Monday, December 30, 2013

My Tour Guide

The last time we went to DC, we had an opportunity to go on a DC Duck Tour.  Not only did we get to ride in a Duck - an amphibian vehicles from the early 1900s army issued, but the tour took us by all the great sites in downtown.  The tour guide knew everything about DC and about the Duck.  We stopped by several missed monuments that I hadn't known about.  He knew the ins and outs of downtown.

Most tour guides are like that.  They know the best places to go.  The best places to stay.  They know all the history the city holds.  They know what's going on and what plans the city has.

The Bible shows God is our Guide.  He guided Noah to build a boat.  He guided Abraham to go to a new land.  He guided Moses out of Egypt and Joshua into the Promise Land.  He guided to prophets to speak to the people.  He spoke to Mary and Joseph about His coming Son.

Jesus was raised in Nazareth.  A place that was despised.  A place that nothing good was would come.  Yet, despite those conditions, He grew.  He learned scripture.  He didn't allow that place to change who He is.  He grew into the perfect man there.  

God will lead us.  He knows our life better than we do.  He knows our thoughts.  He knows our true needs.  He knows our history.  He knows our future.  He can be trusted with our lives, our plans, our goals.  He knows the best places to go, to stay, to see.

Is God your Guide?  Do you listen for His instructions?  Do you obey immediately?  What needs to change in your heart so that He is your guide?  So that you do heed His Word?  That you trust His direction? 

Are you content with where you are planted?  Do I appreciate what God is doing right now?

Friday, December 20, 2013

No Room at the Inn

And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

We're approaching the day we celebrate the blessed event written out in Luke.  I was struck by this verse in my counseling study.

Presented with two solutions to every problem.  The problem of course is sin.   The first solution is remedial from within.  It is to search God's word to change the heart, to prepare for spiritual warfare.  It is the putting off of the sin.

The second solution is discipleship from without.  This is applying God's word.  It is the putting on of Godly fruit.  Being a disciple is making room for Jesus.  It is the only way to conquer life dominating sins.  It is filling my time, my thoughts, my anything I do with Jesus.  When Jesus has all of me, I don't have time for life dominating sin.  

Just as many centuries ago the crowd didn't have room for Jesus.  Now with Jesus in my heart, I do not have room for sin.  When He fills every space, He is all I want.  

We (God and I) are working together to get this done.  It is a life long process, so be patient.  It is a clear indication I'm not spending enough time with God and allowing Him to fill me fully when old life dominating sins that I have repented of come back.  Always be on guard, always be filled with Jesus.


Merry Christmas
Have a great Holiday, I'm on break until the new year.  Many Blessings to your family.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Joseph, The Obedient Father



Joseph felt betrayed.  The woman who he’d known most of his life, his fiancĂ©, was expecting a child.  He knew it wasn’t his.  What was he going to do.  Despite her betrayal, he couldn’t bring himself to shame her publicly as he ought.  No, he’d handle matters quietly, ending their engagement, and maybe someday, he wouldn’t be embarrassed in their community.

He then went to sleep and an angel of the Lord said that everything Mary said was true.  The child she carried was God’s Son.  Joseph was to take Mary as his wife.  He was to endure the suspicions of their community with her being with child before their marriage celebration.  He was to carry the weight of caring for God’s only Son.  He was to name Him Jesus.

Joseph did all that.  He took Mary with him to Bethlehem, for leaving her at home was not an option.  He stayed by her during the trip, concerned for she was due soon.  He search the whole city for a room to stay in.  He had no family in which to turn.  He found the only warm place for them, a cave.  The animals kept the small place warm. 

Joseph witnessed the birth, helped Mary along.  They wrapped Jesus in clothe and laid him in a manger.  He deserved better, but what could Joseph do?

Once the census was done, Joseph moved his small family into a home.  He left behind the home he had prepared in Nazareth.  He left behind the family business.  He waited until God told him what to do. 

Magi from the east came to worship his Son.  They gave gifts even he couldn’t imagine.  Now Joseph was a steward over God’s Holy Son and this large fortune given to his Son. 

Another dream warn Joseph to flee to Egypt.  Immediately he flees, thankful for the gifts to fund the trip.  They barely escape Herod wrath.  He’s sadden by the story that Herod kills all the young boys in the area in hopes of killing God’s Son.  Joseph trust God’s provision all the more.  God would protect them.  He would protect His Son. 

Joseph has another dream – go home.  He packed up his family and headed north.  Upon hearing the king’s son ruled, he took his fears to God.  Surely God intended His Son to be raised in Bethlehem.  Surely He planned to raise Him near the Temple.  Yet, no, God directed Joseph back to Nazareth.  A place despised among the Israelites.  A place no man would look for God’s Son.

On Joseph’s journey, he was obedient.  He was willing to give up his future plans – plans to be a carpenter, to marry Mary and settle down.  He gave up his home.  He gave up his business.  He gave up his reputation.  He went willingly into a foreign country. 

What plans do I need to sacrifice so that God can guide me?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Run to Safety

Recently we took a walk around my neighborhood.  Nothing new, we normally take a walk after dinner dishes are washed.  This time, something extraordinary happened.  As we rounded a corner, two very scared horses were galloping towards us.  Not being used to horses, I stopped and grabbed my girl.  Dale instructed us to move over and for our girl to get behind me.  He meanwhile approaches the horses without much thought.  In his youth, his family raised horses.  Instinct for him kicked in. 

Although he didn't know these horses, he understood their nature.  He was able to stop them from running further away.  The horses were very scared and did not allow him to approach.  Not long their owners came along.  But even with the owners they were scared.  So they ran here and there.  They ran into the bean field and began to dine on the young crop.  The owner came close, but a neighbor's dog finally noticed what was happening, began to bark scaring one horse and the other followed suit.  In just a few moments they galloped back towards their barn.

How often do we allow life to scare us from the safe shelter of our Father?  We think we'll be better off running, but only to find ourselves even more frightened by the unfamiliar surrounding of the dark world.  Some may try to point us back to safety, but we become frightened because we're uncertain. 

God is a God who protects.  He's calling you back to His arms.  Return to His safety.  His ways are better.  They are easier.  It means turning from the things that bring us false safety - mammon.  Letting go of this world and clinging tightly to Jesus.

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  Isaiah 55:9

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Living Fountain

I am a fish out of water, pressing forward to the living fountain, the closer I get the more I'm flopping.  I know there is victory when I dive fully in.  As I breath another breathe, the war is not over. 

All my focus should be on finishing my exam, but it is not.  I am honest, finally.  Excuses stop today.  Please help me Lord.

Signing off for now - will return when those things which should not occupy me have been laid down.  I will stomp their fire out and flame the Spirit.  Set Him alive in me.  Jump fully in.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

1 Peter 1:21-22 Fervent Love

Through Him you believe in (adhere to, rely on) God, Who raised Him up from the dead and gave Him honor and glory, so that your faith and hope are [centered and rest] in God.  Since by your obedience to the Truth through the [Holy] Spirit you have purified your hearts for the sincere affection of the brethren, [see that you] love one another fervently from a pure heart. 1 Peter 1:21-22

v20 says Jesus was chosen before all time to come.  Through Jesus I believe in God.  

I love adhere - stick to, have loyalty to.  Stick to as Mary did seeing Jesus in the garden - cling to His feet.  I adhere to God, His ways.  

Rely on - only through His grace can I love and follow Him.  Jesus raised from the dead, Jesus has honor and glory now so my faith and hope are focused on God.  

What do I need to do to have God at my center?  
Where is He not?  Show me Lord!

v 22
1. My obedience is only through the Holy Spirit, not on my own.
2.  My heart is purified by obedience.
3. A purified heart can have sincere affection for others.
4.  My love should be fervent (very hot; glowing; marked by great intensity for feeling).  

Lord, help me to purify my heart so I can love fervently.  So I can exercise your mercy on others.  On this point I have far to go, but You, my Lord, are the only way to get there.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

1 Peter 1:18-19 The Ultimate Obedience

You must know (recognize) that you were redeemed (ransomed) from the useless (fruitless) way of living inherited by tradition from [your] forefathers, not with corruptible things [such as] silver and gold, But [you were purchased] with the precious blood of Christ (the Messiah), like that of a [sacrificial] lamb without blemish or spot. 1 Peter 1:18-19

It is on me to recognize my redemption and ransom bought with the price of the blood of Jesus.
     -- Man's natural way is useless - fruitless.
     -- It is only through the Holy Spirit that I can live in the fruit of the Spirit - it is my choice.

The precious blood of the lamb - there is power, power, holy working power - this hymn comes to me from verse 19.  He was a perfect man, no sin, no temptation overcame Him.  And for they joy of completing His Father's work He obeyed.  Precious indeed.

What temptation am I giving into?  What fruitless acts are consuming my time?  Where do I need to submit in obedience?

Monday, October 14, 2013

1 Peter 1:17 Stranger

 And if you call upon Him as [your] Father Who judges each one impartially according to what he does, [then] you should conduct yourselves with true reverence throughout the time of your temporary residence [on the earth, whether long or short]. 1 Peter 1:17

1.  God judges impartially.  He has no favorites.  He doesn't compare us with each other.  He judges the times we did and shouldn't have and the times we should have and didn't.  He is just.

I will be judged for what I do and don't do - only me.  

2.  NIV says as you are strangers here.  This weighed on my heart last week.  All the reverence I lived in last spring has disappeared.  How easily a bad attitude moves in where you aren't noticing.

This is not my home.  This is not where I'll find comfort.  Fix my eyes - heart - life on the Father who will bring me home.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

1 Peter 1:13-16 Obedience

 So brace up your minds; be sober (circumspect, morally alert); set your hope wholly and unchangeably on the grace (divine favor) that is coming to you when Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is revealed.  [Live] as children of obedience [to God]; do not conform yourselves to the evil desires [that governed you] in your former ignorance [when you did not know the requirements of the Gospel].  But as the One Who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all your conduct and manner of living.
For it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy. 1 Peter 1:13-16

I am to prepare my mind - think over circumstances and the consequences.  NIV says 'prepare your minds for actions and be self-controlled.'

* Think on how each circumstance effects eternity.  How will I react?  Will my selfish impatience aid the circumstance (the answer is always NO!)  What might I say or do that would bring about eternal blessings?  I want to learn how to bring Jesus into my conversation and actions more.  Lord - please show me!

* Focus my hope - my thoughts - on the grace of Jesus.  I am to be obedient to what the Holy Spirit has taught me since I accepted and believed the Gospel.  I am to strive to be holy as Jesus is Holy.  Where am I lacking obedience?  What has the Holy Spirit convicted me of (not me choosing) and I'm not obeying immediately? 

* Through obedience to Christ  can i be holy as Christ.  Obedience brings wisdom.  Many people struggle to find the will of God for their lives.  The are confused of what to do.  Perhaps even claiming that the Bible doesn't speak to their situations.  If that's you, try obedience in the smaller things and see if the bigger things become clearer.  Honor your parents.  Love your neighbor.  Give generously.  Be patient.  Be willing to do your part.  I love the song "While I'm waiting" by John Waller.  We can still be obedient in the small things while allowing God to work out some "big" things.  Obedience in the small things brings wisdom, opens our eyes to what God is doing.

Monday, October 7, 2013

1 Peter 1:8 Thrill

Without having seen Him, you love Him; though you do not [even] now see Him, you believe in Him and exult and thrill with inexpressible and glorious (triumphant, heavenly) joy. 1 Peter 1:8

Oh the things of this world I allow to distract me from the joy, the thrill of knowing and loving Jesus.  A smile goes on my face thinking about Jesus.  Help me, Lord, to remember my precious love.  To love as You do.  Help me to stay in the joy, the inexpressible glorious joy!  Help my express my gratitude of thankfulness endlessly - that it drown out the impatience and selfishness.

Friday, October 4, 2013

That Situation

When something happens - do I think 'why is this happening to me?' or 'what is God doing in this?'

Oh those little words of conviction - slightly rephrased.  I've been fighting a judgmental attitude for a while now.  I observe the world and wonder how people can do what they do - sometimes I express those thoughts and sometimes not. 

So when the situation happens, God made me aware of it because:
1. I am not to get angry at the behavior of others - for my anger does not help anyone.
2. I am not to run away and avoid what is happening.
3. I am not to entertain judgmental thoughts against someone - especially since I don't know what's fully going on with them.
4. I am not to complain - about the perceived disrespect, the interruption of my plans, the general discontent with the world that turns my heart hard.

5. I am to ponder what God's intent is in making me aware of what's going on.
6. I am to gather additional information if I am led to DO something (not just say something).
7. I am to pray for the situation, turn everything over to God's power.  This world needs prayer and every time I notice, I can replace those condemn thoughts with petitions to prayer.
8. I can put a smile on my face and just go with it - since things are how they are, a good attitude will help everyone along.  The world needs more good attitudes - God has asked me to have a good attitude.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

1 Peter 1:7 Refined Faith

So that [the genuineness] of your faith may be tested, [your faith] which is infinitely more precious than the perishable gold which is tested and purified by fire. [This proving of your faith is intended] to redound to [your] praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) is revealed. 1 Peter 1:7

Redound - add to, accrue; to have an effect 

1 Peter 1:6 verse spoke about test (from outside of me) and trials (from within me) are proving my faith and growing it in all areas.  Gold is considered precious, but it is perishable - not like the value of my faith, which is imperishable.  Gold is refined by fire.  My precious faith needs refined as well.  Refined faith redounds my praise for Jesus.  My faith adds to His glory and honor.  Of course it is only by the Holy Spirit my faith can grow - all of it gifts from God.  

Where do I need to change my attitude about trials and temptation?  What areas am I complaining about?  When do I become impatient?  Allow those times of conviction on my attitude become time of praise for the great work God is doing within me.  The more I turn from complaining and impatience the easier it will become.  I hope one day I will be patient first, I will not complain.  I so look forward to that day Lord!  Let it begin today.

Monday, September 30, 2013

1 Peter 1:6 Joy!

 [You should] be exceedingly glad on this account, though now for a little while you may be distressed by trials and suffer temptations, 1 Peter 1:6

Exceedingly glad - not just a little happy, but exceedingly - for I have an inheritance this world does not and the world cannot spoil.  No better way to spend your time then thinking about our inheritance.  The joy should overflow us.  It should put Jesus on our lips often.  For how glad we are to have our hope in something so wonderful.  To know others can have that as well!

For a little while - not long.  This world will distress and I will endure temptations and suffer through not giving in.

Trials (without me) and temptations (within me) are real.  This world is here for a short while.  In my inheritance it will be gone.  The distresses over trials in their world can be let go - for God says it's temporary.  It's ok to suffer under my own temptation.  God has something better planned and He will use the trials and temptation to make me holy.   He will enable me

Thursday, September 26, 2013

1 Peter 1:2 and 3 b Choosen

(A) Who were chosen and foreknown by God the Father and consecrated (sanctified, made holy) by the Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and to be sprinkled with [His] blood: (B) May grace (spiritual blessing) and peace be given you in increasing abundance [that spiritual peace to be realized in and through Christ, freedom from fears, agitating passions, and moral conflicts]. 1 Peter 1:2 (A and B added)

A:  Look at the faith Peter has.  It is genuine faith he is writing about to encourage other Christians.  His faith and love for Christ carried him to obedience to what Jesus instructed.  I am chosen.  I am known by god - He consecrated me with His Holy Spirit to be obedient to Jesus and sprinkled - saved me - by His blood.  All these holy things are me as part of Christ.  God chose me.  He knew I would be His before I submitted to Him.

B:  I have freedom in Christ.  I am free from fears.  Free from my sinful nature.  It is no longer part of me.  I have grace through Christ.

By His boundless mercy we have been born again to an ever-living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,1 Peter 1:3b

God's mercy spared me from my sin and consequences (eternal death and temporal results of sin).  His mercy brought me out of sin and into blessings.  In Him I place my never ending hope.  What confidence Peter has in Christ.  I love reading about it. 

 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Anniversary Weekend

How wonderful a weekend.  My husband and I celebrate our 10 year anniversary today.  We were able to get away to a B & B this weekend to the town in which we met.  It was great to return, to see what has changed in the 11 years it's been since we left. 

The B & B was wonderful.  A house built in 1886 the has the first indoor bathroom for the town.  I'm sad to say that I took my camera and didn't take one picture.  What I do know is we must do it again. 

My girl got to spend her first weekend at Grandma's.  That went well.  Up until this point, she hasn't spend for than one night away from us.  At church with Grandma, she was inspired to write a few things down - while she listened.  I'll post those excellent jewels when I get a chance to scan them in.

It was great to spend time with just the hubs, to connect and not have someone ask you to do something for them.  So thankful that God put this man in my life that we could go through time together.  It's been a blessing to grow towards God together.  To know that when the lie pops into my head that I won't endure to see something through - I have 10 years to prove I can.  I would marry him all over again!

Then Sunday morning he said those sweet words that cause me to go week in the knees, "Hey we could go through IKEA on our way to pick up our girl."

Um, yes please.  We picked out a wardrobe to go into our bedroom, however, the box is to long to find in our vehicle.  That is part of the reason I hadn't planned a trip over to buy anything.  I'm wanting a friend with a truck to go so I could tag along.  If not Grandma might be able to get it in her vehicle if all the seat are folded down.

And the best part, I'm starting a series on 1 Peter.  I'll walk through verse by verse and post what some of the verses spoke to me and how to apply the truth to our lives.

Happy Autumn!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Taking Big Strides when Little Strides are needed

I'm enjoying my new walking schedule.  My body is craving the stroll.  I had a little trouble with my left knee starting to burn.  I thought 'oh I need to slow down', but it really didn't help.  I didn't want to go back to wearing the brace. 

A breeze came to me as I sought God to help me keep up the walking.  My stride.  I'm seriously like a mad woman on a mission when it comes to walking.  I remember the first time I went shopping without my brace - after several months of wearing it.  I pushed my cart around like I was a speed walker taking huge steps.  I felt it in me knee.

So on my next walk, I purposely shortened my stride.  I can still walk as fast as I need to, just not take bigger than I need to take steps.  As a benefit to less pain in my knee, my hips didn't get tight.  I usually stop to stretch out my right hip twice on my walk.  It wasn't necessary today!  I just have to praise God for reminding me.

But I was thinking, what else do I start to take big strides through when little one are what's needed?

I get in a rush to get it done.  I busy here and there, rushing through my day.  Slow down.  Take those smaller steps of enjoyment.  Joy is what my long strides often step over.  I get so concerned about getting to the end that I forget the joy on the way.

I'm going to think about this a little more.  I love having a new perspective on how to look at things.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Living and Active

I had a post lined up for today, however after writing one, God led me to several more ideas that support the one He breezed my way.  So while I work on that this week for a new series,
I wanted to share I plan to participate in the Living and Active fall challenge over at Peak 313.


I've done well the past month with a commitment to exercise - of course I took nearly two weeks off to be sick and recover. 

I think this challenge will help keep me motivated and accountable to stick with what God is directing me to do - regain physical health through realistic movement.  And focus on His word - which I have down - yet I will never turn down an opportunity to reminded of the need to stay in the Word.  I know me, and it's all to easy to slip into - oh I'll do it later - mode and never get to it. 

In my little slice of Paradise, it is a mile and quarter lap.  {I do not use the word paradise in vain for where I live, Paradise is part of the name :) }.  My goal is to work up to six days a week that I walk it, if I don't have something more strenuous to do at home, like mow the lawn.  Last week I did four days - so Yea!

The other thing I hope peak 313 will help with is thoughts.  I'm on guard to stop thoughts that will make this process about me.  It's not size I'll be if I lose weight.  It's about being able to move.  It's getting stronger.  All this will enable me to be useful to get out there and help others, to endure whatever I need to. 

No longer will I push myself to injury.  No longer will is listen to the call of the sofa.  It's all for God!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Thrifty Thursday

This post is something from my norm.  I wanted to share another side of me.  Sometimes I wake up with an overwhelming desire to go to a thrift store. When this happens I usually get one location in mind.  If my schedule allows it, I usually try to squeeze it in.  With the start of a few fall activities, I wanted some longer skirts - something I normally don't wear.  With my body type I find getting a good fit hard to do sometimes.  I love getting bargains at thrift store though.
This cute sweater will be my Christmas top.  I've developed a habit of finding something red in summer or fall for the upcoming season.   

And a closer look - it still has the 79.00 tag.  New for only $4.00!

I bought this skirt to go with the red sweater - however I think this skirt will get much more use in my closet.  I just love black with small white poke a dots!   So classic.  For my Christmas outfit I have a black lace covered shell I plan to wear. 
This outfit was hanging together.  It's a Christopher and Banks - which is one store I usually find a great fit in.  This of course was much less expensive than getting it straight from the store.  The skirt looks much lighter in the picture than it really is.  The flash picked up all the light colors.  The perks of longer skirts is that I can wear to church when I hang out with the second graders and not worry about how I sit on the floor.

And my favorite piece.  White and turquoise.  I have several ideas on how this will work.  When I went shopping I was sure I would find several A line skirts, this was the only one.  What a gem!  I have several things planned to go with this skirt.  It will replace a couple skirts I can't currently wear because of my waist line.  Now if my knees will allow me to wear the matching high heals again.

I found a fabulous red dress that was a bit to small.  I struggle with whether to buy it.  If I lost some weight it would fit - so buy it.  But I gave up filling my closet with close that will fit when I lose the weight.  So I hung it on the rack.  A lady behind me picked it up for her sister. I glad it went home with someone.  I knew it wouldn't last long.

One thing I don't have a picture of is a set of vintage dishes my mother has wanted for years.  It wasn't the exact print, but one the complemented what she had collected and she loved them.  I found a seven piece setting of plates, saucers, tea cups, bowl for under $15.00.  Much higher price on Ebay!

Remember God love you!




Monday, September 2, 2013

Your 'Have To' Changes to Your 'Want To'

I worked with a youth pastor in the past that loved golf.  This man played golf almost daily.  All his expendable income went to golf.  His wife accepted this and loved to play along sometimes.  He also was devoted to watching pro golf.  This was before Tiger had all his personal troubles and was on the leader board for every tournament he entered. 

Then the news came they were expected their first baby.  They were both excited for this new addition God granted them.  Then the teasing started.  "Oh, you won't be able to go play golf once the baby come."  "No golf for you, babies cost a lot of money."  On and on it went.  He was really tired of hearing it, especially when she was in her last trimester.

It happened during this time I spoke with him and golf came up.  Me: you know this golf thing will change once your son is born. Him: I know, I know, I won't have money.  I've heard it all before.  Me: No, it's not that.  You won't want to play golf as much anymore.  You will want to be with him.

It had never occurred to him like that.  It became true on both accounts.  With his wife now home, the funds were down, but as well, he desired to get home and be with his family more and more.

It the transformation that happens in our heart as well.  We might know a little about God.  Perhaps we remember the 10 Commandments from our youth and was taught that God had rules and laws we needed to follow to be one of His children.  For me, this kept me from God's love for so many years.  I hadn't learned God is a forgiving God, a God full of grace to enable me to do what He asked.  I accepted Jesus as my Savior, but I wasn't in love with God.

Just as my friend loved his baby, he wasn't in love with him until he arrived and was this wonderful being he could interact with.  Interacting with God, getting to know Him through His word and time spent adoring all He does opens our heart to be in love with God.

Being in love with God changes our motivations.  We no longer see the rules and laws that weigh on us.  We see opportunities to show God we love Him by obeying what He has asked us to do.  We no longer see it as a hindrance to living life, but as a guideline to living the best life God has planned for us.  As Creator, He knows how we are to live to walk fully in His blessings.  

Being in love with God transforms all those have to's to want to's.

If your love for God isn't so great, ask Him to help you.  Ask for His grace to open your heart to Him and love Him.  He will do it, just ask.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Joy of Expectation

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:3

Waiting expectantly on God is pure joy.  I've received affirmation after affirmation that I'm in the right spot where God wants me.  I'm at a point where I'm allowing Him to work in my heart, in my life and through me.  

As I've wrote before about my own plans and how they were not God's plan.  Although I prayed that if it wasn't in His will that I'd be OK with the demise of my plans.  But it didn't stop me to keep making plans, seeking something from this world.  Now that I'm plugged fully into His plans.  Fully enjoying where He has me here and what He has me doing (that was a big break through!)

God has given me great peace at where I'm at.  I have submitted to finishing counseling training.  I am committed to further simplify things around my house so it runs smoother, more efficient.  

He has put in front of me many times - I have plans for you.  God's plans are good.  Trust in My plan for you.  Stop trying to make your own way.  It has to start with Me and you before we can take you to the world.  

He has good for me.  I know He has something great for me to do beyond volunteer extraordinaire.  All the things He has me doing are valuable.  I just know there is more, but first I must wait for the training to finish - both inside of me and counseling.  I look joyfully and expectantly to what He has in store.  It's like waiting for the big surprise.  It's leaving my heart open to any possibility - for He is a God of possibility.  Grasp it!  Let it sink in.  He has a plan for you to!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Love of Emptiness - Part 3



What I like most about this term – love of emptiness – is the fact I do not love emptiness, yet it describes my habits!!  Being able to name it means I can recognize it and be alert when it creeps into my life.  I can follow the prompting of Holy Spirit when I’m doing empty things. 

When I argued back about the ease of hopping on the computer, or flipping on TV, just to fill a little time.  The little time that I couldn’t devote to real study of God’s word or be able to clean anything properly.  The excuses went on and on.  Perhaps this should have been my first clue that I was truly in the wrong.

So I asked Him to lead me to make His word available to me.  Help me figure out that setting down to read a short passage, without all the bells and whistles a “true” Bible study had to it.  (Not that I never did this, it’s just rebelling against doing it regularly.) 

I began to obey.  I left my morning study open and Bible open so I could just sit down and jump right in.  God did deliver me from TV watching – because I asked Him.  It was slow going, I was reaching for the computer more than the Bible, but that was coming.  God is delivering me from the mindless activities.  Giving me motivation to do what I really need to do. 

so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11

God word does not come back empty.  It fills, makes beauty where ashes once where.  It reveals Jesus where only ugly sin once was.  Filling the emptiness with God, becoming so content with Him that nothing else will do.  

Monday, August 26, 2013

Love of Emptiness - Part 2



We fill the emptiness of our lives with a hundred pieces of world.  The smart phone is this – it must be check, must be looked at, must have the latest app to simplify your life in a complicated way!

We must stop!  It reminds me of the Never Ending Story that Nothing is slowly taking over the imagination of children therefore consuming all of  Fantastica.  The Nothing is spreading yet many are unaware of it coming.


You will eat but not be satisfied; your stomach will still be empty. Micah 6:14a

It is the same with any habitual sin.  We’re always seeking to fill up on the world, but since we are not filling up on what last, we are empty.

What to do? 
It is asking God to make me aware of His presence.  To help me focus on His word.  It remove the sinful habits of going to email, computer time, TV that consume my day. 

It’s not just stopping the above actions and bam, I’m no longer empty.  For Jesus said:

“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.” Matthew 12:43-45

So we are to replace the emptiness.  For me, God prompted me to begin journaling first thing, writing out scripture and writing what He speaks to me.  This was the first step.  It meant I got up about 15-30 minutes earlier to have that quiet time.  And for someone who loves sleep, this is a big deal.  Slowly, God showed me how to replace the emptiness.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Love of Emptiness Part 1




I dug out some old material that convicted me once before and thought I would read it again to see if the same conviction leaped off the page at me again.  It is a short little pamphlet.  I didn’t get far into it.  I stopped on the front page.  The expression was so short, yet it fit what Holy Spirit is moving within my heart.  You must be free from ... love of emptiness...

Love of emptiness, what is that?  Why would anyone love emptiness?  That led to a further study. 

Meaning: emptiness is the noun form of empty.  The meaning for empty from m-w.com is as follows: containing nothing, not occupied or inhabited, lacking reality, substance meaning or value, devoid of sense, hungry, idle, having no purpose or result, marked by the absence of human life, activity, comfort.

Oh there is just so much to go on.  So, through reading what I could find (really not much out there), prayer and meditation showed how it applied to me and what it means. 

But first what is it?

It’s a two fold inner state.  First, we’re empty inside and seek to fill it.  This is the natural state of man since the fall.  Then the world says to fill it with things, yet none last.  The emptiness grows because the things being put in only create more emptiness, never fulfilling. 

My example - watching TV.  Most shows I watch (HGTV) have no real value.  They add nothing.  It amounts to a time that I have an empty head.  I’m not thinking over some great thought, thinking about what I could do to serve and love those I will contact in my day, think and praise God for how good He is.  I go to it to fill my head, to be a distraction, yet it leaves me empty.

The emptiness grows from spending my time this way.  The emptiness also craves more.  It wants more of what it had.  The same could be true for anything - shopping, eating, computer time (Pinterest anyone?), the list goes on and on.  If anything the modern world has created is way in which to unengaged with the world, with our brains and become people of emptiness.

Of course, this could happen to a dedicated Christian after a major change.  When we just want to be alone and do our own thing.  It slowly creeps in that we’re trying to fill ourselves up with things of the world that distract us from the day to day.  This could be a loss of a loved one that upset your whole world, loss of job, an illness - basically any change in routine.  We make allowance for that period - we need healing, adjustment. Then next thing you know, your habits are set and you are slave to the mind numbing activity.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My work space

I need of a dedicated work space.  A place where I can continuously plug my laptop in.  The battery only lasts about an hour, so it needs to be connected.  We have a desk with a desktop computer - I'm sitting at right now.  However, it is on the laptop that my fingers love to pour out words.  I'm also less prone to check email and such on the laptop - less likely to be distracted.  The desk is shared with D and K, not someplace in which I can leave my stacks of books and Bibles.

I'm getting ready to start the writing phase of the test to be a certified counselor.  The test is sixty essay questions with a minimum of one page of writing per question.

My space needs to be:
  • a place where I can have my things all over
  • the ability to close my books and leave in a neat stack that won't be pretty, but will be available
  • to sit down and jump in where I left off
  • a firm chair so my back doesn't suffer
  • a good view that isn't so distracting
I chose this place.
It is the end of my kitchen table.  This isn't someone's "assigned" spot, for certain times of the year the sun is glaring into this seat.

It has a great view of outside. I love my little slice of Paradise.  I'm so blessed to live on a lake.  You can kinda see it at the bottom, below the bird feeders.
And the wall of my girl - pictures of her childhood.

I cleaned out the junk, moved over the paperwork and plugged in my laptop.  Now we'll see what my family says about this workspace - maybe I'll move into the cat's room, if I can find a gas mask to save me from the litterbox smells.








Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Heart Broken

I posted this on Camp in June.  Who knew it wouldn't be long before we would all understand why camp was cancelled.  What looked like something bad turned into a blessing.  It definitely hit me to trust God more, for He knows what we need - even to cancel an opportunity to minister to children.  For the morning that we would have left for camp, the leader's son went home to God. 

This is the letter I wrote.
My dear friends,
To say anything is so inadequate.  To do anything is so insufficient.  I know the Lord is protecting your heart from doubt.  Your ability to be others-focused through your loss is supernatural.  I'm reminded of Jesus when His dear cousin was beheaded.  He went to the mountainside for rest and mourn, but the people came.  They sought Him and He ministered to their needs.

I see that in you.  The salvation of other over dwelling on your loss.  The need to see God redeem, use your saddest moments for His great glory.  Your servant heart shines through.  May you continue to be a vessel for God to use and an example of what it means to love God all the days of your life.

Although I am insufficient, we love a God who is sufficient.  His mercies are new everyday.  His grace will see us through.  He is a God who redeems all of life.  None of our lives is wasted when we offer it to God.  May His wisdom that surpasses all understanding be granted to you.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Stealing Time

Ephesians 3:15-16  Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

Last night I watched a program.  It referred to "stealing time" when a person spends their time at work on personal things or surfing the internet.  We are held to a higher standard than the "norm" that says we have a right to check email, read blogs and it is a must to check Facebook or twitter, ect.

Good thing for me, I don't "work" outside the home.  Oh, you know what happened then.  The Holy Spirit breezed in and said "this is what I'm talking about.  I sent this to you so you could fully understand what I'm trying to do in you."

So of course I've mulled it over, fell asleep and forgot.  Not to be forgotten long, for I read my daughter her devo for the morning and low and behold these verses above and the need to spend my time wisely was the charge of the day.

I need to be careful.  I need to be wise.  I need to make the most out of every opportunity.  I need to strive for excellence (not perfection).  Because the days are evil!  I need to be careful!  Be wise!  Make the most of every opportunity because the evil is waiting to lure to not be excellent, not be wise, not be careful, not make the most out of every opportunity.

Now my girl has returned to school, it is like New Year's for me.  A time I reflect on what I did last year and what I want to do this year.  A time to do __________ that I put off over the summer so I could devote my time to my girl (yes, cleaning bathrooms were on that list, I'm sorry to say).   

A week or so before school started, God made it clear I was putting to much preference on TV watching and if I continued as I was going, all those things I wanted to catch up on and the study I needed to do would be lost because of TV.  I'm also distracted by the internet surfing.  

So the message last night sunk in.  I'm stealing time away from God when I spend it on things I want, not on the good stuff He's given me.  I'm not so careful when I pursue information that is not needed (what is a best-boy grip anyway?).  I'm not wise when I plan to get a lot done then devote the morning to reading blogs and facebook and I'm definitely not making the most of my time.  I'm not being excellent.

This isn't to say all internet use is stealing or wrong.  You know in your heart when you've crossed the line.  You know when you need to shut off the TV, game or whatever that is distracting you from doing what God is calling you to do that day - clean your house, do the laundry, seek Me in my word.  Praise Me with music, with the cry of your prayers.  You won't be disappointed and you won't feel empty and you'll have accomplished the work before I've set before you.
 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Seek Me



God is repeating Himself to me.  “Seek Me”.  I’ve read it many times in my books, but it wasn’t until recently that it stood out in a couple places – be focused on our vertical relationship over any horizontal relationships.  He did this just as He revealed and helped sink in (and answered prayer) to love Him four fold – mind, heart, soul and body. 

He has prepared my heart to go deeper – to really allow this to sink in – to become my new nature – part of my very essence – my heart.

Proverbs 3:6

In all your ways acknowledge (submit to) Him and He will make your path straight.  

What does it mean to acknowledge Him?  To submit my ways to Him?

It brings a new level of loving Him.  Wow, think of Him first.  To seek Him and allow Him to do the work in me.

When I prayed for more of my heart to be revealed, God convicted me.  When I’m convicted of something, I take hold and condemn myself.  I agree that the change needs to happen, then I get busy going about what I think should change and how I should change and when I should change and what the results of that change should look like.  I create plans that fail for I’m trying to do it. 

The change needs to be from the heart and the only way any heart changes is if God changes it.  I need to agree with God and ask Him to show me the steps to change. 

The example in my life if weight loss.  I was convicted (from God) and condemned (from me) to lose weight.  I allowed God to work many things out of me.  With the help of man made tools, I lost a substantial amount and kept it off because of a lifestyle change. 

With my physical issues and my lax with food, I’ve put on 7-8 pounds.  It has brought me to think I should return to lose weight and get to my real goal, which is about twenty pounds lighter.  Do you see the keyword here?  Me or my!

This is me taking something I’m convicted of (eating mainly) and deciding how it should be fixed and what the end results should be.

What is should look like:
  1. Listen to God – stock up on healthier food to snack on (Cheez-its don’t count!)
  2. Acknowledge Him in all my ways – especially when it comes to food in my mouth.

So in my own planning, I thought I would once again sign up for an online weight loss program and resurrect the gumption to do it.  However, God pointed He’s ready for a deeper heart change.  One that acknowledges Him and that He is enough for all things.

(This is in no way says that the man made tools are not Godly.  If He leads you, follow.  Right now He’s leading me another way.  It is a step of faith He wants from me)

 Until we meet again – may God be your eternal light.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What a summer!

I had a post prepared for how God lead me to take a break for blogging - and it seems it never was posted.  We enjoyed the last days of summer and here is the first day of school.  I plan to devote the morning getting all the notes God breezed into me over the past few weeks down and slotted to bring life back to this blog. 

Praise God in the wonderful day - who knew I'd be a mother of a 3rd grader!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Pride in My Plans

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.”As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.  James 4:13-17

I go along.  I'm being obedient.  God is granting me victory.  Then it hits.  That moment when it's me that's creating the victory.  It's me that makes the plans that will bring victory.  Yes, God's ways are working, but this and this will make it work even better.  Since weight loss is the easiest victory to talk about I'll apply it here.

For many years I prayed and God granted me small victories.  Then I would tweak the plan to get to goal faster.  I would set a deadline and all my self-control would go out the window.  I would FAIL.  Most times I was worse off than before.  Or I would begin to share with everyone my victory and how well I was doing.  Although I may say - God lead me.  It was about my pride, not bringing Him glory. 

This got me thinking about other areas where I may be living with defeat, I'll post soon.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

3 Attacks

I'm attacked mainly in three ways.  When I'm doing well on one regard, one of the others come up.  I'm learning it's a form of condemnation in which I am free from in Christ.  Seeing the pattern will go a long way with stopping the affect it has in me.

The first is food.  Am I eating to much?  Should I have eaten that?  Look at all the food I can't have?  Look at all the food I did have?  Oh, it goes on and on.  The attacks are relentless until I stand firm.

The second is work.  When will I get a job outside my home making money?  Will I get the job I applied for?  How will it work for me to work full time?  What will we do with the extra cash?  Vacation?  Buy more things?  Save?  Pay off the mortgage?  If I have applied for a job, my mind goes on and on to what it will be like to do the job and work with the people.

The third is others.  Did they just reject me?  Make fun of me?  Want me to go away?  (Yes, during my depressed years I was quite the paranoid as well.)  Did I speak out of turn?  Was it appropriate when I shared my story?  Did I offend?  Why did they just treat me that way?

As you can see, all this takes me mind off God.  All this interferes with any progress because I'm not trusting God.  Trust God to build and be part of the relationships, to guide me on what to eat and to direct me to where He wants me - either in the work force or in my home or even in His service for no money!!!

I want to be free from these thoughts.  Free from stagnation they create in me.  But how?  Be aware of what I'm thinking.  If any of these thoughts come to mind, I can shift my mind to God.  Pray for the person I'm spoke with.

Just this past week I had an opportunity to do this.  I asked after a friend's father who had health issues.  The response to the question was a grunt (yes this was a man) and no answer.  We were at church and we were separated, so no time to press further.  I shelved all thoughts that this reaction was towards me - as in he didn't want to speak to me.  Later that week, I found out (from him sharing further) that it was about his father.  He had a complaint with his father and hadn't dealt with it on Sunday, but by Thursday he had.

My point in all this is IT'S NOT ABOUT ME!  It's all about God.  My prayer for this man had resolution.  He needed.  (And I didn't need to say I'm praying for you.  Sometimes I think this hurt the situation more.)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.  Philippians 4:8

 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Time to prune



It’s that time of year again.  This year we’ve planted a larger garden (12 x 5 area, so not that big).  We have annuals coming up from seed.  I go out to prune, to thin the seedlings so that the others will grow into full plants.



My husband struggles with this process.  "Don't pull out, they will do it themselves."  I remember my first garden.  I know the package of seeds said to prune to four inches, but that was so many plants.  What if I made the wrong choice and the ones left behind died, my garden would be ruined.  And who was this name brand seed company, did they really know that I needed to prune?  So I pulled a few out, but left a lot.

And any seasoned gardener would know what happened next, my garden was a complete failure.  Nothing grew, there wasn’t room.

I think the same when God from time to time prunes something in my life.  I may miss it at first, but after a while, I realize I’m growing in other areas.  We need to be pruned.  I’m pruned and thinned to be more like Christ.  I can mature further without as much or none of what was removed.

The recent example in watching TV at night.  I had formed the habit that any night I was home after 7, I watched TV.  In itself it is ok, but we’re are home more in the summer.  We don’t need to sit for the last several hours of our day watching TV.  There’s books to read.  There’s a yard to enjoy.  There’s my girl’s imagination to see in action.  There’s general conversation to catch up when we didn’t have many evenings alone. 

So instead of reaching for the remote, I look at what is going on.  For my girl won’t always ask for TV on, but when it comes on it commands her attention.  Then I turn to what else I could do with this precious time that would honor God.  It is a change in my thoughts, my habits, but totally worth it. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Lack of Prayer



My heart ached.  I have planned to go to camp with my daughter for the third year in a row.  I had organized my role to allow for my limits with my leg.  I had prepped myself for the less than comfortable bed, less sleep and squealing girls.  It would have been a blast!

The schedule didn’t work for enough kids to go.  Camp – CANCELLED.  Oh, the fun – gone.  Then it hit me, I had prepped so much to go that I didn’t pray to it to happen, didn’t pray for the children who would attend and the seeds that would be planted in their hearts.  I didn’t pray for the leaders, the organizers – any of it.  I just expected it would happen!

That hit me like a ton of bricks.  What else am I just expecting to happen?  What else am I not laying in Father’s hands?  What am I taking for granted?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Perform



Is my identity grounded in my performance or in Christ?  One of my books posed this question.
Oh, how this world says performance, performance, performance!  Identity in what job I have (oh, why hasn't God called me back to the workforce).  Identity in who I serve - the inflation of pride for their glorifying remarks (perhaps that's why I didn't get ask to serve much in the years gone by).  Thankfully I can see this is something God has worked (is working) in me for many years. 

When I was looking to be plugged in, God gently reminded me that He already plugged me in right where He wants me.  Why would I ever look elsewhere, especially of things of this world?  Why give into the identity of this world.

Sometimes I long to plug in to the world, to find my identity there, yet only in Christ do I have me - covered by His robe of righteousness.

Rejoice in that.  Be in awed by that.


 
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