Saturday, January 31, 2009

One Month Down...

Not to take a legalistic view of reading through the Bible in a year, but I made it to the end of the first month! It has been fun to have girlfriends reading the same translation. We have been able to hold each other accountable and share thoughts and questions.

Last week, it was good to know that I wasn't the only one not "getting" Job. I couldn't figure out how I was supposed to hear his friends talking to him, with compassion or sarcasm. Today God cleared that up when He said Job's friends were wrong. It was also cool to hear God speak of His secrets in creation. Especially when He said that He has storehouses of hail and snow reserved as weapons for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war. (Job 38:23). You know I'm an 'End of Days' kind of girl.

Anyway, looking forward to the next 11 months. I have added two friends to the list of Bible Readin' Girls. Exodus, here we come!!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

That Daddy Connection

Since my son Connor gets a little sad when his dad leaves for work, we have gotten in the habit of putting a touch of daddy's cologne on his neck. Then, when he is missing him, he can breathe deep and smell that "Daddy smell." This morning was extra traumatic because Daddy has to work past bedtime tonight. We used a little extra scent to get Connor through the day, until Daddy comes home.

Our Daddy has done the same for us through the Holy Spirit.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you." John 14:27

Breathe deep. Let yourself be filled with His scent until He comes home for us.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Priceless Bargain

About a year ago I bought a little book because it was only $1 at the Half-Price book store. I hadn't heard of Bruce Wilkinson, but there were a few books in The Breakthrough Series, and I am a sucker for a set of anything. Books, rubber stamps and pretty paper, if it comes in a set I have to have them all. Just to have and look at, not necessarily to use. Anyway, fast forward to our Bible study book, Set Apart by Bruce Wilkinson. Rings a bell. I found that little book called the Prayer of Jabez and read it this weekend.

Now I know that I throw around the term "It changed my life" a little too frequently in response to books that I read. But, I do believe that everything we touch has the power to change us, maybe not in mind-blowing ways, but in ways that can alter the way we view life as it comes at us. Or life as we hurtle through it. This is a book that has the power to change a life.

Last week I saw the book at the Dollar Store. A whole bunch of them. Yesterday, as I was reading it, I was wishing there was a way to go buy some so I could share them with anyone who is ready to have their perspective on what God wants for them changed. The only obstacle to going to the Dollar Store was my Monday babysitting job. As I was thinking about who might be willing to go there for me, the phone rang. My babysitting kids were sick. I was not needed. God had made a way for me to go buy a bunch of these books.

Wilkinson uses this analogy: Instead of standing near the river's edge, asking for a cup of water to get you through each day, you'll do something unthinkable-you will take the little prayer with the giant prize and jump into the river! If you are ready to jump into to the adventure that God has waiting for you, be someone who wants to follow hard after Him, I have a book for you. Free. Seriously. I have 20 copies. If you aren't local, email me. I'll send you one. The only catch, share your journey with someone else. I'll be sharing with you every Tuesday on the blog. Or the playground. Or the grocery store. You know I can't keep my mouth closed when I'm excited about something.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Answered Prayer

Today had amazing potential to go right into the toilet from the word "Go!" Actually, it started as one of those nights that left no clear division from the day before. Musical beds, kids up and down, me watching the clock, hoping that I wasn't really only getting 2 to 3 hours at a shot of sleep. I could do this fine when I had babies who weren't really supposed to be sleeping all night anyway. Somehow it is harder to take now. And, after a long sleepless night, everyone in the house was up by 5:45 a.m. This girl has gotten used to her coffee and devo time from 5:30-6:30, so to have my quiet time derailed was really not sitting well.

Then, like a fuzzy lightbulb, a thought flashed through my head. I should probably pray for help today because I am sure I will not do well on my own. I prayed sincerely for God's love to fill me to overflowing, so that when I got bumped today, it would only be love spilling out. I prayed for grace, admitting my tendency to like things "just so", and that I would not fly off the handle when they didn't go that way. I prayed for mercy, to both give and receive it, showing kindness to others when they don't deserve it, and that God would have mercy on this tired, irritable woman who also doesn't deserve it.

God really answered my prayers. My kids weren't like all the sudden extra good. I was just able to handle it. It wasn't like the saccharine-sweet feeling when you are trying your best to be nice because you're supposed to and you really don't feel like it. You know, like when other people's kids act up and you really want to scold them, but you smile and say "Oh, mine act like that too." I didn't feel like that at all. Just calm. I really enjoyed my time with them, and they acted calmer because I wasn't a raving lunatic. The whole day seemed to go better than expected, and it was even my turn in the kindergarten classroom. A couple of times the normal me started to creep in, and it was like the Holy Spirit whispered, "You have the tools for this."

Here's the kicker, though: things were a little ornery on the marriage front. I thought about not fixing his lunch for tomorrow because he was a little ugly with me. BAM! Immediate conviction. Who am I, an obvious recipient of God's grace and mercy, to withhold the same from someone else?

So, even if I get sleep tonight, I will still pray the same tomorrow morning. I don't know why it takes me so long to take my own advice sometimes.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Picture Tag

Ok, let me tell you, I'm not good at these kind of games. You know the emails that ask a million questions and then want you to put your answers in and send it to 10 friends and the person who originally sent it to you. All to find out that you and someone else cried at the same movie. I know that makes me sound like a serious party pooper. Which I am not. I am super fun. As a matter of fact, I spent tonight playing Apples to Apples with my daughters and my mom. Then we tried to make a play-doh cast of my mom's tooth because she cracked it tonight when we were out to dinner. Now she has to explain to her dentist tomorrow why her tooth is full of play-doh. Tell me I'm not fun...

Anyway, my bloggy friend Heaven tagged me for a picture game. You are supposed to go to your 4th picture folder and pick the 4th picture. Then, you "tag" 4 people to post their 4th picture.Here's my picture:

This is Connor and Justin in 2006. We were up north on a getaway with my mom, grandma, daughter, and I. It was actually really fun. Like I said, we are a fun bunch. Looking at this picture just reminds me of how fast time flies. The baby with the pacifier is potty training and sleeps in a big boy bed. Connor is in school now. I used to think those days would never come. Now I'm hoping for them to slow down a little. I loved those little matching shirts.
Ok, your turn. My computer is acting up so I can't link, but would Amy at Insanely Blessed, Luanne at Less of Me, Shelley at Crumbs from a Full Plate, and the Blacksheep family please post their 4th picture. If you really don't want to, ok. Party pooper.

A Quick Thought

I was very touched watching President Obama and the newly former President Bush say good-bye at the helicopter. What an awesome country we live in when the new power and the old power can hug good-bye. That's all I saw, but my DVR is full so I can watch all the pomp and circumstance later.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Hungry for ______?

"I am the Bread of Life.
Whoever comes to me will never go hungry,
and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."
John 6:35
These are Jesus' words to the Samaritan woman at the well. They are Jesus' words to me. And you. This morning, when I turned on my computer, this was the KLOVE verse for today. Right away, I wondered what I was hungry for that I was looking for something or someone other than my Lord to satisfy.
Reading the new Bible study book Set Apart: Discovering Personal Victory Through Holiness has forced me to identify some of my hunger issues. Once identified, I seem to be bombarded with them. Casual conversations take on hidden meanings. Candy I don't even like becomes irresistible to me. (I wonder if Amy has noticed this.)
Whatever it is you struggle with, be it overeating, gossip, inappropriateness of any kind, recognize that your temptation is rooted in a God-given desire. It is only when we seek to satisfy them in ungodly ways that we are crossing a line. Go to the One who can fill you up, confess your weakness, and ask Him to cleanse you of all unrighteousness. When you have done that, you will find that He can meet your needs, and those Hershey's Kisses calling out from the cupboard will be silenced. You will find that you can pray for someone's situation without having to share it with everyone you know for their own good. You will find that you can have a friendship with someone that is truly God-honoring in every way.
Remember, boys and girls, "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to us all. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." 1 Cor 10:13. And this is what I know to be true.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Chronological Thought

As you know, I have been reading the Chronological Bible. So far, there haven't been any big revelations, but since most of Genesis is somewhat of a review, little thoughts have crept in. This week focused on Joseph, the one who was sold into slavery by his brothers. Eventually, the brothers come to Egypt for grain, learn what happened to Joseph, and give Jacob the wonderful news that Joseph is alive and wants them all to settle in Egypt. What is not mentioned is if the brothers come clean to their father. I wonder if they ever told Jacob the truth of how Joseph ended up in Egypt. I can hear the bellowing now: "YOU DID WHAT?!!!" I totally would like to have been a fly on the wall for that conversation.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

LPM Scripture

Today is the 15th, the day I choose my 2nd scripture to memorize with the Beth Moore challenge. I didn't realize I am supposed to keep repeating the first one as I learn the new one. Do you realize that by the end of the year I am supposed to be able to repeat 24 verses in a row? Now that is a God-sized goal.

Beth has put a mini-tutorial on her blog of how to memorize scripture using the acrostic RENEW.I'll let her do the talking instead of paraphrasing it because she is so entertaining and motivating.

Anyway, I digress. My 2nd verse for 2009 is Psalm 130:7 "O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love,and with him is great power to redeem." I chose that to remind myself that putting my hope in the person will lead to disappointment. It is the hope in God that will get me through. He is the steadfast one, not me or anyone else. He is the one with great power to redeem. Not me.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Faith First

"Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that HE IS and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him." Hebrews 11:6

Unless we actually believe in God, His son, and the Resurrection, our attempts at trusting in God are only wishful thinking. It is my prayer that those who are seeking a closer relationship with the Lord will move from the sphere of "I hope He's out there listening" to a solid knowledge of Him.

It is also my prayer that those who already have a solid knowledge of Him but got consumed with agendas and busyness will come back. Jesus Christ has already spoken to this, knowing that this is something that we all will face. "I also know that you are patiently enduring and bearing up for the sake of my name, and that you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first." Revelation 2:3-4

Wow! What a loving God we have who has already spoken and advised us on all we will face in this world.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Visible Scars

Today I was painting over some seriously retro loveseats that I got for free. There was this gold metallic stripe of double-sided sticky tape that needed to be removed before I could paint. I got it off as best as I could, but there was still a sticky stripe of residue. I put two coats of paint on and it really isn't noticeable, unless you are looking for it. Unless you knew it was there before. As I was painting, my mind flashed to the Soul Scars talk that Pastor Guy did awhile ago. God will heal us, but we will always have a scar. Nothing to brag about or point out, but there will be a line where He has joined Himself to us. We shouldn't necessarily try to cover it up, just acknowledge an amazing thing that has been done for us. When I look at my not-so-ugly anymore loveseats, I won't mind seeing the stripes under the paint. I will see a transformation that has taken place. When I look in the mirror, I still see the person I was five, ten years ago. But I also see the transformation that is taking place. One day at a time. Not gonna glorify the scars, but they are still visible under the new whitewashed coat of paint. And that is only to give all the glory to God. If you don't have a "Before", the "After" isn't so amazing.

I wrote the above immediately after my last post, but wasn't ready to share it. Spending some time in the Word last night, God showed me Isaiah 44:21-22, and it seemed to sum up how I was feeling.
"Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant; I formed you, you are my servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me. I have swept away your transgressions like a cloud, and your sins like mist; return to me for I have redeemed you."

Trying Too Hard?

I am tired right now. I am really wanting to have a deep thought to share, but the flesh is weak. My Spirit is willing. The phrase "Go back to your First Love" is echoing in my brain, but my eyes are drooping. I try to sit quiet and pray, then realize my neck hurts because my head has fallen to my chest. I feel like I should be pondering the 'unplowed ground' part of our family verse, like God is trying to shake me out of a routine, a habit. Like He is saying, "Would you put everything else down and just look at Me?" Do you ever feel like you hide behind routines, books about God, Bible studies, and miss the One we are taking the long way around to meet up with?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Battlefield

I have a bloggy friend whom I've never met, and maybe never will, who seems to read my mind sometimes. As we are all talking about being convicted of sin and what our private ones are, I see that she is struggling with one that trips me up sometimes. Pride. Doing something so that other people think you rock instead of for God's glory. Thanking the Creator while you are accomplishing something, but filling yourself up with the impressed opinions of others afterwards. Like writing a really heartfelt blogpost. Or making 300 cookie envelopes for the Women's Retreat, not necessarily to bless the ladies but to hopefully be recognized as one of the cool people. Even going so far as to turn down help until the end so I can be the only one to take credit. Yes, pride is an ugly self-centered thing. That is why God wants to strip us of it. So, to my friend Heaven, would it be wrong to say I'm proud of you for recognizing what the enemy is planting in your mind? Seriously though, being convicted of something and getting right with God is no small thing. And we are taught to strip off every weight that slows us down. Pride is a heavy thing. I've definitely had my battles with it. So, when you have won this battle, turn your comments back on so we can hear ourselves talk again. Oh yeah, and leave encouraging comments for you.
To read Heaven's post about getting things right, click here.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Dream Pursued

I have the dream of learning to play the flute. As far as dreams go, this isn't one to end world hunger or anything big like that. But it is one that I've had since grade school when only the cool girls played the flute. Not qualifying for that group, I played the clarinet. I have been thinking on and off about trying to find a flute and take lessons for about the last five years. Pastor Guy's sermon about finding your dream struck a note with me. Pun totally intended. If you have a flute gathering dust or any musical skill that you would like to contribute to my dream, let me know. If you have a dream that I can help with, say the word. It will be fun.

Family Verse 2009

We have never chosen a family verse before, but after reading Renee Swope's blog about where God is leading her family, I thought we should have a family verse. KLOVE radio station emails a scripture each morning, and one of them really struck me. I had written it down last week, and as I thought about a family verse, this one immediately came to mind:

"Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love,and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until He comes and showers righteousness on you." Hosea 10:12 NIV

We had already made a decision to start breaking up some unplowed ground, so to speak. My husband signed up for the How To Read Your Bible class at church. He said he didn't want to have another year like last year and is realizing he is powerless to make any lasting changes on his own. I am trying to be more focused in some of my own areas. I signed up for Beth Moore's challenge to memorize 24 scriptures this year. Not just memorize, but understand and meditate on them. Break them down word by word to make sure I really get it.

Realizing that I am not my own person, free to stoke only my own spiritual fire, I am really trying to be intentional with Connor and Justin. The rest of the kids, too, but like with vegetables, I have to hide the Word in cheese sauce.

I know that good intentions pave the road to ****, but I am sincere in my desire to grow closer to God, to recognize Him as the Leader of my life. I pray that every day God ignites my passion for Him and the things He has put in my life. I pray the same for each of you.