Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Time is Short - So What Will You Do With It?

Time is Short. That is truth. God is coming back and the evidence and signs of that truth are everywhere. We are living the pages of prophecy in our world today. Between wars raging, financial crisis everywhere, natural calamities that wipe out thousands at a time, we can't be Christians in today's world without an understanding that Christ is coming soon. The timeline is wrapping up and people have very little time left to make that decision to accept the Grace of God. 

In other words, life is far too short to live it for anything other than him and the passion and purpose he has given YOU specifically to accomplish in this life, in this exact time in history. 

Don't let the enemy steal it from you. 

Don't let him! 

So what did God put YOU here to do? What did he create you to accomplish for him? What is your passion? 

If you knew when your last day on earth was going to be, what would you do right now with the short time you had left? Think about it. Journal about it. Pray about it.

The enemy lives to speak lies to our heart (let's not believe them!), he want's to immobilize us with those lies. He want's to paralyze us with fear, indecision, confusion... anything that will keep us from walking in the FULL, ABUNDANT, and FULFILLING life God has planned for us. 

Here is the truth...The enemy has no right to hinder you from the life God called you to!

So please hear me when I say this. YOU were created with a purpose. YOU are the one and only YOU that he created to accomplish the tasks and life purpose he gave you. Don't let the enemy steal it from you. If you are in Christ you are have been given the power to stand in victory! Use it. Dare to walk in it. 

Be filled with purpose today friends. He has made You for such a time as this!

"Has the LORD redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies." Psalm 107:2

"'You are my witnesses.' declares the LORD. 'and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD and apart from me there is no savior.'" Isaiah 43:10-11

Blessings









Thursday, November 10, 2011

You Are Beautiful!

I have a beautiful 3 year old daughter. I love everything about her. She is smart, spunky, funny, caring, and so much more. I look at her and I see the grace of God on me. 

I am so overwhelmed that God would trust me (with all the horrible mistakes I've made in my life) to raise a girl-child -- one who will want to emulate her mother-- is nothing short of Gods grace

I take this very seriously, and think about her as she grows up. I am careful to show her how God loves her, how he thinks she is a treasure. How she is HIS princess. That he made her just the way she is for a reason, that she has purpose and meaning. 

My hope is to teach her to believe what God says about her rather than what the world says... so it hurt my heart to no end to hear these words come out of her mouth after watching a princess cartoon...


"Oh I wish I was as beautiful as she was... maybe if I had hair like her, or a dress like her I could be beautiful too" 

She's 3, and the poison of the world has already touched her! 


Oh Friends! What happens to us? Why do we believe the lies of this world rather than the truth of God?

Are you like me? Do you struggle with not feeling good enough? Or feeling that if you could just change that ONE thing then everything would be right?

What a lie! God is good. He loves us. He knows we are but dust, but he Chooses to call us his BRIDE, his Princess!

Oh Lord,  that we would stop looking at ourselves through the glasses of this world and instead look at who we are through the lens of who you say we are!

What power we would have. What defeat we would bring on the enemy of our souls. 

But the enemy knows that if we are locked in our prison of self-doubt and "not good enough" that we will be weak and ineffective. We must fight that with the word!

I encourage you to see yourselves... for me to see myself.... in the light of God's word! To stand up, believe it, and move forward in the confidence that God gives, not in the weakness that the world dishes. 
 
"How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh how beautiful!" Song of Songs 4:1



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Me Time

So last week I got sick.--Really sick.
When it hit me I was down for the count... 12 hours solid in bed. I literally can't remember the last time I spent that much time in bed.

I was in pain. Horrible stomach and back pain that kept me mostly awake those 12 hours.

I had the chills and couldn't get warm for hours.

I couldn't walk upright for the pain in my stomach and back

I was exhausted and would sleep for brief periods in between the stomach cramps and back pain.

I was sick.

And do you know what I did for the whole 12 hours?
I thanked God over and over and over for it. 

I prayed "Oh Lord, Thank you for this time you've given me to be alone and with you... This time that I can spend worshiping and talking to you."  I felt blessed! Like I had finally gotten a long drink of cold water after working outside in the heat and dust.

Seriously. I didn't pray, "let this stop"... or "heal me". Not because I wanted it to go on, but because I was truly thankful for time when I didn't have to be anywhere, cook anything, help anyone, solve a problem, clean a mess, or be needed. It was all me time. And I savored it! Every Last Second.


Ok, you might be thinking I'm crazy, but I really just need that time. I don't have any time when I'm not needed. Someone always needs mom/ wife/ CEO.... I am never off the clock. I know I need to make ME-Time a regular habit for my own sanity, but who do I take it from? My children who need me? My husband who I love and who I don't spend enough time with as it is? My business that feeds us?

I just don't have it. 

And neither do so many of us women who are juggling so many things. But that isn't what God would have for  us. We need to set that time aside. To have quiet uninterrupted time. But it's so much harder to get than it is to say.

But now I'm inspired. God allowed this sickness to come over me to show me that it really is something I need. Even if I push it down and pretend I'm ok, I really do need time that is just me. Moments when I'm not disturbed. Time where no one needs me, and no one will come knocking at the door just to ask me where the tape is.... {grin - same place as it's always been!!}

So here it the thing. I know I need it. God has made it apparent that I really do need it. And now I am making it official... I need Guilt-Free Alone time. So I am going to be consistently praying that God would provide it for me. That he would show me where I can have it, how I can have it, and what I should do with it once I get it.... and I will let you know what I find.

So my question to you is How do you find quiet (guilt-free) uninterrupted  me time? And what would you suggest I do to get mine? I love all suggestions!


Blessings,

Friday, October 14, 2011

Your Story


"In your presence I find my peace." I found myself saying that while praying this morning.

In HIS presence peace is found, my heart is made right, and my hope is always restored. And, I can somehow miraculously deal with the world and it's demands better. I even see the troubles I have in a different light and I am renewed.

So why do I wait so long to go there? Why do I wait until I am about to burst with anxiety before I seek his presence? Before I look to him and devote myself to his word?

Why? Why? Why?

I have no answers except what Paul says
"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do."  Romans 7:15

Can you relate?

I Mean really, if I am stressed about whatever is happening in my life, why do I not immediately go to the ONE who knows the end of my life? He knows the story. To him my life is not a mystery. He has already seen what the end of my days will bring. Why then do I resist and fight to get comfort, peace and knowledge that can only come from the ONE who is the writer of my story? Seems pretty silly when I put it in those terms. Don't you think? 



I hope you have spent time getting to know the Author of your story today. Because, I promise you it is a fantastic story with an amazing ending! It's gotta be good if angels even long to look into it!


Blessings friends!








P.S. Hope you enjoy this great new song from Casting Crowns!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Comfort Food

I love comfort food. Especially in the fall. Don't you? I mean there is just something really wonderful about a bowl-full of something warm and delicious when it's cold and raining outside. Which we have for a good part of the year up here in the Pacific Northwest.

I am so glad that our God gives us good gifts. And we are wise to appreciate the small comforts he gives. They can be life sustaining in times of hardship, trouble, sadness, or depression.

So today I'm bringing you one of my simple comfort dishes. I hope you enjoy it. It's fast, healthy, cheap, and makes a complete protein. And it's perfect for a cold fall day....

Cuban Black Bean and Marinated Rice Soup

Cook about one portion (usually 1 cup dry) white, or brown rice and cool over night or until cold.

Mix: 1/4 c. Olive Oil
 1/8 C. White or cider vinegar
 Salt and Pepper to taste
3 green onions, chopped
Blend well and add to rice, toss gently, and return to refrigerator for at least 30 min.

Soup:
3 cans black beans
1 large onion Chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 Tbls. Cider Vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3 beef bouillon cubes (other flavors are ok)
2-3 cups water

Saute' onion and garlic in 2tbs olive oil until soft. Add beans including the liquid, and heat through. Add bouillon and water. Heat to boiling and add vinegar, cumin, and if needed, salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer briefly (15-30 min).
To serve, fill bowls and add a scoop of the chilled marinated rice to the middle. Warning, this is a very filling soup!


Enjoy!






Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Weeding

It has been no secret that my family has been going through a difficult time over the last few weeks. We have felt the enemy attack, but more so we have felt the hand of God weeding out things that needed to be dealt with.

I love my garden. I have nearly 40 rose bushes, hydrangeas, dahlias, Scads of Lavender, and so much more.... but I have to say, I despise weeding. I will do anything to get OUT of weeding my garden.


I will dead head, clip, fertilize, plan, dig up, move, rearrange....let's just say ANYTHING else but weed it.

We have the most obnoxious weeds too. Our flowerbeds get over run by this horrible grass that doesn't just pull up. And when it's let go too long it chokes the life out of everything. So I know from experience that unless I actually roll up my sleeves, get on my knees and start pulling out that grass I will kill everything I have worked so hard for. It won't matter that I planted, dead headed, and fertilized, It will be choked out at the root. Where it really lives.

I am so glad that God is a good gardener. He knows when it's the right time to pull that which will nearly choke the life out of us. He knows that we will never grow to our full potential if we allow the weeds of this life to grow around our roots... or our heart. The problem is, we get so used to those weeds that we kinda like them.  When they get pulled it hurts. But what comes after is something not conceived of before. We can look back through it and say "I am finally free" I am free of the limitations the weeds bound me to. The weeds cause us to be limited in our growth. They keep us from living to the fullness He intends.

So today I am thankful that my Gardener is good at weeding. He is so skillful with his extraction of the weeds in my life that though they hurt, I can almost immediately feel the freedom it provides. I am thankful that he not only roots them out, but allows for healing. I am so glad he doesn't just allow my life to be choked out by the weeds, but is loving enough to allow the hurt for the purpose of freedom.

Lord, Thank you for weeding out the dross in my life. Thank you for the free and spacious place you bring me to. Thank you for reminding me that NOTHING is more important than a life well lived for you.

My Favorite devotional is Streams in the Desert. Here was a portion of today's reading...

" 'So the Lord Blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning Job 42:12.' Through his griefs Job came to his heritage. He was tried that his godliness might be confirmed. Are not my troubles intended to deepen my character and to robe me in graces I had little of before? I come to my glory through eclipses, tears, death. My ripest fruit grows against the roughest wall. Job's afflictions left him with higher conceptions of God and lowlier thoughts of himself. 'NOW he cried, Mine eye seeth thee.'"

Blessings dear friends,

Monday, September 26, 2011

Should Be

Did you ever have a weekend that just didn't go the way you wanted? Ever let it ruin everything?

Ok, so now I'm being dramatic. ;-)

I LOVE Fall. And in my mind it has been fall since Labor Day. I have made that mental leap, complete with daydreams of rainy days, colorful trees, hot tea, and scrumptious smelling baking. I don't know, there is just something comforting to me about a cool fall day. I really wanted this to be the picture of my weekend. However, the weather decided not to cooperate. We had humid, sunny, and hot. YUCK!

Instead of warm cozy cups of hot tea, I had water with ice and lemon.

Instead of colorful trees, I had weeding my backyard.

Instead of scrumptious smelling baking, I had, well, scrumptious smelling baking ;-) -- But it wasn't the same!! LOL!

I was tempted to let this destroy my weekend, my attitude, and be a royal grump about the whole thing. I couldn't even enjoy the fact that we were finally having sun after a summer filled with cool cloudy days.

Then the Lord started  shedding light on a deeper truth. What else isn't the way I think it should be in this season of my life? What else am I "grumping" about to the Lord when I should be just enjoying what I have.

What are my personal list of "should be's"?

The phrase "I should be _______ by now in my life" is one of the most destructive and hurtful phrases we can tell ourselves.  It is wrought with undertones of  I'm not good enough, I'm not successful enough, I'm not with-it enough. All of that leads straight to false humility, depression, angst, anger, and sin. Think about it. The serpent told Eve in the garden that if she ate of the fruit she "would be" like God. He played on her sense of not good enough and gave her a new should be. "I should be like God".

Here is the truth. God has us where we are for a reason. We didn't slip his notice. He didn't forget about us. We are where we are because he has a purpose for us in it. We neglect his blessings when we keep our eyes on what we think we "should be" doing rather than embracing the goodness that God has already brought us. If we love him, and keep our eyes on him, we can't help but be where we are supposed to be.  Who cares anyway about "should be's"?

He says he will complete what he began in us. I choose to believe it today. How about you?

Blessings,








Friday, September 23, 2011

Awkward No More!

So yesterday I did something I had been putting off for a long time. I had been putting it off because it felt awkward. Strange. Even a little vulnerable.

But I knew it was something I needed to do.

Here's how ridiculous I was. I had been wanting to pray with my friend for a long time. I mean we were both believers. Talked about Jesus all the time, prayed all the time... Just not together.  It was one of those things that should have happened long ago, but because of awkwardness it didn't.

How utterly silly is that? Why couldn't I say to my dear friend who I talk to everyday, express my thoughts and feelings with and love dearly, "Let's pray together"?

Here is the truth. There is power when two of us come together in prayer. Period. Scripture teaches that,  I've experienced it, it's truth.

Here is what else is truth. The enemy of our soul doesn't want us doing anything that is powerful. He will use whatever means he has at his disposal to keep us from doing what God clearly tells us is powerful. For me he just happened to use awkwardness. For someone else it could be lack of time or fear.

What is the enemy convincing you to avoid doing that you know you should?

So do you know what happened when I finally asked her to pray with me? We prayed. God was honored. And the Enemy was defeated!

Now I know that the enemy has his sights on me. He will probably try to hit me in a hurtful place now that I let God rule over this fear. If you didn't read yesterdays post on Battle Scarred Healing read it now and you will see what I'm talking about.

But here is what else I know. If he is after me, it's only because the Holy Spirit working in me is a threat to his bigger plans. And that causes me much joy.

Be Brave Blessings Today Friends,




Thursday, September 22, 2011

Battle Scarred Healing

God is doing something in me. I don't exactly know what it is yet, but I know it's good. I have begun to feel the stirrings of the Holy Spirit on me, and God has begun to show me things and reveal part of my inner heart that he wants to mend. I am being confronted with things I haven't thought about in nearly 25 years. But healing he is bringing. Unexpected, blessed, salve-on-a-wound-I-had-forgotten-about healing.

But I've also begun to feel the enemy start to rage war. Subtle, sneaky, piercing war. He doesn't fight fair, and where he hits me it hurts. Bad. Bad enough that it can make me want to push away the good thing God is doing in me. The closer I get, the more the enemy hurts me, but the more I allow God to do the healing the stronger I feel. So, I let God reveal a wound... then get hit hard by the enemy, yet feel stronger as I allow God to heal me more... which causes me to get hit again. It is a paradox only a believer who has been in the battle understands.

Are you in the battle? Have you felt that before? Have you felt the enemy comes when God begins to do something in you? Sometimes he hits you with circumstances, sometimes with the very people you love. Sometimes with Godly people.

But we are called to one thing, and that is to love and follow our Lord. Not our friends, family, or circumstances. 'They' are not what we bow to. We Bow to Him the One and Only. Regardless of where the enemy wants to hit us. And believe me he will find the most vulnerable spot.

You know what the beauty is in all of that? That he not only promises to be with us through it all, but  he promises that he will bring the victory. HE WILL BRING THE VICTORY!!!

Hallelujah!

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

Blessings,




Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Womens Bible Study- It's a Good Thing!

Last night was the first night of women's bible study at my church! WA HOO! I am always so excited when bible study starts up.There is just something about women coming together to study the bible. I am just so thankful for them! It's a good thing.

This time we are studying Beth Moore's Updated version of Breaking Free. I am so excited. I have done nearly EVERY study she has published except this one... and it's one I've been begging them to do for YEARS!

I.CAN'T.WAIT!

Breaking Free is about freedom. Being free from anything that keeps us from being who God created us to be or living the life he created us to live. I don't know about you, but I seriously need this lesson. There are some things in my life I need to break free from. Fear and Insecurity are just the first two that pop to the top of my list. Can you relate?

I hope you are in bible study with other women because it is life giving. But if you aren't, you can still do this study. Lifeway offers Beths bible study videos for 5$ a video. You can buy the workbook and then just pay separately for each video teaching.  Click here to find out more.

Here is the introductory video. I hope you are inspired.








Blessings,



Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Heart Full of Sin.

I was thinking today how every inclination of mans heart is evil...

"...Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done." Gen 8:21
I like to think of myself as different. I like to say that because I am saved, redeemed and in love with my redeemer that this scripture doesn't apply to me. Or worse I think this scripture doesn't count for my children because they are covered by me, their parent, as a believer until they get to the age of accountability.

But...

That is FALSE doctrine.

period.

God says that EVERY inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. This was after the flood... he was talking about US... those that would come after Noah.

Just yesterday this was made crystal clear to me as I was driving down the road and thinking of ways to "answer" for a decision I had made that would make someone displeased with me. I was rolling it over in my mind almost unconsciously thinking of the different ways I could explain my reasoning. Then, like a flashlight being turned on my thoughts the holy spirit brought to my conscience mind what I was absentmindedly thinking.

I was scheming a LIE!

A bold faced LIE. I was thinking of every possible way I could lie to this person so I could keep them from being irritated and still keep my decision. Yep... one of my finer moments.

The interesting thing is, I was doing it without conscience. It was my natural inclination to save my behind from confrontation that would be uncomfortable. This certainly comes under the category of evil sin.

"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" Hbr 4:12
So today, I am thankful for my redeemer, who COVERS that sin for me and for my children. That very inclination of my heart to lie, self serve, or gossip is covered by his sacrifice, his love.I just want to worship him more today, to sing his praises because of that great covering. I am longing for home, where the inclinations of my heart will no longer be evil, but until then, I've just gotta sing his praises.

I still have the song from yesterday's post on my mind. I can't stop singing it. So You get it again today! Love love love this song. Sing it with me!





Blessings,


Monday, September 19, 2011

Are you Ready to be part of the Solution?

Many of you know that I have been working on transferring this blog to a new wordpress platform. Today was to be the day I was going to move over.... even if it wasn't totally ready.... However, I have missed my own deadline! Yikes. I am so glad God gives us grace, aren't you?

This weekend our church service was taken over by our awesome youth ministry... It was called "Solution Sunday" What an amazing time of being real, seeing the heart of a generation in love with Jesus, and hearing how they are ready to be part of the solution.

I fell in love with our youth this weekend. They have their own amazing drama team (which had me belly laughing), an incredible worship team, and talented video experts who put together some fantastic (totally professional) video for us. LOVED IT!

We heard from various youth and how they have been changed by God and are ready to be part of the solution for this next generation. It's totally inspiring to hear how they have been touched and radically changed by a loving, forgiving God. But even more so to hear how they are ready to be a real influence in the world.

That got me thinking... am I ready to be part of the solution? People are hurting, hearts are broken, spirits are dying, and souls are lost. I was struck yesterday by how it's so easy to get caught up in our day to day and forget that God calls us to be a part of the solution for them.

We are only given today. We are not promised tomorrow. People are desperate, and I want to be part of the solution.

What about you? Are you ready to be part of the solution?


The Youth Worship team introduced this song to us this weekend. I am totally in love with it! I hope you listen to it and Sing with me!




Blessings,


Friday, September 16, 2011

Do You Love Him Enough?

No matter what has happened before. No matter where you are right now. No matter what you think your future holds there is one thing that is sure, one thing that is true. If you have given your life to Christ,God is With YOU! You have no reason to fear.

He is so good.

Can't you feel it?

He is doing a new thing in his people. It is time. Time for us as his believers to stand, and not be afraid of the backlash to what we might say. He is a sword. And we need to wield it.

Do we love HIM enough to wield it?

I love what Francis Chan says in his book Crazy Love. He asks the question posed by John Piper in his book God is the Gospel,
"The critical question for our generation-and for every generation-is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness,and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there?"
Would you be satisfied? I don't know about you, but I wouldn't.

Let's wield our sword in Love today friends!

Blessings,



Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Desperate Moments

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phil 4:6-7

I was in  a bad place yesterday. I allowed my frustration, fear, and exhaustion to overtake me. I remember at one point I locked myself in the bathroom just to have a few minutes of peace. Sometimes it feels like I am pulled in every direction with out stop from first thing in the morning till late into the night. Everyone want's a piece of me. It can feel like I'm being pecked to death by chickens.

Can you relate? I'm sure you can.



While taking 3 minutes to hide, I cried out in desperation to God. "Lord, I need you. I am empty, angry, lost, and tired. Help me to serve my family, help me to do what you would have me do..."  I continued pouring it out while children called to me from the other side of the door, dinner was needing attention, the phone was ringing, and my husband was due to walk through the door any minute. I felt like a failure. What had happened to my day? My plans? My to-do list? I just couldn't go on any further with out the strength from my God.

And you know what? He gave it to me.

There were no lightning bolts. There was no audible voice. There was just a quiet peace that came from no where. Suddenly I was able to joke with my 9 year old, snuggle my 3 year old, tease my 6 year old, make dinner, greet my husband at the door, and answer the phone with out a total break down. If you had seen me before those 3 minutes of desperate prayer you would have seen the Miracle Transformation  that it was.

What happened? My problems that I was worrying about hadn't been solved. My need to get more done than was humanly possible hadn't changed. The only thing that changed is I cried out to my savior.

And HE Answered. 

He answered in a way that no one else would have known or seen. He answered ME. He touched ME. He was there with ME.

He did exacly what he promises to do. He was WITH me.

"And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."Mathew 28:20b
God is always faithful to his promises. Love him for it today!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Living Sacrifices - Married to Christ

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship." Romans 12:1

I have pondered this scripture for most of my walk with Christ. I think on it. Meditate on it. Wonder about it.

In our modern culture what is "offering our bodies as living sacrifices" supposed to look like? Most of us are not under threat of persecution. We are not being threatened with death or torture. My body is well, good, and rather pampered...So how do I apply this scripture in my life? How do you apply this scripture in your life?

When I got married, I had my own dreams and ideas about how things should go. (Silly me, LOL) How often has life really gone the way we imagine, let alone the complicated relationship of marriage go the way we imagine? We are people. We come with the whole package of experiences, fears, longings, and preconceived notions that color who we are and how we interact with each other. If life is complicated, marriage is complicated times two! However, God calls us to marriage, and as Iron Sharpens Iron.... well lets just say, I should be getting very sharp by now.;-)

I remember a HUGE fight my husband and I had one weekend not long into our marriage. It was over our differences in the way we saw our weekend going. I'm not kidding, this was a huge blow up fight complete with someone walking home. It's rather funny to me now as I look back at it. We both had our ideas and we neglected to inform each other of what we wanted. Each blamed the other for not fulfilling the plans the other had. Sounds a lot like a newly married couple who just realized they aren't their own person anymore right? They are connected to each other. Always.

But over time, we learn to consider the other person. To look to their needs and desires. That is a huge lesson in marriage.

It's also a huge lesson in our walk with Christ. Do we walk on in our relationship with Christ with our own plans or are we offering our bodies, our very lives, our very DREAMS and desires as living sacrifices? Are we willing to let them be slain on the alter in lieu of HIS purposes, His Plans, and His desires for our life direction?
"Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.'" James 4:13-15
We learn in marriage to work to support and fulfill the other persons needs, and desires. I suppose the question I must ask myself today is, am I married to Christ today? Am I plowing forward in my own desires, or am I seeking where he wants me to go first. Am I giving my body (my desires) over to him as a living sacrifice today. Or am I hoping he will just bless what I want to do?

Blessings,

Monday, September 12, 2011

Faith. Standing on the Promises

I Love the book of Romans. Truly, if I were on a deserted Island and I could only have one book of the bible, I would be torn between choosing John or Romans. I just adore the 1st chapter of John. Poetic Truth.

But today I was reading that famous passage in Romans 4:18-25 speaking about the great faith Abraham had when He was promised to have a son at such an old age. The specific passage that God brought to my attention today was Verse 20a...

"Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God" Romans 4:20a

Wow, now there is a real hero of the faith. It challenges me, and makes me think about my own.

Early on in my faith, God showed me something about my walk with him. It was a promise that has never left me. So my question when I read this today was, have I wavered through unbelief regarding the promise God made to me?

I would love to say I am just like Abraham. But I'm not. I waver. I fail. I lose sight. I get turned around. But God knew I would be like this. So he makes up the difference. Isn't that just like him? Loving us to  completion? Bearing our burden so we may stand!

What is it today that makes your faith waver? Is it negative thoughts. Here's one that goes through my mind.

"Oh honey, that's not for you. That is only for special people"

....hmmm. LIES! Christ's victory is for ME in everything he purposes! and it's for YOU! He has incredible plans and will use the least of us to accomplish the most mighty deeds.

I am blessed by the thought that He is with me when none will go with me. And not one person on this earth can ever take this from me.

There may be roadblocks, troubles, and hardships. But we are only being trained like an Olympic athlete to be champions of the faith like Abraham.

I want to run my race today. I am overjoyed to run my race today. Enemy beware, because God is doing a new thing  and HE has the victory.

I love that. It's still about loving him, trusting him, and HIS victory. It's still All about HIM!

Lord, let your spirit move and work in me. Let it be, no matter the cost.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Crock Pot Apple Pie Oatmeal

I have always Loved Oatmeal. I can eat it plain, cold, hot, sweetened, or savory. I love it! However, I have been blessed with a family of  the pickiest eaters EVER! I would love to say that it's only my kids, but my husband can be a bit picky at times too. He doesn't love to try new things very often. One of the things that I have never been able to get him to eat is Oatmeal. That is, until this recipe! Now, he requests this several times a week.

The beautiful thing about this recipe is that it is made the night before and makes enough for several days of eating.


Crock Pot Apple Pie Oatmeal

3 Cups Water
1 1/2 - 2 Cups Apple Juice
1 1/2 Cups STEEL CUT Oats. (Sometimes called Irish oats. Do Not use Rolled oats)
2 Apples chopped with skin (about the size for a fruit salad)
1/2 cup Raisins
1 TBS Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
1 tsp Allspice
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Vanilla, or the seeds from 1 scraped vanilla bean (oh so good this way)

Place all ingredients in the crock pot, stir, cover, and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. When cooked, stir again, and serve.

*Tips for success* 
  • Works best in the type of crockpot that has a plastic lid. The glass lid crockpots cook much hotter and keep in more moisture. This will make your oatmeal soupy and could burn it. If you have one of those type of crockpots put in less liquid and turn it as low as possible. This may help.
  • Some people also find that it sticks to their crock pot. You can spray the inside with cooking spray first if you find this to be true for you. It doesn't stick to my crock pot.
  • Even if you don't like raisins, they add sweetness the oats and will be missed if you leave them out. I have also used dried cherries and walnuts, which was very good. 
  • For many it is plenty sweet as is, but can be served with brown sugar, milk, or vanilla yogurt.

Enjoy!



Thursday, September 8, 2011

Evidence of Love

The funeral sermon began....
"Last Sunday at 7:45 am, while most of us were getting ready to go to our own worship services, Betty said "Hey, I think I'll go to a better worship service" and she left us and went to worship face to face at the feet of Jesus.'"

 I can bet that what the pastor said was a pretty close rendition to how it happened . She Loved her Jesus. And she loved to worship.

Her Love for him was even more apparent as we went through her entire house of things. She had no children, no husband (he died 24 years earlier). Jesus was her all.

As I looked at things in drawers, books, papers, and letters... it became extremely apparent to me that she didn't just love Jesus, but she had an all consuming love for Him like you read about in Song of Solomon. It was evident in everything she owned. I wish I could adequately share with you all that I saw.

It challenged me, and MY love relationship with Christ.

Do I love him like that?

I began to wonder what people would see of me when I died. Would they stand beside my bed, look through my things and say "Wow, This women Loved Jesus"?

What evidence is there?

We all have our own story. We all have our own love relationship with the Lord. I'm not comparing myself to her. But what I am doing is searching my life and challenging myself to go deeper. Know him more. Express my utter "in-Love-ness" to him and to the world with a broader brush.


Our death can be the most powerful witnessing moment of our life. When we stand our life on the promise of our faith, it is remembered. It is recognized. And all think about their own mortality. Their inevitable relationship with the creator of that life.

If they don't they are already dead.

What will people say was your life message? Will it challenge them? Let's love the Lord out loud and in color together. Join me?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Intimate gifts

Think of your favorite place to be.

 Somewhere where you are struck by the awesomeness of God.

Is it the mountains?
The Beach?
The woods?
Your own back yard?

Have you ever thought that God created that spot thinking of you and how YOU would enjoy it? That when he fashioned it he said "She will love it here". That's what I call God's Intimate Gifts to me.

Have you looked at your favorite spot with that kind of thought before?

God is just that intimate in his love for us. We were not a surprise to him, and the things we love are not a surprise to him. However much we believe we are discovering something for the first time, in God's eyes, he planned it that way. It's much like when we quietly put a new toy in a toddlers play area and watch to see them discover it. What joy it brings to us to see their joy... what joy it brings to him when we discover and adore his sweet gifts to us.

hmmmm. Makes me love him more. Makes me desire him more. Oh how he loves us!

Look around, and discover your gifts. I assure you they abound. Be thankful for them today and I promise you will find a joy only found in him!

Our God knows how to give us good gifts.

"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" Matt 7:11

Blessings today my friends!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Thoughts from the Beach-The Glory


Have you ever been struck by how amazing God really is? His Glory is everywhere, if we choose to look. These are some of the scriptures that came to me as I pondered this while sitting on the beach early one morning.
"I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple." Isa 6:1

"Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all." 1Ch 29:11

"Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness." Psa 29:2

"Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the LORD fills the whole earth," Num 14:21

"Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking." Ezekiel 1:28

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." Romans 1:20



I woke up this morning Anxious to be on the beach. Have you ever smelled the Pacific Ocean in the Morning? The Air is Crisp and salty. The sand is cool  and the only sound I hear are the gentle lapping of the water along the shore, a distant boat, and the cry of a bald eagle who is sitting high above me in the top of a tree.
Oh this place is peace to me. Gentle. Calm. Natural.

God's Brilliance is evident in this place. How amazing is our Creator.

I know when he formed and fashioned this very beach he made it with me in mind. He knew the peace and happiness I would find here in my retreat... so he made it.

You see God is just that intimate, and just that big.

Who can fathom his wondrous limitless love? Or understand his bounty. He loves. He is love.

Thank you Lord for this place. Your glory is evident here.

The train of the Lord fills the temple...

Monday, August 15, 2011

By The Grace of a Holy God

I am a safety person. While many other parents I know are very lax on car safety, I avidly follow the car seat laws and insist that mine wear a belt, sit in the back till they are 12, and sit in the proper car seat until they are old enough.

I mean, it takes nothing to buckle them in, and only a moment to lose them in an accident.

So yesterday when we were careening down the freeway at 70 mph with our kids, I didn't have any fear of problems.

When I saw the traffic up ahead come to a sudden stop and my husband wasn't slowing I began to scream for him to stop. As the car in front of us came closer and closer I knew we were going to hit it hard. At the last second my husband veered to the left shoulder and narrowly missed the car while sending us almost into a steep ditch that would have flipped the car had he not been able to keep us on the thin edge.

Somewhere in the craziness I heard my son yell from the back seat "Sarah fell out!" Panicked I turned and yelled "What?!" and saw her on the floor of our truck.


In the hustle to get out the door to an event we were to attend I just neglected to buckle her in. Something I rarely do. In a moment I could have lost my precious girl!

A flood of thoughts came at me all at once as I realized just how bad that "could" have been. I pictured in my mind that if we had actually hit the car in front she would have flown through the windshield. How if we had rolled the car down the embankment she would have rolled around the car and probably been thrown out of a window and killed too.


I immediately was so thankful.... Words can not do justice to the thankfulness I had for Gods protective hand yesterday. I sobbed in thankfulness. Later last night, as I heard the news highlights of children killed in plane crashes in my area, of concert stands killing people, of car crashes in other areas... I was in awe of why God saw fit to protect us from this tragedy.

I have no answers, just this scripture
"For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."" Romans 9 :15

And I was struck at how he is a HOLY God. Have you thought about how HOLY he is lately? In our culture we think of our 'Friend' Jesus... and the 'Grace' of God... But have you thought about his utter  Holiness lately? I think we need to have a fresh revelation of just how holy he is. I think we need to learn to be thankful for the privilege of having a breath today, and realize that we have no rights apart from what he gives us. I think we need to remember that though he is loving and though he is full of grace he is also a Holy God who is to be revered.

"Day and night they never stop saying: 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.' Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: 'You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.'" Revelation 4:8-11
Blessings,



Friday, August 12, 2011

Purpose

I love Psalm 138:8

"The LORD will fulfill his purposes for me..."

Let that hang in your mind for a minute. It's not YOU who will fulfill your purpose in your life. It's the LORD. Doesn't that give you a bit of freedom? It sure does me.

I think sometimes we can get caught up in the search for our purpose.

We seek where we are supposed to serve.
We Pray for a direction in our purpose.
We seek the right fit.
We think we will feel fulfilled when we find it.

Sounds more like searching for a pair of jeans...

But that isn't what the word teaches. It teaches us that we are to serve where we can, love everybody, follow the Lord explicitly, and that GOD almighty will fulfill in us the purpose he has for us.

That is PURE FREEDOM to know that it's up to God to work and direct us. So what is our part in this?

If you know me at all, you know that I adore Beth Moore. I have learned so much from her over the years of doing her bible studies. But one thing she says that sticks in my mind goes something like this..."If we are just all out loving God with everything we've got, and living to serve him, we can't help but run smack into our purpose."

Love that.... It's still all about loving him. 

"May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance." 2 Th 3:5


Blessings ~








Thursday, August 11, 2011

Character in Question...

Luke 7: 20,22 "When the men came to Jesus, they said, "John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, 'Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?'"..."So he replied to the messengers, "Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor."

John the Baptist knew who Jesus was. Just a few chapters earlier he heard the voice of God declaring him the Son of God, and Saw The holy spirit come down on him. Yet here, he questions who he really is, what he really is doing, and what his real motivations were.



My heart was hurt the other day. Someone I love and respect questioned  me on something I was doing.

The very nature of the question called my personal integrity into question. I was completely innocent of this and horribly hurt by what the question insinuated.

I denied the charge and asked them if there was anything in my life or personality that would warrant them to believe that I would ever do such a thing.

Of course they said no. But there it was, hanging there, and building a wall in our relationship. I forgave them of course, but I will not deny the hurt it caused.

How much more does it hurt our relationship with Christ when we think or believe he is against us?  When we accuse him, even in our hearts, of being anything other than what he really is, I can't help but believe that it puts a strain on our relationship

I have heard some say

"I just can't win"
"God is against me"
" He doesn't care"
"He is angry with me"
"He just wants to punish me"
"I am not important/ my needs aren't important"

Instead he says

"I gave all that you might win the Holy Spirit"
"I am for you, who can be against you?"
"I intimately care about you, and have lavished my grace on you"
"I have given you peace with God"
"I want to bless you with every spiritual blessing"
"You have been saved and set apart"
"You are precious in my sight"

We need to see Christ for his true character, what we see as evidence about him in scripture and in our life transformations, rather than our momentary feelings in a time of crisis, doubt, or worry.

Know him today friends. Know his character. And when you are tempted to believe otherwise remember...

..."The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor."

Blessings ~

 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

In Weakness....



2 Cor 12;9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

2 Cor 11:30 "If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness"

If I were honest with you and I revealed a part of myself that I reserve from most people, you would see that I am a weak woman. I love Jesus with everything, but I am weak.

I worry
I become confused
I doubt
I question
I get angry
I get resentful
I get judgmental.
I try to control things myself.

But the Lord says that in Our weakness he is made strong.... And Paul writes that he will boast about his weakness so Christ is glorified.

So I will boast about my weakness because...

He is able.
He is strong,
He is patient,
He has mercy!
His love never fails.
His plan never is thwarted.
He is never out of control of the outcomes in my life.

He doesn't ask for perfection.  He has asked only two things... to Love him, and tell everyone else about his grace for us.


The world says we must be perfect to be strong and to win. But the bible says that our greatest strength is in our weakness. What could God do with our weaknesses if we stopped listening to what the world says we should do and instead started boasting about them? I know one person who did just that...

Jason Grey is an amazing christian music artist with a gift for words. For a man with a studdering  handicap that may seem strange, But that is the kind of God we serve. He took Jason's biggest weakness and put it on display, and made it beautiful.





Blessings,

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Search for Significance

What if our significance is actually realized in simple things?

I've been thinking a lot about this lately. What if all our struggling to do "something" significant is really keeping us from the significance God has assigned us? What if the thought that we were all meant for greatness is misleadingly mixed with what the world sees as great?

What if God sees the simple quiet triumphs, that no one else sees, as being great and significant? Could we value them with the same level of significance? Or, does everyone have to recognize our greatness in order to be great?

That might be a bit arrogant of us, don't you think?

Do we think we even have the "right" to have an obviously significant task given to us by God? And if God hasn't given us one do we think we have been punished or mistreated?

"Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?" Rom 9:21

We search for our significance... and secretly we think that it will be something we can stand on and say "I am significant because...." But that is skewed thinking. That is selfish, me first thinking.
"Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them 'Rabbi.' " Mathew 23:5-7
Working for the cause of Christ is our #1 priority in this world, but when it's skewed with the idea that what we do must be able to be recognized as significant, we have perverted it.
Here is the Truth...

It's not what we do that makes us significant, it's who's we are....

I am in Christ. He is significant. He has chosen me. Therefore, I am significant because of Him. Not because of what I do for him. Do you get that? Our significance is dependent on HIM, not us, or what we do. Wow! What Freedom!

If you are in Christ You are already significant, and have a significant purpose. But that purpose is up to God to bring to completion. Not you. You just have to remain in him. Are you feeling that freedom?

Let's walk our life, our every day life knowing who we are in Christ. Do all things to his glory... yes, even the dishes... and leave our significance to him.


At the end of the day we have nothing to stand on. Not our own works, Not our own greatness, Not our own significance... the only thing we can stand on is Christ, and that is the most significant place to be.

Blessings today Friends.

Kari

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Whatever it Takes ~ A Proverbs 31 Study

Anyone who knows me, knows that the type of bible study I love is when you really dig deep into the word. I love to get out my concordance, my bible dictionary's, and my commentaries. This is really fun for me.

But after that, there comes a point where I just have to apply what God is saying in his word to me in my life right now.

This is the method I'm using with My Proverbs 31 study. Thanks so much for joining me in this journey. You can see the previous posts HERE

Today's Text Proverbs 31:13-15 (I usually look at 2 versions)
"She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls." Proverbs 31:13-15 NIV
"She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens." Proverbs 31:13-15 KJV

For me it seems to boil down to this...
She will do what ever it takes to take care of her family, and she takes great pains and pride in doing so.

This is a mindset issue in my opinion. And not always an easy one. She is going to work with eager hands to care for her family  no matter what task is needed. Wool and flax was the primary source of textiles in that day. And though I'm not a bible scholar there is some evidence both culturally and in the original language that suggests that the work she did with the wool and flax wasn't just to provide the textiles the family needed, but to sell and earn the money they needed too.

So what can I apply to my daily life in this? I have to ask myself... "Am I working for the benefit of my family with eager hands? Or am I disgruntled about having to do the dishes again, or having the pressure on me to make a living too?"  It's not the tasks that are specific here, it's the attitude. Am I willing to be like the proverbs 31 woman and do whatever is needed to take good care of my family with eager hands? hmmm. thinking....

She is like a merchant ship.... she goes to great lengths to get the best for her family (I'm not talking silk sheets and expensive things here) This is more of a mindset too. She isn't satisfied just getting the basics, she is seeking the best she can get for them. The word Merchant Ship literally means to "go about in trade". Am I willing to go out of my way to provide the best for my family? Or am I satisfied in just good enough?
 

She gets up while it is still dark... ok this is a hard one I know, but the principle of getting up early is prevalent all through the bible. In this case she is rising early so that everyone is provided for. She is making the sacrifice to start everyone off right. Just today I was reading about how people who have an early morning healthy breakfast are more productive throughout the day.

I am seeing a pattern here already aren't you? She is selflessly thinking of her husband and her household before she is thinking of herself. OUCH!

In our "Me First" society you can't go very far before you see a headline that feeds selfish thinking. I think God wants more for us. I think he is showing us how to model His character to our family by being sacrificial even in everyday tasks.

I know this all seems like a tall order, but I've saved the last little bit till now.... read it and savor it.... SHE HAD SERVANT GIRLS! Now I'm not telling you to go out and get a servant but the principle here is that she had help. She didn't do it all herself. She may have been the "foreman" of the household, but she had workers to carry out some of the tasks.

The word here isn't heaping giant responsibilities on you. On the contrary, it's setting you free to spend your time providing for your family in the way you do best, and free to find help for the rest. God never asked us to be an island, or to do it all ourselves. On the contrary, we are to rely on the Holy Spirit for strength and delegate the help we need to have. I like it!

Be blessed today friends. I hope this has encouraged you. Do you see a point I missed? I'd love to hear your perspective.

Blessings,




Tuesday, July 19, 2011

His Unfailing Word.

Yesterday I shared how we are dealing with a loss in our family. My husbands Aunt went home to be with the Lord and we are celebrating her life this weekend. She was a wonderful woman of God. I will miss her.

But this all presents a new situation for our family. Our kids have never had to deal with a death before. My husband and I have been plowing new territory here, and you know what? We have been very pleasantly surprised by what our kids know, and believe. Thank you Jesus!!

Even when talking to my 3 year old I was happy to hear her say "We will see her again when we go and see Jesus!" It's so nice to know that what you teach them on a daily basis actually sinks in to their hearts! God 's word is so good that way isn't it?

It's his Word... his unfailing word ... that reaches our heart, even when we are tender, and as young as a toddler with truth and life. I will leave you today with my absolute favorite passage of scripture. To me it is so poetic, so rich and full of the imagery of who Jesus is. Who the Word of God is...

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it..... He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth...  No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known." John 1: 1-18

Be blessed today!