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.


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.


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!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Precious in his sight...

Yesterday morning, about 30 minutes before leaving for church, my husband got the news that his beloved Aunt Betty had died. Though this was not completely unexpected, it still struck me, and while we prayed as a family I began to cry. I was crying for her death, but I was even more so crying because of the awe I felt about what she is experiencing right now.

She has the complete, full, revelation of God the Father. Complete understanding of his plan. She has gazed fully on his face. She has run her race and is now steeped in the glory and the reward that is the presence of God Almighty. GLORY!

Can you imagine? Really, can you? She now sees what she spent her life in hope of, and she is blessed. She is standing before the one who is described this way...

"there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder." Revelation 4: 2-5
Oh how I long to see what my spirit has hoped for. I was truly crying for the thought of finally going home.

I will miss Aunt Betty. What  a wonderful example of a life lived for Christ she was. I thank you Jesus for her, and for what her life meant to my husband, and to me. I thank you Lord that she is with you now, full of glory and blessed beyond measure.
"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints." Psalm 116:15 
She has gone home. The Lord is rejoicing to have his own back home... and I long to be there. To see what she sees, to know what she knows, to look fully on the face of my Lord.

Blessings to you Aunt Betty - I will see you and rejoice with you again soon. But first I have a few legs of my race still to run. I pray I run them as well as you, and in full strength of my Lord.

P.S. I found this great version of Wynonna singing "I Can Only Imagine" ... Imagine with me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Faith and Blessings.

I was challenged by the reading in my devotional this morning. It was about what it takes to be a pillar of the faith.
Faith and blessings are usually what we want.

We pray for them.
We hope for them.
We seek them.

But much of the time we shun their forever companions of 'trials and testing, sorrow and suffering'. No one likes those companions, but they are necessary to grow the type of pillars of the faith that we long to be. The question is are we really willing to walk the path necessary to be a giant of the faith. What if we stopped looking at the companions as something to be feared, and instead looked at them as helpers along the way, perhaps we would yield to their training and be changed by them. What if we looked at them like we would look at a doctor or a surgeon. Who is willing to hurt us in the short term, to cause us to be healed in the long term?

Have you ever read Hinds feet on high places? It is a wonderful allegorical story of that walk up the steep mountain and that path we must take to be pillars of the faith.

"Faith grows amid storms" Here is an excerpt from today's reading in my favorite devotional... the one I read everyday, "Streams in the Desert" ( you can find a copy of it to the right of this post)

..."When you see a giant (of the faith), remember the road you must take to come up to his side is not along the sunny lane where wild flowers ever bloom; but a steep, rocky,narrow pathway where the blasts of hell will almost low you off your feet; where the sharp rocks cut the flesh, where the projecting thorns scratch the brow,a nd the venomous beasts hiss on every side."

I have a new favorite song, Blessings by Laura Story. The one line that catches my attention is  "What IF your blessings come through raindrops and your healing comes through tears??" Gives me something to think about today for sure.

Be blessed today!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Party Time!

Hello Friends!
I had a great weekend celebrating my littlest one's 3rd birthday. It was so much fun to celebrate in PINK! As most of you know, my oldest two are boys, so I've done the Army thing, the super hero thing, the sports thing, the Star wars thing and any other 'thing' you can think of that is boy. So it feels like such a special treat to me to do the Pink thing! Here are a few snap shots of my girl turning 3!

 The Excitement is about to begin... but mom must have a photo shoot!

No princess birthday is complete with out the princess crown and flower lei!??

There were many presents

And a cake made by mom... don't look too close, It may taste wonderful, but decorator I am not! ;-)

And of course, the favorite present of all.... were the bling shoes! LOL... Yep, she's a girl after my own heart!

In all of this I am so thankful for the blessings God has given me through my children. I get so much joy out of them, and I know that God intends that to be a revelation of his heart towards me (and You!).
"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!" Mat 7:11
His heart is Love. I rejoice in the knowledge that there is a major party happening in heaven, and we are invited... the decorations are nearly up and the gifts are nearly wrapped. He is coming soon, and  I don't know about you, but I can't wait to be at that party. Imagine!

Blessings Friends,

Friday, July 8, 2011

5 Minutes for Gratefulness

 The Gypsy Mama  has an invitation to write for 5 minutes flat (without editing) on the subject of being Grateful, then link up and see what others have written about. I want to invite you to join in! Here is my five minutes on gratefulness....

I am grateful for mistakes. I am grateful for hurting and desperate moments that turn into joy inexplicable.

I am grateful for her.

I am grateful that HE chose her for me, that it is beyond what I could have chosen and that I in a moment of open hearted-ness chose to allow him to let her be. I am grateful that painful moments give way to precious gifts unexpected.

How can I explain how grateful I am for her eyes. Those deep penetrating eyes that show me her soul. How can I tell what is important about this girl that wraps me up in utter on the floor bury my face in my hands and weep gratefulness. She is beauty, she is hope, she is a precious gift I scarcely knew I needed. But oh how I needed her.

I am grateful for prayers answered, and answers that come that don’t seem like blessings at the time, but become a truer blessing than the one I could imagine.

I am grateful for 3 years today of that answer. I am grateful for her.

Happy 3rd Birthday My Sweet Sarah! 

Devoted or Devotions?

I was only going to the store. I would be in the car only about 5 minutes. But God used that 5 minutes to speak to my heart. I love that about the Lord, don't you? That he can take the most normal of moments and turn it into his moment.

I turned on the radio, changed the channel to my favorite station and started listening to the beginnings of a sermon that immediately struck a cord with me. He started talking about devotions... truthfully, one of my hardest things to master. Don't get me wrong, I talk to the Lord all day long and I LOVE studying the bible, but I've never been very good at having a set time that I use everyday as a quiet time. Since I am always looking for a good tip for devotions I listened closely. And his first question struck a nerve with me.

He asked,  "are you more devoted to having your devotions, or devoted to the one worthy of your devotion?"

How many times have I beaten myself up about not "making it" to my pre-set quiet time. When what is really important is re-devoting myself to my savior everyday. Entering into his presence with awe, thankfulness, and complete submission.

I know that God only cares about our relationship, not how regimented I am in my quiet time. There is nothing wrong with having a set time, but in that time are we just going through our routine so we can feel accomplished at the end? Or are we falling on our knees before a holy God and surrendering all. I think Psalm 63 expresses what we need to do everyday before God best.

" O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me." Psalm 63:1-8

If the Lord can use the few moments I had to speak clearly to me. How much more can he use me if I can come before him each day fully devoted, rather than just performing my devotions.

I love this Francis Chan video. If you haven't seen it yet, it goes right along with what I'm talking about today. It's very worth your time. 

Blessings Friends,

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What are You Living For?

"They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity--for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him." 2 Peter 2:19
Just the other day we celebrated the anniversary of our countries freedom from oppression and the birth of our independence as a nation. It would be interesting to hear what our founding fathers would have to say about the condition of our country today. Would they call it a tyranny? Would they say we need a revolution? That taxes are too high, and that politicians rather than the people are running the country? I can hear them now.
"Any people that would give up liberty for a little temporary safety deserves neither liberty nor safety."  Benjamin Franklin 
How quickly we move away from our foundations. A little compromise here and there and before we know it we hardly recognize ourselves.

You know when I first became a Christian I was on fire. I knew exactly what my purpose was and I didn't care who knew, or what ridicule I would get. And believe me I got ridiculed a lot.

Sometimes I wonder if the church would be recognizable to the founding patriarchs. What would Paul, Peter, or John say to us? Would they say that we are asleep? Or that we have become lazy? Would they say we are out of our minds wasting our time in our daily struggle, when our real purpose is that of Christ? 

I don't know what they would say, but I do know what Jesus says

"The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me." John 12:25-26

 I think this video from Francis Chan says it perfectly. 

Blessings my friends!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

In Full Confidence - A Proverbs 31 Study

There is so much that can be said  (and already has been said) about this chapter of Proverbs. Women from all walks of life have their thoughts and opinions on it and still it can seem elusive, challenging, and even offensive to some. So I wanted to take a real close look at it for my self... and thought I'd take you with me.
My purpose in this series of blog posts is going to be to take a literal scriptural look at this passage by researching the original Hebrew text to deepen my understanding. And then extract principles that I can apply as a woman seeking to be more like this wife of noble character.
I have a lot of work to do, a lot of opinions and preconceived ideas to unravel. I am going to try to look at the scripture with fresh eyes and a heart wide open to the Holy Spirit. I hope you will too. I can't wait to discover what God wants to teach me in this. 

Our Text ( I always like to look at several versions)

Proverbs 31:10-12, NIV 
"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life."

Proverbs 31:10-12, KJV
"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life."

A Closer Look

Noble character or a virtuous woman - The word translated to noble character or Virtuous woman is "chayil" and it means strength, might, ability, efficiency, wealth, force, or army.
It honestly seems to mean A wife who has shown herself strong, displayed valor, and might as in being victorious in battle. This word is used 243 times in the bible and most typically is used when describing men of valor who have proven themselves worthy in war, the spoils of war, or can even mean the evidence of being victorious.

"The heart of her husband" - The word for the heart in the original Hebrew is "leb"  and it means the very inner man, his mind, will, heart, and understanding.

"She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life."The word for brings him is "gamal" and it means to deal fully with, or recompense. And finally, the word good is "towb" and it means good, pleasant, agreeable, benefit, welfare, prosperity.


If I put all the ideas behind the original Hebrew text together, my initial picture of this woman dramatically changes. Many would automatically interpret virtuous as being meek, mild, and pure sexually. While those are all biblical characteristics, it is not part of the original words meaning at all. The actual words used are ones that describe her more as an overcoming warrior.

I get excited by this. You see, I believe women are called just as much as men to the spiritual battlefield. We are to fight against powers of darkness, to be over comers, to be bold and strong in the Lord. This woman has  stood in the test of battle, overcome, and now her character has the riches of the spoil. This evidence is what her husband sees and finds great worth in.

She is someone who has proven herself by her actions. Her husbands inner man is Secure about her character because she has shown herself trustworthy. And she continues to prove it by dedicating herself to bringing him only good all the days of her life. He is then satisfied and has no need to find riches elsewhere.

My question in this is How have I been proving to my husband that I am worthy of this trust?  What have I done today? Have I done what it takes to gain his "Full Confidence?"  Have I brought him good today and not harm?

If we proved our trustworthiness to our husbands daily, how would that change our relationship? Are we overspending? Secretly hiding purchases? Are we telling our girlfriends things about our husband that should be left untold? Does he feel he can trust us with his heart? Or will we discuss it with a friend?

Our Challenge this week is to find tangible ways we can prove ourselves trustworthy to our husbands, and to stop actions we know are eroding that trust.

Thank you so much for coming along side of me and diving into the first part of this great rich text. I so appreciate you!

P.S. If you love bible study like I do, check out a few of my favorites...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Bounty and Blessings

Good Morning Friends! I love this time of year don't you? The weather warms and the flowers bloom and, my favorite part...the STRAWBERRIES ripen!

I love eating them plain right out of my garden, slicing them on strawberry shortcake, and dipping them in sour cream and brown sugar... I know that last one sounds a bit strange, but trust me it is amazingly delish!

Last night I picked the days harvest. Look at the bounty that came out of my garden just yesterday!

Strawberries from my Garden! Yum!

 What a blessing! Having this blessing gives me such joy. There is nothing like reaping what you've sown! In years past I haven't planted anything, and didn't get that joy of having a good harvest. 

That got me thinking about my relationship with the Lord. What am I sowing now? Right now? What harvest will I see in heaven? What will last and be enjoyed? What (or who) will I bring to the banquet table? That is what is ultimately important. My life, my work, needs to be rooted in that goal.

Today as I go through my day, I want to think about those strawberries, how much I enjoy them, and how much the Lord enjoys the sowing I do for him. I so want to please him. He is the core of my purpose, and I want to live my life with a Harvest mindset. There is much work to be done, and the time is short. Who are you (and who am I) sowing our love for the Lord in today?