Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What's a girl to do?

Our world offers so much supposed wisdom. One of the areas of great fluctuation I have seen in my own lifetime is our world's wisdom regarding food--what to eat and what not to eat. Have you noticed this? One year we are told to eat things that have no fat, then no sugar, then no eggs, then yes to eggs, then only grapefruit or only bananas, then no carbs, then only organic. What is a sane person to do?

The truth? Go back to the One who created our bodies. He should know what works best. Right?!

My church is going through a series on the Proverbs--focusing upon wisdom. Wisdom comes from the Lord. He is the all-knowing One. In fact Proverbs 1:7 says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline." The word "fear" does not mean we coward away, afraid of what He will do. It means reverence. So, wisdom begins as we bow before our holy God, declaring Him King. That is where a right perspective begins.

Once we have set the proper foundation in our hearts and minds, then we go to the Source of wisdom for direction in our day to day life--even for direction in the foods we should eat. James says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him." (James 1:5) Our faithful Father delights when we seek after Him, desiring to walk our days with understanding.

Now back to food. I am not the most wise in this area by any means. I have some great friends who are much more knowledgeable in the area of healthy eating. But I am learning. And I have been intrigued by the wisdom of a man who has a show on the Christian Television station. His name is Dr. Don VerHulst.

This past Saturday he shared how God designed our bodies to be optimal in an alkaline condition rather than acidic. He looked at God's own eating stipulations found in the Old Testament to back up his understanding. He then challenged that our bodies have the best chance of being disease free (or fighting disease) if we would eat a 50% raw diet. He calls fruits and veggies live foods or God foods, and these foods alkaline the body. God created them for a purpose--imagine that! Our world of processed treats has sadly aided in the many diseases we see permeating our culture.

OK, I will get off my most recent soapbox.

Proverbs 3:2 should encourage us in faithful walking, "For length of days and long life and peace (wisdom) will add to you." Let us not chase after the passing fancy of the day, rather I pray that we would be a people who seek after wisdom from the Lord. "Treasure" it, "incline your ear" to it, "apply your heart" to it, "cry out" for it, and "search for (it) as for hidden treasure." (Proverbs 2:1-4) Then ask Him for strength to live in it. He is good, my friend.


Oh and here is the link for Dr. Don's website where you can find articles and products that he has developed: http://www.drdonmd.com

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Ready or Not?

This morning I read Jesus' words to His disciples on the mountain top--often termed the "Sermon on the Mount." You can find these teachings in Matthew 5-7. Surrounding his teachings are the examples of many people Jesus healed in His earthly ministry--healed individually and in accordance to their faithful asking.

Then in chapter 8 vv. 28-34 Jesus and His disciples cross the sea to the country of the Gergesenes--Gentiles rather than Jews. He gets out of the boat and meets up with two "exceedingly fierce" demon-possessed men. The demons knew who Jesus was and begged Him for mercy. So He complied with their request and cast them out into a nearby herd of swine that then "ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and perished in the water."

What happened next struck me as so interesting. Those who kept the pigs ran to the city and told all that had occurred. Then the entire city came to meet Jesus. "And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their region." Why?

Jesus was coming with healing and power--even the demons were in subjection. The comfortable norm would be shaken and stirred to the point that some just assume keep their distance. Don't we see this today? People can get comfortable in their ignorance to the point that stepping outside of those known boundaries of supposed "control" strikes fear and retreat. What are we to do?

Jesus taught the disciples that their are God-haters in this world whom we should be aware and from whom we are to separate ourselves. (Matthew 7:6) We cannot nag someone into the kingdom. When this entire city begged Jesus to depart, do you know what He did? "So He got into a boat, crossed over, and came to His own city." (Matthew 9:1)

As we seek after God Himself, we will become increasingly sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. Move where He moves. He alone is God. He alone draws to repentance.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Naked and Unashamed

Is this picture not precious?! We took it on our recent get-away. As I was reading this morning this innocent image came to mind.

I have mentioned that I am in the process of writing a book. Well, the chapter I am now attempting is on the topic of "sex"--which is what spurred my recent "book shout-out" for Holy Sex, by Terry Wier. He approaches sex in a refreshing, biblical way that is lacking from the majority of books--even Christian--that I have read on this often mysterious topic. He gets to the root of sexuality--God's holy design--and asks why sexual sin secretly pervades our churches. The answer? We as believers are often ignorant to the holiness and beauty of sex, as well as entangled in shame with its mention.

He says, "We (believers) of all people should enjoy the greatest sexual fulfillment. We should have the greatest confidence in speaking about sexual issues. The world should be coming to us for help with their sexual problems. Instead, Christians are turning to secular sources because their churches do not seem to have the answers to their sexual problems." (p. 189)

Do we truly want to know why the church looks the same--and in some cases even worse--than our culture when it comes to premarital sex, abortion rates, and sexual addictions? Because we have not come to understand God's design for our sexuality. Wier continues, "So the world calls us hypocrites (because of the vast number of sexual scandals in the church), saying, 'You do all the same things we do. We just don't feel any guilt or shame about it.'" (p. 189)

Hence my thoughts of this picture. When God created Adam and Eve, He says they were "naked...and...not ashamed." It was sin that brought shame to God's beautiful gift of sexuality. Even Christians, trying to teach rightly, tell their children "no, no, no...not until marriage" without any explanation as to the depths of spirituality involved in sex and without any expounding upon the beauty and holiness of God's design--probably because of the shame in which they are also entangled.

Enough is enough. I speak to too many women--including myself--who have lived their lives confused and ignorant to God's design. We as the church should be the ones experiencing the most freedom and joy in our marriages when it comes to sex. In a day where sexuality is splashed across every single grocery store checkout, we must as parents first be healed and brought to true understanding then teach our kids the truth about God's gift. Unless we want our little sons and daughters to one day end up a statistic of sexual perversion, something has to change!

Oh I pray that we as believers would seek the healing of God in this area, that we would come to understand God's holy, beautiful design, and that the freedom of Christ would spill over into this area often shrouded in dishonor. God is so very good!

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Eyes on the Eternal

God is faithful to teach, the question is, "Am I faithful to listen?"

As a parent, God's training ground is often through my relationships with my little ones. I see so much in them, that if I truly self-reflected, mirrors my own strengths and weaknesses. This can be convicting. For example, the other day a little "scuffle" arose between my two eldest children, for about the sixth time that morning. The younger had grabbed a toy and the elder was loudly screaming her opinion. I marched over and said, also loudly, "We do not scream at one another." Then came, "We do not grab toys" as I grabbed the toy back. Do you see the problem? Yeah.

Something else that has come out of my mouth to my oldest also resonates in my spirit. I say, "You are older. I expect more from you. You understand more than they do. Be an example of love and kindness." It is almost like God is speaking to me at times through my very own words. This can be surreal.

Parenting well--in submission to the Spirit of God--can prove challenging. In the midst of young people often making foolish, childish decisions--imagine that--our flesh often wants to react in the same way. But let's face it parents, we are older. God "expects" more from us. We understand more than they do. We have to be an example of love and kindness if our kids are truly going to learn.

This concept also applies to other adults that are spiritually less mature than you. People will disappoint and hurt your and my precious feelings. But we live before One who judges rightly--One who loves fully. To live our days in the freedom and power of God, we must set our hearts and minds on Him--meditating on His truth.

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

Parents, we are building into these little lives. Though it may feel like our daily interactions are not making a huge impact, if we are walking our moments faithful to the Lord they are seeing His truth through our lives--and if we are messing up royally God is ever gracious!!! Keep your eyes on that which is eternal, and if the temporary seems overwhelming then lock yourself in the closet and preach truth to your spirit. He is faithful!

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Life

Have you ever wondered why God didn't just make us to be robotic--where we all just made the right choices and everything went as planned? He is able, you know. But the truth is that without the freedom to choose, there cannot be love.

Love is a choice--ultimately of the will. Yes, feelings are sometimes associated with love, but true, unconditional love is a decision. We choose to whom or what we will give our love. This pure form of love can only come from its source--God Himself. And as I think about it, it seems that His love is most clearly seen through us when He calls us to love the unlovely--just as He did us, sending His own Son to die when we were yet His enemies.

By His love, He provided a way for us to be free from the bondage of sin--namely Christ. He did not do this because He really loves everything we do and thinks we are really "cool." It was His act, based upon His love, to cleanse us for Himself. Paul says it this way, "Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works." (Titus 2:14)

It is He who redeems and purifies. It is for His glory that we are made righteous--to make His name famous. We just have to get out of the way, lay our selfish wills down, and allow Him to work in and through us by the healing power of His Spirit. Die daily, as Paul says. This is the life that will satisfy the very depths of our being. Life is in Him.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Stir It Up

This morning I read the words from Paul to Timothy. Paul often refers to Timothy as a beloved son--one whom he "fathered" in the faith. His second letter to Timothy encourages him to stand strong in the faith in spite of the inevitable persecution and the unfaithfulness of others.

Before telling him things like "be diligent," "pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace," "do not quarrel," "Preach the word," Paul actually begins his exhortation by pointing Timothy to the source of his power and strength. He says, "stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

This gift of God is the Spirit of God. The word "stir up" in the Greek denotes "to keep in full flame." In Strong's Concordance the definition continues, "the 'gift of God' is regarded as a fire capable of dying out through neglect." Did you catch that?

As a believer we have been given His holy Spirit as a gift, a foretaste, of glory divine. His Spirit is power to the believer. But if we neglect the fire of His Spirit then the flame will die out. To walk in power we must be diligent to kindle the fire. So how do we stir up His Spirit within us? We meditate on truth! Friends, to have a life--a spirit--that is fiery in the power of His might we must be in His Word. It is a discipline vital--absolutely necessary--to the life of victory.

Persecutions will come. Trials will fall. People will disappoint. If we as children of God want to truly stand firm as a victor in spite of our circumstance, we must stir up the gift within us. We must have truth enveloping our minds--taking every thought captive to obedience to Christ.

Dig in. Taste and see that He is good. His Word is life to our weary bones. His Word disposes of fear and cuts to the very core. As Paul reminds Timothy, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man (or woman) of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

So, stir IT up.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Fight, friend

Hi friends, I am glad to be back. I must admit that I enjoy routine. My home is quiet, my coffee hot, and the Lord is good & always faithful.

Do you equate God's goodness with your circumstances? When the words "the Lord is good" just poured out I felt the need to clarify--He is good regardless of my or your circumstance. He is good, righteous, holy, and just, full of love, mercy, and grace no matter what our days may bring. He sees beginning to end and is always working. Do you believe?

Our eyes should be set--focused--upon things that are right and pure (see Philippians 4:8). Yet at the same time we must be keenly aware of the spiritual war waging around us. I have been reminded lately of the vast complexity of us as humans--we are physical, yes, but also spiritual. No other created being dwells in these two dimensions of reality. Sadly, we are so quick to disregard the spirit within ourselves and especially within others.

When one confesses and believes Jesus to be Lord, the Spirit of God Himself will come and take up residence in our bodies. How amazing is that! As we grow in our understanding of God Himself, allowing Him to reign in our mortal vessels, then we will increasingly hear as He speaks, guides, warns, intercedes, and blesses. Too often, though, we as humans are so focused upon our physical world that His power is suppressed. That is the goal of the enemy!

If the enemy of God can get us so focused upon things of this world, people that hurt, and situations that challenge, then he gets the victory. The power of God is suppressed in our lives and our witness diminished. Do not let the enemy have that victory! We already know who wins in the end, but in the midst, while we wait for our Savior's return, believe His word and set your eyes on truth. Forgive everything, love unconditionally, rejoice always, only by the power of His might!

May we stop being passive in the fight for our homes, our husbands, our children, and our friends. Let us take up the Sword--His Word--put on His armor, and stand firm against the wiles of the enemy. Allow the Father to use your life and His name will be glorified. He is good & always faithful.

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Friday, June 19, 2009


So did I get your attention?


HOLY SEX by Terry Wier and Mike Carruth

Here is a link to purchase http://www.amazon.com/Holy-Sex-Terry-Wier/dp/0883685876/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1245411180&sr=8-3

Granted you might not feel comfortable carrying it to the gym as the title will give away your ponderings, it is an absolute essential for transforming our minds to the obedience of Christ in the area of our sexuality--and the sexuality of our children.

Happy (HEALING) reading!

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Weak Become Strong

Hello all. How I have missed my mornings with you!

My trip is going well though it has been accompanied by a persistent rain cloud for much of the week. But we are greatly enjoying time away with family and friends.

So here is my most pressing place of pondering while I have been away: when I am weak then I am strong. Have you really reveled in this truth--this promise--found in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10? The places of our greatest weakness--our greatest trial and pain--hold with it the potential of being our greatest strength. Why? Because the power of God can be made manifest if we allow Him that freedom.

How? How do we allow Him the freedom to pour out His power over our weakness? It is a walk of faith. It is a submitting of our will to His while declaring our absolute inability within ourselves--resting and trusting.

Oh Lord, thank You for graciously revealing areas of weakness in our hearts. Father, I praise You for your promise of strength and power in our places of great weariness. On our knees we lift our hands to You with joyful expectation of your faithful covering. Love You, Lord.

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

This Process Called Life

This morning I write in the aftermath of my daughter's dance "recital" last night. Actually it was made very clear that it wasn't a "recital" but a "Night of Worship." Her teacher clarified her desire for the dancers to dance for an audience of One. It took my breath away. All of the dances were beautifully worshipful. Seeing my daughter raise her hands and look to the sky as the words "Come to Jesus" filled the room, stirred an inward prayer and desire I hold for her little life.

That's the point. Oh how I want those I love to experience the fullness found in the life submitted to Jesus. That they would each with abandon raise their hands before this loving, holy God, pressing deep, allowing the joy of freedom to wash over them. That is my prayer. But this will take time. Pressing deep and experiencing fullness happens one victory after another. As believers we are not automatically "there." We do not accept the sacrifice of our Lord and then wake up the next morning free and victorious. Life is a process.

I love the words of CS Lewis, "poetry replaces grammar, gospel replaces law, longing transforms obedience, as gradually as the tide lifts a grounded ship." The abundance Christ offers is available to the one who trusts; but the experience will be a steady progression in this fight of faith, as ourselves are slowly shed and daily crucified.

My prayer for us is that we would be able to proclaim with the Psalmist, "O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You." (Psalm 63:1-3)

Fight the fight of faith, friend, from glory to glory. Oh, He is good.


P.S. To my faithful readers, I will be leaving this morning for a week with my family at the lake (yeah!). Though I pray my time with the Lord is still sweet, and I am certain my thoughts will make it to paper (or at least the computer screen), I do not know if the internet will be available. So upon my return you may have an ear full. Talk with you soon.

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Be the Church

I had an interesting dream last night. Though I will leave out the random details of my dream life that included me losing my purse, trying to remember if I needed to wear a shirt, and not being able to see really well, I did want to document the impression it left.

I was at church--though it was more like a convention center with a bunch of hallways with high ceilings--and it came to the congregation's attention that someone had a weapon that he intended on using. Everyone started to walk briskly to safety. The problem was that no one knew which way to go so everyone walked in different directions.

Oh, if we as the body of Christ--the church--want direction, then we must stand on His Word.

Then--after random details that do not really fit into the dream--the man was caught and handcuffed. He was walking behind the "mob" on his knees, with no one paying him any attention. Finally he reached the end of the aisle and laid down on the ascending stairs. I could not keep my eyes off of him. So I went over. Many were sneering as they walked by--some with disgust over his behavior, some just glad the fear had subsided.

Just as he was about to hit his head on the wall due to the crowd I shouted, "Watch out, you are about to get hurt." "Why do you care?" he questioned. Just as the words came out of his mouth, an old lady pushed on his head with her cane out of anger. "Is that what we do to people when they are down?" I said with some force. Then I looked him in the eyes. After a brief interaction with the man he started to cry as a few others began to notice him with genuine concern. "I will be praying for you," I assured.

That is the way God wants us to respond to those who have fallen in their sin. We as the church are called to lift one another and bear each other's burden--not point our finger, gossip, and push people when they are already down. If we are going to be transformed by the renewing of God, then we must be real. We need to share our struggles with a trusted--godly--friend and then be that faithful friend who loves at all times. Only by the power of His might.

As my pastor would say, "Let's be the church."

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thirst for Him

A question from John Piper to ponder today, "Where do we find our deepest satisfaction--in God or in His gifts?"

Anything or anyone besides our Creator is a cheap imitation that will never fulfill our deepest longings--never. He alone calms our fears. He alone gives strength to the weary. He alone loves us perfectly. He alone heals the broken. He alone cures the selfish heart. He alone breaks addictions and demolishes strongholds. He alone.

Get before Him, friend. Meditate on His Truths. Sit still and listen. He has graciously revealed Himself to us--a rebellious people--in order that we might live these days with purpose and fulfillment. His ways are good and His will can be trusted--even when our understanding might fail.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

One Perfect Parent

You may be able to identify this from my posts lately, but I have sensed some areas in my mommy-heart that need God's touch. I have not been able to put my finger on it except for the inward struggle I sometimes face with parenting--am I obeying You, Lord? am I honoring You? am I allowing You to love my kids through me? or am I more focused on my own agenda that I miss the look in their eyes? So I have asked God to shed anything in me that is not of Him when it comes to being a parent. He is so faithful to gently reveal His will if we ask.

The other day I watched from a distance as my middle son tried to play with some "older" boys. He longingly looked at their toys, wishing he would be included. Then one of them pushed him away and said, "You are a baby! You can't play!" Yes, my motherly fury arose and I resisted the urge to go push him back, in spite of my son's heartbroken look and quivering lip. But I continued to watch, and pray. And then His quiet voice resonated with my spirit.

This world is going to push my kids around--it will push my husband around. I want our home to be a place where they feel safe, loved, encouraged, and empowered to stand for Truth in a world that denies absolutes. Am I making my home that kind of refuge? Only by the power of His might.

In my flesh I am so selfish. But God. He alone is the perfect parent. He is full of grace and mercy flowing from a love unconditional. He forgives because He is holy and righteous, not because I deserve it. He looks me in the eyes and knows my heart. He is never too busy to meet me where I am. And He even disciplines as a loving parent should, desiring I stay in His boundaries of safety and victory. I want to reflect Him rightly. Only by the power of His might.

Lord, change us. Use us in this world--in our homes--to reflect Your ways and Your Truth in the moments of this day. Enable us to forgive, that others might be restored. Give us Your eyes, that we might see the perspectives of others. Teach us to be men and women who glorify Your name--taking Your Truth from our minds to the depths of our hearts. You are worthy, Lord. You are good!

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Monday, June 8, 2009

Nibbling at the World

My pastor preached on wisdom yesterday at church. From Proverbs chapter 1 he explained that wisdom cries out in the "noisy streets" but we will only hear that to which our hearts are attuned. We live among "noisy" streets--demands for our attention, entertainment overload, and satiated desires. So the question becomes, to what are we listening?

I have picked up a book I read years ago at seminary called A Hunger for God by John Piper. He says, "The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink every night" (p. 14). Prime-time dribble of triviality. Wow. Preach it.

This is not going to be an anti-TV post. But we should continually evaluate what we allow to enter our ears, and eventually our hearts and minds--the noisy streets or the wisdom of God? The enemy disguises himself and his agenda with things that are pleasant to the eye. But it is the constant nibbling at the table of the world, as Piper describes, that ultimately leads us astray.

If you and I truly want to walk these days in wisdom, rather than riding the waves of our emotion and fleeting desire, we have to know the Author of wise things. We must fill our hearts and minds with that which truly satisfies a hungry soul--start indulging on the banquet of our Lord. We cannot eat from both tables. We choose moment-by-moment where our hearts will reside (see Matthew 6:24). Who or what will master us this day?

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Reflect my King

I am wrestling through parenthood these days. It can be so difficult. Walk with me as I muddle through my thoughts.

I think one of my biggest needs before God is to identify expectations. For some strange reason I still expect that my kids should be able to obey the rules, especially after the 139th time of saying the same thing that day. I know my expectation must be obedience because I get frustrated when they once again disobey. But I just don't think that is the correct mindset.

I am thinking in regard to God's relationship to us, His creation. Before Christ, God gave man His perfect Law. The Ten Commandments are the heart of God--His desire for mankind. Love God and love others. But how many people actually, perfectly, obey God's law? No one. That is why Christ had to come. Jesus teaches that He is the fulfillment of the Law. The Law was given to point us to our need for a Savior. We cannot live a righteous life in our natural selves. God did not expect that we would be able to obey. He was simply declaring His ways so that eventually we would come to understand that we as humans cannot honor our God left on our own.

I think that is what I am supposed to convey to my kids. Their father and I have this law in our home--love God and love others--and when they disobey--over and over and over--it is just one more opportunity to point them to their need for a Savior. Just as God blesses obedience and disciplines disobedience, so must we. But our expectation should not be perfection. They simply cannot do it left to themselves. They also need a Savior.

I do sometimes enjoy watching those "reality" shows that show you how to parent. One reason I like them is because most of the time I can be reassured, "At least we aren't that bad." But one fault I find in those shows is that they are missing the key element to living obedient lives: the power of God.

You and I cannot make ourselves obey. Sure we can do pretty good for a while--at least until 7 a.m. when everyone else wakes up. Just as our kids rebel from us, we will naturally rebel from our heavenly Father. We must submit ourselves to God, allowing Him to work in and through us, by the power of His Spirit, if we want the life that truly fulfills.

We as parents are a reflection of God to our kids. They will inevitably transfer their understanding of God from their relationship with their parents. I want to reflect Him rightly. I want them to know my love--His love. I want them to eventually understand their need for a Savior, that my motives are good, and that grace and mercy are always right. Only by the power of His might will you and I be able to reflect our King.

O Lord, love my kids through me.

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Friday, June 5, 2009

Faithful Steward

One little word from the writings of Paul to the church at Corinth stuck with me today. He said, "Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God." (1 Corinthians 4:1) Stewards. I wanted to know more so I went to The New Strong's Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Red Letter Edition. Yes, that is really the title. And no, I do not know how you can expand something that is exhaustive. But if you want to dig deeper--or just feel like a really smart Bible scholar--this is the thick book that can help.

The word steward means "house-distributor or overseer; these were usually slaves or freedmen (prior slaves)." So Paul calls us stewards. This means that God has entrusted to us--once slaves to sin--the task of overseeing His great mysteries in this rebellious world. So how are you and I accomplishing that role? Are we being faithful?

To be a "good" steward one would have to know their Master's desires. How could a slave manage their master's house without knowing their master's heart? In the same way, for you and I to be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God, we have to know our Father's heart.

I have this image in my mind of a servant, home alone while the master was away. He has two choices. One, he could sit on the couch, sipping hot tea, indulging in his master's riches, completely unaware of his master's desires. Then when he heard the garage door opening, he would jump up and start folding that pile of laundry--just to appear as if he had been a faithful steward. Or two, he could know and love his master. And while his master is away, submit to his master's will--which is righteous and fulfilling--with joyful anticipation of his master's return. Likewise we as stewards of God have a similar choice. How are we "being" in the waiting?

God is not interested in our "doing." He is interested in our "being." From the devotions of our heart, our actions will follow. If we spend time seeking the face of God and knowing His heart, then He will empower us to both understand and live in submission to His will--as faithful stewards of His mysteries. This is freedom. This is where lasting joy can be found.

I want to be a faithful steward of the great mysteries of our amazing God. He is worthy. His plans are good.

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

My Way or the Highway

I am going to get right to it today. Sinful thoughts, words, attitudes, and deeds are all byproducts of selfishness. It's all about me--my wants, my needs, my agenda, my time. This is our natural state of thinking--how will this or that affect numero uno. His words hurt me. Her ways irritate me. His weaknesses frustrate me. Me. Me. Me. When will we truly come to understand--it is not about me. It is all about Him.

I heard a funny analogy yesterday from one of Joyce Meyer's "sermons"--it is just weird for a girl with Southern Baptist roots to call her a pastor and what she says a sermon. But the woman can preach! She said that she and her husband were driving and came upon an orange orchard. She got to thinking, "Those oranges didn't come about because the tree was thinking really hard and 'pushing' with all its might." Then she puckered her face, clinched her fists, and strained with all she had. "No, those oranges grew because of what was happening inside the tree." She went on to explain that the "fruit of the Spirit"--which you can read about in Galatians 5:22-26--does not appear because we try really hard to be good. The fruit of the Spirit is a byproduct of what is going on inside of the believer.

If we are living for ourselves--my wants, needs, agenda, etc.--then we will miss the Spirit-filled, fruit producing life. The fruit of God--love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control--can only flow from the Spirit of God. The fruit is a byproduct of dying to self and allowing God to work in and through us. It is saying, "Lord, I am a complete mess left to myself. My thoughts are critical, my attitudes irritable, and my words discouraging. If you can use me, then you can have me. Do Your thing in me." Paul says to die daily to self. Daily take up our cross and follow after Christ. To live the life that breeds the fruit of God then we must lay down ourselves and submit our will to His. It is only then that His power will be made manifest.

Not me, me, me. Rather, You, You, You. God, make Yourself famous through my little life.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Love You, Lord

My faithful Father--Righteous and True,
You say, "Be content--let Me bless you."

This world races quickly, spinning and blurred;
I make my corner stop--hear the sound of sweet birds.

So tempting to chase after things that won't fill;
But it's only in You where my spirit sits still.

"Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith and love,
Patience and gentleness"--words from above.

The things of this world slowly fade over time,
But Your truth stands eternal--richly divine.

Love You, Lord.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Micromanaging People

I have said this before but it is really starting to seep down into my belief system: you and I cannot change other people. God has taught me so much about being a wife and I think my husband would say that I have laid down those "chains of control" that women often try to carry. But I must admit I have MUCH to learn about being a mom.

I am still so young on this journey of motherhood. I do know that I don't want to look back with regret. I want my kids to behave. I want them to make good choices. I want them to be kind, loving, and competent. But ultimately, I just want them to love the Lord. I read in the Bible that we are to teach His ways continually--when we rise and walk and lay down. But sometimes my teaching feels more like micromanaging--like I am hanging onto control with a tattered thread. And when they choose again to hit, scream, bite, or grab I confess my battle with discouragement.

Don't get me wrong, they are precious. There are those daily moments where my heart melts as my two oldest hold hands to cross the parking lot or they all giggle together in the bathtub, but when I see certain tendencies with each child--areas where I sense they will struggle as they get older--I often feel overwhelmed. That is when I return to the fact that I cannot change my kids. I can be faithful to teach but I must also be faithful to pray because only God can reach the heart and truly change one's natural bent--giving victory over weakness.

I want to be more faithful in my intercession for these little ones entrusted to me for this short time we call childhood. Only He can mold their hearts.

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Monday, June 1, 2009

To Adam

p.s. Happy Anniversary, babe. I am so blessed to call you my husband!

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The Unlikely Sword

If you have young children then you are probably familiar with the story of David and Goliath. You remember, David was young and Goliath was a giant. Goliath taunted the army of Israel and all of the soldiers feared him. Finally David appeared on the scene totally confused as to why the children of God feared this one man, "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine (Goliath) that he should defy the armies of the living God?" Then he informed the king that he would fight this giant, remembering God's faithfulness in previous trials, "The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." (See 1 Samuel 17)

After the king reluctantly agreed an interesting thing happened. He tried to dress David in his own armor. This scene hit me afresh this morning with its imagery of our own weapons in this spiritual battle we face. The world in which we live teaches that our weapons for "victory" are knowledge, talents, rights, strength, beauty, and money. But God reveals a very different approach. As I have referred to in the past couple of posts, we are in the midst of a spiritual battle and our weapons are foreign to this world in which we spend our days. Just as David's choice of five stones instead of a sword bewildered the Israelite army, so our weapons do not outwardly impress a rebellious culture--until they see what God can do!

As children of the living God we are instructed to arm ourselves with Truth, prayer, and faith. The world will think we are doomed but God is able to bring a victory. Lay down the armor of man and put on the armor of God. It is in Him where we are more than conquerors.

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