Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cast Your Cares

I went to my bi-weekly Mom's Group meeting this morning where our Pastor's wife was speaking. She was sharing about not being easily offended by things other people say and do. She explained how she would sometimes get offended about things that didn't even happen to her, but to her daughters. When the girls would come home upset about an offense, they would cry & unload it on her, and then they would go about their business and be fine, while she would remain bothered.

Although her point was on not being offended, I was hearing the Lord speak to my spirit about something altogether different. As I listened, I was getting a picture in my mind of how we are to lay our burdens on the Lord.

Just like her daughter's who would feel better after they'd expressed their feelings & discussed their problems with their mother and then felt released, this is what Jesus wants us to do with Him - talk to Him about the things that are bothering us, and then leave our cares & burdens at His feet. After spending time in prayer with our Savior, we should walk away feeling lighter & free. If we pray and still feel anxious, it's usually a pretty good sign that we have just spent time "venting" to the Lord, but not really praying & believing that He is willing and able to hear and answer our prayer...we haven't left our request at His feet, but instead, we've carried it with us.

Next, I was thinking how this same scenario doesn't work as well when we as adults share with one another, like it does when a child talks to their parent. I think one reason why is because we come across as complaining to one another, not really believing that the person we're sharing with has any authority or ability to help us in our circumstances. It's merely a "misery loves company" type encounter. Whereas the child trusts that the parent can help, by either giving advice, comfort, or handling the situation outright, depending on what the case might be.

I am learning that I should go straight to my Heavenly Father, the only one with the power to do something about my problem. If I go to my friends & family first, all I'm able to gain is sympathy as I focus on the circumstance, and not keeping my eyes on Jesus.
The Bible says in Psalm 121:1-2 "I will lift my eyes to the hills, from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made Heaven and earth".
Our help comes from the same one who made us, and the only one who can handle anything we give Him!

Don't get me wrong - I'm thankful for my friends & family who I often share my burdens with, but usually so they can pray for me. I know that many times God will use someone in your life to speak into your circumstances and give you wisdom, or will be used to bring healing to an area of brokenness. But such times are ordained by God Himself, not orchestrated by us trying to lay our burdens on people in and of ourselves.

The next time you have a burden, don't automatically pick up the phone, or go to your email, or to that next "church meeting" with the purpose of laying it down with your friends & family...take it to the Lord in prayer, and leave it with Him.

Here are a couple of (well known or "reminder") Bible verses to reflect on:

1 Peter 5:7 "cast all your cares upon him, for He cares for you."

Matt. 11:28-30 "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Who's Telling the Truth?

Hello Blogging friends,

I have been a busy bee lately, Spring cleaning my house in the Fall. While going through my desk drawer, I ran across this poem I wrote in June 1999 and wanted to it share it with you.

Who's Telling the Truth?

The world says, "Get ahead, no matter what the cost"
Jesus says "become a servant, as an example to the lost"

The world says "any religion is basically okay"
Jesus says "beware of false teachers, for I am the only way"

The world says, "live life to the full, it's all about having fun"
Jesus says "we're just passing through, meanwhile, there's work to be done"

The world says "no matter what you do wrong, surely you're not to blame"

Jesus says "confess that sin and I'll forgive and take away your shame"

I say "weigh the truth for yourself before anymore time goes by,
for eternity is way to long to take a chance on a lie."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Remove The Stone by Tony Evans

A friend of mine sent this to me this morning & it blessed me so much, I thought I'd share it with you all.

Have you ever been in a situation where things fell apart after you went to Jesus? Have you ever experienced a death? Not just a physical death, because death is essentially a loss. Have you ever experienced a deep loss of any kind? Stuff started to get sick, and then it just died. You have this plan for your life. You had a hope. You thought that things were going to fall right into place. But not only did they not fall into place, they died.

If you have ever been in a situation like that, then you know exactly what Martha and Mary were experiencing when they got caught between a rock and a hard place in John 11. Lazarus was sick. Martha and Mary reach out to Jesus for help. Jesus sends back hope. Lazarus dies.

Martha had told Jesus that she believed He was the resurrection and the life (v. 27). She had then run to tell Mary that Jesus had come.

Now Mary, seeing Jesus, falls at His feet and says, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died” (v. 32). John reports that when Jesus “saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, and said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to Him, ‘Lord, come and see’” (vv. 33-34).

Then, John writes, “Jesus wept” (11:35).

The next part of the passage contains potentially the most revolutionary spiritual truth you could ever learn for your daily living. It can sustain you when you’re caught between a rock and a hard place. We read: “So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, ‘Remove the stone.’ Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, ‘Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days’” (vv. 38-39).

Jesus makes a simple request, “Remove the stone.” Martha interrupts to let Jesus know that what He is asking isn’t practical. She lets Jesus know that what He is asking isn’t logical. It makes no biological sense.

When God puts you or me between a rock and a hard place, He will often make a request that makes absolutely no sense. His request to the mourners is not logical. Lazarus is literally between a rock and a hard place. Lazarus is literally behind a stone. Jesus asks the mourners to remove the stone without giving them any more information.

Here’s the spiritual truth you can apply to your daily life: When God is getting ready to do something significant in your life that involves a deliverance from a situation gone bad, or a resurrection of a situation that has died, it will often include an illogical request. And I want to encourage you, when that happens, don’t go logical on God. What we often do with God in situations like that is debate the instruction. Just like Martha did. Jesus’ instruction to her was pretty simple, “Remove the stone.”

With God it’s not about logic. It’s about doing what He says to do in faith. Once you add human logic to the Word of God, you ignore the power of the Word of God in your situation.

Jesus doesn’t want to have a discussion about the stone He has told us to remove. He doesn’t want to know how big the stone is. He doesn’t want to know how long the stone has been there. He doesn’t even want to know how dead the dead is behind the stone. All Jesus wants you to do is remove the stone.

To experience the living Christ in your dead situation, belief must precede sight, because without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Faith precedes sight. One of the great verses in the Bible describes this situation. It says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (11:1). In other words, belief requires no empirical evidence to validate what you are doing. There is nothing to taste, smell, touch, hear, or see in order for you to believe. There is nothing that the five senses can grab because if there is, then that is no longer faith. You don’t have to see something to know that it’s real. But what you do have to do is act in faith.

God says the righteous “shall live by faith” (10:38). So how do you know when you have faith? You only know that you have faith when you remove the stone – when you do the thing that God has asked you to do. If you’re not doing the thing that He told you to do, then you’re not having faith. If you’re discussing it, you’re not at the point of faith yet; you’re at the point of discussion. If you’re thinking about it, you’re not at the point of faith yet; you’re at the point of thought.

You’re not at the point of faith until God sees that stone move.

What can you expect to happen when you remove the stone? Jesus told Martha that if she will believe, she will see the “glory of God.” The glory of God is seeing God manifest Himself in your situation.

God wants to make some dead scenarios come forth. He wants to make dead careers come alive once more. He wants to resurrect dead marriages.

Martha and Mary didn’t make life come forth. All they did was remove the stone at His word. Then He created a miracle.

Someone reading this needs a miracle. Something in your life has died, and you need God to call it back to life. Someone is trapped in an addiction. You’ve tried everything that you know to get out of it but it doesn’t seem to work. What you need is a resurrection.

God can take your dead and dying scenario and call forth a resurrection. He can take what looks like a rotting situation and give it new life. He’s just waiting for you to remove the stone. When we do what God says to do in faith, God is free to bring forth life.

(Adapted from Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Tony Evans. © 2010 by Anthony Evans, Moody Publishers.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It's Not About You!!!

This is a sentence I repeat quite often in my house when speaking to my children..."It's NOT about YOU!" I find it necessary to let them know, much to their surprise, that the world does NOT revolve around them, LOL!

However, when it comes to stepping out in faith and being used by God, it is of the utmost importance that you remember the very same thing. In fact, you should keep these 3 things in mind:

1) It's not about YOU

2) It's not because of YOU

3) It's not for YOU

What do I mean?

It's not about you - If you expect to move in the power of God, praying, prophesying, laying hands on the sick and seeing them recover, all the stuff that Jesus said to go and do (Mark 16:15-20), you have to get over yourself! No more hang ups, no more worrying about your past, or beating yourself up about your failures & weaknesses. Allow healing to come to your spirit & soul that will set you free from the fear of man, and a people pleasing attitude.

It's not because of you - When you do see God move through you, either in word or in deed, remember that YOU didn't do it! It's not a time to get puffed up and think you've done something special, when all God really needs is a willing vessel who will believe in Him.
1 Cor. 4:7 "For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?"
Remember after the disciples came back from ministering in Jesus name and they were excited about how even the demons had to obey them? Jesus rejoiced with them for what they'd done, but He also warned them in Luke 10:20, "Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven."
It's not for you - Too many times when people reach a place in the Lord where they see visible fruit, they start to get the attitude that they've "arrived". They're getting attention from others, and it's very tempting to exalt themselves in their own minds, or to allow people to place them on a pedestal. In these cases, the person has an elitist attitude that says "I need to be served, not serve others". This thinking is so far from the mind of Christ!
Mark 10:42-45 - "But Jesus called them (the disciples) to Himself and said to them, You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
The best way to escape the above traps of the enemy is to keep your eyes off yourself and on Jesus at all times! If we remember the following Scripture, we'll have no problem doing mighty exploits for the Lord, and never have to struggle with the above.
Gal. 2:20 - "I have been crucified with Christ; It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

I read a book by Loren Cunningham called "Making Jesus Lord" where he talked about laying down your so called rights as Christians. He said that dead people don't worry about their rights. He was of course talking about us, who are supposed to have been crucified with Christ. When we're dead to our rights, we live for Him, only wanting to glorify God in all we do and say. This is the place I long to be, where I can say like Paul "to live is Christ, to die is gain...or like in Phil. 3:7-10
"But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death..."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Power of God's Presence

When we face trials in our lives, which we all do because the Bible tells us we will, it is imperative to remember this one very important fact...God is with us! All throughout the Old & New Testament, God tells people "do not be afraid, I am with you". He doesn't say "don't be afraid, I'm going to fix this", or "don't be scared, I will take all your troubles away". No, instead, He promises to be with us.

Example, when Shadrach, Meschach & Abednego were in the fiery furnace, Jesus (or the Angel of the Lord) was right there in the fire with them. When God commissioned Joshua, Gideon and Moses to do His work, he said "don't worry, My presence is going with you". Moses became so dependent on God's presence, he wouldn't even go where God told him to unless He promised to come with him. He didn't want God's blessing, he wanted His presence!

In the NT, when Jesus was preparing the disciples for his departure, He comforted them by saying "I will not leave you like orphans, but I'll send someone (the Comforter/Holy Spirit) to help you."

Why is the promise of His presence sufficient in all situations? I think we can look at Jesus' life as the key. Jesus went through more pain, suffering, shame, disgrace, rejection and betrayal than anyone can imagine. He not only suffered physically, but the emotional and mental pain was enough to cause Him to sweat drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. Still, the Bible says He was led like a "sheep to the slaughter" without opening His mouth. Some may think he endured this kind of pain because He was God, but I can assure you, He was also fully man! He had humbled himself to become man, subjected himself to all the same weaknesses, limitations, and possible emotions that we all face, only without sin. I believe the only thing that allowed Him to endure this level of torture, was the presence of His Father with Him through the power of the Holy Spirit. It was the same with Stephen when he was being stoned to death...he saw Heaven open and he had God's presence with him. This is the same relationship that is available to us today.

Jesus got His commission from the Father, submitted Himself completely to His will, then He stayed connected with Him through it all. When people spit on Him, with clenched fists of anger and hatred called out "crucify Him!", when the disciples rejected, denied and abandoned Him, when the guards pierced His side, placed the crown of thorns on His head, striped Him of His clothes and beat Him beyond recognition, then ultimately hung Him to die on the cross...His Father in Heaven was with Him. I know this because He didn't protest at all until one moment...the only time Jesus cried out...

The moment when God the Father turned away from Jesus because of the sin that had been placed upon Him (my sin, your sin, the entire world's sin). That was the only time Jesus didn't call God "His Father" - instead, He cried "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" The first and only time Jesus was ever separated from His Father's presence - that was the only thing he couldn't bare. Of course God had to turn from Hm for a moment, but not only restored Jesus to His presence, but crowned Him with all honor and authority both in Heaven and on earth.

This tells me that I can endure anything in life, as long as I have God's presence with me. I heard a teaching by Beth Moore one time where she said when it comes to trials and tribulations, there are typically 3 ways God deals with them.

1) He will take them away,
2) He will walk through it with you, or
3) He will deliver you from them by taking you on to Heaven.

Obviously we all pray for the first scenario, but when that doesn't always happen, we shouldn't think that God has abandoned us. We must trust that He is working in our situation for our good, just as He didn't spare His own Son, but instead had a greater purpose.

May we all come to say in the good times AND the bad, His presence is "better than life" and "I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength."

Monday, September 27, 2010

How He Loves Us

I was involved all weekend with our women's conference "PureLife" at our church. It was a wonderful mixture of fun, fellowship, and faith. The messages were moving, I laughed a lot with my friends, and I was even given an opportunity to pray for a few people and saw God do some miraculous things.

As I sit here this morning thinking over everything that happened, there are many things I've taken away from the conference, but particularly moving to me was a song we sang called "How He Loves Us". You've probably heard it, either by Kari Jobe, or perhaps the "David Crowder Band". I've heard it on Christian radio, but never really paid attention to the words like I did this weekend.

Listen to the words of this song

We as Christians, all know and somewhat understand that God loves us.
Eph. 3:17-19 says "that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints, what is the width, length, depth & height, and to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God"
This tells me that we all need to pray that the Holy Spirit will continually show us how much God loves us!

There were two very strong lines that really stuck out in my mind, and make this song so special to me.

One was where it said something about our afflictions being eclipsed by His glory . I can't tell you how many times I've been going through something and I know that prayer won't even help until I first go spend some time in God's presence, worshipping Him. It doesn't take any time at all before all my problems seem to fade away in light of His presence. Nothing may have changed right away in my circumstances, but now I have a Heavenly perspective and the joy of the Lord, which is my strength. After all, the Bible says that in His presence is fullness of joy!

The other great line in the song was when it talked about not having time for regrets when I realize how much He loves me. Again, if we focus more on God's love, we let go of our past, we open ourselves up to forgiveness, we forgive others who've offended us...the Bible says "perfect love casts out fear" - we don't have to be afraid of anything! This can mean fear of man, fear of God's judgement, fear of mistakes & past failures, fear of the future & the unknown, whatever the fear, it's not always that you need more faith...sometimes you just need a greater measure of understanding God's love for you!

I pray that prayer in Ephesians (Eph. 3:17-19) over myself and hope you'll do the same.

Lord, let ME know and experience Christ dwelling in my heart by faith; let me be rooted & grounded in love today; may I be able to comprehend (today) how much You love me, how high, wide, long & deep You love me! Even though this love You talk about is "beyond comprehension", I know that only means that I can't understand it in my natural mind and without the help of Your Holy Spirit, but through Your Spirit, You can begin to help me understand Your love. Thank you that I am being filled with all the fullness of God!

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Prayer for Fruitfulness

Stepping out, moving up
to a higher level I must go
maturity and fruitfulness are calling
to put into practice the things I know

Insecurity and fears be gone
you're not welcome here anymore
I'm breaking free from my past
with greater revelation than ever before

Walking in repentance
shaking off all that would hinder
forgiving every offense
to You, Jesus, I completely surrender

I'll trust You with my future
and listen for Your voice
if I obey as You lead me
I'll always make the right choice

I pray you'll teach me to number my days
and not to squander the gifts You gave
I also want my life to impact
the ones You came to save.

by Angie Mauer

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"Hump Day" Humor

1. How do You Catch a Unique Rabbit?
Unique Up On It.

2. How Do You Catch a Tame Rabbit?
Tame Way.

3. How Do Crazy People Go Through The Forest ?
They Take The Psychopath.

4. What Do Eskimos Get From Sitting On The Ice too Long?

5. What Do You Call a Boomerang That Doesn't Work?
A Stick.

6. What Do You Call Cheese That Isn't Yours?
Nacho Cheese.

7. What Do You Call Four Bullfighters In Quicksand?
Quatro Cinco.

8. What Do You Get From a Pampered Cow?
Spoiled Milk.

9. What Do You Get When You Cross a Snowman With a Vampire?

10. What Lies At The Bottom Of The Ocean And Twitches?
A Nervous Wreck.

11. What Kind Of Coffee Was Served On The Titanic?

12. Why Did Pilgrims' Pants Always Fall Down?
Because They Wore Their Belt Buckles On Their Hats.

Now, admit it . . . at least one of these made you smile.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Favorite Things About Fall

I LOVE the Fall season more than any other! I know it's fun to take Summer vacations, the Spring brings new life as everything is blossoming, and the holidays are always a wonderful time of family, friends & FOOD, but I still think Fall is my favorite.

I love the cooler weather after suffering the long, hot & humid days of Summer. I enjoy the leaves changing color in the trees, and the pumpkins people put out on their porches to mark the beginning of the Fall season.

While I'm not a huge football fan, my husband and kids are so excited about all the games, it's hard not to be happy for them, it's too cute. They enjoy watching their favorite team play, going to the games, tailgating with friends. What do I get out of it? Often I get a weekend to myself, with food I like, no cooking, and chick flics on t.v.!

Fall brings my friends' Corn Maze, Harvest Festival at churches (which means Brunswick stew, yum!), the NC State Fair (which my kids love), and our Fall Fiesta at my church (which replaces Halloween for us).

It's a great time of year! Hope you enjoy it. Be sure to tell me your favorite things about Fall.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembing 9/11

Since 2001, America will never face this day on the calendar without remembering & reflecting on what happened. 9/11 forever changed our Nation, and many individual's lives. But these many years later, I've been asking God how we're supposed to remember, and what is our response supposed to be?

It's not to dredge up bad feelings of bitterness, that only lead to hatred. It's not to feel fear and insecurity as we realize that if something like this happened once, it could happen again. It's not to just pity the victims' families, although we should offer them our prayers and support. It's certainly not to forget about it and add it to so many other "historical" events that happened in America.

What is the proper response as we remember 9/11?

I think that Anne Graham Lotz (Rev. Billy Graham's daughter), and Joel Rosenburg have the right idea. Next year, on 9/11/11, the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center attack, they are holding a live simulcast all across the Country to call people to pray. You can go to Anne's website for more information. I'm excited about this event, but I say, we don't have to wait until then - take time today to pray and ask God to heal America. (2nd Chronicles 7:14)

I also think we should remember how we all came together right after the attack. People put aside their political and theological differences and came together for one united cause. Why must it take a tragedy for us to focus on the common ground as opposed to what divides us? Just look at the spotlight that has been placed on a small congregation in Florida who wanted to take action, but is going about things, in my opinion, the wrong way. Let's remember 9/11, but do so in a productive, healing way - not in doing more harm than good.

I end with this prayer:

May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, be with the families of the victims of 9/11. May He grant them peace and strength today, and all their days. I pray that they have no bitterness or unforgiveness in their hearts, but they let Your joy & peace reign in their lives. I pray that all their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs be met.

I pray that America will turn to You, repent of our sins, and once again be a Christian Nation, unashamed to lift up Your name! I pray that we would not hate anyone of a different faith, but neither will we stop praying for their eyes to be open to the truth, knowing that Your Word says You are the only way! Let us not be silenced under the guise of political correctness or the worry of offending someone. After all, these are not our words or our ways, it came from You, spoken by Your Son. I pray that Your Church would rise up, not in a political way, or a self-righteous way, but boldly speaking the truth in love, show Your heart in our words and in deed. I pray that Your hand of protection would be on us, even as we pray for the peace of Israel. I agree with Joel Rosenburg, and pray that You would visit in a miraculous way, the muslim people, opening their spiritual eyes and ears to see You, even as Saul beheld You and became Paul. Finally, let the knowledge of the glory of the Lord cover the earth, even as the waters cover the sea!

God bless America

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What I've Been Up To

Hello my long lost blogging friends! Well, I guess you haven't been lost, I have been M.I.A. Just wanted to let you know that I haven't forgotten you, and I hope you haven't forgotten me. I've been soooooo busy lately.

Here is what I've been up to these past several weeks:

School started again - I've already had to do, I mean "help" with a school project with my 5th grader.

I'm organizing the Mom's Group I lead at my church and trying to get it ready to begin in October. Meanwhile, I've become the Volunteer Director for our upcoming Women's Conference "PureLife" - any of you local NC ladies, please join us! Go to www.purelifeconference.org to register

My youngest just turned 8 on 9/5 and we had a "camp out" birthday party for him.

His grandpa gave him a trampoline for his birthday.

Yes, it came in this box! It took some patience to put it together, but my Dad, with a little help from the birthday boy, did a great job. Thanks Papa!

I thought I'd save $$$ this year and make his cake myself. It was hideous looking, but it tasted okay. It caved in and the #8 candle kept falling over in the cake.

The boys ended up playing in the creek behind our house. Can you tell we need rain?

I've helped two of my friends move, one not too far away, and the other sadly about an hour or so away.

We enjoyed some time at the beach this summer, not as much as we would have liked. We've had a lot of friends over to grill out, including on Labor Day. Everyone's enjoying the trampoline. The weather is starting to get a little cooler.

I am going to help my friend Beth at "I'm Heading Toward My Destiny" with her corn maze this fall. Here are some pictures of me & my crazy hubby at the farm.

The boys are headed this weekend to the mountains to watch their favorite college football team. I will stay here and go to a friend's birthday party at the pool.

Life is busy, but very good. Hope you're all doing well. I promise I will take some time to catch up on what YOU are all up to as soon as the PureLife Conference is over!

God bless

Friday, August 27, 2010

Just a little "Friday Funny" to make you smile

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Praying the Word

There's such power in praying, confessing & decreeing the promises from God's Word. Not only speaking them out loud, but personalizing them. I wanted to share some of my favorite Scriptures out of Ephesians to pray:

Ephesians 1:17-19
I pray "that the God of MY Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give ME the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, I pray that the eyes of MY understanding will be enlightened; that I will know what is the hope of His calling (for ME), what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance (for ME), and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward ME, who believes, according to the working of His mighty power."
Ephesians 3:16-19
I pray "that He will grant ME, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in MY inner man, and that Christ may dwell in MY heart through faith; that I, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width, length, depth & height to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; and that I may be filled with all the fullness of God."
Ephesians 6:10-17
"I will be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. I will put on the whole armor of God, that I may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For I do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, I will take up the whole armor of God, that I may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand, I will stand therefore, having girded My waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod My feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, I will take up the shield of faith with which I will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And I take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God..."

Let's pray these prayers & confess this over our lives this week and see what awesome things God does & reveals to us.

I'd love to hear some of your favorite Scriptures to pray & confess as well.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Good Stuff outweighs the Bad

In the powerful and insightful words of Stan Lee, the author of the comic book series "Spiderman",
"With great power, comes great responsibility"
Deep thoughts...

So why am I thinking about power & responsibility? I'm actually reflecting on God's power, and MY responsibility to reveal it here on earth. We've each been given gifts and a measure of faith. We are to sow seeds of faith so it can grow, and we're supposed to use our gifts to glorify God.

Often as we are on our journey with the Lord, even if we're in His perfect will, we will face conflict with others who either don't know God, or who don't like that we are pressing on to a deeper level of intimacy with Him. Jesus warned us this would happen in John 16:33,
"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

I was reading in Jeremiah this morning where it says he was lamenting to God about how people were treating him. Then God answered him in Jer. 12:5
"If you have run with footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?"
I thought this was so interesting - instead of answering Jeremiah by assuring him that it was all going to be alright, cheer up, it's almost over; God basically says, "if you thought that was bad, just wait until you see what else you're going to have to go through. This has just been a warm up". How many would like to hear that?

I was thinking about how most people want more of God, more of His presence, more blessing, more anointing, to see more of His glory...more, more, more (of the good stuff).

We don't however, want ANY more battles, complications, problems, obstacles, friction, whatever or however you would describe tough times. I can't tell you how many prayers I've prayed asking God to give me more...and when more problems often accompany that prayer, I spend the rest of my days & energy begging God to get me out of it!

I've learned three important lessons over the past several years of real struggle in my life.
1) God uses obstacles to show you His faithfulness & power,
2) God uses our circumstances to tear out the worldly things in us, and renew our minds & hearts. To become "partakers of His Divine Nature" (2nd Pet. 1:4)
3) Just like God has a plan for you, so does the enemy, and he will ALWAYS try to discourage you from God's plan.

This unwelcome accompaniment to God's blessings, these "problems" were so severe at one point in our lives, that my husband & I were almost afraid to pray for any more of God. Yet, that's not the answer, it only leaves us empty & unfulfilled. I have come to understand that I would rather have more of the Holy Spirit working in my life, even with all the junk the enemy will try to throw my way, even with all the junk the Holy Spirit Himself will bring up in my life so I can deal with it, I still wouldn't trade hearing His voice and having His Spirit lead & guide me for anything in this world!

If we are going to ask God for more of His great power, then our responsibility is to also trust Him to handle things when great trials arise, and not to grow weary in well doing.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"I Don't Need No Ed-u-K-shun"

It's exactly two weeks from today that my boys go back to school. They are NOT very happy about it.

I've done my best over the summer to refresh their memory about school work. I made them read books, write reports, do spelling tests, review their math, take a "historical field trip" to Ft. Fisher. As you can imagine, they've complained and cried, "why should we have homework over the summer?"

Today, I found proof in the form of a picture of exactly why I put them through all of this torture...I will tell my kids, "this is why you need to stay in school, work hard & do your best!

Every kid should at least learn how to spell SCHOOL, LOL! The sad thing is, this happened in NC, my home State.

Hope you all enjoy what's left of the Summer.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Trust & Obey

Do you remember that old hymn "Trust and Obey"? I grew up singing that song, but never really grasped the great significance of those simple little words.
Trust and obey
for there's no other way
to be happy in Jesus
but to trust and obey

Could it really be that simple? Yes!

Is it easy to do? No!

No matter how many times I face challenges in life, and I struggle, and I worry, and I pray...then I FINALLY give them over to the Lord

and He takes care of me again, and again, and again...always faithful

the next time I face another obstacle, I go through the same process all over again.

When will I learn?

TODAY! I will learn today!

I was praying this morning about some things that have been heavy on my mind - then I started thinking about what it is that makes us fear and fret over our circumstances. It's not just a matter of needing more faith - I KNOW that God can do the impossible. I never doubt His power to handle anything that comes my way. What it really boils down to is, do I trust that He will do it for ME?

Whether we want to believe it or not, we all to some degree, suffer from the feeling that God is going to reject us. Every time we pray pleading prayers, hoping that God will somehow intervene, we're really feeling that God might not listen to us, might not come through for us.

I lived for years believing God was "testing" me. But now, as a parent, I can't really expect that God is testing us that much. I mean, I love my kids and I want to teach them valuable life lessons, but that's not all I do with them.

Sometimes I bless them just because I love them.
Sometimes I do stuff for them, even though they probably should do it themselves.
I always take care of them, and want what's best in their lives.
They trust me everyday to love and look after them.
They never say "I hope Mom feeds me today"
or "I wish she would listen me when I call out for help".
I couldn't imagine ignoring them if they asked for my advice,
and if they genuinely wanted to please me, I wouldn't hide my will from them.
"If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" Matt. 7:11

I know that I don't always trust God because I don't like being out of control. I feel like I NEED to know every detail and see the full picture. How many know that God doesn't work that way? It doesn't require any faith if we always knew what He was going to do.

I realized that I have to trust the character of God, when I don't know the plans of God. So I started confessing over & over again, "Lord, You are a good God. You have good plans for my life" (Jer. 29:11).

Joy & peace flooded my heart immediately.

My only responsibility is to cast my cares on the Lord, and then leave it with Him. After that, whatever happens is up to Him. He has promised to give me wisdom when I ask, direct my steps, equip me for everything that pertains to life & godliness, to never leave me or forsake me, to provide for all my needs according to His riches in glory...on and on the list of promises go.

I just need to trust & obey!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Wow - it feels like FOREVER since I've posted anything...did anyone miss me? I missed you all. I am trying to catch up on everyone's wonderful posts, but I would literally have to sit at my computer ALL day. Stop writing so much interesting stuff so I can get a life!

I've been at the beach - but before you think I've become a total beach bum, you must know that I am still keeping it "educational". While we were at the beach, we took a "field trip" to Ft. Fisher.

We drove to Southport, NC, which is the cutest little town (I really must find some time to go back in the fall, when it's cooler, and explore this little antique infested, cafe on every corner, town!) We took the 30 minute ferry ride across to Ft. Fisher, NC, known for it's battle during the Civil War.

We spent time in the Civil War Museum, bought hats from the gift shop. My husband was very bothered by the "house divided", because one of our sons wanted a Union hat, while the other wanted a confederate. I guess we got a little taste of what it must have been like back in those days to have "brother against brother" in some cases.

I would have taken more pictures outside of the actual fort, but my camera battery ran out. I forgot to charge it.

They will at least have something to write about when they go back to school and the teacher makes them give a report on what they did this summer. I have to admit, I learned some things as well.

Hope you enjoy the rest of your summer!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Moving from Revelation to Experience

I was recently reading a book by Pastor Bill Johnson called "The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind". It put into words something I've been feeling, and trying to express for years now.

I've actually had moments where I said "I don't want any more sermons or teaching without an opportunity to serve or my head is going to explode". I've also confessed that I feel as if there is a huge gap between what I know & believe theologically, and what I actually walk out in my Christian life. This has been a very frustrating realization, but I've not known what to do about it.

Then, I found this book...let me share some excerpts from this eye opening Chapter entitled "Understanding Is An Experience":
We must require an experience from what we believe. Renewing the mind is not merely reading words on a page and having a moment of revelation about a particular verse...renewal comes as revelation leads you into a new experience with God...You may have a moment of inspiration while reading the Bible or listening to someone preach from the Scriptures, but without taking the next step into experience, the process stalls and there is no renewal. If revelation doesn't bring us into an encounter with God, it only makes us religious. Revelation is never given to increase head knowledge, that's a by-product, at best.

When God reveals things to us, we must put those things to work. If we don't, we lose the power & opportunity that revelation offers us (Matthew 13:19)

Example: Let's say I (Pastor Bill Johnson) speak to my church about caring for the poor, something we love to do. People all across the room may be moved in their emotions. But if they don't do something practical within the next two or three weeks - perhaps finding a poor family to help out, or volunteering at a soup kitchen, then that word is open to be taken from the heart, where it has the place to transform their lives. Revelation takes us only half way there; experience leads us all the way.

The great tragedy is that if you don't move into experience, that revelation remains locked in your mind so you think it's active in your life. the next time you hear a message about helping the poor you might say "Amen. The other people in this room need to hear that," even though you have done nothing to help the poor. Hearing without doing has locked you into a form without power.

There are great audiences, great crowds of people, great denominations and movements that would fight to the death to defend divine healing, or prophecy, or many other practices, but they never see those things happen. They think, "I understand the concept. I agree that it happens. If it's God's will, He knows my address and He can give me that grace." They have the revelation but can't point to any proof of its validity in their personal experience. They can't show anyone how to do it. They are robbed of experience and can only recite back principles. It is pure religion, form without power.

I totally recommend this book - it's good stuff. Such a timely message, as just the other day I cried out to God saying "Lord, please make me a doer of the word, and not just a hearer!"

Read James 1:21-27 where it talks about faith without deeds is not really faith. In vs. 22 it says if we are hearers only, we are deceiving ourselves! In comparison, in vs. 25 it says if we'll be doers & not just hearers, we'll be blessed in whatever we do!

In Hebrews 5:14 says "But solid food belongs to those who are mature, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good & evil." The phrase "by reason of use" is better translated, "by practicing" - meaning that people who are mature in Christ are those who have experienced & practice the things they believe.

After having read all of the above, the Scriptures & Bill Johnson's book, and after having felt frustrated by my own powerless walk with God - feeling like I'm all talk and no walk, even though my heart is in the right place...I've come to this conclusion...

I am going to put myself out there and take risks...my own "walk on water" experience like Peter. It's time to get out of the boat. Whatever I believe theologically, I won't stop until I know it experientially.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Summer Fun

I must be fair...my last post dealt with the prize that my youngest son received after completing some of his summer reading project. It was pointed out to me that I MUST give equal time to my oldest son's prize for finishing his chapter book.

Thank goodness for Target & their summer clearance shelf! Still, it's a small price to pay for getting my kids to read. Really, it is a small price to pay...this was on sale at Target for $12.98, woo hoo!!! AND, unlike my other son's toy, it's the gift that keeps on giving. As long as my boys don't bust it (which is very possible), we will have this for the rest of this summer, and then pull it out again next summer too.

Look how skinny he is...he really needs to eat!

Hope everyone is having a great Summer!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wrestling Against Flesh & Blood

I've been trying to get my kids to read all summer so they won't forget everything they learned in school. I took the boys to the library & checked out several chapter books. I did what any desperate, well meaning parent would do, I bribed them. I promised to buy a prize (not expensive) if they finished the chapter books. I thought it would take them a long time, but sure enough, the prize motivated my youngest one to read several chapters a day, and he completed the book.

He knew immediately what he wanted, so it was off to my 2nd home (Wal-Mart), haha. Of all things, he had his eye on a "UFC Championship belt" ???

I believe many things led to this particular selection:
1) He went to wrestling camp a few weeks ago at the High School (a fund raiser for the Wrestling team)

2) He watched the new Karate Kid movie

3) His Dad sometimes watches the UFC fights (mixed martial arts) at night and then shows the boys some of the moves.

He couldn't wait until his Dad got home from work that night so they could "fight". He had sleeping bags laid out in the family room, with pillows around the edge to make a boxing ring.

My last comment before the big event was "go easy on your Dad, you know he's getting old", LOL. I was upstairs reading a book and didn't watch the fight, but since I didn't hear crying or screaming, I figured all was well.

At bedtime, the boys came up to brush their teeth. In walks my hubby and I see him holding some ice to his lip. I asked what happened? His answer: "Our son delivered an "upper cut" punch and nailed me right in the mouth." His lip was getting bigger by the minute!

The next day, he went off to work, embarrassed, and sporting a swollen, purple lip. Of course his co-workers gave him a little bit of a hard time teasing him.

I too, had to exploit the situation on Facebook and to my friend Beth at I'm Heading Toward My Destiny. She was the one who suggested I blog about it, saying "the Bible says we don't wrestle against flesh & blood, but I guess no one told that to my husband & son". Too funny!

I wish I had taken a picture to show you, but at the time, I didn't think my hubby would see the humor in it. I decided to take the picture when he got home from work, but by that time, the swelling had gone down, and all that was left was a blister.

For those of you who think I'm being mean...I should let you know about the time that I was leaving for work one morning (before the kids were born). My dear, sweet hubby followed me to the door and was saying goodbye. I had a cup of Dr. Pepper in my hand, and as I started down the steps toward my car, my foot slipped on some ice and I started falling backwards. I was able to catch myself, but my drink shot up in the air and came back down, landing directly on my head! My hubby started laughing hysterically - I had to take another shower, while he called work and told them I'd be late. When I arrived at the office, the receptionist took one look at me and starting giggling. She said my hubby finally told her what happened, once he gained control of his laughter.

I wish I could say that embarrassing moments were few & far between in my house, but that would be a lie. On the bright side, I will always have lots of material to blog about.

Have a great Day!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Just Like the Eagle

Have you ever noticed that the Bible has several Scriptures that talk about Eagles? I'm sure we're all familiar with these well recited verses. but this got me thinking..."maybe I should learn more about Eagles."
Deut. 32:11-12 "As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over it's young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings, so the Lord alone led him, and there was no foreign god with him."

Isaiah 40:31 "but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint".

Psalm 103:1-5 "bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."

Exodus 19:4-5 "You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles wings, brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people, for all the earth is Mine."

For example:

Did you know that during the incubation stage, both the male and female eagle take turns sitting on the egg while the other goes to hunt food. This ensures that one of the eagles is sitting on the egg at all times, both keeping it warm as well as protecting it from prey.
Psalm 121:3-4 "He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

Eagles go through a process called "Fledging" which is when their feathers are mature enough to learn to fly. Up until this time, the parents have been hunting and feeding the eaglets. The eaglets are not in a hurry to get out of the nest & learn to fly. The parent eagle will begin to bring the food close to the nest with the prey hanging from their beak so the eaglet can see it. The eaglets will open their mouth thinking they are going to be fed, when at the last minute, the Eagle will pull up, teasing the eaglet. This is done to create in the eaglet a desire to fly after the food. Sometimes the eaglet will go hungry several days before attempting to get out of the nest & go after the food. Eventually the eaglet will begin trying it's wings and the parent eagle will assist in feeding the eaglet as it's learning to fly.
When we're babies in Christ, it's okay to be fed milk.
1 Peter 2:2 - "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation."

After walking with the Lord awhile, we should be growing up & maturing. Sometimes we won't get out of the nest (our comfort zone) unless God gives us a push.
Eph. 4:13-15 - "till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head - Christ".

As the Eagle matures, and after weathering the elements, over time the Eagles feathers can have a build up of protein called "keratin" which makes the feathers hard. When this occurs, the Eagle must go through another process called Molting where the hardened feather falls out and a new feather is grown in its place. Molts produce feathers that match the age, sex, and sometimes season of the Eagle. Interestingly, the eagle does not molt all it's feathers at once, because that would mean it could no longer fly. Instead, it molts a little at a time, beginning with the head & working it's way down. It also molts symmetrically, meaning if it sheds a feather on a left wing, it will shed the same feather on the right wing, always keeping the Eagle in balance.

When the Bible talks about our youth being renewed like an Eagle, surely it's talking about this molting process.

- We need to be renewed when life's build-up attempts to make us hard.
- We can't go through the renewing process all at once either, or it would kill us.
- God gently deals with us a little at a time, usually starting with the head, which is the renewing of the mind, and works His way downward.
- We must be renewed symmetrically so we stay balanced. Balance is so important so we don't get off on a tangent in one direction or the other, but always keeping the simplicity of the Gospel as our foundation.

And lastly, eagles have eyelids that close during sleep. For blinking, they also have an inner eyelid called a nictitating membrane. Every three or four seconds, the nictitating membrane slides across the eye from front to back, wiping dirt and dust from the cornea. Because the membrane is translucent, the eagle can see even while it is over the eye. I was told, but I'm not sure if it's true, that because of this special eyelid, an eagle can fly straight up toward the sun, where other birds can't.
As Christians, wouldn't it be nice to constantly be renewing our eyesight and freeing our vision from the dirt in this world. Also, keeping our eyes on the "Son" is what sets us apart as God's children.

So as you can see, we have a lot to learn from eagles and how God views His people.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Spiritual Freedom

On this, the Eve of July 4th, when we as a Nation will celebrate our independence, I want to focus on another kind of freedom.

It's the freedom that the Bible talks about:

John 8:32 - "you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free"

John 8:36 - "if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed"

Jesus came to set the captives free. He doesn't want us to be in bondage to sin, or oppressed in any way.

I've come to realize that many born again believers, still walk around bound by footholds, even strongholds where we've allowed a place for the enemy. When you're oppressed by demonic forces speaking lies, and you enter into agreement with those demons by believing those lies, you give them legal access to come and torment you. This then creates the very lie that the enemy spoke to you about, making it a reality. It's a vicious cycle!

For this reason, the Bible has a lot to say about spiritual warfare.

2 Cor. 10:4 - "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds."

2 Cor. 10:5 - "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

Eph. 6:11 - "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes."

Eph. 6:12 - "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

As we think about freedom this weekend, let's not forget the MOST important type of freedom a person can experience...freedom from spiritual, emotional, and mental bondage from the enemy.

We must ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to us & set us free from anything hindering our walk with God, and from becoming the person He's created us to be.

Happy 4th of July Eve!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A little Hump Day Humor

Mommy Rhapsody from Church on the Move on Vimeo.

Hope this brings a smile to your face!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I Want It ALL!

The boys and I went to a restaurant to get a take-out. It's a place where we go frequently, and I always get them the same thing, a kids chicken plate with 2 sides.

The lady who took our order & rang it up was new, or at least I hadn't seen her before. She asked me if I wanted jello or pudding with the kids meal? I didn't know they came with it...no one else has ever asked me that in all the time I've been going there. Then she asked me what type of drink I'd like? I said, is the drink included too? "Yes", she answered. WOW, I didn't know that either.

I was excited about finding out that a drink & dessert was included in the meal, until I realized that I've been getting ripped off all this time. I can't tell you how many times I've gone to that restaurant and no one bothered to let me know what was available to me.

As I was thinking about this on the drive home, I was reminded of a story a friend of mine told recently at a Women's Retreat where she was speaking. She explained how her Dad had saved all the Father's Day gifts he'd received over the years in the top drawer of his dresser. When she and her sister's were helping clean out the drawers, they stumbled upon the un-opened gifts. He was happy to receive the gifts, but for some reason, he just wanted to hide it away and remember it, but not enjoy or use the gift.

My friend was making the point that the gifts of the Spirit are the same way. They are available to every believer, but you first have to receive them, and then you are to use them! They aren't given to be hidden away.

Just like I needed to know what was included in the kids value meal so I could fully take advantage of it, so we need to know all of God's promises for us.
Psalm 103:2 says "bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits".

I want ALL that God has for me, every promise, every benefit, everything He purchased on the cross, as well as with the stripes on His back!

My prayer is that I will keep seeking, asking & knocking, no matter how close I get to God - it is the one time in life where you can be greedy for more.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

I wanted to do what many of you are already doing, and that is wish all the Dad's out there, especially MY husband, and MY Dad, and MY Father-in-law, a Happy Father's Day! I was blessed enough to spend some time with ALL 3 of them today.

I hope that you are all enjoying the Dad's in your life. I ran across this funny commercial about Father's Day and thought I would share it with you.

I'm sure this was how my Dad probably felt when we were little over some of the gifts we gave him. Thankfully we've gotten a little better at gift giving as we've aged. However, I'm sure that most dad's are just happy to be honored & respected on their "special day".

Friday, June 18, 2010

Funny Friday

Start your weekend off with laughter...

Hope that brought a smile to your face.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Critter Problem

We live in a rural area - some say it's in the "country", which is funny to me, since we live less than a half a mile from a major Highway & we're 5 minutes from two towns in either direction. Still, we don't live in a neighborhood with houses right on top of each other.

It definitely has it's advantages & disadvantages.

One advantage - we get to commune with nature, LOL. I always laugh when we go places like The Museum of Life & Science and they have the section where you can see things like, an owl, a deer, or a black snake, etc. We have all those things and more in our back yard at any given moment.

One disadvantage - we share our yard with all these critters and they seem to think what's ours is theirs as well. I know they might have been here first, but that doesn't mean they have the right to go through our trashcans and make such a mess!

We've been through at least 10 different trashcans because they've gnawed big holes in all of them. We had to search high & low and finally found some metal trashcans, at $25 each.

Just to find the main culprit, we set these (humane) traps. We had one small trap, and one larger one. So far, we've caught 6 squirrels, a raccoon, and a possum (all in one week).

We're done tracking the enemy and we've removed the traps. We were just curious as to which animal was the guilty party for our trashcan mess. I guess we have our answer...ALL OF THEM!

Let's just say, we have huge critters in this area because we've been feeding them well for the past several years! They won't know what to do now that they have to rely on some other food source rather than our trash can.

Now I can get back to enjoying nature instead of being mad at them for making such a mess.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


It's over! School is finally out for the Summer. I don't know about the rest of you, but I've worked hard this year, LOL. I was watching the end of the year slide show in my son's 2nd grade class.

I was thinking to myself, "I was at that field trip, and that one, yep, that one too.

I was there when...

- they decorated the cookies for the "Winter Holiday" (otherwise known to me as Christmas)
- when they made candles
- when they pet a snake
- when they had "Cultural Day".
- when they had their Talent Show
- they had Field Day
- they had the School Play

I have...

- helped with 180 days of homework for a 2nd & 4th grader
- made countless lunches
- volunteered in the class 2 days a week helping the kids read
- served many a snack to the students for every holiday & special event
- helped throw a baby shower for my oldest son's teacher

on & on & on it goes...it's been a wonderful experience. I've enjoyed getting to know the students in my kids classes. I'm extremely grateful that I've been allowed this time as a stay-at-home Mom to invest in my children's lives.

But...I'm exhausted. I don't think I worked this hard at times when I did have a job outside the home.

You know what??? I wouldn't have it any other way.

Congratulations to my boys. I am now the proud parent of a rising 3rd & 5th grader! I can't believe how fast it's going. My oldest only has one more year at elementary and then it's on to Middle School - YIKES!

I know that he probably won't ask me to come to the school and volunteer then, so I better do all I can now.

Happy Summer everyone!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Day of Mixed Emotions

June 9th will always stand out as the day my life changed. Three years ago on this very day, the person with the most influence, my best friend, advocate and prayer covering, my Mom...went home to be with her Savior.

She was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, which eventually went into bone cancer. She walked through this trial from beginning to end (a little over 10 yrs.) with great dignity, strength, and godliness. She was an awesome witness to many in her family, church, and the medical facilities where she was treated.

This is a summary of my journey (so far) since my Mom went to Heaven:

The first year I was obviously still mourning, because it was all so new. Even though I understood she was suffering and tried to accept that her time was close, you can never truly prepare for how you'll feel when they're gone. I would still have moments when I'd want to pick up the phone and tell her something funny the boys did or what happened during the day. We kept her room exactly the same, her clothes still in the closet, with the smell of her perfume lingering in the air. Little by little, we went through her things. She didn't have many valuables, no expensive jewelry or clothes. The most precious possession to me was her Bibles. She had many of them, all written & marked in with her notes. She had Bible studies & lessons from her teaching at her church over the years. I treasured these the most, because it's what she valued above everything else - along with her love for the Lord.

Even though I was mourning my loss, at the same time, I believed that a "mantel" had passed down to me that had been on my Mom. A few days after her funeral a trusted friend of mine confirmed this by saying the same thing without my having told her what I was feeling. From that time on, I felt a new strength in my walk with God.

The second year
, I was hurting a little more because I was really missing her. It had sunk in that she was no longer an active part of our life. I was facing great trials in other areas and longed to have her prayers and advice. At the same time, the boldness & strength that I talked about was still at work. My Mom's passing left us with my Dad, my brother, my husband, my two boys, and myself. Being the only woman, I guess I stepped into the motherly role, and in a way, I guess I had to grow up a little more.

Now, this, the third year...started out with me feeling a little sad & heavy. In some ways it's hard to believe it's been 3 years. On the other hand, so much has happened since she's been gone, it feels like ages ago. I wanted to write this blog as a tribute to my Mom, but I felt like I needed to pray first. So I spent some time praying and confessing to the Lord how much I missed her. I can't explain exactly what happened, but I can tell you that I felt such a peace and joy come over me. I began to feel God's pleasure with having my Mom with Him, and a real sense of her joy in being there too. I know we said "she's in a better place" over & over again when she first passed. While I believed it theologically, and it did help ease the pain of her passing, I actually felt it this morning! I began to cry & laugh at the same time, and I prayed:

"Lord, I could never blame You for wanting her there with You! It's what she's always wanted, what she lived for, to be with You. It was the most important thing to her, just as she taught us to believe it was the only thing in life that mattered. I am so grateful that she's happy and that you're blessed by her being there as well. How can I be sad? I KNOW that I will see her again, there with You for all eternity." Thank You for salvation! Thank You for Heaven! Thank You for all Your promises!

So, that's how I feel today, on this third year of my Mom's homecoming. Thanks for allowing me to write down and share my thoughts & emotions. I pray that whatever you're going through in your own life, that God will give you "revelation knowledge" that will fill you with strength, peace & joy, just like He gave me this morning.

There is nothing like the wisdom & voice of God that can change your heart in an instant!

Monday, June 7, 2010

More Like Falling in Love

I've noticed that there are a lot of people in our society today who are looking for a "cause" to back. Almost as if they can get behind something bigger than themselves, it will bring meaning to their lives. Every one's trying to be so "deep" - movies can't be entertaining anymore because they have to convey a "message". People dress like the magazines show them to, they believe what their professors & the media tell them to, they pick up the "causes" that Hollywood points them to...on & on it goes with this search for significance, they will NEVER find outside of Christ.

Yet, even in the Church, I see people struggling to find their place, find peace, & find meaning for their life. Religion can be a "cause" that some seek after for the very same reasons the world does.

I came across this song that puts into words what I've been thinking. It's called, "More Like Falling in Love" by Jason Gray.

Sometimes people mistakenly lump Christianity in with religion and think it's just another thing to believe in, or get behind. A set of rules, a creed, a doctrine, an ideology...however you want to say it, it doesn't satisfy! Only a relationship with Jesus Christ will fill that void.

I think many of us start off with a relationship through Salvation, but somewhere along the road of growing in the knowledge of Christ, we go back to religion. Much like the first chapter in Galatians where Paul writes "you foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you?" (Gal.3:1-8) "Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?" Or in other words, you started out with grace & then you started adding your own ability to it, in order to keep your faith.

But think about when you first fell in love...the emotions, the excitement, the commitment. You didn't want to be separated from your love. You would eat, sleep & breathe thinking of them. Even better, think of how you felt when you first came to know Jesus' love for you. The cleansing feeling, the freedom, the overwhelming sense of acceptance.

Now, examine where you are now and where you were then. If you're like me, you might have a little adjusting to do. I know for me, it's time to go back to my first love and renew that passion & zeal. It's gotta be more like "falling in love" and less like "just something to believe in."