Friday, May 29, 2009

Love in Surround Sound

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."

Ephesians 3:17b-19

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Friday Funnies - 9 Year Old Dustin Joiner

Ya gotta give it up for a 9 year old kid who can stand up in front of a crowd of adults and actually be funny. Enjoy. And have a great weekend!

Thursday Thanks - God Always Loves Me

(Don't be afraid, I'm just changing the name of our Thursday edition a little bit. )

So, this week I'm especially aware of how thankful I am that God knows me and loves me anyway. No "ifs," no "buts," no "onlys," no "maybes," no nothing.

He just loves me.

He knows me better than I will ever know myself. He knows the way I think, the way I feel; He knows my quirks, my weirdnesses, my goof ups, my snarkiness, my tendency to procrastinate and be lazy, all those and more, and He loves me not one iota less than He would if I were less quirky or less lazy.

Thank you, Jesus, for your great and incomparable love for me. Thank you that I can always be secure in the knowledge that you love me, no matter what.

"For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)

What are you thankful for?

Jesus, the Christ

The Bible says that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:18) Our sin—our imperfection--separates us from a perfect and holy God.


Never has so much meaning been applied to such a small, three-letter word.

1. Our sin separates us from a holy, pure God…. but God has offered us the gift of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ.

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

2. The payment for our sins is a spiritual death--separation from God in this life and the next….but God loves us and sent His Son to pay for our sins.

“God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

3. No one can pay for our sins…but Jesus Christ.  Why?  Because He is God Himself.

              “Jesus answered them…‘I and the Father are one!’”  (John 10:30)

4. Jesus said that there is no other way to heaven…but by Him.

“Jesus said, ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me.’" (John 14:6)

5. There is nothing we can do to earn forgiveness or a place in heaven—we cannot be good enough…but if we will believe in Jesus the Christ--the anointed One, the Messiah, the Savior--as our personal Lord and Savior, our sins will be forgiven and we will live with God forever.

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’”  (John 11:25-26)

6. This gift is offered freely to everyone….but…no buts on this one!  God’s free gift of salvation is open to anyone anywhere who will choose to put their faith in Him…including you!

               For everyone, ‘whoever shall call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”  (Romans 10:13)

Will you put your faith in Jesus Christ right now?  Will you accept His payment on the cross for your sins and be forgiven right at this moment?  If you have never received Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, whether you have grown up in church or not, whether you have been baptized or not, you can pray to receive Him right now, right where you are.

In your own words, just talk to God and acknowledge your sins and tell Him you want to accept the gift of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross as payment for your sins and ask Jesus Christ to be your Lord.  It can go something like this:

Lord Jesus, forgive me of my sins.  Thank you for dying on the cross as my payment for every wrong thing I have ever done.  Please come into my life and be my Lord and Savior.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
That's it! You are now a son or a daughter of the King!
"So that if any one is in Christ, that one is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)
You can now be assured that your sins are forgiven. 
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

And you can be assured that the Lord will welcome you into heaven when you pass from this earth. The Holy Spirit now lives in you to teach you and to give you the spiritual power, strength, peace and comfort you need to make godly decisions and as you face the difficulties there are in this life.
If you don't already have one, I encourage you to get your own copy of God's love letter to you: the Bible. And then read, read, read. Talk to Him about every concern, every worry, every burden you carry and He will give you the strength and wisdom to handle each situation.  And He will give your life meaning as He pours out His love and joy into your life as you daily walk with Him, getting to know Him through prayer and the reading of His Word.  Nurture your relationship with your Lord.   He loves you and nothing can or will separate you from His love.
I also encourage you to ask the Lord to lead you to a good, Bible-teaching church where you can be baptized and taught God's Word, where you can join with a group of believers for love and encouragement and where you can serve Him with the unique gifts He’s given to you.

And if you prayed this prayer, I'd love to hear from you! Please email me or leave me a comment below telling me of your decision for Christ, and I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have as well.

God bless you!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Remembering Dad

Been thinking about my dad a lot more than usual lately. This time of the year is like that. One reason for that is because he was a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces - Air Force to be exact.

Another reason is that May 27th is the 6th anniversary that he went home to be with the Lord. And the other is that May 22nd is the 6th anniversary that he received Jesus as his Lord and Savior.

When our then assistant pastor prayed with my dad to receive Christ, I had been a Christian myself for 13 years. And I prayed every bit of those 13 years for my Daddy’s spiritual eyes to be opened. We talked about God quite often actually. My dad was a thinker and he loved to think out loud with another person. We’d have long conversations on the phone, talking about this and that, and sometimes I’d find an open door and bring up Jesus. His answer at the end of all the thinking out loud and philosophizing, when I would ask him, “what about your relationship with Jesus?” would always be, “I’m trying.”

I’d do my best to tell him he didn’t have to try. That was the whole beauty of it. There’s nothing to do, you just believe. But for whatever reason, he just couldn’t. Maybe he didn’t feel worthy. Maybe he felt like he was such a bad person that God could never forgive him. But I knew that wasn’t true. Oh, he had done his share of “bad” things, just like we all have. But I knew that God’s love for him and His willingness and ability to forgive far exceeded anything that my dad could have ever done.

And so I kept praying. God had long before told me that it would be right before my dad’s death that he would accept Christ. And that’s exactly what happened. Five days before he died, there in the hospital room, God gave my dad the clarity of mind he hadn’t had in days to be able to hear Pastor Terell as he told him the gospel – that Jesus came to die for his sins so that he could be forgiven of anything and everything he had ever done and that he would have an eternal home in heaven living with his Savior forever.

And he believed.

And early on the morning of May 27th he entered into God’s presence and was finally free from the emotional and physical pain he had carried for so long.

Afterward I received many notes and cards from people who had known and loved my dad very much. And I began to find out that many other people had been praying for him, too. God was faithful to put people in his path throughout his life who had prayed for him. And God was faithful to answer those prayers.

My encouragement to you today is, if there’s someone in your life who you’ve been praying for, maybe for years, whether it’s for salvation or maybe there’s some bondage in their life that they just can’t seem to get free of, keep praying. Don’t ever give up until God says it’s time to give up.

My other encouragement to you is to show them Jesus. Love them as Jesus would love them. After my dad died I just kept thinking I wished I would have talked to him about Jesus a little less and showed him the love of Jesus a little more. He was a very private man, but I still wish I'd done more to show him how much he was loved.

But I know my dad is in heaven now, talking it up with Jesus and with Paul the apostle and no doubt with Thomas and Peter. He’s having the time of his life. And even in the midst of tears, that brings me unspeakable joy.

I love you Daddy and I’ll see you soon.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Funnies - Encouragement, Patsy Clairmont Style

This is really a little bit of funny and hopefully a lot of hope and encouragement to you, no matter where you find yourself in life today.

Our God is the great El Roi, the God Who Sees You!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thursday Thanks - Friends

This week I'm thankful for the wonderful friends I have, some of whom I had the privilege of spending the afternoon with earlier this week. Everything just seems better when you're surrounded by the love of friends. And knowing that we'll have eternity to laugh and worship the Lord together puts a smile on my face and gives me all kinds of peace and comfort.

Okay, now it's your turn....

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Quote of the Day - Success

"There is no failure in God's will, and no success outside of God's will."

~George Washington Truett

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thursday Thanks - My Husband

Today I'm thankful for my husband. Not that I'm not thankful for him any other time, but, well, ya know, today's Thankful Thursday. :o)

I'm thankful for his willingness to pick up dinner on the way home when I'm too tired to cook, even if all he ever wants is chicken.

I'm thankful that he's willing to wash some dishes, fold some laundry, take our dog to the vet and run and grab me a frappuccino in the morning sometimes when I can barely open my eyes.

I'm thankful for his patience and for hanging in there with me.

Thank you, Lord, for my long-suffering spouse.

So what are you thankful for?

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Long and Winding Road - Part 5

Parts one, two, three and four

Growing up feeling unloved can take a toll on a person. Research in the late 60’s and early 70’s showed that even young monkeys need affection in order to grow into healthy adults. And growing up feeling unloved and being abused will take a toll that only God can heal. And that’s exactly what God had been doing in my life the past few years.

Growing up I had learned that because I was unloved I must not be worthy of being loved. I must not be good enough, smart enough, perfect enough. I had to earn my way to love. And, oddly enough, that way of thinking was still cemented into my mind even after I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. And, of course, God knew that.

Two worlds were colliding: one being the mindset that I learned as a child coupled with being allowed to remain in this state of mystery pain with no answers; the other knowing intellectually that God was a God who professed His unconditional love for me by sending His Son to die to pay for my sins. My mind just couldn’t reconcile the two, and beneath the anger that I had been feeling was really fear and panic at the thought that I must have done something wrong and God had turned his back on me like so many others had.

But, instead, God had been in the process of showing me that His character remained true. He did love me unconditionally, and that, ironically enough, it was in the midst of those painful circumstances that I would learn that I don’t have to earn God’s love, that pain does not equal being unloved by an all-powerful God, and that God’s purpose, in part, in allowing this trial was to retrain my brain, to let go of the lies I believed and hold fast to the truth as I took it into my heart.

God was working out Romans 12:2 in my life: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove by you what is that good and pleasing and perfect will of God.”

My mind was being renewed and I was no longer bound by the thinking that God can’t love me and simultaneously allow painful circumstances into my life. By the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in my heart, I was no longer feeling like I was being callously hurt by an unloving God.

My circumstances had not changed one iota, but my mind and my heart had. God had purged that ugly dross from my heart and I was in love with Him in a way that I had never known before. My heart was now free, in a way it never had been, to receive God’s unconditional love.

Our church’s women’s retreat was coming up and all I could think of was, “if I could only touch the hem of his cloak.” Like the woman who risked everything to seek out Jesus for healing with her issue of blood, I wanted to pass by the world with my eyes solely focused on Christ and on being so near Him that I could reach out and touch Him in a way that would allow His power to heal me – in whatever way He saw fit.

And I took that new mind and new heart to the women’s retreat. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but I believe it was during a prayer of repentance. Prayers of true repentance are probably one of the most over-looked yet most powerful things we can do. In that moment we humble ourselves and acknowledge, without excuses, our sins before a Holy God. And in doing that God can take us off the wrong path and set us aright.

And so I asked God for forgiveness for not heeding His words to “be strong and courageous,” for not holding onto Him for strength during this trial but rather attempting to find answers somewhere else. And because Hebrews 4:16 invites us to, “therefore let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need,” and because I am a daughter of the King, a King Who loves me unconditionally, I boldly asked the Lord to somehow redeem those wasted years.

I believe that’s when I touched the hem of His cloak. My heart was free to not only receive all that God had for me but to be a vessel of His love and mercy and truth. During that retreat God put me on the receiving end of questions that before that day I would have answered differently. But I found myself thinking like my Lord and speaking the truth in unconditional love. And I was doing things that before I never would have done. I had decreased and He had increased in my life.

An important point to note is that when God spoke to Joshua the words “be strong and courageous,” it was just before he was to enter into the Promised Land. This newfound relationship with my Lord felt exactly like that - like I was entering into a Promised Land. This was how the Father desired His children to walk with Him: closely, with complete trust, freely giving and receiving love in all circumstances, willing to go wherever the Lord would lead.

And, like Joshua’s Promised Land, mine would also hold the enemy, lurking in the shadows, waiting to attack. And that’s exactly what he’s tried to do. God’s enemy has been working hard at every corner to undo all that God’s done by again trying to make me feel as though I’m unloved. But I will continue to be strong and courageous, to fill my mind with the truth found in God’s Word, and let it continue to wash over me and renew me still.

* * *
One of the most profoundly true statements is found In The Chronicles of Narnia; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The words take me aback each time I read them as the powerful reality of them engulf me. Speaking of Aslan the lion, the Christ-like character in the story:

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King I tell you.”

He is the King I tell you. And He is good, through and through. Anything He allows in our lives comes from a love so great and a plan so good that we will never fully understand until we see Him face to face and all things are revealed. In that moment we will see the beauty of God’s handiwork in our hearts and we will fall down at His feet and worship Him.

But right now we are called to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7), faith that we serve a merciful, gracious, benevolent, all-knowing, all-powerful God Who loves us more than we can ever imagine. And His ways are always in line with His perfect character. To submit to Him is to submit to a plan of the highest order.

So. Are you resisting God and His will? Instead of fighting to get out of the fiery trial, ask the Lord what He wants to do in your heart and life through it. What eternal treasures can you glean from it? Read God’s Word as you sit with the Lord and get to know Who He really is, not just who you think He is. Let Him purge the lies from your heart and take you deeper into your promised land. One way or another, faithfully, God will have His way in your life.

Resistance is futile. Time is short. Get going.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Christian Merchandise Giveway!

Don't adjust your tv sets, you've come to the right place. I just thought I'd change it up a bit on my anniversary. Like it?

Anywho, yes we do have a winner! I want to say thanks to those who entered and more importantly thanks for your support in my little endeavor here. I really do pray that this next year we will all draw in closer to the Lord, that our love for Him will abound in our hearts and in our lives and that those around us won't be able to help but see Jesus' character being lived out in all we do.

Okay, ready? Can I have a drum roll please...(brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr) ....okay that's my lame attempt at typing out a drum roll. The winner is.........

Nicky McCleery!!!! Come on down! You're the next winner on......oh wait. Yep, you won, girl! Congratulations!

I’m so excited! This Saturday, May 9, is this blog’s one year anniversary. I can’t believe it’s been a whole year! So, to celebrate we are giving away a $40.00 gift certificate to an online Christian store, Halas & Phos Salt & Light, which is owned and operated by my dear friends Tim and Cindy Mrva. They have a huge assortment of very reasonably-priced, quality merchandise, from bibles to jewelry to shirts and lots, lots more.

So here’s what you do: go to their website, have a look around and see what you might like to have (excluding any Eternal Light merchandise, please). If you’d like, while you’re there, sign up for their newsletter to stay updated on new merchandise, etc. Then come back here and leave a comment to this post telling me what you might like. Don’t forget to leave your blog or email address so that I can notify you if you win.
Comments will be open until Friday, May 8, at 8pm MST. I will randomly pick a name from those who left comments and on Saturday the 9th I will announce the winner here on this post. U.S. residents only, please.

P.S. - If it doesn't let you leave a comment, just email me at with your comment.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Long and Winding Road - Part 4

Parts one, two and three.

For many years during my walk with the Lord I prayed a sort of pre-emptive prayer that the Lord would never allow me to fall away from Him. I know my weaknesses and I knew my temptation to not only be pulled back to worldly things, but also my tendency to crawl into an emotional cave when life got too hard and people hurt me too much. It’s a coping mechanism I learned very early in life. And sometimes, because of all the pain I had been and was experiencing in my life, I felt like God wasn’t loving me, I’d crawl into that cave hoping to hide even from the Lord. But my Jesus was always in that cave with me, silently waiting, and praying to the Father on my behalf even when I couldn’t pray for myself.

God and the circumstances of my life have made me a very emotional person. And the Lord began to show me that even my love for Him was based in large part on emotion - what I felt at any given time. And as much as I hated to admit it, even to myself, that love was subject to condition. And feeling so forgotten in my physical and emotional pain and hiding in that all too familiar cave left me with almost no feeling for God. I was giving up.

But then, once again God answered my pre-emptive prayer.

The Lord patiently spoke to my heart and told me that He was bringing me to a place of learning to love Him unconditionally, without regard to circumstance or emotion. This new love was far better than emotional love and would allow me to choose to cling to the Lord no matter how difficult life would get. And so that’s what I chose – to love God no matter what, even through the daily headaches and multiple other symptoms, no matter how long I would go undiagnosed, no matter where He would take me, I would choose to love God because He is worthy to be loved and worshipped. He is faithful and true even when it doesn’t feel like it, and it is that truth that I so vehemently held onto.

And the purpose for my long trial, at least part of it, was beginning to come to fruition.

If I was ever to become a super hero I think my super power would be invisibility. Invisible Woman! Able to walk through life without ever being noticed! At least that’s how I felt from as long as I can remember. It didn’t feel much like an asset, though. But God was beginning to show me that I was not invisible. If nothing else, He knew me.

And as I began to open up the deepest, darkest parts of my heart to Him again in this last year, He began to speak to me and show me that He was my El Roi, the God Who Sees Me. I mentioned before that He began to speak to me first through music and the God-given words that were interwoven with each set of notes.

And then, like an avalanche, it started slowly, and then His voice would grow louder and louder. He began to speak to me through people, in seemingly little ways, but they felt big to me. Strangers began talking to me (which was something so foreign to me that I actually took notice), I was asked to guest post on another blog, which was a huge blessing, and then I received the long-awaited email revealing to me how the Lord was my bright and Morning Star. And to top it all off, a friend sent me an email with a devotion that began with the scripture that the Lord had spoken to my heart so many times 5 years prior:

“Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

And if that was the whipped cream on top of all the blessing God had been pouring out onto me, this was the cherry: I had weeks before entered and won a giveaway that Patsy Clairmont had on her blog. She would be sending me a book that she had in her own library at home. I was so excited! I can’t tell you how much I love Patsy Clairmont. So I waited and waited for the book to come in the mail and through divine appointment, it came on January 17th.

And there, in the manila envelope next to the book, was a flip calendar that Patsy had authored herself. I opened it to that day to read what it said. In addition to her own words: “Once we relax in God’s care, we begin to see things differently. We become more aware of sunsets, mountains, trees, and generous portions of sunlight,” was the scripture Isaiah 43:19. Hold onto your hats:

“Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it?"

I was suddenly not feeling like Invisible Woman at all.

“Aware of it?” I thought. How could I not be aware of it?! I was in awe. God really was doing a new thing in my life and I was overwhelmed with His presence. He was bringing about the promise that He had given to me in Isaiah 30:20-21: “Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

God had been silent for a while, waiting for me to stop “kicking against the goads,” which basically means to resist submitting to authority, who in this case was my God. No matter how much I didn’t understand, I would trust Him. And now He was speaking and I was listening, and hearing, and my heart was being healed.

Yes, there will be a Part 5.