Archive | July 2014

A good look in the mirror

1 Corinthians 6:19,20 – “know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

“Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.” Ecclesiastes 1:2
Last week, we started a workout program. We saw it and thought, “Twenty five minutes. I can do 25 minutes.” Little did we know that some guy on the tv would be trying to kill us for 25 minutes. None of us have died, yet. But we have definitely done a lot of sweating!
Why? Why are we putting ourselves through this torture? Do we want to look good? For what? For whom? Why do any of us start a fitness program at some stage in our life?
Most of the time the answer is for health reasons. We want to be healthier. But let’s look deep. Deep, deep down, the answer is probably vanity. We don’t want to look like a fat slob. We are tired of shopping in the big girl section. The old lady clothes are starting to look appealing. Yuck! So we decide to get it off the couch and start moving.

There is nothing wrong with this train of thought, to a point. When you start desiring to look good for anyone other than your spouse, you have problems.

You need to examine your motives behind exercise. Me, I want to look good for my husband and feel better about myself. I would also like for my clothes to fit a little better. I’m fairly healthy, but everyone could use some improvement in this area.

But let’s look at all this from a spiritual standpoint. Now, I know what you are thinking, “What does exercise have to do with my spiritual life?” When you look in the mirror, do you know what you are looking at? That, dear princess, would be the “temple of the Holy Ghost”! Yowza! How’s that temple doing? Is it in disrepair? Does it function properly? Can it do everything that its Creator is asking it to do?

Today, I just want to encourage you to look at your body. See if there is room for improvement. Ask God to show you where and how you need to change things. Maybe you need to lay off the sugar or wheat for a while. Maybe you need to start walking around the block every night after dinner. Maybe you need to join a gym. Or maybe all things are a go. Then, dear princess, get out there and do it! It doesn’t matter if you are 9 or 99, God has a purpose and reason that you are breathing today. It is your responsibility to go out there, figure it out and do it.

You want me to be still?

Psalm 46:1,8-10 – “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted in the earth.”

My pastor spoke on this Sunday night. Sorry, pastor. It was so good, I had to use it!

Do you ever look back on your day when you are going to bed at night and think, “What was that all about?” Some days are insane. For example, here was my day yesterday.
Get up and exercise, go to work and work for 4 hours, come home to get the kids and go out for lunch, go buy school uniforms, head to the shopping center, look for my son some deck shoes, check out computers, look for the shoes again, go to the book store, head to the bath shop for some hand sanitizer, head home, stop at the pharmacy, get gas for the car, get home and cook dinner, clean up, go to church, come home, bed.
WHAT???

The writer of this psalm is praising God for being their refuge in times of trouble. And he meant real trouble. Like, your life is in mortal danger, kind of trouble. Praise God I didn’t face that yesterday, although, I know that people did face that yesterday. But despite the fact that we are safe inside our borders, we still feel like we are under attack sometimes. We are so busy running here and there doing this and that.

Look at this verse: “Be still, and know that I am God…” Be still. Gotta do this. Gotta do that. Gotta go here. “Be still.” But if I don’t do this and that, this will surely happen. “Be still.” But I might be late. “Be still.” I don’t have time for this. “Be still.”
We have a problem being still. Being still means not moving. Being still means listening, not talking. I know what you are thinking, “How can I ‘be still’ and still live my life?” You do know that you can actively wait, right? That means, doing what needs to be done as directed by God, not what you want to do as directed by you. Have you ever done a squat and held it? Are you moving? No. Are you still active? Yes. Your muscles are still working. They are still doing what needs to be done. They are actively waiting.

So, today princess, as you are going through the insanity of your day, be still. Take some time and stop and listen. You can be cleaning the house while you listen. I have found that cleaning the house is a great time for prayer and praising. Life is about serving and praising our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And sometimes that involves being still and remembering that He is “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Benefits and submission

James 4:7-10 – “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify you hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”

Last week was church camp for the young people at our church. We live very close to the camp, so my son and I went out for services last Wednesday night. (My daughter was already there.)

The preaching at camp is always amazing. The proclaimers of the Truth are sharing the Message with such tenacity that it is awesome.

Last Wednesday night was no different. The preacher said many things that touched my heart. But I want to share one of them with you today – We tend to want the benefits of God without surrendering to God. Ouch! So, I have used this verse to expand on that thought.

Submit. When we see that word, walls go up. We don’t cower to anyone! The word means “to yield, resign, or surrender to the power, will or authority of another” (Webster’s 1828 dictionary). We don’t like to think about that. We don’t want to give up our ability to have control. But let’s think about this for a moment. We can only see what is in front of our face. We can only know what we have been told or have read. We have no idea what the next second will bring. God sees it all, throughout time. God knows it all, without being told. God knows what the future will bring. Now, that being said, tell me why we think that we can make decisions for ourselves and control our situations? Looks kinda silly, doesn’t it?

When we choose Jesus as our Savior, we choose to allow Him to have control. When we make that choice, some things have to happen.
1. We have to decide to not do what the devil whispers in our ear. When we ignore him, he goes away.
2. We have to choose to go to God for everything. When we were children, mom and dad had all the answers. Jesus tells us to be like little children (Matthew 18:3). We need to go to God for everything.
3. We need to allow ourselves to be convicted of sin. We mess up every day. But we build these walls around our heart that keep the Holy Spirit out. And without that conviction, we stay ignorant to our sins. And thus, the wall keeps out the sweet relationship with our Savior. He wants to bless us but He has to be able to get to our heart first.
4. We need to be humble before God. What does it mean to be “humble”? Good old Webster’s 1828 puts it this way – “lowly; modest; meek; submissive; opposed to proud, haughty, arrogant or assuming.” When we go before God, we need to understand and realize that we are nothing and no one compared to God. Truly, we have no right to be in His presence except for the blood of Christ that covers us. When we come before God with a pure heart that recognizes our lowly estate, He will lift us up. Will He set us on a pedestal for all to see? Let’s hope not. It’s a long fall off that pedestal! No, the lifting up part means that just as when you messed up and went to mom and dad with your head hung low and they put their finger under your chin to lift up your head to see their eyes, God does the same thing. He removes that downcast feeling and makes you see His eyes full of love.

So, princess, if you want the benefits of God without submitting to Him, you are barking up the wrong tree. The benefits of the loving God can only be obtained when you realize that you are nothing without Him. O, you can muddle through things and do things half way, but is that really how you want to live? I want to do the best that I can with His leadership and direction so that when I get Home, my Abba will run to me and say “Welcome home, daughter! I have been waiting for you!”

The unusual scene

Acts 12:24 – “But the word of God grew and multiplied.”

A few weeks ago, we were out getting ice cream. As we sat by the water enjoying our treat, I was watching this young lady. She was college-age, sitting by herself enjoying her ice cream. Then these two other young girls came over to her table. The place was pretty crowded and they asked if they could sit with her. She said yes. And they began chatting. You don’t see that kind of thing everyday, so I was interested in what the conversations would be. I’m nosy that way. I thought they would talk of college, summer break, yada, yada, yada. And they did. But as the conversation continued, the girls that had sat down began to talk of Jesus. I was surprised. I hadn’t seen that one coming. I was impressed. These two young ladies just went up to a total stranger and began sharing the Message of salvation to someone they didn’t even know. How awesome is that!

It was a beautiful moment filled with awe and…..shame. Shame on me. I have never done anything like that in my life! Here I am trying to live my life so that others can see Him and I can’t go up and share the Good News with a stranger.

Then I thought about it all for a minute. Jesus said that we all have different gifts. As I thought about the scene even more, I remembered that the one of the two girls didn’t say a word. She was there for moral support.

We have all different strengths that we have been given. I feel that God has given me the ability to show His love to others in my actions and reactions. Some people can go up and talk to total strangers. Some people are the moral support – the prayer warriors. Some people are card writers. Some people are huggers. Some people are good listeners. We all have our strengths.

God wants us to use them. Whatever He has given you the ability to do, do it.

So what does all of this have to do with the above verse? When we use our gifts, our talents, our strengths, God’s Word grows and multiplies. His reach extends to more and more people. His love is shown to more and more people. And the beautiful thing about it all is that we don’t have to do anything to make it happen. Oh, we do have to flex our muscles and actually do something but we don’t have to make anything happen. What I’m trying to say is we just have to toss out the seed and He does the rest. He prepares the ground. He plants. He waters. He makes it grow. Our strengths, our talents, our gifts – those are all seeds. Seeds that He uses to grow, in and through us, a beautiful scene.

So this week, princess, flex those muscles. Use those gifts. Engage those talents, whatever they may be. Spread the Word just by being the princess that God has called you to be.

A very special year

Ecclesiastes 12:13 – “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

Tomorrow marks a very special day. Tomorrow is my husband’s fortieth birthday. Yeah, yeah. Lots of people will probably turn forty tomorrow. However, when he turns forty, it will begin the countdown until I turn forty. And after we both turn forty, we begin the countdown to our wedding anniversary where we will celebrate twenty years – we will be married half our lives! Wow!

The above verse is my husband’s favorite verse. So many people ask on a daily basis what God’s will is for their life. And here it is: Fear God and keep his commandments. Solomon even tells us that “this is the whole duty of man”. What does this mean? It means to put God first and follow after Him in all you do.

My husband tries daily to live by this verse. He wants to please God in all that he does. He wants to follow His commandments and guidelines for his life. He is a great man. He loves our children with his whole heart and he loves me with his whole heart. He is diligent in his work. He strives to honor God in his business dealings. He teaches at church. He is great with kids. He listens to them and hugs them and plays with them.

I’m so glad that I didn’t try to pick out my own husband. I can remember laying in my bed praying for him, not knowing who he would be or where he was at. I just remember praying that I would find him soon. And God brought him to me.

God has truly blessed my life through the life of my husband. He has taught me so much in all that we have gone through as a couple. God has used my husband to lead me through some very dark places in my life. And God has used him to rejoice on the mountain tops with me. God has used him to teach me to rely fully upon Him. Sometimes you don’t realize how much God uses someone you are close to until you step back and think about it. This is one of the things I love about The Lord – He can make beauty out of anyone and anything. And I love that He is making beauty out of my marriage to the most amazing man in the world.

We have been together for a longtime now. And it is my prayer that God will bless my husband’s years on this earth abundantly, giving him health and happiness for many, many, many, many more years to come. I love you sweetheart. Happy birthday!

Lessons from the beach – Part 3

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Matthew 7:24-27 – “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew,and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon the house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”

This is a picture of our pitiful little sand castle built by my husband, my daughter and I. So sad, isn’t it?

We built this sand castle several feet from the shoreline. We wanted it to last as long as possible. We built mountains in front of it and a lake and a moat – all kinds of things in hope that we could ward off the inevitable a long as possible.

Well, we thought we had done pretty good. It lasted almost all day long. It wasn’t until about six o’clock in the evening when high tide was really coming in that it finally disappeared. Shellville was gone.

So many lessons to learn from this one experience. But I want to focus on this one: You can built your castle, but unless you build it upon the Rock, it will eventually be swept away. You see, we built that puny little sandcastle knowing that the tide would destroy it. But people build castles every day intending them to stand. But they build it near the shore or in the world and think that all will be well. They build their illustrious careers. They build important relationships. They build up their bank account. All for what? Their name being dropped in the right crowd or respect amongst wealthy people or fear from others who do not have what they have? What is it all for? What do these castles accomplish?

What about your castle? What kind and where are you building it? Honestly, I can say that I have two. One that I foolishly build here (and am trying to tear down) and one that I have started in Heaven (I won’t know how that one turns out until I get there). I’m not sure that what I am storing up in Heaven is really a castle. I do know that it is treasures. Matthew 6:19-21 reminds me that this is where my focus should be.

All of us can learn a lesson from the sandcastles that are built everyday on the shores of the sea. Things that we build here on earth, regardless of where and how they are built, will eventually be destroyed, in one way or another. But treasures that we store up in Heaven will last for eternity.

Today, princess, instead of trying to impress someone with your knowledge, skill or bravery, show God that you love Him by sharing love with others. Be gentle to the harsh. Be kind to the mean people. Smile and someone who is sour. Open the door for someone. Pay it forward somewhere. Clean up someone else’s mess. Store up your treasures in Heaven, princess, because you know that one day He will purify the earth and get rid of all the treasures stored up here on earth.

Lessons from the beach – Part 2

Psalm 33:6-9 – “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. He gathered the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.”

The other night, my husband and I were standing out on the balcony of our room looking at the moon and watching the ebb and flow of the ocean. It all worked so perfectly together. It was a cloudless night. The reflection of the moon on the water seemed to go on for miles. It was so bright that you could see the swirls in the water between the waves crashing on the shore. It truly was beautiful. Actually, it made me cry just watching it.

Why would the ocean going in and out make me cry? Well, first of all, it takes very little to make me cry. The “Titanic” movie was one tissue box after another! But the reason for the tears this night was two fold. One, I was so grateful for all my blessings. I had my family with me by the beach. We were enjoying one another’s company. The weather was amazing. We all know Jesus as our Savior. The list goes on and on.

But the other reason for my tears was this: There were so many people looking at this same sight without the appreciation of God’s handiwork. They see the ocean going in and out. I see God controlling the waters so that the land isn’t overcome. He brings it in at just the right time for the turtles to get on the beach (that’s another story). He takes it out at just the right time for the boats to head out to sea. I mean really, what stops the ocean from running all up on the land like in a tsunami? Yes, I know, the moon controls the water. But who controls the moon? I know the answer to that one as well. God! Yet on this night, it dawned on me how many people can look at God’s creation and not see God. I can’t look anywhere and not see Him. How can they do that? My heart was broken.

The psalmist wrote in this chapter “let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him”. How can you not? I don’t get it.
But do you use your amazement in His creation to express your awe of Him before others? Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. I need to be more faithful to praise His name before others. And not just people at church. I need to express my awe in Him to people at work, in my neighborhood, at the grocery store. Every where! It needs to be as much of my existence as breathing. The very last verse of the very last Psalm says this: “Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.” (Psalm 150:6)

Princess, today, make it your goal to praise The Lord. Praise Him at least once to as many of the people you come in contact with as possible. Everyone if you can. And take a moment and admire His hand in creation. Find something unusual today that shows His majesty. How do we know there is a God? All we have to do is look out our window. Praise ye The Lord!