Friday, December 31, 2010

Out of the Shadows and Into the Light

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

Now is the time everyone likes to make resolutions. I’ve never been a big resolution-maker myself, although I do like the thought of starting a brand, new year. We plan and have lofty ideas and goals and ways to make our lives better.

We think losing weight will make our lives perfect. Or climbing the corporate ladder and making more money, surely that will make our lives perfect. Or finding a spouse--a first one or a new one--or putting all our efforts into this relationship, that’s bound to make our lives fulfilling. Or we could just determine to pour all our efforts into serving at church. 

We make all these plans, thinking that in them alone will be the magic bullet that makes our lives all we want it to be. Somehow, though, those resolutions don’t seem to last that long, do they? And even if they do, they never seem to be quite enough and we go searching for something else to fulfill our lives.

The thing is, we can resolute until the cows come home, but unless Jesus Christ comes first in our lives and He fills that void that only He was meant to fill, we will keep trying to fill it with something else.

As I look back on this past year, I realize the one thing the Lord has shown me over and over again is that all things are but a shadow of His grand and perfect love for us. Only He is meant to fill the emptiness in our hearts and fulfill our deepest longings.

When we don’t seek God first and allow Him to be everything to us, we will automatically begin to focus on lesser gods--relationships, careers, entertainment, drugs and alcohol--to fill the void. None of that will ever completely satisfy and so we hungrily continue searching and trying to fill that emptiness with everything but Him. Even service to the Lord will not meet our spiritual needs without first seeking relationship with our Heavenly Father.

As I look ahead to the stark-white pages of the coming year, I wonder what will be written on them. Will they be filled with stories of running ahead of God and trying to fill the void of my heart that His absence has left with all those other things?

The Christian life is not about seeking the things, it’s about seeking after God. It’s about an active, loving relationship with the Lord. It's about the act of daily worshipping the King of kings in all we do. And if we are making plans without Him, we could be taking ourselves far away from the awesome plans He has for our lives. We could be settling for good, when He desires to give us His best. But when Christ is first in my heart, then my spiritual eyes are focused and the Lord can show me what His plans are and He will give me the power and strength to carry them out.

When we make the decision to make the Lord our number one priority, when we focus on knowing and loving Him, when we allow relationship with our Heavenly Father to fill that deep, dark longing in our souls the way He desires, then everything else will fall into place. He will make sure of it. Not that our lives will be perfect, but we will have the peace of knowing that no matter what happens, we are right in the center of His will.

Seek the Lord wholeheartedly and then wait in faith. He’ll show you where to go and what to do and how to do it, and you’ll have His power to accomplish it. And who doesn’t need God’s power to drop a few pounds, right?

All God's best to you,

Monday, December 27, 2010

I'm All Ears

Larry King recently aired his last show after 25 years. I’ve wondered what made him such a long-standing success. Even he has said that all he’s done is ask questions, but I think that's only part of it.

I think what’s made Larry King and the show so well-received is that he listens. He doesn’t gab, he doesn’t try to steal the limelight; he simply asks a question and then he listens. And that allows the guest to pour out their heart, and we, then, have a chance to hear it.

Jesus is a good listener, too. I think about the time He passed by the pool at the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem where many of the sick went, believing that if they were the first to step into the waters when they were stirred by an angel, they would be healed.

Scripture says that a great multitude of people who were sick, blind, lame and withered lay near the pool, and yet Jesus apparently spoke to only one--a man who had been ill for 38 years. Why did Jesus choose him out of the rest? I believe it’s because Jesus listened to his heart. Jesus knew without a word that this man had laid there for a very long time. He knew that he truly desired to be healed and that he had no one else to help him.

And so He asked him, “Do you desire to be made whole?”

And the man answered, “Sir, when the water is troubled, I have no one to put me into the pool. But while I am coming, another steps down before me.”

Jesus heard his heart--that is, He comprehended the pain and longing in this man’s heart--and He had compassion on him and said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And he did. (John 5:2-9)

Because Jesus slowed down and listened, a man was healed.

We live in a very noisy and busy world with many hurting people. A lot of people talk, but not many listen. I can’t tell you how many times someone has walked past me, asked me how I was doing, and barely slowed down long enough to hear the answer. Many of those times I was hurting and needed a friend. It’s not their fault; I don’t blame them. We all get caught up in our noisy, busy worlds and we forget to listen.

What’s more, we forget to really hear. We forget to listen with real compassion and empathy.

How many hurting people do we pass by every day? How many of those people are members our very own family, whether by blood or by Spirit? Do we hear the struggle in their words or the pain in their voice?

How much strength could another person find to get through their trial, how much joy, how much love could we bless another with who is in pain just by listening?

I know when I’ve been hurting I don’t necessarily need someone to fix the problem for me, I just need someone to listen and to care and maybe even take just a moment to pray with me.  What a tremendous blessing it is when someone does.

We need to be real with one another about the difficulties we’re going through, and we need to allow others to be real with us. We need to live out Galatians 6:2 which says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so you will fulfill the Law of Christ.”

Jesus always hears our hearts whether another person does or not. And He always listens with a compassionate ear. We become more like Him when we slow down and show the same love and compassion toward others whose hearts need a friend. 

How has someone blessed you by listening?


Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Light In The Darkness

In the dead of night, as the world around them slept and all was dark and quiet and still, under a twinkling mobile of stars, a King was born. No fanfare greeted Him, no parade announced Him, no room was made for Him save for an ordinary barn.

And in the light of day, as the world beyond them busied and all blindingly labored under the weight of their own sin, a Messiah was born.

Though creation groaned for a Savior, the world was wholly unaware of the miracle that had occurred in their midst.

The Christ had stepped down from His regal throne at the right hand of the Father and was born a helpless babe.

And his mother laid Him in a manger. The trough that was constructed to contain food for beasts now contained the spiritual food for all mankind.

Though we sought Him not, He poured Himself as the Living Water and gave Himself as the Bread of Life.

Quietly, humbly, the Light of the ages shone into the world and, joyfully, into the hearts of man. There is no high enough exaltation to give our King Jesus Who lovingly gave Himself for the salvation of all people.

May all glory and honor and praise lift up the precious Name of Jesus forever and ever.

“And the angel said to them, ‘Do not fear. For behold, I give to you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For to you is born today, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this is a sign to you. You will find the babe wrapped, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’” (Luke 2:10-14)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Let God Be Magnified

This is not the post I was going to write for today.  But I'm too angry to write that one.  I'm too upset and saddened by news I just got about someone in my extended family.  I won't say what it is, but suffice it to say satan is having a heyday right now. 

I hate the enemy. 

With a passion I hate him.  He takes anything that God wants to give us for our good and enjoyment and pleasure and he twists it and makes it ugly and painful.  He takes rainbows--given to us by God as a sign of hope and His enduring, holy love--and distorts it into something that is used to symbolize an unholy, irreverent sexual act. 

he takes marriage--ordained by God as a union between one man and one woman--and deteriorates it into meaning little else than hooking up for a while and then leaving when it gets boring. 

he takes relationship that God has given to each of us through His Son, Jesus Christ, and turns it into nothing more than a religion of self-pride.  And then he takes those religions down deeper, darker avenues of God-distorting, Christ-lowering, self-elevating, heart-crushing, lying, mindless, evil organizations. 

And people swallow the lies hook, line and sinker. 

And the aftermath is never-ending.  The pain goes on, the disappointment continues, and true love goes unfulfilled.  And it's not just the story of my loved one I'm talking about.  I keep hearing about others who are faced with their own enemy-warping joy-stealing stories.  And all in the week of Christmas.  What a coincidence.  Not. 

This is Christmas week and I will lift my God high.  I will magnify the Name of Jesus above all names.  I will ascribe to Him the glory and honor that is due His Name and more, if there ever could be more. 

He is my Abba, my Father, my Counselor, my Comforter, my Truth.  He is my Hope, my Future, my Love, my Teacher, my All in All. 

He is the blessed King of kings, Lord of lords and God of gods.  He is Elohim, Jehovah-Jireh and Jehovah-Rophe.  He is Jehovah-Nissi and Jehovah-Shalom.  He is the great Shepherd, the eternal Judge and He will have the last word. 

He is El Shaddai. 

He is the Alpha and the Omega and His Word will stand forever.  He is the Rock of solid ground. 

He is beautiful and His love is perfection.  He does no wrong and tells no lies.  He keeps every promise.  Every soul who asks He will receive.

His Name is Emmanual--God with us.  He stepped down from His high and lofty throne where He was worshipped and controlled the universe to show us just how much He loves us. 

I think no one has said it better than S. M. Lockridge.  I hope you join me in worshipping the one and only true God as you listen to Pastor Lockridge extol the great and mighty Name of our God.

You can read the Names of God here

With all love and sincerety and hope for all God's blessings,

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Trials Don't Take a Holiday, Do They?

Last week I talked about my favorite Christmas, one when Jesus rode up on the white horse and saved the day. But not all of my Christmases have been filled with miracles. And I know that every year during the holidays there are many who are struggling.

We imagine that Christmas should be an exciting time full of parties and shopping and eggnog, but when we or a loved one is going through a trial or depression or loneliness, the expectations that we put on this time of year can really magnify our pain. Maybe you’re having a less than picture-perfect Christmas this year.

I want you to know that you’re not alone.

My dad suffered with depression and alcoholism since he was very young. There were many times he would be gone from home for days at a time on a drinking binge. The holidays were always an especially difficult time for him, and there was one year when I was about 14 that it became very apparent.

It was Christmas Eve and my dad had been gone for a couple of days. At some point during the day he stumbled into the house, went to his bed and passed out. The joy had been sucked out of our home. My mother, my sister and I sat on the couch together that evening to open our gifts, which was our tradition. There were no giggles or excitement as we opened our presents, only an overwhelming sadness. I can only imagine what my mother was going through.

My parents didn’t know Christ as their Lord and Savior, and my sister and I hadn’t yet given our lives to Him, so there was no hope of change, no joy of salvation, no understanding and celebrating the true meaning of Christmas. That was a difficult Christmas, one of the worst. There would be others.

I want you to know that in Christ there is hope.

To have the hope of Christ you must first have Christ. Do you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me. (John 14:6) There are not a thousand roads to God; there is only One, and that is through God’s Son. Two thousand years ago, Jesus died on a cross and wrapped up the gift of salvation just for you. That gift can be opened right now by believing in Him, confessing your sins and giving your life to Him. I pray you don’t let another Christmas pass by without opening this most precious of gifts. And if you do pray to give your life to Christ, please email me and let me know!

Next, know that there is no such thing as a picture-perfect Christmas. Perfect is in the eye of the beholder. So tuck away those expectations of perfection in a box and mark it “Heaven.” Only there will everything be made perfect and we will lack for nothing.

Until then, if you are going through a difficult time, know that God is with you. I don’t want that to sound trite and I know that when you’re in the middle of a dark and painful trial those words can sound that way. But sometimes in the darkness, when you can’t see or understand, all you can do is hold the Lord’s hand and let Him lead you. He has promised to be your Shepherd and He always fulfills His promises.

Put your hope in Christ, the Creator of the earth, the Almighty God Who has redeemed you from hell and the Holy Spirit Who is your constant Companion of comfort. He is with you right now and He has a plan for your life. Keep focused on Him and continue to pray, pray, pray.

I didn’t realize it when I was 14, but Jesus was with me and my whole family that Christmas Eve. There would come a day when first my sister, then myself, and then my dad would each receive Christ as our Lord and Savior.

Remember, we are only sojourners in this very temporary life. And we are here for a high and lofty purpose. Just as Christ came, not to live in comfort, but to bring unparalleled hope and joy to the world, so we have been given the awesome gift of carrying His Light in our hearts so that we can continue to bring that hope and joy of Jesus Christ to the world.

“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” (2 Cor. 4:6-10)

What an amazing thing! We may not be surrounded by everything the world says is needed for a successful life, (and I don’t even think they can agree on exactly what that is) but we carry in us something of far more intrinsic, eternal beauty than anything this world has to offer—the life of Christ!

So rise up and have hope my brothers and sisters in Christ. Hold onto the Lord Who has redeemed you. Remember that Christmas is not what the world has made it. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of our King, Jesus Christ, the joy and light of the world.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:3-9)

If you need someone to stand with you in prayer this Christmas, or at any time, please don’t let fear keep you from reaching out to someone. I would be honored to pray for you.

May your Christmas be filled with Christ!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Christmas Pop-In

Just a quick pop-in to say hi and see how everyone's doing this Christmas season. 

Are you having a blast? Are you snowed in? Are you hanging in there?  Are you struggling?  Are you done shopping???  We're just about done with that, thanks to the interwebs.  Shopping goes a lot faster when you don't have to get in the car, drive somewhere and brave the crowds. 

I'd really love to hear how you're doing. 


Monday, December 6, 2010

He Hears You When You're Praying

I thought I had shared this story here before but I couldn’t find it when I searched.  Whether you've heard it or not, I pray the Holy Spirit will speak to your heart in a fresh and personal way.

*       *       *

My husband and I were facing our second Christmas after we became Christians. Just a few months before I had quit my job to stay home and raise our son, who was a little more than a year and a half.

On paper we didn’t have the money to support ourselves, but I felt strongly that God wanted me home and I wanted to be there. We had faith that He would honor our obedience and that He would take care of us.

That faith was tested as Christmas day neared and we had no money to buy gifts for our precious son. He was still so young that he really didn’t understand that he would be missing out on Christmas morning, but we knew. And so I turned to the Lord.

I sat down in the living room one day while my husband was at work and just talked to the Lord. I was open and honest and poured out my heart to Him. I told Him we had no money (of course He already knew that) and that I knew the only way Eric would have any presents on Christmas morning would be if He gave them Himself, and so I asked Him if He would do that very thing. As far as I know, no one else knew about our situation.

Christmas morning came and we still hadn’t found a way to buy presents. My husband and I and our smiley, little Eric got up and started our day like it was any day, making breakfast and going about our usual routine, but joyful to celebrate the birth of our Lord.

And then there was a knock on the door.

All three of us went to the door and opened it. It was our next door neighbor. She explained that they had looked out their front window and noticed that in their driveway there was a Christmas tree and some boxes. When they went outside to have a look, they saw that there were some lights and ornaments for the tree. And there were gifts.

But she said they knew the gifts weren’t for them. They had two daughters who were older. The gifts were for a little boy, our little boy. She said they knew we went to church and thought maybe someone from the congregation had left them for us and just missed our driveway by one. (Personally, I think it was a divine “mistake,” so that God could reveal His grace in the eyes of our neighbors, too.) They handed us the tree and the gifts and I stood there stunned with tears in my eyes.

My Father had heard my prayer. I had reached out to Him in faith and He had blessed me by blessing our son…His son. He hadn’t seen it as a silly or frivolous prayer. What He saw was a heart that believed in Him and was reaching out to Him in faith in a time of need.

We set up the tree, gave our son his gifts and sat in awe as we comprehended the heart of our Lord. It was His birthday and yet He was blessing us. That was 20 years ago and it’s still the most precious Christmas I've ever had. In the world’s eyes we were poor, but in Christ we couldn’t have been richer.

I hope you know God loves you and He hears you when you call out to Him.  And I hope you know the riches of Christ this Christmas and always.

“Blessed be the LORD, because He has heard the voice of my supplications! The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him. The LORD is their strength, and He is the saving refuge of His anointed. Save Your people, and bless Your inheritance; shepherd them also, and bear them up forever.” (Psalm 28:6-9)


Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday Foodie {Chocolate Pudding}

I had some lonely whipped cream just lying in the fridge since the last bit of pie from Thanksgiving was eaten. It was crying out for some chocolate pudding to hang out with, so I made some.

It’s creamy and delicious, infinitely better than a box of powdered, chocolate-flavored preservatives. And it really only took me about 25 minutes from start to fridge.

Chocolate Pudding

¾ cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch or ¼ cup flour
2 2/3 cups milk
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

1. Have egg yolks ready in a bowl. In a heavy medium saucepan, stir together sugar, cocoa powder and cornstarch or flour. Stir in milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until bubbly; cook 2 more minutes. Remove from heat.

2. Very gradually whisk in 1 cup of the milk mixture into egg yolks. (This is so the eggs don’t cook.) Add egg yolk mixture back into the pan with the remaining milk mixture.

3. Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat. Cook and stir for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in butter or margarine and vanilla.

4. Strain the pudding through a fine strainer (just to make sure you remove any cooked egg bits) into a bowl and put plastic wrap directly on the pudding while it cools to prevent a skin from forming…unless you’re a fan of pudding skins. Refrigerate until cool.

Or, if your pudding craving just can’t wait (like me), or you just like warm pudding (also like me), put some pudding a separate bowl just for you, put the plastic wrap directly on the pudding and put it in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes. Take it out, peel off the wrap, slather it with whipped cream and enjoy. You can even top with a little cinnamon, crushed peppermint candy, crushed Oreo cookies or whatever your little ol’ heart desires.

Have a great weekend!

Word for the weekend:

“Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:3-4

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Righteous Death

“And coming to a place called Golgotha, which is called, Place of a Skull, they gave Him vinegar mixed with gall to drink. And when He had tasted, He would not drink.” Matthew 27:33-34

As was the custom, Jesus was offered vinegar mixed with gall, a bitter poison, to ease His unthinkable suffering. He stood exhausted, spat upon, profusely bleeding after being beaten nearly to death, thorns piercing his head, and facing a barbaric death. And yet He refused the cup.

He refused to have his suffering eased and his senses dulled by the narcotic.

He refused to take in the bitterness of spirit, the deep resentment that can come, if allowed, when one has faced suffering.

He loved His Father and He loved us. To Him, obedience and the salvation of our souls was infinitely more important to Him than His own momentary comfort.

We, too, are called to die to ourselves. Just a few chapters before, in Matthew 10:38, Jesus said, “And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.”

We cannot follow Christ unless we daily nail our own sins and yes, even our dreams, our worries and our own agendas to our own personal, figurative cross. How can we follow Him if we are busy following ourselves? How can we allow Christ to fulfill the unimaginable dreams and plans He has for our lives if we are busy following our own small, finite dreams? How can we live in righteousness if we are busy following worldliness?

And even the death of our old man, our carnality, the selfishness and pride that manifests itself in our mortal flesh, is painful. Sometimes that death has to come through suffering—an illness, a financial blow, a strained relationship. If we allow resentment to take hold of our hearts in a season of suffering, it will cause a root of bitterness to grow that is not easily removed. And that bitterness will dull our spiritual senses to the point that God will seem afar off.

And some will look to the poison of sin to ease their suffering. And when I say “sin,” don’t be tempted to think only of something obvious, like adultery or drug or alcohol abuse. Whatever we put before God in our lives, whatever we depend on more than Him, whatever we go to for comfort when we are in the middle of a painful trial instead of going to Christ, that is sin.

The comfort of sin is a façade, and when it has reached its end will swallow us in bitterness of soul.

Like Christ, we must refuse the cup of bitterness in whatever form it presents itself. Our suffering is for righteousness’ sake, for our own spiritual growth, to work into us the image of Christ our Lord. Suffering in the Name of Christ is a good and noble thing and will produce much fruit in the loving and skillful hands of the Father—fruit that will remain pure and unspoiled as we refuse the poison of bitterness.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Eternally Thankful

To all my American friends:  Happy Thanksgiving to you!

To all my international friends:  Happy Thursday or Friday, whichever the case may be!

And to my God:

"You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. 
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever." 
(Psalm 30:11-12)

Monday, November 22, 2010

You Are The One

"When Jesus had said this, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, 'Truly, truly, I say to you that one of you shall betray Me.' Then the disciples looked upon one another, wondering of whom He spoke. But there was one of His disciples leaning upon Jesus' bosom, the one whom Jesus loved."  (John 13:21-23)

"Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him."  (John 20:2)

"Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following (the one who also leaned on His breast at supper, and said, 'Lord, who is he who betrays You?'  Seeing him, Peter said to Jesus, 'Lord, and what of this one?'" (John 21:20-21)

I love that the apostle John refers to himself over and over in his account of Christ as "the one whom Jesus loved."  Not that Jesus loved any of the other apostles less, but John saw himself first and foremost as one who was loved greatly by his Lord.  It would seem there was never a doubt in his mind of Jesus' love for him.

John was confident of Jesus' love at the last Passover meal when Jesus announced that one of them would betray Him.

He was confident of His love in the dark hours of confusion that followed Jesus' crucifixion and death.

He was confident of the love that Christ had for him even when a brother tried to point a critical finger at him. 

In all circumstances he knew he was loved by the only One Who really mattered.

I hope you know, too, that you are the one whom Jesus loves.  No matter what hardship you face now or in the future, no matter what you've tackled in the past, you are loved by the Lord.  There is no one He loves more than you.  If you had been the only inhabitant of earth, He would have come and died for your sins just the same. 

If you are a disciple of Christ, I hope you'll walk in faith and pure confidence at all times that you are the one whom Jesus loves. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Awaited Blessings

The following is a devotion I had the blessing of contributing for the November newsletter for the Christian website, Halas & Phos, Salt & Light, run my dear friends, Tim and Cindy Mrva.  Hop on over and take a look around. 

*      *      *

There are so many things I’d like to teach my children to do: how to cook a meal other than hot dogs or pizza, how to clip a dog’s hair, how to plant a garden according to season and light, how to better prioritize their lives to reap the best benefits, how to save money and how to give it, how to study God’s Word. But they’re so busy running here and there and their vision for the future doesn’t see much past tomorrow.

I wonder how much the Lord wants to teach us, too--how to cook a meal for an ill neighbor, how to care for God’s creation, how to plant seeds of the gospel and how to water them, how to better prioritize our lives to reap godliness, how to give generously, how to love Him and how to better receive His love. But we’re so busy.

God’s creation begins to slow down in autumn and it calls to us to contemplate with it. Leaves gently change color and invite us to stand and look at their beauty. The crisp air slows our bustling to enjoy its fresh aroma. Even Thanksgiving beckons us to sit a while with loved ones and happily chatter all at once about the previous year’s events and reminisce about days gone by.

Yes, it’s been a difficult year, but we still have much to be thankful for. And if we will only slow down our mad running from this to that to the other and be still, we will be able to look around and see again all the ways God has blessed us and give Him thanks.

And as we’re still, giving thanks for blessings already bestowed, God invites us to call to Him that we might discover the blessed mysteries we have yet to know that He so longs to reveal to us.

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)

Our Father’s love for us is terrifyingly wonderful. He desires to teach us all things crucial for a blessed and fruitful life and they are ours if we will only linger at His table, and listen, and be inspired with awe at our Father’s goodness.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Pop-In

So I thought I'd pop in today just to say hi. 


Last week proved to be interesting in the "being poisoned" department, first by an innocent-looking banana, and then apparantly by a spider who took advantage of the fact that I was sleeping.  But it's a new week, and hopefully one that doesn't include any vomiting or prophylactic use of Benadryl. 

It is November, and probably the umpteenth one I have sworn to get all my Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving.  To date this year...I've done none.  Oh, I've thought about it, but you know, it's hard to figure out what to get your kids when they're no longer kids, let alone know what to get family members.  I'm gonna give it my best shot to get the shopping done in the next couple of weeks, though.  Come on, we can do it! 

I really just want to enjoy my Christmas season this year without the stress of last minute shopping and crowds and traffic and then by Christmas morning I'm worn out and realize I haven't given much thought to the real meaning of Christmas.  I hate that. 

Well, time to go brush the dog. 

Have a great week, everybody.  And don't forget, my email's always open for prayer requests, comments or questions. 

God bless,

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Operation Christmas Child

Can you believe it's November already?  Before you know it'll be Thanksgiving and then Christmas is right around the corner.  Maybe you're thinking about how you can help others who are far less fortunate than we are during this season of giving. 

Samaritan's Purse is a 40-plus year old, non-denominational Christian, philanthropical organization whose President and CEO is Franklin Graham, the son of Billy and Ruth Bell Graham.  Samaritan's Purse works tirelessly throughout the year to bring aid to the poor, sick and suffering around the world. 

At Christmastime every year, Samaritan's Purse launches Operation Christmas Child, an outreach where they take in shoe boxes filled with gifts and send them to children in need all over the world. This is where you come in.  It's simple: 

1. Pack a Shoe Box
Just grab a shoe box or a small plastic container, fill it with simple toys, school supplies, hygiene items, certain types of candy and even a personal note, if you wish.  Include a check for $7 to cover the cost of shipping.  Or use the EZGIVE option below. 

2. Download a Label
Download a label that shows whether your box is for a boy or a girl and the age range the gifts are appropriate for. 

3. Drop It Off
Enter your zip code on the website and it'll show you your nearest drop-off location. 

4. Follow Your Box
If you pay for shipping online using EZGIVE, you can follow your box online. 

And that's it!  Last year Operation Christmas Child fulfilled Christmas dreams for 8 million underprivileged children. I don't know of a more worthy organization and better way to bless others as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and all the ways He's blessed us.

Collection week for the shoe boxes is coming up quickly, November 15-22.

Take a look at just how easy it is:

Monday, November 1, 2010


Truth is unyielding to the whims and opinions of man. It is unbending to the changing world around it. It is immovable and unshakeable. It is enduringly constant; it is uncompromising, unrelenting and unwavering in its steadfastness. It is laid open and bare and invites the light to reveal its purity and beauty. It is what it is.

Truth will not compromise its frame to fit our character; we must bend and stretch and twist and turn and yield to mold to the shape of truth, or else be broken.

But the Master Carpenter will see that only our will is broken. With His tender and loving hand He heats and hammers and shapes and forms. He removes only the rough edges of darkened character that do not fit the shape of truth. He prepares us as a thing of beauty and when we stand before Him--a masterpiece.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Other Side of Darkness

When I was a little kid my mother started getting together with a friend of hers to play with a Ouija Board and Tarot cards while all the kids played in the basement. It was harmless fun, they thought. After all, Ouija Boards were tucked between Twister and Monopoly at the toy store. I have no idea where they got Tarot cards. My best recollection is that they got together a few times over the course of a number of months, and then something happened and they were no longer friends. We moved across the country and my mother brought with her the game of curiosity in the spirit world.

It was never anything serious, or so it seemed. We grew up with it and it seemed normal to be surrounded by conversations about my mother seeing the spirits of dead babies sitting on the foot of her bed, or the belief that objects had been moved around the house by spirits long gone...or something. It was a regular occurrence for me to wake up in the night filled with fear in the belief that an entity from beyond the grave overshadowed the threshold of my bedroom door.

As we got older the fear and darkness overshadowed our entire home. My mother’s sense of logic became completely unsound and a lie to her was as good as the truth. Her words toward all of us became vile and emotionally and mentally abusive. She became a master deceiver and manipulator. My dad couldn’t see it because he was busy drowning in alcoholism.

One night, after I had moved out of the house at age 17, my dad’s alcoholism reached a breaking point and my mother decided he needed help. She always thought it was someone else who needed help. So she called for some type of minister or counselor to go to the house some time later. During that meeting, a type of prayer of sorts took place, and while “praying” my mother feigned the voice of Christ to coerce my dad into changing his life. He began to see the depths to which she had descended. It had happened gradually, but the dark deeds of evil had taken hold.

Sober, my dad was a quiet, sensitive, loving, although depressed, man. He had been shocked by his own behavior that was brought on by his alcoholism and he quit drinking cold turkey, at least for awhile. But the darkness in our home had taken hold of him and everything that had happened would weigh heavily on his heart for the rest of his life.

Meanwhile, my mother continued to spiral downward into her own little world of mental illness. After their divorce, she continued her tirades toward my dad and me. Even her body began to be ravaged. She became so ill that she had to be made a ward of the state and she was taken to live in a nursing home where she lives to this day. She regularly spewed vulgar rants to anyone who came near, including every one of her caretakers, whom she lost one by one because they couldn’t take her abuse. It was heartbreaking to watch and to be a part of.

The last time I saw her I barely recognized her. She lay motionless in her bed and looked at least 20 years older than her true age. I tried talking to her via email. She didn’t really remember me at first, and once she did, the attempts at abusive manipulation started all over again.

For many years before my dad’s death, I tried talking to him about the Lord and about salvation. He would always say he was trying but somehow I could never get through. He became ill in the last couple of years of his life and I prayed more than ever that God would open his eyes to faith in Christ. Many precious saints prayed for him as he lay on his death bed in the hospital. On what would be only days before his death, the hospital called one morning to tell me that he had had some sort of seizure and that I should come quickly.

As I was getting ready to go, my pastor’s wife called saying that she had been outside when the Holy Spirit put on her heart to call me. I told her what had happened with my dad and she offered to call the man who was our assistant pastor at the time to see if he could go to the hospital to see my dad.

By the time I got to the hospital, my dad seemed to be over whatever had happened to his body earlier in the day and no one knew exactly the reason for his seizure. He had never had one before or since.

A few hours later, the assistant pastor and his wife came. She talked to me in the hallway while he went in to visit with my dad. A short time later the pastor met us in the hallway and said that he had talked to my dad about his salvation and my dad had said yes, he wanted to receive Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. They prayed together right there in his hospital room. Needless to say, I was overjoyed. After all those years of not only my prayers, but come to find out, the prayers of many saints throughout his life, my dad finally opened his heart to Christ for salvation and I knew I’d see him in heaven someday.

I will always wonder if the evil forces that were brought into our house as a game so many years before had slowly but surely permeated our home and had somehow taken hold of my dad to such an extent that it took a miracle of the Holy Spirit to unleash it from his body, and if that was really the cause of the seizure the same day he prayed to receive Christ.

I’m sure that never in their wildest imaginations did my parents ever believe that their lives would turn out as they did. One looked for a way to pass the time by satisfying her curiosity about contacting the spirit world. The other seemed to dismiss it as if it were nothing. I believe the enemy gleefully used both perspectives.

What may be a game to us is no game to the enemy; it is an open invitation into our lives. And when we overlook the seemingly innocuous ways the enemy worms his way into our lives, he grabs the chance and runs with it. He is always looking for a way to deceive and to lie and he’ll use whatever methods work, even wrapping them in pretty packages and entertainment, and he counts on us seeing the deceit as only an apple.

I don’t for one second believe that the enemy ran scurrying from me when I received Christ as my Savior. Oh, he has no hold on my soul anymore; Christ is my Savior and always will be. But I see the enemy using the same, old tricks to try to get me focused on him instead of the Lord. 

As believers, we have a choice every day about who and what to allow in our lives--the Light of Christ or the fruitless deeds of darkness. Whoever and whatever we give place to in our lives each day--that is where we’ll receive power and direction.

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5:8-11)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Yes and Amen

At least three times a month I decide to quit blogging. And yet here I am again. Hope springs eternal, I suppose. And so does the Fountain of Life. If you tire of hearing about the ways an extraordinary God moves in and through an ordinary life, namely, mine, you might as well move along to a food or decorating blog, or go back to watching your favorite re-runs of I Love Lucy or your RPG’s.

Here is where we’ll participate in the ultimate Role-Playing Game--our own lives. Here is where we’ll leave the world behind and scratch and crawl our way to the hem of the Master’s robe and find healing for our souls. Here is where I hope to reveal the wisps of an all-powerful Holy Spirit breathing life, hope, meaning and even holiness into an otherwise meaningless albeit sometimes odd existence.

I couldn’t get by without the promises of God. Although He is well-acquainted with our own failings, we serve a faithful God Who loves us enough to want to calm our fears by telling us of His promises over and over in His Word.  And we can count on those promises as sure as if they have happened.  "For all the promises of God in Him (Jesus Christ) are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us."  (2 Corinthians 1:20)

Years ago, early on in my walk with the Lord, I began to struggle with how I could ever serve the Lord. I desperately wanted to be of use, but I had no discernible talents. I couldn’t sing or play an instrument, I couldn’t teach, I wasn’t even one of those out-going people who felt comfortable just jumping into a role.

The Lord heard my prayer about it one day and the Holy Spirit put some words on my heart that I knew I had heard spoken from scripture, but wasn’t familiar enough with them to even know which book to find them. So I started doing a word search from the few words I could remember. I finally found it and it turned out to be Jeremiah 29:11, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

So I held onto that promise and sure enough, the Lord blessed me with many ways to serve Him.

And now, here I am again, almost 20 years and one very worn-down body later, wondering what I can do to be useful in the hands of the Lord. How can I serve Him when even cooking dinner has become a challenge? The answer? I don’t know. I think that’s why three times a month I change my mind about blogging for the kingdom. I want to do something, if even a small thing, for my Father Who saved me from so much.

So I’ll hold onto His promise again - that He knows what He’s planned for me, and that those plans are to prosper me, not to harm me as satan would have me believe. No, my Father has planned to give me hope and a future. After all, I’m still here, right?

Are you holding onto that promise for yourself?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Keep On Keepin' On

If you look back on your life, you probably realize that you have persevered through a lot – illness, rejection, doubt, loneliness, loss, regret, death. But you’ve made it! You’re still here and you’ve learned a lot through it. I hope you’re closer to the Lord because of it. Still, the temptation can sometimes be to give up when we face yet another difficult trial. But now is not the time to give up.

Now is the time to persevere.

The Lord Jesus Christ knew perseverance and He exampled it to us all the way to the end of His life.

“Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.” (John 13:1)

Not only did He continue in obedience to His Father all the way to the cross and the grave, but He persevered in love. He didn’t persevere begrudgingly, He didn’t become bitter, and He didn’t become weak or weary.

He persevered with love.

But how do you do that? Maybe you’re tired right now and don’t know how you’re going to make it through. You cannot do it alone.

Persevere with the One Who gives love and strength and hope.

Hold onto Him and none else. Make Him your hope, believing in Him for all things. Make Him your Lord, allowing Him to lead you through all things. He will be with you and love you to the end.

“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, ‘He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.' But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.” (Hebrews 10:36-39)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Grace for the Moment

Well, the week is passing and once again I haven't posted anything yet.  Lately my days have been filled with physical therapy and pain.  Seems the former is aggravating the latter before it gets better.  There are days I'm okay with that and I humbly surrender my body and my life to my God for His purposes, whatever that may be.  And then there are other days when I feel like I just can't take it another second.  I watch the days and weeks and years of my life go by and feel like all the precious time is being wasted in all the forced inactivity. 

And so I cry out to God, "God, I just want my life back."   

And almost immediately I hear Him answer in my heart, "But it's My life, remember?" 

"Yes, Lord, I remember." 

And I try to not think about what might have been in the past or about what may or may not be in the future.  I try to live right now, holding onto God's grace just for this moment.  I try to remember that God's ways are all topsy-turvy and backwards and beautiful.  When I try to keep my life, I lose it.  But when I'm willing to lose my life for the sake of my Lord, that is when I will be filled with the only real life there is: the life of Christ.  (Luke 9:24)

So here's to losing my life.  It's all yours, Father, once again.  Fill me up with the life and power and joy of your Holy Spirit.  May Your strength be perfected in all my weaknesses and may Your glorious will be done in and through me.  And Lord, please grant me the grace I need for this moment.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Funnies - A Lego Lesson {Jonah 1:1-3}

All credit goes to Lego moviemaker extraordinaire, Riley Taylor.  Way to use your talents for the Lord, Riley!  

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Will the Real God Please Stand Up?

There is a certain phenomenon of sorts in the believer’s life called “crisis of faith.” If we live long enough I think almost every Christian believer will, to one degree or another, go through this period of intense questioning of one’s own faith when life hands them a doozy of a trial and the responses of people and of God just don’t make sense.

As we grow up we adopt many ideas, some true and some false, about God and what faith in Him means. And even when we come to know Christ as our own personal Lord and Savior many of the false ideas about who God is still linger in our minds.

Then, when the violent winds of trial slam into our lives and we can’t control it and God doesn’t respond according to our preconceived, mythical notions, we can begin to have a crisis of faith. At this point we can choose to turn back to the world and stew in our confusion and bitterness or we can choose to forge ahead on the greatest journey ever known to man: the awakening of our souls, minds and hearts to the One, True God as we walk with Him and He with us, loving and becoming bonded to one another in a relationship that is unparalleled in its intimacy and blessing.

If we choose to weather the storm, hand in hand with our God, these are the times when we can begin to truly understand Who God is and put away the false god we have for so long envisioned in our minds.

The agonizing search for understanding that we begin to go through during times of suffering--the “whys?” and the “hows?” and the “how longs?”—finally shift direction from being focused on our trial to a deep soul-searching of just Who this mysterious God really is.

And the usefulness of our trial begins to emerge.

Psalm 51:6 says, “Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.” It is God’s desire to remove the lies we’ve believed in our hearts and fill us with the truth. Then we will “worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to worship Him. God is a spirit, and they who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23b-24)

We cannot fully worship and know God while the myths about Who He is still resound in our minds and hearts. Those myths will lead us off course in our understanding about God and about the painful things we encounter in our lives.

God’s enemies, satan and his lackeys, love it when we believe a lie. They can use those false understandings to persuade us into making wrong decisions, disbelieving God, growing bitter and eventually turning away from God and His people. We have to fight against that if our faith is to survive to the end.

Jesus said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) God longs for us to be free from the bondage of falsehoods, and the key to unlocking our chains is truth, and the source of all Truth is Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me.” (John 14:6) It is only through relationship with Him Who is the Truth that we are able to come into the full knowledge and wisdom of truth.

A common question among unbelievers and many believers alike is, “Why does God allow people to go through difficult things?” And eventually the question becomes more specifically, “Why is God allowing me to go through this difficult thing?”

God does not wish pain on us for pain’s sake. But He does know that for us to become mature in our faith, not falling prey to the evil one, wise in our service and leadership of others and able to fulfill the great commission of making disciples as we lead others into the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, we must be filled with truth and a correct understanding of our God and His Word. We must worship Him as He is, not as we want Him to be.

If we choose to hold onto the Lord when the storm blows in we can have  assurance that God is with us and that if we diligently seek Him He will reveal Himself to us in ways we never thought possible. We will experience increasing joy and peace and love as we more clearly see the wondrous beauty of our God.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Foodie {Miracle Food}

I have witnessed a miracle. Yep, I did. My kids……ate fish. Now, as incredible as that may seem, that’s not even the miracle. Not only did they eat it……they liked it! I know! I wish I could take credit for it, but I really can’t. All the kudos goes to Rachael Ray. It was her recipe for Buttered Toast Crispy Fishwiches that did the trick. So I’m just going to direct you to the link here.  There’s even a video included with Rachael preparing the recipe on her show. Let me know if you witness any miracles after making this recipe, too!

Happy weekend,

Monday, September 20, 2010

It's Personal

This life is hard, but I probably don’t have to tell you that. There is a lot of good to be found in it, but it is also demanding, exhausting, painful, stressful and nerve-wracking. That is why we need a personal God.

But somehow, instead of entering into a one-on-one, intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ, many people, even Christians, seem to find it easier to follow some one-size-fits-all legalistic formula of religious living. And what was meant to be a personal and loving relationship with God through His Son has been reduced to no more than following a set of rules.  We were meant for so much more than that!

Maybe we don’t understand how extremely personal our God is and wants to be in our lives. Maybe we think He sees us all as cookie-cutter human beings, all expected to be and do and act the same, as long as we’re following the Ten Commandments. But that is not our God. Our God is a relational God.

God has called us for the purpose of relationship with Him. “God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” (1 Corinthians 1:9)

Our personal God gives us the confidence to be able to say, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.” (Psalm 139:13)

God is so personal that He sees when even two people have come together in the name of Christ and tells us “For where two or three are come together in my name, there am I among them. (Matthew 18:20)

God is so personal that He hand picks each gift for every believer. “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” (1 Corinthians 12:7)

And when we face trials, God is not off on some ethereal golf course. He tells us that, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)

Our God says that He will personally see us through this life. “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

Our God craves to show His love to His children so much that He says to us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

He is so personal that He sent His only Son to come and walk among us, talk to us, heal us and die for us.

He is so personal that we cannot accept Christ on behalf of someone else and no one else can accept Him for us. Jesus says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20) We must each make the decision for ourselves to believe in Jesus Christ and allow Him into our lives.

And He is so personal that the moment that someone repents of their sins and believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, He knows it and immediately the Holy Spirit comes, not just to be with us or upon us, but to live within us! Isn’t that amazing? He lives within the very heart of our being, knowing us like no other person ever can, knowing us better than we even know ourselves. He even goes so far as to promise that He will never leave us.

Each of us has our own unique situations and personal trials, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to just muddle through them. I want God to use them in my life to grow me up in Christ Jesus. I want to live victoriously in Christ no matter the circumstances. I want to include Him in every situation that comes along. I want to hear His voice leading me and encouraging me and I want to be able to take every concern to Him. I want to worship Him in spirit and in truth. I want the strength and wisdom and joy of having a personal, intimate, loving relationship with the Lord as we journey through this crazy life together.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Foreshadowing of Yom Kippur

I love that the events of the Old Testament are a centuries-long love story between God and His people that foreshadows for us an even more intimate relationship with God through the coming Christ and the grace and mercy that is given through His sacrifice on the cross. God initiated relationship with a people that He chose for Himself - the Israelite nation that began with one man, Abraham. He then initiated relationship with the whole world by one man: Jesus Christ. What began as a relationship between God and man through law thousands of years ago is now a relationship of love and grace and mercy that is written on the hearts of all people who have received forgiveness through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Although I was not born into Judaism, I personally feel a special kinship with the Jewish people because Jesus Christ was born out of the line of the Israelites and the day that I received Him as my Lord and Savior is the day I was adopted by the Father as His daughter. Because of that, I’ve always been interested in understanding Jewish observances and how they are a picture of my Lord, Jesus Christ.

For 24 hours beginning at sundown today, Jews all over the world observe Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement, which is a day of fasting, repentance and prayer to atone for their sins. Atonement means, “satisfaction or reparation for a wrong or injury; amends.” The Jewish people consider it one of the, if not the holiest day of the year. The Day of Atonement is described in Leviticus, chapter 16, where the Lord spoke to Moses and told him that his brother, Aaron, was to make atonement with a young bull as a sin offering for himself and his household, and a ram for a burnt offering.

Then, Aaron was to take two male goats from the Israelite community. One goat was sacrificed to the Lord for a sin offering for the people. The blood that was shed was sprinkled on the atonement cover (or mercy seat – the cover of the Ark of the Covenant) to make atonement for the Most Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting and the altar, because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites.

The other goat, the scapegoat, was then presented alive to the Lord. Aaron was to lay both hands on the head of the goat and confess over it all the sins of the Israelites. Then the goat would carry the sins upon itself and be sent out into the desert.

And to the people, God said, "This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: on the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves and not do any work—whether native-born or an alien living among you- because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the LORD, you will be clean from all your sins. It is a sabbath of rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance. The priest who is anointed and ordained to succeed his father as high priest is to make atonement. He is to put on the sacred linen garments and make atonement for the Most Holy Place, for the Tent of Meeting and the altar, and for the priests and all the people of the community. ‘This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: atonement is to be made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites.’ And it was done, as the LORD commanded Moses.” (Leviticus 16:29-34)

At one time a law was given that a literal goat be given as a scapegoat to carry the sins of the Israelites far away from them. This foreshadowed the Messiah Who would be our scapegoat, taken from within the Israelite community. Yet He willingly gave Himself as a sacrifice as He took on the sins of the world and removed them from us as far as the east is from the west. He also is the Son of the Father, the High Priest, who makes atonement for us, just as God commanded the Israelites all those thousands of years ago.

And at the moment His work on the cross was done, the foot-thick veil that separated the Most Holy Place, the place where God resided and only priests were given access, was ripped from top to bottom. No longer would God’s dwelling be separate from His people because of their sins, but rather He would now reside in the hearts of His people because Jesus Christ made atonement for them all. God was inviting us in to Him for a relationship through grace rather than through law.

                                                    The Tabernacle

And no longer do we have to deny ourselves for the purpose of atonement. Works no longer satisfy as payment for our sins because Christ has made the supreme sacrifice and now only that will satisfy our sin-debt. But, the sons and daughters of God who have His love written on our hearts willingly die to ourselves – to our own personal desires - so that we can gloriously live for Christ, realizing the far more amazing plans He has dreamed for us. The work of forgiveness is done; the privilege of relationship with God through Jesus Christ has begun.

I hope you’ve made that transformation from observing God through religious law to knowing Him through His Son, Jesus Christ, by accepting the forgiveness of your sins by His blood sacrifice for you. If you haven’t, you can do that right now by praying to Him.

And now that we’ve been given the privilege of entering into the most intimate of relationships, one that was paid for us with a very precious price, one that takes place not on the outside, but in the very depths of our heart, we must never neglect it. To treat our relationship with Him with anything other than the utmost of respect and honor and glory is to trivialize the ultimate act of selfless love given to us by our Savior.

I hope we use the precious and fleeting time we’ve been given in this life and the gift of our salvation to let God’s glorious love live in and through our hearts every day of the year until the day in Heaven when we bow before Him – our very Mercy Seat.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thankful Thursday {Insomnia...yes, I said insomnia}

I can't believe I'm getting ready to say this, but today I'm thankful for insomnia.  I know, weird.  For the last 20 years or so, I've dealt with insomnia in one form or another, to one degree or another.  And the Lord showed me that there is indeed scripture that speaks to any situation we find ourselves. 

Psalm 134
"Behold, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD, who by night stand in the house of the LORD!  Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD. The LORD who made heaven and earth bless you from Zion!."

Though this song was originally written to inspire fortitude in the Levite priests who stood watch in the house of the Lord by night, I believe that it can speak to us right now (or in the middle of the night, as it were).  Most of the time it feels as though watching the minutes and even hours pass by in the wee hours of the night while everyone else seems to be enjoying their slumber is wasted time.  But not so, says God's Word. 

I have a unique opportunity to bless my Lord as I worship Him in those darkened hours when I'm alone and without distraction.  And as I bless Him I will be blessed in return. 

God knows what the next day holds and maybe He wants to especially prepare me to walk in its opportunities in a godly way.  I also think of standing watch for the house of God - as in His children - all over the world who are awake while the world where I am sleeps.  They may need my prayers at just that moment in time I find myself unable to dream.  Some may be in or near my own time zone and awake in the night because of illness or trial.  The Lord can put them on my heart to stand for them in prayer. 

So the next time you find yourself awake in the night and can't seem to find that dream zone to save your life, remember, you can waste the time or you can redeem it by spending that precious time blessing Him and being blessed by Him.  And just maybe the King has awakened you for a special mission - a mission to intercede in the power of the Holy Spirit for a brother or sister in Christ or even on behalf of circumstances that require immediate prayer and a faithful saint. 


Monday, September 6, 2010


I hope you know how much God loves you.  No matter how much you think He does, it's much more than that!  Enjoy.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday Foodie {Unbaked Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies} and Some Other Fun Stuff

I usually have songs or thoughts for blogging pop into my head one at a time, but today they’re coming at me all at once, hence the plethora of fun stuff today. Let’s start with the cerebral and move onto the sublime.

Thought of the Day:

More is accomplished in resting in Christ than in all the self-motivated work in the world.

Ponder that one and tell me what you think.

Now, onto the foodie. Yes, it is September and in my mind (especially being from Kentucky) that’s supposed to mean the beginning of a crispness in the air, a leaf or two thinking about turning a shade of yellow or red and the spicy smells of something pumpkiny baking in the oven. But here in Arizona, where we live on the dark side of the sun, it’s still blazing hot and we don’t want to turn on those ovens quite yet. So for your cookie pleasure, I give you a no-bake chocolate fudge-type cookie that really satisfies those chocolate cravings. And ps...I’ve tried making them with margarine, but they just don’t set up. Real butter works best.

Unbaked Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
½ cup butter
½ cup milk
½ cup peanut butter
2 cups quick oats
1 tablespoon vanilla

1. Bring sugar, cocoa, butter and milk to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring frequently; boil 1 minute, remove from heat.

2. Add peanut butter, oats and vanilla. Let mixture sit about 5 minutes; stir.

3. Drop onto wax paper using a 1/8 measuring cup or a coffee scoop; let cool until set, about 1 hour. If your craving won’t wait, you could probably get away with 30 minutes. Makes about 30 cookies. (Just wondering how these would taste using Nutella in place of the peanut butter…mmm…double the fudginess.)

And lastly, a melody and lyrics that just won't let go, brought to you by Switchfoot.  Enjoy while those fudgy cookies are melting in your mouth.