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?


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!!!


"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


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!


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.


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.


That is FALSE doctrine.


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!


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!


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!


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?


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.


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?