Sunday, December 26, 2010

Join me, Fast!

When the shepherds heard the good news from the encounter of the angel, the Bible tells us they "hurried" to see what the Lord had spoken to them.  They went FAST! 

Christmas has come and we've all celebrated this good news...the same good news that the shepherds heard.  We need to go FAST to tell others all that the Lord has spoken to us.

What does God have you to do in this New Year?  How does He have you to go FAST to tell the good news?  For me, that is an unanswered question as I ache within my soul for the things He has for me.  I yearn to spread His Word and have a deep burning desire to know HIM so inimately.  The passion brings me to weep even as I type today. 

Many pastors are speaking this morning on the concept of the New Year and fasting as a way to give the first fruits to Christ through sacrificing and praying.  And I open my Bible to Ezra 8:21, "I proclaimed a fast by the Ahava River, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask Him for a safe journey for us, our children, and all our possessions...23 So we fasted and pleaded with our God about this, and He granted our request."

As a wife, mother, and daughter of the King, there is nothing that sums up my passions more completely...my husband, my children, and my Savior.  So, as we begin the New Year, will you join me, FAST.  We are to hurry to tell the good news...lets FAST to know how He would have us to spread His message.  Let's join together to fast and plead with our God for a safe journey for us, our children, and all our possessions, praying He will protect us from the enemy as we embark on His will for the ministry He has for us.

From now until Jan 1st, I will begin a fast from facebook and blogging.  Beginning Jan 1st, I will begin a 21 day Daniel Fast, doing without meat, dairy, and sweets.  On Fridays, I will give up all food.  Fridays this blogspot will be dedicated to FEED ME FRIDAY.  It will be a place to share recipes for the Daniel Fast and to feed one another spiritually.  I hope you will join me to seek His will for us in the New Year. 

I pray the rest of 2010 will be one filled with His blessings for you and your families. 

I'll see you in January!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Rockin around the Christmas tree.

I am a little on a soapbox this year.  I just heard a pastor on TV say, "Maybe you need to get away from the crowd that dances and parties around the Christmas Tree and get back to the cross."  It seems to be in every sermon I hear.   UGH!!!  It really bugs me! OKAY,  I get that Christmas for the wordly has become very commercialized and it isn't all about who can buy the biggest and most expensive toys and have the most lit up, beautifully decorated house.  And I definitely know and believe that without the CROSS, Christmas would mean nothing.  But, Stop trying to make me feel guilty because I love to celebrate Christmas. I don't think God would want it any other way.  I believe Christ is worth celebrating and with all the trimmings.  I believe He wants us to be filled with the joy He brought that very first Christmas.  I believe when we are dancing and partying with His love in our hearts, it pleases Him. If we don't, who will?  Give to the poor instead of exchanging unnecessary gifts with families rich in luxuries.  Serve one another...Yes! But don't feel guilty about celebrating the joy that Christ has given you!  Dance around the Christmas tree and rejoice in Him! 

2 Samuel 6:16-22
As the Ark of the Lord was entering the city of David, Saul's daughter, Michal, looked down from the window and saw King David  leaping and dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart...When David returned home to bless his household, Saul's daughter Michal came out to meet him.  "How the king of Israel honored himself today!" she said...David replied to Michal, "I was dancing before the Lord who chose me...I will celebrate before the Lord, and I will humble myself...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Where are you Christmas?

"Where are you Christmas?  Why can't I find you?  Why did you have to go away?
Where is the laughter that I once knew?  Why can't I hear the music play?"


As my precious little boy angelically sits at the window with his binoculars, "looking for his bubbas to come home,"
Waiting for Christmas day when they return...
This song comes to mind. 

Where are you Christmas?

For 400 years God had been silent,
For 4000 years Israel had been waiting.
And in a baby, He came.
And in that very moment the world was changed, forever.

Now I sit at my window, watching, waiting...
For Christmas, when my babies will come home.
I wait, but I am comforted.
When I seek Him, He is there.
He is the joy in my laughter,
The song in my heart.
He is Christmas.  
Do you long for your soul to sing this Christmas?
Do you find yourself seeking a joy in your heart?
Are you asking, "Where are you Christmas?"

Call out His name. He is waiting for His babies to come home.

As a baby He came, but as a lamb He died. 
And in that very moment the world was changed, forever.



Jeremiah 29:13, "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart."

 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Bah Humbug!

Bah Humbug!  Who says Christmas has to be about all the traveling to visit a bunch of family? Putting up a bunch of Christmas lights?  Giving a bunch of gifts?  Wrapping a bunch of presents?  AND THE ANNOYING CHRISTMAS CAROLs???  The hustle and bustle...it is all a bunch of hassle!


Oh really? 
Don't like traveling?
Well, Mary and Joseph were traveling to Bethlehem, The city of David, because they were of the family of David... 

Luke 2
vs 4 And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house of the family of David.
(Mind you she was nine months pregnant and on a donkey, at best.  Don't complain about your roomie SUV with Dvd player and heat) 


And Christmas lights? 
How about the star that shone brightly for the world to see that led the Wise Men to the Christ child?

Matt 2
vs 9b  And there it was--the star they had seen in the east!  It led them until it came and stopped above the place where the child was.  10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed beyond measure.

(I'll bet God didn't even complain if it started blinking!)

Giving a bunch of gifts? 

"The giving of gifts is not something man invented. God started the giving spree when he gave a gift beyond words, the unspeakable gift of His Son." ~ Robert Flatt


John 3:16  God so loved the world that HE GAVE HIS ONLY SON...

And the wise men gave gifts to their King.


Matt 2
vs 11 Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother, and falling to their knees, they worshipped Him.  Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

(Complaining about spending a bit of money?  God and the wise men gave their TREASURE...And who knows, one of those wisemen may have even had a white beard and been wearing a red suit?)

Wrapping presents?


Luke 2
vs 12 This will be the sign for you:  you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.

(Makes our designer paper with ribbons and bows not seem so bad, huh?)

Annoying Christmas Carols? 


Luke 2
vs 13 Suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace toward men."

(Yes, the radio stations play them non-stop, but guess what we are going to be doing in Heaven...over and over and over and over and over and over...)

A bunch of Hustle and Bustle?

Bethlehem was so swamped with people that Mary had to put a newborn baby in a feeding trough because there...
"was no room in the inn." Luke 2:7 

 And talk about a hustle...

Luke 2
vs 15  the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." 16 They HURRIED off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feed trough. 17 After seeing them, they reported the message they were told...

(Does your hurrying have more to do with your procrastination or your REPORTING THE MESSAGE?)

Sure, we don't NEED all of that stuff to have Christmas...but neither did God...Yet He added the amazement to the celebration.  Some didn't accept Him because His birth was too meager.  Wasn't fancy enough... Call me crazy, but I think God threw a God-sized party that day...traveling, lights, crowds, gifts, singing...from the poorest shepherds to the richest kings, all were invited who were willing to receive. 

So, the next time you want to complain about all the hassle at Christmas...remember that Christ gave up His deity for a bunch of no good sinners...and that was the real hassle...but He loved us enough to do it...so the least we can do is CELEBRATE His birth and be joyful about it. So Rejoice in Christ!  And don't feel guilty about it!   

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Turn down the noise

I must admit, I have never been one for loud music.  My husband teases me about always having a headache...lol...its not what you think, get your mind out of the gutter!  He says everytime I get in the car I claim I have a headache so we can't have the music loud.  He's probably right...  I just don't like alot of loud noise.  It prohibits family interaction and conversation and I like to be able to talk to him on car rides. Even if we sit in silence with not much to say, I still like to be ABLE to talk to him if I want to without having to scream over the loud music.  Can anybody relate?

My 3 year old has picked up my appreciation for quiet discussion.  He very maturely said to me as we were driving to town a few days ago, "Excuse me, please, Mama, would you turn down your music so I can talk to you?"  So, I did.  He said nothing.  He just wanted it turned down in case he eventually WANTED to talk to me.  I chuckled at myself in him. 

Life is loud.  The noise is everywhere.  On our radios, our tvs, our computers.  In the grocery store, at work, in the midst of friends.  And the noise I hate the most...the voices that echo inside my own head, distracting me, drowning out the voice of My Father.  I wonder if He is saying, "Hey, could you turn down all the noise, I just want to talk to you." 

He just wants to talk with us.  I can't wrap my mind around that sometimes.  The Creator of the Universe just wants to talk to me?  Yes, He just wants to talk with us. To speak truth to us amidst all of the lies we are told amongst the noise.  To sit in silence with us as He fills us with His presence.  To just have the opportunity for us to hear Him whisper our name when He is ready to call us into the plan He has for us.

Are you willing to turn down the noise so you can hear Him talk to you? 

"Be silent that you may hear the whisper of God."   ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Saying Goodbye at Christmas

Christmas is one of my favorite times of year, like most I know.  Nothing gets me more pumped than decking the halls with the Christmas music playing and unwrapping the Christmas ornaments one by one, listening to each tell their own familiar story, as we hang them on the tree. I love the smell of plastic greenery and cookies baking in the oven.  And believe it or not,  I love Christmas shopping!  I know, weird huh?  I just love the idea of surprising those I love with things I think they'll love and keeping the magic of mystery alive.  Christmas Eve is my favorite, from the canned ham dressed with cloves and pineapple  to the last singing of Silent Night as the sanctuary fills with candlelit unison, with the best part of hearing my boys sweetly reciting Luke 2 before tucking them into bed.  I just love every ounce of  the celebration!

But, every year I cry at Christmas.  My tears flow from the depths of my soul as I have to say "Goodbye" to my twins as they are off to spend needed time with their dad.  Some years they leave the week before Christmas and come home Christmas day.  Other years they leave Christmas day and spend the week after, but either way, a piece of my heart goes with them and stays until they return.  I can't imagine the pain military families go through as they are away from one another at the holidays so often, or those who have experienced losing loved ones that do not return to their spot at the Christmas table the next year.  It is just gutwrenching.

I kissed them farewell today with our usual "Hold to the Head" and Genesis 31:49 and "Mama loves you more than all the fish in the sea" ceremonial ritual. 

And I sit weeping in my Father's lap proclaiming to Him in between sobs that "There can't be any more difficult thing than saying goodbye to my sons, especially at Christmas"

...And He tenderly kisses me on the forehead, brushing back my hair as He looks me in tear-swollen eyes and reminds me that He knows that pain.

"Once upon a time, My child, I had to say Goodbye to My Son at Christmas, too. I kissed Him Goodbye and sent Him into a world of darkness." "But, as I lay Him down in that lowly manger, I knew it was for Him to be the Light that would shine forevermore.  And you My dear, can be sure that your little ones are shining the same light as they are apart from you." 

And I find Comfort once again in the Arms of My Father, knowing that because He said Goodbye to His Son, now, just as He sits, reunited with Jesus at His throne, I will never say a permanant "Goodbye" to mine. 

Oh, God My Father, Jesus My Savior, May You keep watch between us as we are away one from another. (Gen 31:49)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Corner Checkers---Red vs. Black

Last night, one of my twins challenged me to a game of Corner Checkers.  I had never played before, so this was an easy score for him, or so he thought!  The game starts with all of your checkers lined up in one corner of the game.  The object is to get to the opponents corner to be "Kinged" and to eliminate all of your opponent's checkers in the process.  I was red and he was black.  As I began playing, I thought to myself, "How unfair, to start out a game already backed into a corner!"  Now, in Corner Checkers, you can move or jump from side to side.  That is a pretty fun manuever, mostly because it is a freedom you don't have in regular checkers, but I quickly realized that when I jumped the opponent sideways, he quickly returned the jump and if I moved sideways I seemed to get further from the King's Corner... 

The only thing that really got me closer to the King was moving forward...

I love that once you get "Kinged" you can then go back and jump the opponent's men going any direction you want...just eat 'em up like Pac Man.  There is power in the King to eliminate the enemy.  So, I continued with my strategy being to get to the King's Corner as fast as I could with as many of my checkers as I could. 

After a grueling battle between my King and the opponent, the Victory belonged to my King,  and I had one shocked eight year old...he thought he had me like cake in his hands!  He humbly shook my hand and with a sheepish grin admitted, "That was pretty good, Mom!"   I was proud...not to have won the game as much as I was to have such a great kid!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

MAD cleaning spree

My house gets really really clean under two conditions...     #1. company is coming (Flight of the Bumblebee...Oh, you know her, too?)     and #2. I am really mad with "someone".

Tonight was one of those nights.  I have pondered and decided that this must be why they call it a MAD cleaning spree.  Adrenalin pumping, blood pressure boiling, energy must be released...So instead of killing "someone" or saying MORE that I will regret later, I just clean.  It is a total win-win situation.  I get time to myself, cause no one gets in my way when they know I am cleaning (for fear that they will be assigned a task) and they definitely don't get in my way when they know I am mad. (Not to mention it is now 1:30am and they have all given up and gone to bed)  I get the housework caught up. I channel the energy into something productive.  I go to bed tired and not angry, cause I am too tired to be angry anymore.   And I don't go to jail for murder.

See?  Win-Win situation!

So, I got nothing especially spiritual or inspiring to say in this message, just wanted to share where the term "Mad Cleaning Spree" truly must have come from.

 (Even my Grammar stinks in this post...mustn't end a sentence in a preposition) : p

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Me and My Daddy built it

After a long day's work, my husband found himself crashed out on our bed snuggled up to a wife that was very super-glad to spend a few moments with him before the chaos in the kitchen, aka suppertime, erupted.  As I lay down next to him and reached over with a smooch, our very jealous, 100% little 3 yr old boy came charging in with shouts and screams, "NO ANYMORE KISSES!"  As he pounced atop the bed, and wormed his little weasel-self in between my husband and me, I laughingly replied, "I will kiss him anytime I want, he's my daddy!"  In playful arguement, Drew then counteracts, "No, he's my daddy!"  Then begins to back up his arguement with an attempt at substantial evidence. 

A few days ago, Nathan was adding a bathroom in our garage.  Drew with his toolbelt and hardhat grabbed his basket of hammers and wrenches and filed suit next to his daddy to "help".  Together they worked for hours finishing up the bathroom with much pride. 

So, his "reason" that Nathan was his daddy:  But, Mama, I helped Daddy build that bathroom, so he is my daddy!

Now, I don't think our state would hardly consider that as claims for paternity, but it was a good enough reason to a 3 yr old that he should have rights to the kisses!

Who do you call Daddy?  What evidence do you have that you are His?  Are you ready with tools in hand to be used by Him to build His Kingdom?  Are you willing to spend hours just being with Him?  Do you charge at and pounce on anything that gets in the way of you being closer to Him? 

Lord,  Thank you that we can be called Children of God.  Teach us to know what that means and to live the ownership of that claim. And thank you that, though You don't need us, You allow us to help build Your Kingdom.  Help us to daily declare our rights as Yours in the battle against that which wants to separate us from You.  And thank you that one day, I can run to You and rest in Your kisses, declaring, You are MY Daddy!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Jumping for Joy

The first few minutes of the day when my boys wake are usually spent snuggling back in my bed with tons of pillows and blankets and warm socks discussing the night's dreams or the day's aspirations.  I love scooping my favorite 18mos old out of his crib and watching his cries turn into smiles as he sees me. He wraps his tiny arms around me so tightly, just bubbling with excitement.  As we approach my bed, where all three of his big brothers lay waiting to spoil him with cuddles, he nearly jumps out of my arms at their sight in laughing eagerness to be showered with a joyous welcome.  Oh, it does a mother's heart such good to feel their joy in just being in the presence of one another.

In Luke 1, we are introduced to the story of Jesus' miraculous conception and Mary's visit with Elizabeth in preparation of both of their pregnancies.  As Mary entered into Elizabeth's presence, she was so excited to see her cousin, but she wasn't the only one that jumped for joy. 

At the sound of Mary's greeting, Elizabeth's child leaped within her and she was filled with the Holy Spirit.  She gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, "You are highly favored by God and above all other women, and your child is destined for God's mightiest praise. What an honor this is that the mother of my Lord should visit me!" (Luke 1:41-43)

WOW!  If an unborn child knows that he is to "LEAP" in the presence of His Lord, shouldn't we know even more to jump for joy in His presence?  And if you notice, at his leaping, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and then, also praised being in the presence of her Lord. 

It was a chain reaction!  A contagious Spirit!  An infectious joy! 


In Sarah Young's, Jesus Calling, she poetically writes from the perspective of our Father, "What I search for in My children is an awakened soul that thrills to the Joy of My Presence!"

What joy it is for a parent to see their child rejoice in the embracing of their mere presence.  Lord, help me to never take Your welcoming me into Your arms for granted. You are the JOY that LEAPS within me.  Use this joy in me to ignite a contagious excitement in others that they, too, embrace the gift of being in Your Presence.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Radiant Reflection Part 2

I walked by a stream of water today.  The sun shone brightly through the trees and the light reflected off of the stream's looking glass.  I could see an obscure picture of the trees on the surface of the water as the orange and red shadows of fall left its mark of the Artist's palette. As I crept closer to the water, I began to see myself on its surface.  An acorn fell from the hands of a playful squirrel above and left ripples distorting my reflection in the water.  I chuckled at the stranger peering back at me, face wrinkling with the moving water.  I knelt down closer to this unknown image, and as the water grew still, I realized it was me. The closer I got to the water, the more and more I looked like my true self. 

When I was far away from the water, the reflection was distorted and the more I focused on the reflection of what surrounded me, but the closer I grew to it, the more clear a picture I received of myself. 

Did you know we were created in the image of God?  As I am far away from Him, my reflection of Him is also distorted and I tend to focus more on the image of what surrounds me; the circumstances and the image of others.  The closer I move toward my Maker, the closer I become to reflecting His image, the true image of what He created me to be.

Quite often though it is revealed in this reflection the upclose blemishes that must be looked closely upon and healed in order to reflect a pure image of His beauty.

I used to hate those magnifying mirrors that made my nose look more like the surface of the moon than an appendage of my face.  I detested the reality that despite my attempts to cover them up, the blemishes were still there, lurking underneath the make-up.  I have since learned that covering up those blemishes does nothing but make them worse...they must be cleaned to be healed.

Isn't that the same with our spiritual reflections.  The closer we are to Him, the more He reveals those blemishes that we are trying to cover  up...revealing them to us to remind us that He must clean them to give us a pure reflection of His image. 

“since we have these promises dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”
 2 Corinthians 7:1





Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Radiant Reflection part 1

Ever have one of your kids say something just like you say it?

My kids can be in a different part of our house carrying on, but when I hear my own words or tone coming from their mouths, my ears perk up.    Whether it be how they are conversing with their baby brother, reading one of our favorite books aloud, or repeating rules to one another in a matter-of-fact, Mama-said-so kindof way, my attention is aroused and I am listening intently to hear my voice in their stories.

I couldn't help but giggle one night when one of my twins prayed the prayer,  "Dear God, give me the wisdom and discernment."  ...knowing goodness well, he had no idea what discernment was!  I smiled inside because my words had left an imprint on his heart.  It also made me realize, though, that they are soaking in every word that comes from my mouth...good or bad...them being the intended audience or not.

I both shutter and rejoice at the echo of myself in my children, praying they'll only receive my God-honoring words and attributes...knowing that I am so unworthy of the call to instill in them a reflection of holiness.  How I fail, daily! 

All of my boys have blonde hair and blue eyes and we share other physical similarities as well. Now, I'm no beauty queen, but there is a certain satisfaction and I must admit I do delight when someone says, "They look just like you." 

How God must.  How He must perk up when He hears His Word imprinted on our hearts coming from the mouths of His children.  How He must rejoice at His reflection in us.  How He must delight when someone says we look just like Him. 

When Moses came down from being in the presence of God on Mt. Sinai receiving God's law, we are told in Exodus 34:29,35 that his face glowed with radiance because he was with the Lord.   Psalm 34:5 says, "Those who look to Him are radiant..." 

Moses reflected the Light of his Father...so can we. 

Is your reflection that of radiant light? 
Is the reflection of God in you influencing others to look to Him and be radiant?

"The only Jesus others may see is the Jesus in you and the Jesus in me?"

You're Beautiful

He bore the sins of all the world
He felt my shame and He held yours
And in His dying breath I know
He looked at me as if to show…

He still thinks I’m beautiful
Though each day I break His heart
He still thinks I’m beautiful
That's why He stretched His hands apart
I know that I’m not worthy
But, today He calls my name
And says, "You're beautiful"
"You're beautiful because you're mine."

Looking at pictures

"You sit...looking at pictures. 
I cry...don't you know how much this hurts. 
Can't you see this pain I feel inside
Don't you know, this sin you're trying to hide
Is tearing us apart, its breaking my heart.

The enemy is lurking in the shadows of the night
With pictures painted on the walls of sensual delight
The grip on our commitment is slowly losing might
And I know that I am slipping from the center of your sight

You kiss me only when you've seen
The passion-filled computer screen
and in my heart, deep down I know
It isn't me, but them you hold.

I shutter at your every touch
and cringe to feel your hands of lust
I've fallen in the pit of hate
and fear I've lost, is it too late?

The sin, oppressed leaves you enraged
Your angry hands have me encaged
I find myself in fear of fate
and search to find an open gate.

How can I run?
How can I stay?
Take this cup from me, I pray."


Pornography is the secret sin that is creeping into the lives of many and destroying marriages one broken heart at a time.  It is a tool that the enemy is using to tear apart what God has brought together.  It is an addiction.  It is adultery.  And it is destructive.  Like a drug, it causes a chemical reaction in the brain that leads to dependence.  Don't fall victim.  And if you already have, take the first step today on the path to recovery.  God offers forgiveness.  God offers hope.  God offers healing.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bit by Bit, I'm gettin better. Little by Little, I'm movin right along...

The alarm sounds.  Snooze.  Wake.  Snooze again. I pull the covers over my head in denial of what I know awaits me. Laundry again piled up, dishes in the sink, dust on the furniture, mud on the floor.  "Good mornin to me," I grumble.  I secretly hope for the magic cleaning fairy to come and rescue me from the trenches, as the enemy whispers in my ear, "Why bother?  You can't keep it clean."  Then it just gets better...little footsteps trotting down the stairs this early can only mean one thing...wet bedsheets and a fussy child in need of a bathe to add to the chaos.  Over the intercom comes the screams of number four, demanding breakfast and snuggles to calm his being awakened by number three going number one.  (Sorry for the graphic verbage, that's what you call it when you have little ones:)  So, I wave the white flag, surrender to the day and its demands and force my feet to the floor. 

Tis the season!   A season of little messes making big ones.  A season of overwhelming piles of laundry leaving me feeling overwhelming defeat. A season of fingerprint paintings and "Look Mommy, I'm making paw tracks!" A season of daily attempts to clean up what I'll have to start all over and clean up again tomorrow.  Tears fill my eyes, I just have to cry...not because I am unhappy...I love being a mommy...but because I know I am defeated before I ever begin...and because I have no idea where that beginning will be.

Huff, Puff, Blow.  Must start somewhere.  One kid bathed and back to bed.  One baby snuggled, fed and back to bed.   I pick up the scattered toys to put them into the basket, really wanting to throw them out the door. I find amongst the menagerie...a radio, belonging to my 3 yr old, that begins to play a song very familiar with my season.


"Oh I woke up this mornin with my guitar so rusty, so rusty that I wanted to scream.  But, instead of screamin, I spent my mornin cleanin and now my guitar plays like a dream." "Bit by Bit I'm gettin better.  Little by little I'm movin right along.  Piece by Piece I'm puttin it together, learnin how to sing my song." 


And God says to me, "You are my little one. And I clean up your daily messes, only to clean them up again tomorrow. And together we are doing it, one step at a time. Though, we'll never be finished, we've got to take the first step and bit by bit we'll get better and put the pieces together, and then you'll learn how to sing My song."

I hate when God does that.  Convicted!  Humbled!  Called out!  

I love when God does that. Revealed!  Corrected!  Redeemed!

I laugh at His gentle reminder.  Okay, Daddy.  I hear you, loud and clear.

He reaches out His hand, and offers me the broom and now I sweep to a different tune.   

Little by Little, cause they are only little once.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Blowing Bubbles

"Every once in awhile on a not-so-exciting day, I pull out the bottle of bubbles and go outside to play.  Frowns begin transforming into smiles so bright, something so simple, a mother's delight.
A single breath of fresh air gives command
And the soldiers take off, their weapons, their hands
They run, they chase, they catch, they stop
Standing like statues, in hopes it won't pop
Then all of a sudden, a gust of wind blows
And the prism ball bursts and off the smile goes.
The excitement to dwindle
Waiting for me to rekindle
The flame inside with my spark
In my arms I wrap this sad disappointment
and breathe life into a new bubble's heart.


Once in awhile, I stand there myself with excitement in bubbles so fragile
Holding gently in my hand, a stirred-up command to tell all the world being joyful
Like a thief in the wind, the enemy, no friend, comes and steals from my heart its great fire
And in the midst of joy waning, I run to Him raining the tears of my stolen desire
He wraps me in arms so complete and so strong and wipes from my face all the anguish and strife
And into this heart, with His glory and might, the breath of My Lord brings the breath of new life."



The enemy is lurking around me trying to steal the joy of my passion...Somedays its easy to ignore his taunts, but other days he uses the ones we love the most to leave us feeling empty and defeated.  Somedays I have weapons ready to fight and other days my bubble gets busted. 

But everyday, I have a God who promises to go before me in the battle...a God who comforts me when my heart hurts... a God that empowers me to pick up the pieces and continue on...a God that fills me with a joy that cannot be shaken, stolen, or destroyed.

So, Satan, get behind me...God is the air that I breathe.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Coffee, God and a Rocking Chair

I have spent a great deal of my life in a rocking chair.  As a tiny baby, rocked by my mother's gentle touch and softly whispered lullabies.  As a little girl, with my cowgirl hat and lasso, riding on the arm of the recliner, my "heigh-ho" Silver. As a teen, never too big to curl up in Mama's lap, having "talktime" and sharing secrets.  As a mother, rocking my own babies, my lap never growing too small.  I hope to one day become a grandmother and rock grandbabies, too, but for now, I continue to grow up myself, with a good cup of coffee, God, and my rocking chair.

As I sit today on my front porch, rocking and watching the birds fly in, the trees radiate the colors of fall as the sun rises behind them. God’s artistry is so amazing and “leaves” me awestruck daily!  Recently, it made me ponder the reasons why leaves change colors in the fall.  I am no botanist, but I have read that as the days are getting shorter, the sunlight necessary for plants to appear green and make food is lacking, thus causing the plants to become discolored, dry, brittle, and fall to the ground.  We, too, need the Son’s Light to nourish us daily so that we don’t become dry, brittle, and fall to the ground.

So as I sit with my coffee, God, and my rocking chair, I bask in the Son's Light praying He'll grow me and not let me "Fall" short of the radiant changes He wants to make in me. I pray you, too, will join me and let's rock together, flourishing as He nurtures us with His Word. 

Where are you becoming dry and brittle in your Spiritual Flora?  Let us Fall to the ground and be on our knees drinking in the water from His Light.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Passion Prayer

A habit is something that you do over and over enough to where you don't have to remind yourself to do it. A lifestyle is something that you do simply because of the very breath that is in you.

Lord, make my relationship with You my lifestyle, not a habit.  Breathe in me my very being so that every moment of my day is fueled by the beating of Your heart within me. Let not what I do for You be done out of routine or Christian duty, but because it is alive in me and because I can't live without living for You.  Let others not see mere events in my life that reflect You, but an entirity of life reflecting this undying passion for You that gives me life. And when I stumble, and the fire burns low, don't let them judge You based on my inadequacies but let them see the You that forgives and loves me despite my imperfections, because You see the You that has my heart.  Amen.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Why doesn't God want me to be happy?

"I pray but it isn't happening?  I ask God, but He isn't giving it to me?  Why doesn't He want me to be happy? Is He even listening to me?  Is He even there?"

In the Garden, God provided all that Adam and Eve needed to live.  He provided it in abundance.  The best of the best.  Yet, still they desired more.  Their incontentment is what led them to sin.  They wanted what God prohibited.  Why did He keep this from them?  What a mean and tyrant-God to not give them everything they want!  No!  God kept it from them to protect them from what He knew would be the result of them having it. He kept it from them because He knew that what He had planned for them was greater than anything they desired.  But their trust in Him was given away to greed and temptation, to thinking that their way was better than what God had commanded.

Oh, how we fall into temptation when our Trust in the Father is distracted by the enemy.  Like a Snake he waits coiled up ready to strike at that moment when we are most vulnerable.  That moment when we find ourselves incontent and  wanting more.  That moment when we try to tell God our will rather than listening to His. 

But Scripture tells us that He will give us the desires of our heart, that if we seek Him all of these things will be added unto us.  So for a time, we pretend to play with God but it is with a hidden agenda, expecting Him to give us what we are after.  God wants us to be real with Him.  It isn't a playmate He desires in us, it is a relationship.  It is trusting that no matter what we will come before Him in every aspect of our lives and glorify Him.  He wants us to be after HIM and when we are after Him, we find our desires becoming His Will, not our own. 

What is God teaching us through His prohibiting us from our desires?  Why is He keeping us from that which we want the most?  Perhaps it is to protect us from the result He knows is out of His plan for us. Perhaps it is because His plan is greater than the plan we have for ourselves. Will we trust His plan and provision for our joy or will we give in to whatever it takes to get our own way? 

What is it that God has answered "No!" to in your life?  What is it that He is withholding from you? Let's change our prayer today.  Pray not for God to give you happiness but to be your happiness.  Pray for God's will to be done, not that God will do your will.  Pray that you will trust Him enough to say "Whatever, Lord", even if it means Him keeping you from the thing you want the most.  Pray that we will take our focus off the one thing we can't have and on the many blessings He has provided for us. 

Genesis 2:9, 16 The Lord God planted all sorts of beautiful trees in the garden, trees producing the choicest of fruits.  But the Lord God gave them a warning: "You may eat any fruit in the garden except fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

My moment of restoration

I was a young mother of twin boys that were two at the time. I was leaving my husband, a youth minister addicted to teen porn and taking his aggressive tendencies out on me and his babies. In a pit deeper than any I’ve ever been in, I lay with tears hitting the floor in my room at my mother’s house where we were staying. After a phonecall where he accused me of having an affair, I sobbed, wept, and wailed in anguish of the broken pieces my life had become. My mother ran up the stairs with my two precious angels toddling behind her. She wrapped me in her arms and they ran also to love on me. I begged her, “Mama, take them out of here, I don’t want them to see me like this. What is this teaching them?” With a tiny hand on my shoulder, my baby looked at me with the compassion of Christ in his tear-filled eyes and said, “No cry, Mama, Pray!” As I dropped to my knees my sweet babies knelt beside me and in prayer-position waited for me to do what they knew I should. I held up the broken pieces of my life to a God who with my 2 year old children lifted me at that moment out of the pit and restored those pieces and made them whole again. And my mother looked at me, tears running down our faces, and said, “This, dear, is what you are teaching them.” From that moment, my life has been teaching them that God is a sovereign God who offers comfort in the midst of the storm and strength in the faces of giants…or perhaps they have been teaching me:)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Broken and Poured Out---Luke 7:36-50

"The most stunningly beautiful people I know have been broken by life and have fallen into the arms of God to emerge stronger."  ~Mark Brown

We all have a story.  A story of circumstances.  A story of difficulties.  A story of triumph.  A story of hurt.  A story of life...

Those who choose to be made better by it call it a testimony.  Those made bitter by it, call it a curse.
But, never-the-less, it becomes their story. 

A woman with a story came to Jesus one day.  Her story, according to the Bible, was that of a "life of sin", presumabley prostitution.  She had a past and a present that made people around her, perhaps even herself, uncomfortable in her presence.  She had searched in fulfillment of her need for love through countless relationships gone wrong...leaving her lonely still. 

The woman came to Jesus at a dinner to which she was not invited and was less than welcomed by the crowd.  They sneered at her, talked about her, and questioned her worth to be before the teacher. Yet, still she came. She came with all of her past, all of her mistakes, all of her disgrace, all of her shame, all of her hurt, all of her pain.  She came to the One she knew could make her whole, not to receive anything from Him, but to give Him all that she had.  

She brought with her a bottle, an alabaster bottle of oil, worth a year's wages.  A gift of this magnitude and sacrifice was typically used as a gift for a bridal dowry, a gift fit for a king, or an anointing for a burial...little did this woman know she was offering all three. For what she was about to do was pledge herself to the Bridegroom, give a gift of her love to the King of Kings, and prepare the Messiah for the burial that would change eternity.

She broke the neck of this sealed alabaster jar, meaning it could not be sealed again, because much like herself, it was broken.  She had to pour out all of the contents from within the jar, else it would be wasted. The sweet aroma filled the room and beyond. As she poured out all of the oil on the feet of her Lord, she also poured out all of herself; her tears enough to wet His feet.  She removed the pin from her hair and let it down...a social act of disgrace in the eyes of those who watched...a humble act of letting go to the One whom she anointed. She wiped and cleaned the tear-stained dirt from His now muddy feet with the hair from her head.  He washed clean the stains on her lost and lonely soul, muddy from a "life of sin".  As she blessed her Master, the scent from the oil was now left also on her hair...the blessings coming back to her on her own head.  And He praised her over all of the others that judged her because while they were throwing stones in their minds, she was throwing herself at His feet. And by her faith she was made whole and her story told as honorable all the days of the earth.
What is your story?  Broken past?  Broken heart?  Broken relationships?  Broken piggybank?  Broken spirit?  Broken reputation?  Are you broken by sickness, loniless, shame?  Hurt, sorrow, pain?

Are you willing to be broken and poured out at the feet of the only One that can make you whole again?  Bring the broken pieces of your life to Him and emerge stronger and let Him take those pieces and make something beautiful so that His story can be yours.

  
 

Friday, November 5, 2010

In The Garden---When the place we are in, doesn't seem like a gift...

"Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, to the east, and placed in the garden the man he had formed. The Lord God planted beautiful trees producing the best fruits...He placed the man in the Garden to tend and care for it."  Genesis 2

How blessed we are to be in the hand of God!  Not only did He create a place just for us, but He picked us up and placed us in the place that He created and provided for us the best of the best to enjoy. 

A garden, by definition, is a "protected and cultivated place."  This is a beautiful description of exactly what Eden was, protected and cultivated by God. God planted the trees for Adam, and placed a river right in the midst of the garden to water it...but "He placed the man in the Garden of Eden as its gardener to tend and care for it." (Gen 2:15) God cultivated it, He got it ready for man to grow, but He still expected Adam to care for it.  Adam didn't get off scott-free.  We often think that if we are in God's hand, we should be handed everything on a silver platter...but this isn't the case.  God places us in His garden to grow...and growing takes work!

Instead of giving my boys their usual bag of candy for Valentine's Day last year, I gave each of them a box of brownie or cake mix.  It is our tradition to hide the Valentine's goodies and create clues to find them...a sort of scavenger hunt.  As the boys found their boxes, they were a little outdone that the clues of my hand had guided them to the right place, but that there wasn't instant gratification when they got there.  They still had to work to get their treat!  Now, I could've made the brownies myself and tied them up in cute little Valentine's bags, ribbons and all.  However, as the boys later learned, it wasn't the delicious treat that was the gift...but the time spent together making them. 

Sometimes our circumstances don't alway seem like a blessing...or that God has placed us there as a gift. We get bitter that our situation isn't the place of paradise that we expected, even as we thought to have followed God's lead.  Trust, though, that God has cultivated this garden and gotten it ready for you!  Yet, the garden He has placed you in may still require you to work. It may still require you to be on your "hands and knees." We will do good to understand that the work required is just another way He is growing us and that when we hold tight to and spend time with Him in this process, that time with our Father will be the true gift.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Messes

As we read from the Goodnight Bible every night before tucking in our little guys, we were sharing with them the story of Creation.  In the end of the story, there are review questions..."Who made the World?" Our little Drew, 2 yrs old at the time, responds with a long, emphatic, "GGGODDD!"  "Who made the trees?"  "GGGODDD!"  "Who made the animals?"  "GGGODDD!"  etc. 

Shortly after this reading, I was sweeping a massive pile of crumbs from under Drew's high chair while he sat finishing his breakfast.  We could feed the homeless with the amount of food I sweep up after 4 boys everyday!  Drew noticed what I was doing and commented, "Mama, look at that big mess."  I asked him, synically, "And who do you think made this mess?"  He quickly responded, with a long, emphatic, "GGGODDD!" 

No, God doesn't make our messes.  But He often cleans them up! 

In the Garden, Adam and Eve made choices that left not only themselves, but the entire human race in a mess.  The worldy consequences that followed were painful, yet necessary, and God didn't like them anymore than Adam and Eve. Like Adam and Eve, we, too, make choices that leave us in a mess of worldy consequences.  But, just like with Adam and Eve, the eternal consequences are even more unbearable...  Eternity spent in separation from our Creator.  So, unthinkable that God Himself couldn't bear the thought of spending eternity without us.  Thus, He provided The Way and cleaned up the mess.  Not with a broom and dustpan, but with the spotless blood of the Lamb. 

What choices have you made that has left you in a mess?  Do you know the true consequence of your choice is eternal separation from God?  I can't imagine spending one second of my life separated from He that gave me life.  I am so truly thankful for God providing a way for my mess to be cleaned.  Yet, so truly sad that He had to take on the burdens of my selfish choices. 

You know, as I swept up the crumbs on the floor that day, Drew realized that he contributed to me having to do more work.  "I'm sorry I made a mess on your floor, Mama,"  is a phrase I hear often from him, now.  Yes, he is three, and is still making messes, but he is growing more and more careful by the day, taking responsibilty for his actions,  and he cares enough for me to ask for forgiveness. He even "helps" clean up when he makes the mess. If only we all would be that mature in the messes we make in our spiritual lives.

Lord, help us to realize the choices that we have made that have gotten us into the mess we live in and the consequences we deserve for them.  Help us to take responsibility for those choices, ask for forgiveness for them, and begin taking action today to make changes that will careful us to not make them in the future.  But most importantly, help us to realize the full capactiy of the sacrifice You have made, and the mess You have cleaned up for us at the cross.  Amen.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Dandelions

Dandelions

My favorite flower is the dandelion...or so my children think. Every time they go outside, my little boys come running back to me with handfuls of the yellow sunshine flowers. I especially like the white ones. They love to bring them to me as they blow the fluffy seeds all over to dance across my cheeks and hair. We laugh and in my heart I savor the moment, for I know that one day my little boys will grow up and the dandelions will remain untouched in the yard wishing for the laughter of a child to blow them gently in the breeze. Yes, my favorite flower is the dandelion... or so my children think. And I will tell them no different, for it is not the tiny gift but the heart of the tiny giver that I have grown to love.

God loves the dandelions, too. He loves the excitement His children show when we bring our gifts with open arms, be them ever so small. See, we can take those dandelions and with a gentle breeze scatter the seeds to multiply them into millions of brand new flowers. He made them that way. God, also, can take the tiniest, most insignificant gift, given with sacrificial joy, and with His own gentle breeze, multiply His Kingdom! What gifts do you have that remain untouched, wishing for a gentle breeze to stir them into dancing? Small gifts in the hands of God, aren’t small gifts at all. For it is not the tiny gift but the heart of the tiny giver that God is known to love.

A song written by my 8yr old twins

You look into the window of darkness and see nothing but a big blob.
But when you look the other way, You see God's hands and they say
"Come with me, then you can see
the daisies and the daffodils,
the roses and the righteousness of God."
He's the one that gives you courage of a bear
and the strength of a lion.

By John and Timmy Baldwin
April 5, 2010

Bowling...Out of the mouths of babes!

During a Bible lesson one day, my 8 year old sons give this analogy...

Carrying sin is like trying to bowl with a bowling ball that is too heavy. You can't get control of it and it heads straight for the gutter. But when you accept Christ and lay down your burdens to Him, He carries it for you and then you can get control of the ball...and its then that you get a strike!

Snake in the Garden...

As my mother was working in her flowerbeds, she noticed a black snake coiled up in the ivy. Using her rake, she poked him to get him to move along and out of where she was working. He began to hiss at her, unusual for a blacksnake. She realized he was trying to protect his lunch from theft as he had a tiny baby bunny constricted in his coil. That snake, by result of the Fall, was squeezing the life out of that helpless baby rabbit. Out of maternal instinct, my mother grabbed a nearby brick, along with her rake, and beat that snake off of the rabbit until finally he let go. She scooped the bunny up into her arms and he lay lifeless... Determined to do all she could, she warmed him, fed him, and snuggled him with love until soon he was hopping all over her house!

You know, just as that snake, Satan is lurking nearby, quietly choking the life out of what God intended for beauty and good. If we, as Christians, don't stand up to him in battle, and take back what he has stolen, the world will strangle in sin.

"...your adversary the devil walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." 1 Peter 5:8

Today you are about to do battle with your enemies. Do not be discouraged and do not grow weary, do not be troubled or afraid because of them; for the LORD your God is He who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to save you. Deut. 20:3-4

Amazing Love!

AMAZING LOVE, HOW CAN IT BE, THAT YOU MY KING WOULD DIE FOR ME???

Lord, I know I disappoint you daily and my imperfections are far too numerous to count...but Lord you would still love me enough to sacrifice not only the breath that you breathed, the pain and suffering that you went through, but also your pure holiness to BECOME my sin??? I cannot fathom this undeserved LOVE but Father I am so humbley grateful and I will serve you with every breath I breathe until I have no more.

That I could be your vessel, as broken as I am just is beyond my imagination. I have cracks in my cup yet You fill it and it overflows. I have broken my pitcher, yet You still give me the ability to carry water to the thirsty. Lord fill me so full that I may be used to quench this faminous land and grow the Kingdom for YOUR GLORY.

AMAZING LOVE, I KNOW IT'S TRUE, AND ITS MY JOY TO HONOR YOU...IN ALL I DO. YOU ARE MY KING!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Death Valley-lessons from The Lion King

"The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and beyond, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry.  And He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?"  Ezekiel 37:1-3

I go through times in my spiritual life where I feel as if I am soaring on the mountaintops...on a spiritual high!  Sitting in the clouds with Jesus and ready to save the world!  Then, as if I am plucked right off of the cloud, thrown off the mountain and dropped right on into that valley, I find myself dry, lying among piles and piles of dead bones...a valley of death. What is it that takes me so quickly off the mountain?  Sin?  Busyness?  Neglect? Reminders of my past? Or simply drifting farther and farther away from the closeness of my Father's voice...

 In the Lion King, Simba finds himself in a valley of dry bones because he has strayed away from the closeness of his father.  Mufasah clearly gives him boundaries, not out of tyranny, but out of love and protection.  He wants to keep his son close to him...but Simba doesn't heed his warning...and like a bird in a cage, when the door opens, Simba "escapes" and strays far from his father's word.  It is in the cemetary of bones that Simba then becomes tempted by Scar, his evil uncle, and his life changes forever. We see later that Scar condemns Simba into believing that he is the cause of his father's death and thus unworthy of the throne to which he is heir. 

I realize that I, too, am Simba!  I find myself drifting off in adventure right into the valley of dryness in my walk with Christ.  The place where I feel so far from my Father's voice and the place where the enemy then begins to taunt me with my brokenness...reminding me that I am the cause of my Lord's death and thus I am unworthy of the throne to which I am heir...

God allows me to pass by those bones, and to see them far off in the distance.  Not to condemn me, but to remind me of what He has brought me out of.  You see, most likely, in the story of Ezekiel, this valley was a place of battle, as the valley was a prime spot for a battle to take place in the Near East because of its natural boundaries entrapping the enemy.  The massacre that had taken place in Ezekiel's vision left countless casualties...they had been there for quite sometime, because they were "dry bones".  The flesh had already decomposed and we can imagine had fertilized the flora in that valley.

In our Spiritual lives, God entraps the enemy with the mountains... We find ourselves High on His love and the enemy comes for us.  But, God's natural boundaries will always bring victory as He entraps the enemy. And there will be some casualties...things in our life that must die.  Sins that must be left to decompose.  But be encouraged, the rotting flesh of our sin will also fertilize us to grow in the valley.

As Ezekiel goes on, he tells us of how the Lord, by His command through Ezekiel's words, rose those dry bones up, restored their flesh, and prepared them for battle as soldiers in His army.  Satan uses our brokenness to beat us down, but God restores the dead bones to life to be used in His battle.

I have learned that as I am dry and thirsty for the Lord while in the valleys, it is His hand that has placed me there.  Not just to remind me of the deadness that I am, but of the life that He has restored in me. Only He can breathe new life in our dry bones and revive us once again! 

Lord, bring me back into the place where I am close to Your voice and forgive me for straying from it.  And thank you, that what Satan meant to destroy me, You have revived to bring new life both for me and others that will be won in this battle.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Amber Waves of Grain

Oh Beautiful, for Spacious Skies
For Amber Waves of Grain....
America America God Shed His Grace on Thee

The song resonates in my heart on this day as I remember 9 years ago the devastation our country went through, as I was trying so hard to come to grips with the overwhelming joy I had received notice of that day. It was a moment that changed my life forever...in more ways than one.  A very strange day for me...It was Sept 11, 2001 and I was nauseated beyond belief.  I was getting a haircut, a drastic one at that. Cut off about eight inches.  Not sure if that was the intent or if we were just all so dumbfounded the lady just kept on cutting.  The cell phones in the salon were ringing continuously and there was an unexplainable redness that had crept its way up my neck and face.  I was given the most beautiful amazing gift that day, 9/11/01...the gift of motherhood.  And then I was told that mothers everywhere were losing their sons and daughters to the attacks of the enemy on a God-founded country.  As we wept and grieved the attacks on the Twin Towers, God was forming in my womb...twins. God took me to my knees both for our country and for my boys that day...and I haven't come off of them in 9 years. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

New to this

Well, this is my first post to this new thing in my life called blogging...  When Nathan and I went drastic and signed onto a Facebook account, we vowed to use it as a way to reach others with the Word of God...  I pray this blogspot will also be a lingering shadow of God's grace in my life and the daily lessons He is teaching me as He draws me ever closer to Him.

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