Archive | October 2013

Throwback Thursday

Hebrews 10:23 – “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”

Many times, Thursday is considered “Throwback Thursday”. So let me “throwback”.

The other day, I dug out some of my old CDs and put them in my car. I thought the kids would get a kick out of hearing some of the “old songs”. Steven Curtis Chapman was one of those CDs. You remember, The Great Adventure? I remembered those songs with a smile. Have you ever heard the one “That’s Paradise”? It is about two men named Jim. One is an old man who visits his wife at the nursing home and they talk about Heaven and Christ. The other is a man who feels that he has done things so horribly in his life that God could not possibly want him, but comes to salvation as a result of someone sharing Christ with him. The whole point of the song is to remind us that there is joy in Christ whether we are remembering His promises or finding them out for the first time.

Hope and joy. Two things our world is in desperate need of. We, as followers of Christ, should always have hope. Hope that despite what is going on around us and what problems or hard times might come upon us, that we will one day spend ETERNITY with our Savior. Eternity. Not just a few days. Not just several year or even many years. But rather eternity. No end. Sorry, but my brain has a hard time wrapping around that one, seems to be happening a lot lately. But I KNOW this is true. I KNOW that one day that I will see my Jesus, that is hope.

Joy. This isn’t happiness. This is a deep peace that creates a boundary against evil. It is the ability to look at a tough situation and see good. To be able to find the positive in a bunch of yuck. But this is something that you have to work at, something you have to choose to have. Joy is tough. It takes lots of work, mental and spiritual work, that is. Joy is certainly a choice. And when we choose Jesus, joy is a lot easier to choose.

So on this “throwback Thursday”, dig out that old Christian music and remember the joy and hope that is still in them. Remember how you would feel when you listened to them. Where you were at in your walk at that time. How you have grown since then. Just take a moment and see where God has brought you and look ahead – see where He is taking you – home.

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My God is so BIG!

Isaiah 55:8,9 – “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declared the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'”

Sometimes we don’t understand God and how He works. Does that mean we don’t believe Him? Absolutely not! Do you understand how a car works? More than likely, no, but that doesn’t mean you don’t drive everyday. It comes down to faith – believing even though you don’t understand.

But sometimes we put limits on God. We are confined by space and time but not God. Just think about that for a moment. My daughter asked me yesterday, “Why does God need to see everything we do when He already knows what we are going to do in the first place?” My answer, “I don’t know.” Thankfully, my kids are okay with that answer. They have come to understand that mom doesn’t know it all. Sad, but true.
Anyway, we limit God. We don’t understand how He can do what He does for every person on earth. How can He love that many people? How can He listen to that many prayers all at one time? How can He know every thing about me and the person next to me and not get us confused? How can He know what is best for each person? Now, don’t get me wrong, I am NOT questioning God. I just find myself sometimes overwhelmed by Who He Is!

As a mom, I HAVE to multi-task. It is not a suggestion, but rather a requirement for life. You need to be able to cook dinner, do a load of laundry, help with homework and plan a grocery list all in the same moment. It’s just the way that it is. Now, take that scenario and multiply it by a billion. That is what God does every minute of every day. Wrap your brain around that one!

The point of all this rambling is this: don’t put God in a box. Don’t limit what the Creator of the universe can do for you. Remember that Jesus said in Luke 19:40 – “‘I tell you,’ he replied, ‘if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.'” If Jesus can make the stones cry out to praise Him, what limitations does He have? None, sister. None.

Contentment

1 Timothy 6:6-8 – “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing. We will be content with that.”

Contentment. Good old Webster’s 1828 describes it as: a resting or satisfaction of mind without disquiet. Content, in the same dictionary, means literally: held, contained within limits; hence, quiet; not disturbed; having a mind at peace; easy; satisfied, so as not to refine, object or oppose.

It is something we, as followers of Christ, struggle with in today’s world. Our society encourages a “more, more, more” attitude, while Christ encourages a “be content” mindset. A lot of the time it is more money that we want. Sometimes it is more affection or attention that we want. Sometimes we want recognition for all our hard work. Sometimes we want more alone time.

Plain and simple – we want too much. “Want” is the key here. In America, we, for the most part, have way more than we need. We are prosperous, yet we think we need more. You know, I heard on the radio, one time, a saying: if you woke up tomorrow and only had what you had been thankful for today, what would you have? For most of us, we probably wouldn’t have very much. We are too busy wanting more to be thankful for what we have today.

What causes this discontentment? We loose our focus. We begin focusing on our problems or focusing on the things of this world instead of focusing on God. It is so easy to get caught up in the perceived dissatisfactions of life. We think we have it so hard. Look around you, friend. I guarantee it will take you all of 5 minutes to find someone else with a harder time than you. Satan uses this self pity to get us to forget God. He wants us to forget our blessings, to forget everything that God has done for us and rather to focus on what we don’t have and think that we need.

And then when we decide that we are going to stop the discontentment, Satan tries to tell us we are giving up. Oh, so you have decided that you are going to be happy with what you have, then look at all you are giving up. You don’t have to live without, you can have your cake and eat it too.

Contentment is not giving up. It is being satisfied with what God has given you and looking for ways to share it. Do you really need that new piece of furniture? Do you really need to go on that expensive vacation? You just ate a half of chicken, do you really need dessert? Contentment in all things. Contentment with the stuff around us. Contentment with the food we have. Contentment with living in the moment.

Does contentment mean that we quit moving forward? By no means! We are told to keep growing. Keep getting closer to God. Don’t stop. But don’t want more and more along the way. Let the blessings of God fall upon you and be at peace. Watch God show you a more amazing life to live – for Him.

Momma Bear

Proverbs 14:29 – “A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.”

Does momma bear ever come out of the cave at your house? You mommas know what I mean. Someone threatens or is mean to one of your cubs and out she comes, roaring with all her might.

Have you ever wondered sometimes if you jump out of the cave a little too quickly? Well I have and I do. And my cubs are not just my children. I can’t tell you how many times I have offered to “tear someone up” for my husband.

Now, I’m not a violent person. Actually, my bark is worse than my bite. But still, when someone is messing with one of mine, watch out! I don’t like it when someone falsely accuses, lies, steals, talks bad about one of mine or is just generally stinky to them. I try not to be that way to others and I expect the same respect. Too bad it doesn’t always go that way.

This verse in Proverbs is encouraging us to chill. Bite your tongue. Hold your horses. Pick your analogy. It doesn’t matter. They all mean the same thing – wait. Stop and listen to the whole thing before you react. Get all the pieces to the puzzle before you start putting it together. Assumptions can wreak havoc on things.

So today, princess, I want to encourage you to keep momma bear in the cave until absolutely necessary. She can be very ugly and “ain’t no body got time for that!” Wait on The Lord. Let Him show you what is really going on and let Him lead you to the truth. He will also show you how to handle the situation. And smile – momma bear can’t come out if you smile.

Doors

Revelation 3:20 – “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”

Ok, let’s look at this verse a little. First, let’s examine the context. John was writing under the influence of the Holy Spirit on the island of Patmos. He is writing to the church at Laodicea. So he is writing to believers. This is very important. Sometimes we think that Jesus only knocks on the door of the unbeliever’s heart. But He also knocks on the door(s) of the follower as well.

Another thing, when we look at this verse we tend to think that Jesus is knocking on the front door of our heart. And He does knock on the front door whenever He is calling us unto salvation.

But think about it. Do you only have one door in your house? Chances are – no. You have multiple doors that lead to various rooms. Sometimes we close those doors because we don’t want others to see what is inside. Right? See where I am going with this? Jesus wants access to all areas of our heart. He wants to see your junk room. He wants to see your office and where you clean your laundry. He wants to see your bathroom – where you take care of yourself. All these places typically have doors and often times we close them. People don’t really need to see our messy laundry room, right?

Let’s look at why Jesus wants to see these rooms, why the door needs to be open.
Bedroom – the place where you go for peace. Is it a mess? Is there no peace in this room because of filthy rags on the floor? Have the windows been neglected for so long that the Son cannot shine in?
Bathroom – the place you go to clean your physical body. Is there soap scum everywhere – are you just going through the motions? Is the mirror dirty? Can you really see yourself for who you are?
Laundry room – the place where you wash the dirt away. Can you even get to the washer? Do you know how to use it?
Study – the place you go to learn and work. Once again, how is the window? Is it peaceful or a disaster?
Living room – the place where you veg and chill. Is there junk on the tv? Are you filling the room with unholy information?
The kids’ room – the place where they have their own space. Have you made sure that is it safe in all areas of life?
Kitchen – the place where you provide. Do you ask for help in here? Do you try to ensure that everything coming in and going out will provide what your family needs to be healthy?

Jesus wants access to all these places. He has a desire to make all things new. He wants to be a part of all aspects of your life. But you have to open the door.

Sacrifice

Romans 12:1,2 – “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, (which is) your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what (is) that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (KJV)

Disclaimer: I looked at this Scripture in NIV and KJV. I found that the KJV was closest to the original language.

Sacrifice. What is sacrifice? You know that it isn’t always killing an animal for a blood atonement, right? In my good-old Webster’s 1828 dictionary, the third definition (the first two had to do with destroying something) is this: to devote with loss. Hmmm, I can see that in today’s world. We aren’t into destroying animals as an act of worship these days. PETA would have a fit!
But “to devote with loss”, that I can relate to.

So what does a “living sacrifice” mean? I think we find that answer in verse 2 of this Scripture. It is “not (being) conformed to this world”. It is being different. Don’t be fooled, being different is certainly a sacrifice. People may look at you funny. They don’t understand you. “Every one else watches that show. Why don’t you?” “What do you mean you like to spend time with your husband?” “Why don’t you just sleep in on Sunday morning? Everyone knows you are exhausted.” These are just some examples. I’m sure that you could name a hundred more. But we choose this non-conformity. We choose to transform our mind every day. And it has to be every day. You can’t skip one. If you do, you are conforming to the world. You make different choices. I know this from experience. Weekly experience. I have a hard time on Saturdays. It is my one day to sleep in. I have my family around and most days we have a full docket of things to do. No excuse, though. Think that one will fly at the judgment seat? Nope. It is a sacrifice to get up and make that choice in the morning, any morning. And there are times I choose not to sacrifice. Is that okay? No, not really. Not in the scope of eternity. Every day is important. Every day is an opportunity. Every day is the chance to share Christ with someone else. And I fail.

And being a “living sacrifice” shouldn’t be anything special. It is our “reasonable service”. It is the bare minimum. The least we can do for what Christ did for us. The least we can do is choose to be changed daily to be more like Him. The least we can do is choose to renew our minds so that we can know what God would have us to do. What are we “renewing” to? We are getting ourselves back to Him. Go back to the beginning – that moment when we really understood what Jesus had done for us and we were ready to do anything for Him. Do you remember that time?

Sacrifice is about devoting our self with some loss. It is about giving of yourself without thought of gain or loss. Sacrifice is a choice. It is something we decide to do. And it is something we are called to do on a daily basis. It can vary. It can change. You may be called to sacrifice a lot or a little. But you have been called to sacrifice nonetheless. When we made the choice of salvation, we made the choice to sacrifice.

So today, princess, I want to encourage you to sacrifice. Listen to God and what he has asked you to sacrifice. Search out His word and find out where you can improve and how you can sacrifice your time, your money and your love. It is tough. But God will provide you what you need to make it through.

Mighty Men of Valor

Joshua 1:14 – “Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed, all the mighty men of valor, and help them”(KJV)

Mighty men of valor. Where have you gone? Those men who would go out before their family and fight for what was right.

What is valor? It is a term that we don’t often hear these days. Probably because not many are worthy of the title. It means “strength of mind in regard to danger; that quality which enables a man to encounter danger with firmness; personal bravery; courage; intrepidity; prowess”. I got that definition from an 1828 Webster’s dictionary.

Now don’t get me wrong. There are still mighty men of valor. But what does it take in today’s world to earn that title? Oh, the first thing that comes to my mind is a Navy Seal or someone like that. People that don’t even think twice about danger. Those people are rare. They are certainly worthy of honor and respect. I know I couldn’t do that task.

But let’s think in our own homes. Men, and I know I have male readers, let me encourage you to be one of these “mighty men of valor”. As a wife, I want to depend upon my husband to make the tough calls. I want him to lead me with “strong hands”, to “stand up when I can’t”. I want him to face the dangers. I want him to lead me spiritually. He has a tough job, being my husband. Poor guy. I feel sorry for him. I can be a handful. And I admit it. But yet, I see him as a “mighty man of valor”. Oh, he’s not perfect. He makes me mad. But I know it is reciprocated. We don’t have the perfect marriage. But we are determined to try, with God’s hand around us.

The reason I’m writing this is because we need more “mighty men of valor”. We need them in our homes, in our churches, in our community, in our government. Look at David’s mighty men in 1 Chronicles 11:10-47. These men were TOUGH! They are out there defending Israel like it is nobody’s business. They are doing things that made Samson look like he needed a lesson. And they did it out of loyalty and love. Loyalty to their king and their brothers. And love for their family and their nation. These men were ready to take on the world – or at least a 7 1/2 ft tall man(vs. 23).

So my princess blog today is for you fellas. We princesses need a knight in shining armor. You may not win our heart, for our heart may belong to another, but you will certainly win our respect. We need to see you choose to stand up for what is right, even when it is hard and you don’t necessarily like it. Make the choice to love your wife. To honor her by choosing to work through it. Show your sons what it means to be a “mighty man of valor”. Show him how to make those tough choices. Show him how to love. Show him how to face danger. And please, whatever you do, don’t give up. God has called you to a very important task. One that can make or break the future. Make the choice to follow after David’s men or Joshua’s men. Whatever you do, just be God’s man to use.