Loving Being Loved

Yesterday, my husband and I both took the day off, sent the kids to school and hung out together all day. We had so much fun, going out to breakfast, getting groceries, shoes for my daughter. What amazed me the most though was last night the kids were playing quietly together (which is something to savor in itself) and Jason came over and laid down on the couch with me and started playing with my feet. I was just sitting there, looking at him, thinking how absolutely wonderful God was to lead me to this man. (Because I would have married anyone who asked me. After I got miserable enough, I finally consulted God and for the first time, I wanted His will more than my own. God has so rewarded me for that teeny, tiny bit of faith.) My favorite thing about my marriage is I am completely comfortable being me. I am secure in his love for me. And that is because I tested him constantly for the first 5 years of our marriage and he never left. He will be receiving some extra crowns in heaven, because of that, I believe :)

What is your favorite thing about your closest relationships?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Jeremiah 32:27

"I am the LORD, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me?"

NO

not then....not now.....not ever.......

Increase our faith, Lord!

Monday, May 26, 2008

NMFPIMWLC

Ok, I think I figured out what I am officially doing. But it is weird. I am trying to learn how to "Eat in the Spirit". What does that mean? I am not sure yet, but I am guessing it is similar to "Mothering in the Spirit". I do know how to do that. It was SOOOOO hard for me to be a mom. The constant dying to my own desires and the never ending demands that were never reciprocated. I used to be all about instant gratification and there is NONE in mothering. I read a bizillion christian parenting books, all of which seemed to contradict one another. I finally threw the last one across the room and told God, "I am done trying to figure out how to be a mom, You have to teach me Yourself, Lord. These are Your kids just as much as they are mine and I cannot do this without You." I don't know how many times after that I ended up sitting on my kitchen or bathroom floor, sobbing, begging Him to make me a better mom. But He has. I actually like being a mom now. I dare say I even love it. I never thought in a million years I would have such a complete change of heart. I still have bad days, but nothing like they used to be. So, when we started this, nutioghkghowi thing, I had the same kind of moment. "Lord, my body is Yours. Do with it what You will. Sickness, health, fat, skinny, it is Yours. I can not take care of it without You. Lead me by Your Spirit, teach me how You want me to eat." So far, all I got was "Listen to your body, it knows what it needs". I don't know if that was even truly Him, but I have lost five pounds in two weeks just by eating what sounds good and trying to pay attention to when I didn't want any more. Time will tell. I do so appreciate the support and focus doing this with other people brings. Thank you.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Do I Really Want "More of Him, Less of Me"?

I had a revelation this morning. If I really trust God's timing, I shouldn't be impatient.


Then I had another revelation. I kind of like being impatient.


It is part of my personality and I think it helps me "get things done". Does it really? I doubt it.


Is there any part of your personality that you know is wrong, but you don't want to give up?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What is a Good Fight?

I love watching war movies with my husband. Partly because I was in the Army for three years and partly because I know we are engaged in a battle "against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

I don't like the horror of war, of course. I like how the deepest parts of a person's character are revealed. You see unlikely leaders develop into heroes. And people who would normally be admired, turn into villains. Watching them makes me want to go fight for God's Kingdom, to have an adventure, to make my life count for more than taking up a tiny bit of space on this earth. I love verses like this:

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1Tim 6:12

What do you think it means to "fight the good fight"?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

In His Name.......

You know how there are words and phrases we throw around all the time and don't really know how to live them out? Love, Faith, Hope, Joy, Walking in the Spirit, Abiding in Christ.....I have asked God to show me what these really mean, what they look like in action. Another one for me was, praying "In Jesus Name."

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit-fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

I think I had written "What does this really mean, Lord?" by all of these verses in my Bible. I don't know completely what it means but there is one thing I have learned that is really cool.

He trusts us enough to let us use His name. We come before the Father, and ask Him for something in Jesus Name. Imagine if the president of the United States trusted us enough to let us sign his name on something? Jesus has given us that power.

Obviously, in His mercy and wisdom, we don't get everything we ask for in His name. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:3. My pleasure used to be my only concern and I couldn't figure out why He never answered my prayers. When I started to ask for things for His glory and kingdom, I was shocked at how quickly and powerfully He answered my prayers. Some things I am still waiting for, but I believe He is doing them. A lot of my selfish, glory~for~me prayers, He is still graciously ignoring. :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

So Much to Learn

For the last ten years, God has been teaching me to love. When I first believed in Jesus, and accepted that He is the only way to the Father, my first lesson was, "It is not about being right, it is about love."

He has called me to love when I feel unappreciated, misunderstood, neglected, even rejected. He taught me love is about giving love. Not receiving love from people. If I love His people unconditionally, He will love me. I go to Him to be loved and filled with love, so I can give it freely to others.

Do I do that perfectly?

Of course not. :) But He has written these things on my heart and I do believe with permanent marker, as Beth likes to say.

Just this morning I am sensing He is moving me to a different subject in the school of life. I think it is called Living Wisely. I'm scared. But a little excited.

Have Your way in me, My Lord. There is nothing better than being changed by you.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

3rd and last (for a while) post on this embarrassing subject

I am tempted to just delete all of these posts, because on the weekend not too many people blog, and I think I could get away with it easy enough. But I am blogging so my friends will really know me and to help others in their struggles. I know self-image/weight issues are huge for women so I am going to swallow my pride and post.

After I wrote the post yesterday, I felt like a giant weight (at least twenty pounds :) had been lifted off of my heart. Then I spent a while looking at pictures of great leaders in the church. Past and present. I was delighted to discover that half of them would have a difficult time tying their shoes. I can still be effective for Christ, I just don't get to look beautiful doing it.

Yes, I did also go back and read my "Tearing Down Idols" post because I obviously needed too.

Anyway, I was driving home from my sisters and this delicious feeling came over me. I have felt it probably 3 or 4 times in my life. I asked, "What is this Lord? It feels like Peace, but better." I was satisfied. In Him. With my life, with myself.

I am sooooooo far from perfect, I pray all the time He will make me Good, because I know I am not ~ a lot of the time. But, I have everything I need in Him. I am everything I need to be, when I let His Spirit fill me.

I could LIVE WELL feeling satisfied. I know feelings are fickle, but feelings let us experience things we wouldn't through sheer knowledge. I hope I get to feel satisfied in Him, more and more often.

Thank You Lord for being so delicious.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

85 million is not the magic number

How many times do I have to give this back to God? Being fat is not a sin. Gluttony is a sin. "The act or habit of eating or drinking more than necessary." Ok, so what is necessary? Barely sustaining life or enjoying food and drink? Limiting ourselves so we are as beautiful as possible or walking in the freedom of just eating whatever is handy when we are hungry? We all have our own lines, our own answers to that question. I have been on a diet for 24 hours and I am miserable. I have not been this insecure or unhappy for months.

I need to love my kids, I need to be happy for my husband. He hates it when I am like this. I will ask God, in His mercy, to lead me by His Spirit and convict me of sin. I do not want to sin against Him by eating too much. I want to please Him in every area of my life, He knows that. He has not seen fit to help me with this in the way I want. I will accept that. He knows what is best for me. Maybe I would be proud or unapproachable, or only He~knows~what, if I could do this.

I don't want to forfeit the plan He has for me because I am spending my life trying to lose weight. My life is His, my body is His. He can do with it what He wills.

I know some of you have this figured out. You can eat right and love the people around you at the same time. I can't. I really, really wish I could. I keep hoping someday I will be able to. Apparently, not yet.