Saturday, May 31, 2008

Summer Boredom

I was very excited for school to end, for lazy mornings and no lunches to prepare. On day one of summer, my kids were already bored. One day and they are already complaining. So, here is my solution, a trampoline. Thanks to grandparents for graduation money and all the times they sent money for various holidays, the kids could almost get a trampoline. I helped them with the rest since I didn't want to hear "I am bored" all summer long. I must admit. This has been one of the best purchases we have made. Hours of entertainment. Worth every penny!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Open Wide

When you don't want to go to church, that is usually the time you need it the most. After my day yesterday, I really thought about skipping church and coming home and going to bed. But I knew that I needed to go and I am so glad I did. We are going verse by verse through the Psalms on Wednesday night and I was just so blessed. The praise time was just what I needed to get my focus off ME and onto the Lord. We sang a prayer begging the Lord to get our focus on Him. Here are the words:
"May Your voice be louder, and may Your voice be clearer than all the others, than all the others. May Your face be dearer and may Your words be sweeter than all the others, than all the others in my life. Please keep my eyes fixed on You. Please root my heart so deep in You. Keep me abiding, keep me abiding. Keep me abiding so that I, so that I may bear fruit. And may Your presence be truer and may Your presence be nearer than all the others, than all the others. And may Your light shine brighter and may Your love move deeper than all the others, than all the others in my life." What a prayer we all need. We can't do it without Him. We can't want to abide in Him without His help. This was my mistake yesterday. I was trying to force my way through the day. I wasn't asking for help, the help He longs to provide.
When we were in Psalms last night we were in chapters 78-81 and the main thing I learned is that God is waiting to fulfill our deepest needs. His biggest frustration with Israel is that He was giving them all the things they needed and they still turned away to other things. He continually provided for them miraculously and still didn't "believe in God or trust His deliverance." (Ps. 78:22). I think one of the worst things we can do to our Lord is not believe He will do what He says He will do. Our unbelief is obviously something that angers our Lord, as He was angered with the children of Israel. Yet, He continually tried to win them back to Him. Why? He knows He has what is best. The saddest part is the end of Psalm 81 when you can hear the longing in the voice of God. "If my people would be listen to me, if Israel would follow my ways, how quickly would I subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes! Those who hate the Lord would cringe before Him and their punishment would last forever. But you would be fed with the finest wheat, with honey from the rock I would satisfy you." How our God longs to satisfy us. He longs to feed us the finest wheat. Believe me, the things that we are turning to other than our Lord are not worth holding onto.
Our pastor reminded us the story of David and how when Nathan came to confront him with his sin and God said, "I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you more." (2 Samuel 12:8) God wants to fill our deepest desires, He longs to be all that we need - He is and wants us to believe it and live that way. When we are feeling discontent or lacking, ask Him to fill you. Sing the song above as your prayer to Him. He says in Psalms 81: 10 "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of ___________ (you fill in your blank, where did He bring you out of?). Open wide your mouth and I will fill it."
Let Him fill you up today!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Be Sure Your Sins Will Find You Out

Today is our last day school and, since the school was taking our kids to Skate City, I thought what would be the harm of letting Drew skip school to go to football camp with his team. I woke up early to have my quiet time ( I didn't yesterday and it wasn't the same having it in the afternoon, I was already crabby. Even a game of Nertz didn't help!) and I decided to check my e-mail really quickly. There was an e-mail from Drew's teacher saying he was missing 7 assignments. Yes, SEVEN!. I pulled him out of the bed, got him dressed and showed up to school at an awful hour to figure out what exactly was going on. Some of the assignments were in his desk. It was so messy I am not sure how one could find anything. There were quite a few that were incomplete.
So, we sit here at 1:30pm finishing up a newspaper that was due yesterday and I am trying to not knock some sense into my oldest child. He is going into middle school next year and I keep telling him that he won't have a teacher next year that will do this for him. It will all be his responsibility. I am beginning to sound like a broken record but I just can't help myself. I am so irritated. Plus, I never got to have my quiet time which further irritates me and puts me in a bad mood. I need Jesus to change me as much as my son needs it but I am focusing on him right now. He seems to be in much more need of changing.
Isn't that how it is though? It is so much easier to gripe and complain about what others are doing than to look at ourselves and see our need, our sin, our junk! My junk looks pretty bad when I think about how I have acted today. I honked at some car that almost ran me off the road (that one might have been justified) but I was mad about it. I hung up on Brad because I was irritated with Drew. I have lectured Drew on and off most of the day about being responsible and so on. I am sure anything I say is lost on him now because of the nagging. The list can go on and on.
So, instead of continuing on in the slow decline (or fast, however you want to look at it) I am going to get in my big leather chair, drink my Izze (my new favorite drink) and ask the Lord, as Beth Moore would say, "to please change my mood!" My family will be grateful!
PS. I forgot to mention in my list of reasons why I am mad today is that it is like 40 degrees here. It is cold, rainy, and foggy. My house was 62 degrees when I got home. I am cold and bitter.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Bring It On

One of my favorite Psalms is Psalms 126 "When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him."

These are our family verses. They speak so much of where we have been and where God has brought us. When Jake died, we felt like we were captives. We felt in bondage to the hurt and pain and didn't know if it was ever going to lift. Thankfully, God has brought us out of that - we can dream again, we can laugh again, and Brad's songs are filled with Joy.

It is God's grace that we can look back over our lives and say, "The Lord Has Done Great Things For Us and We Are Filled With Joy!" I have watched person after person let their grief overwhelm them and it is understandable. Grief can make you crazy but it doesn't have to. Grief can change your life and create in you a desire to press into the Lord so hard and so fully that you leave full of joy, saying that the Lord has done great things for me. How can we say this? How do you heal from something like this? This verse tells us and Beth Moore taught me this after we lost Jake. We sow with our tears and He promises us that we will reap with joy. The sowing here refers to the Word of God. She taught me to get on my knees and let my tears water the Word while I was praying. If we water the seed with our tears, we will one day rejoice as we bring in the sheaves (people to Him through our experience or us back to Him if we are angry). Wiersbe says that "this is the formula for a harvest: going, weeping, sowing, reaping." So often we want to be apart of reaping the harvest but we don't want to weep. We want the reward without the cost. I know I would much rather have the reward than start with the weeping. No one desires suffering but it is in the suffering that we find Him. It is when we lose our life that we gain it. I thought it fitting to leave you with words to a Steven Curtis Chapman song called, "Bring It On"

I didn't come lookin' for trouble
And I don't want to fight needlessly
But I'm not gonna hide in a bubble
If trouble comes for me
I can feel my heart beating faster
I can tell something's coming down
But if it's gonna make me grow stronger then¦

Bring it on
Let the lightning flash, let the thunder roll, let the storm winds blow
Bring it on
Let the trouble come, let the hard rain fall, let it make me strong
Bring it on

Now, maybe you're thinkin' I'm crazy
And maybe I need to explain some things
'Cause I know I've got an enemy waiting
Who wants to bring me pain
But what he never seems to remember
What he means for evil God works for good
So I will not retreat or surrender

Now, I don't want to sound like some hero
'Cause it's God alone that my hope is in
But I'm not gonna run from the very things
That would drive me closer to Him
So bring it on

Bring it on
Let the lightning flash, let the thunder roll, let the storm winds blow
Bring it on
Let the trouble come, let it make me fall on the One who's strong
Bring it on
Let the lightning flash, let the thunder roll, let the storm winds blow
Bring it on
Let me be made weak so I'll know the strength of the One who's strong
Bring it on
Bring it on

Thursday, May 22, 2008

3 Days

I just got this from Beth Moore's blog and want to share and do the same.

The Living Proof Ministries blog will go dark for three days as a representation of silent mourners sitting beside our friends and co-laborers in the Gospel, Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman and their children. We pray that this small effort will serve as a reminder to all who visit here to go face down and intercede for this dear and loving family at this terrible time of loss. We have chosen three days as a symbol of resurrection as we plead with God to comfort them, tend deeply to each one of them, and raise them in the months and years to come from this place of unimaginable grief.

Faithful family of God, our deepest thoughts, love, and prayers are with you and will remain with you for many months to come.

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'" Revelation 21:1-4

Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly.

The Privilege of Pain

I have always thought that I would title a book I would write one day, "The Privilege of Pain." As Brad and I were praying for the Chapman family last night, he said something that stood out to me, "I can't wait to hear the songs that come from this!" Steven is an incredible song writer before grief and heartache struck his family and, having experienced this intense grief, we know that God changes you completely for the good if you let Him. There is a depth and intimacy that words can't describe, at least mine can't. Brad is much better at this. His songs give words to the grief, as I know that one day Steven Curtis' will too.

With pain, comes responsibility and privilege. God, as He did with Job, trusts us to walk through the pain and heartache this life allows with Him carrying us through it. His Mighty Name is at stake as we endure our tragedy. When tragedy hits, it begins to show us if we really believe what we say we do. As Beth Moore says, "Our theology meets our reality." How awesome it is when it does. The greatest blessing or privilege that I got to experience when our Jake died, was KNOWING beyond a shadow of a doubt that what God says in His word is Truth. He will comfort you, He will walk you through the valley of the shadow of death. He is my Rock and Hiding place, and He can bring a peace that passes all understanding. There is so much more that I KNOW personally about Him that I just don't think I would have known before. I must tell you that one of the most freeing places in all the world to be is to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He can be trusted with our lives and our future, to know and believe (really believe) Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know that plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for a hope and a future." I can rest in that promise and you can too!

God can take our sorrow and grief and use it for His glory. It is one of the things He is so amazing at -- redeeming us to be a testimony for His name's sake. It is a privilege that He, the Most High God, can use us to further His Kingdom.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Please Pray

Please pray for Steven Curtis Chapman and his family. His daughter was killed in a car accident today.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The 5-year-old daughter of contemporary Christian music star Steven Curtis Chapman was struck and killed Wednesday by a sport utility vehicle driven by her brother, authorities said. The girl, Maria, was hit in a driveway on the family residence Wednesday afternoon by a Toyota Land Cruiser driven by her teenage brother, said Laura McPherson, a spokesman for the Tennessee Highway Patrol. McPherson said no charges are expected."It looks like a tragic accident," she said.
She said several members of the Chapman family witnessed the accident, which happened in Williamson County just south of Nashville. The brother apparently did not see the little girl, McPherson said. She did not have the name or exact age of the brother, only that he is an older teenager. The girl died later at Vanderbilt Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Laurie Holloway said.

Steven Curtis is Brad's favorite artist and his music brought much healing to us after we lost Jake in almost the exact same way. I pray that they will be comforted the way we were.

I Thessalonians 4:13 "Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope."

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sun Bathing

I just have to tell y'all that I love the sun. I am sitting here in my backyard with a gentle breeze that keeps me cool enough to not sweat to death. Praise the Lord, summer is here. I can finally sit outside in something less than a sweater. It feels good to walk outside and not have to brace yourself for the cold. The sun does good things for my mood. My household is thankful. I am much nicer in the summer! School is almost out, bedtimes can be eased a bit, no more rushing out the door for school. Lazy mornings.

I have to admit that winters here make my a bit grumpy. I get tired of the cold. I like to be warm, hot really. I read this verse in Psalm 84:11 "For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless." Maybe I like the sun because God is referred to as the sun in Psalms. I wish! I am way more selfish than that. What I like is my comfort. We all like our comforts, don't we? We all have ways we like the weather, the temperature in our houses - both during the day and at night. It usually changes. We have our likes and dislikes for
just about everything under the sun!

God longs to do good things for us but many times I think we miss the good things because we have our lives just where we want them. Our temperatures are set, usually automatically, to come on just when we want them. We don't lack for many things. How hard have we made it to see the good things that God wants to bestow on those whose walk is
blameless? God longs to give us good things, yet He longs for us to not need the good things. Weird huh? At the Beth Moore conference a couple of weeks ago, she talked about how "things" aren't wrong. It's the things we use to fill us. (My interpretation. She says it much better!) We must bask in His sunlight before we go out and fill up on other things. He
longs to give us good things but in abundance to Him not instead of Him.

I pray today you bask in His sunlight as I sit and bask in the created sun He created for us to enjoy! Enjoy His glowing presence.

Friday, May 16, 2008

New Kids On The Block

I was watching the Today Show this morning and they had "The New Kids
On The Block" singing all their old songs and generally making fools
of themselves. I used to love them. My dad took me and all my fifth
grade girl friends to go and see them in concert a couple of times.
We were all in love with them and stood for three hours screaming at
the top of our lungs. What memories! How sad to see them now as 30
year olds dancing around the stage awkwardly with half naked girls
dancing around them. I am sure they didn't have that when we went to
their concert.
My advice, like Paul's, is best not to go back. In Philippians 3:13, Paul
says "forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead."
We should all take this heart. God is ready to do a new thing. It is
time to leave the past in the past. God is wanting to do a fresh and
new thing in our lives. Let's ask Him to speak afresh to us today,
not to go on things we have learned about Him in the past, but to do a
new work in our lives.
Isaiah 43:19 "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you
not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Unseen At Pikes Perk

Brad and the band will be playing at Pikes Perk on Research and Powers Friday night at 7. Hope to see y'all there. I will be the one drinking coffee and playing Nertz!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Whose Willing to Pay the Price?

Officially football is over. Part of me is relieved and part of me is sad. I love football season. I love to sit out and talk to Paula for two hours four times a week while the boys practice. Sometimes we play cards, sometimes we cheer on the boys, sometimes we hide in the car because we don't want to watch our boys possibly get hurt during hitting drills or it is just too cold to sit outside and watch. Often, we just sit on a blanket and talk about our weeks, our struggles, our fears, our hurts. You name it, we talk about it! 

Last week during half time of our last game our coach was giving the kids the usual half time motivational talk. Most of the parents were ready to suit up and get on the field with the boys after our half time pep talk. You see, our coach gives new meaning to the words “pep talk.”
Let me see if I can explain. Our small group went through the study "Love and Respect" and he talked about the way men are motivated and how any good Army general will motivate through respect and honor. Our coach does exactly that and he does it at the top of his lungs. He grabs a helmet and runs across the field for the boys to follow. Each boy sits around him and waits for what he is going to say. He usually starts with a question like, "Who do these boys think they are to be on this field with you?" He goes on to explain how great they are, how they fight with heart, and how, most importantly, they play fair. We had a team this weekend that thought if they couldn't beat us they would just hurt us. Our coach was not impressed.  He was yelling so everyone within 5 miles could hear him, including the other team, that they didn't like this team and that our boys were to play right and he would pull them from the game if they didn't. 

He honors our boys by telling them that they have paid the price all week and now it is time to show them what they are made of. At the end of practice, they do fourth quarters. Fourth quarters are four different sets of brutal workouts from bear crawls to suicides. During the last set, all the boys start yelling "Fourth Quarter." And then one will ask, "Who’s willing to pay the price?" and the boys yell, "Bills, Bills, Bills (our team name). It is quite a sight. 

At our games, he begins with the boys huddling up and jumping up and down yelling, "It's time to go to war. It's time to go to war!" They do this over and over again and then run out on the field. At the beginning of the 4th quarter they all jump up and down yelling "four, four, four," and "It's time to go to war! It's time to go to war!" 

After all of that we are ready to go to war. I just have to tell you it is just what our boys need. Our boys need to be called to rise up and be warriors, to pay the price during the week and fight hard when needed, to push through the pain and continue on. In a world where our boys are being told all different things about what it is like to be a man, I appreciate a coach who teaches what it means to work hard, pay the price, and fight hard. It is a "Braveheart" movie every Saturday, "A Wild at Heart" book in the making. 

A friend told me the other day that a child psychologist told her that football promotes violence. I have to disagree. These boys are learning how to take a hit. Christian men need to be fighters. Don't we live in a battle every day in our Christian lives? 
Our boys need to be skilled in battle. They need to be winners and not whiners. They have got to know how to take a hit. Our Christian men need to learn how not to cry when they fall down. They need to learn to "suck it up,” how to "face their giant" when the other team is full of guys the size of their dads, and how to find the courage to overcome. God made men to be protectors and fighters. Football is a good way to teach them just that. 

It is not a real war, even though our coach might think it is. It is good training for the real ones. Football, and many other sports, require discipline, self-control, and lots of hard work. Tell me what pre-adolescent boy doesn't need that! Boys need to run and run until they think they can't run anymore. Then they need to do it some more. A good coach will make them do this. They can't stop if they are tired or want to quit. He runs up beside them and screams, "who’s willing to pay they price?" as they run some more. They learn to obey the coach regardless of what they think of his demands. They learn the discipline of obeying authority and pushing their bodies to do what they are told even when they are tired. 

Football does more than this. It teaches the boys how to work together, how to cheer for each other. There is nothing better than watching our boys pat each other on the helmet or bump chests when they did well, or help each other up when they missed a pass, or bring in the last runners on team run. It creates a sense of unity or the consequences of letting the team down when one boy has bad grades or gets in trouble and has to stand up in front of the team and tell them why they can't play with the team this week. I have to tell you, that is a parent's dream. I can't create a consequence that means more. 

Football can reveal lots about your own son. Nancy Wilson says you can see how they are doing spiritually. Are they throwing a temper tantrum when they don't get to play? Are you? Are they sorry losers? Are you? Do they cry when they fall down? ( I do believe that tears are ok sometimes, just not a habit.) Does he respond in anger when he messes up? Does he work with the team or is it all for himself? Does he play dirty or give the refs a hard time?  Do you? I have to admit, I am guilty of that one. Football can show us all too plainly where our son's weaknesses are. 

That is why I LOVE football and I am sad it is over. September is not too far away. Is it?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day


If you give a mom a muffin,

She’ll want a cup of coffee to go with it.

She’ll pour herself some.

The coffee will get spilled by her three year old

She’ll wipe it up.

Wiping the floor, she will find some dirty socks.

She’ll remember she has to do some laundry.

When she puts the laundry in the washer,

She will trip over some snow boots and bump into the freezer.

Bumping in to the freezer will remind her that she has to plan for supper tonight

She will get out a pound of hamburger

She’ll look for her cookbook

The cookbook will be sitting on a pile of mail

She will see the phone bill, which is due tomorrow

She will look for her checkbook

The checkbook in her purse, which is being dumped out by her 2 year old

She’ll smell something funny

She’ll change her 2 year old

While she is changing her 2 year old, the phone will ring

Her five year old will answer it and hang up

She remembers she wants to phone a friend to come over for coffee on Friday

Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup

She will pour herself some

And chances are if she has a cup of coffee her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Be Careful Little Eyes What You See

My friend, Melanie and I were at the party store getting ready for a going away party for a dear friend of ours. Melanie is a friend that has such a talent to make things happen and make them beautiful in the process.  I have all these great ideas and I call her and she makes them happen. Poor thing, she probably hates the day I moved one street over from her. We both serve our church in women's ministry and poor thing, I get her doing all kinds of stuff. She has spent many of night up late cutting, pasting, and decorating all sorts of "great ideas" I have. 

Anyways, I had Jackson shopping with us and at the front of the store they had all of these cute sunglasses that he was trying on. One of the pair had large gold money signs (can you imagine?) on them but all he could see while wearing them was the stripes and he said, "Mom, look, my eyes are in jail." It was so cute. 

But as I got to thinking, I thought many of us need to put our eyes in jail. It reminds me of the song we used to sing when we were little, "Oh, be careful little eyes what you see, for the Father up above is looking down in love. So, be careful little eyes what you see." Now, many of us as women are not as visual as men and don't struggle with the visual aspect, some do though and need to be extra careful. Some of us need to be careful with what we watch from the emotional stand point. The men and relationships pictured in movies, tv, and books are so not real and can create an unhealthy longing in us. 

Proverbs 4:25-27 "Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level the paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil."

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Tiny FIt

Do you ever just need to throw a tiny fit? I sure feel like throwing one today. Why? Glad you asked, I am just about tired of the gossip, slander, and dissensions in the body of Christ. Over what you ask, EACH OTHER. It has got to stop. We feel the freedom to say whatever we want about another believer, to congregations across the globe, to whoever we want and think we are doing this with biblical backing. 

The only Scripture that I can find to support this is in Acts 17:11 when we are told to be like Bereans who examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. This is the only Scripture that I can find on this subject and we are not told what to do with it if we find that someone is teaching something that isn't true. Scripture does tell us what to do if we have a problem with someone, this would include what they are teaching, you go to them first. You do not go to everyone around you, call your friends, your mom, your teacher. Then if the problem is still not resolved you go to and get two or three witnesses. This is God's way of handling conflict in the body.
Now, there is scripture after scripture that speaks to judging, gossip, slander, and causing dissension in the body. I have heard it said many times, "You can be right and not be righteous." Amen to that, boy have I been there. So many times, we want to be right so bad we lose all of our (Jesus' in us) righteousness. 

Let me just read Galatians 5:16-21 "I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.  But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.  Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,  idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."

The word variance here in the greek means contention, strife, wrangling, how often is this happening in our churches and from our pulpits? 

This word is used 9 times in the NT and all relating to the same thing - Rom. 1:29 the word is translated debate, Rom. 13:13 uses the word, strife, 1 Cor. 1:11 with use of the word contentions, 1 Cor. 3:3 using strife again, 2 Cor. 12:20 again we see debates, Phil. 1:15 is strife again, 1 Tim. 6:4 again we see strife, Titus 3:9 uses contentions. 

All of these verses talk about the carnal, fleshly way NOT to live. This weekend at church we had a guest speaker and he was talking about the way we see the sin of others. I am not saying at ALL that these people that they are speaking out against are sinning, which makes it even more devastating because they are leading these people to the throne of God but that is beside the point. We are to see our sin as a large log and theirs as a speck. How often is that true of us? We are so quick to look at others. 

I have to tell you that I am enthralled in this word study. In 2 Cor. 12:20 it says, "For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and [that] I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest [there be] debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults:"

The word for backbiting is defamation or evil speaking.  Whispering means secret slandering or get this and I love it, of the magical murmuring of a charmer of snakes. Swelling means  a puffing up of soul, loftiness, pride.

Needless to say, I could go on and on with the word study  and the problem this behavior is causing our body. The affect it is having is not measurable, one would think we could stop fighting with ourselves long enough to reach a world watching us fighting and wanting no part of it.

I leave you with Titus 3:9 "But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. " Warren Wiersbe says "people who are busy for the Lord do not have time for useless arguments." 

I feel better, sorry to throw up on you, but had to get it off my chest. Now I am up to my ears in the word study of a heresy. Will let you know what I find. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Notes from Beth Moore Conference - THANKS NIKI!

Beth Moore Conference
"Laying Down Your Cross"

Matthew 16.24-28 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."

[The Lord has come for what is left]

Matthew 16.24-28
- Will I give up the world I can see to serve the God I cannot see? (The biggest fight we have)
- "Losing to find"
- The secret to absolute happiness
~ (Phil 4) "I have found the secret...."

Prelude to vs.24-28
- (21-23) Jesus was rebuked by Peter
- Jesus replied to Peter, "Get behind me Satan, for you are a stumbling block to me."
~ the things of man = stumbling blocks
* The gospel is not an offense to our intellect. It is an offense to our pride.*
- (2 Cor 4.10) The life of Jesus should be revealed in our body.

1.) Christ offers us a life we'd trade the world to have.
- To will; the desire to give everything
- J.K. Marlon, "We were meant to live dramatic lives of goodness, truth, and beauty"

2.) This life cannot be sought. It can only be found.
- We have to lose it to find it.
- We must follow Him to the death
* the disciples followed and witnessed the life of Jesus
- Will I trust in God for the will of my life or will I rest in my own comfort?

3.) This life's biggest stumbling block will be self-protection.
- If we protect our lives from the will of God, we will lose our lives!
- Those who love us may love our character not our calling (mistaken tenderness)
- God's will never enters were self-will dominates.
- (2 Cor 11.14-15) Satan masquerades himself as an angel of light; comfort
- Christ bids us to come and follow Him. "Oh The Wonderful Cross"
"We place God's holy words on our hearts so that when the heart breaks, the words fall in"
- The very thing that killed Him, raises us to life.

The Call - God called us by name to follow Him according to His purpose.
Give it up to live it up!
Jesus does not lead us in circles. He wants to take us to new places.

4.) The cost of missing this life is infinitely higher than the cost of living it.
- my destiny; purpose for existence
- "We are like flies crawling on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel.... When we follow Christ, our feet are on holy ground."
- Luke 9.25
- What good does it do to lose the real you? (the you that has been called by God)
- We are created in the image of our creator! This is the most expensive, valuable thing we have, what would we trade that for?
~ material wealth = impoverished souls. Nothing material can nourish the immaterial.
~ "Exchange" from the Greek, "Antallagma" - "an equivalent or ransom - in exchange"
~ What do I ransom my soul for in order to have security? Convenience?
~ Ecc 2.1-11, 17
- Heaven beats Hell. This life is a vapor. Solomon, "everything was meaningless... I hated my life."

5.) In this life, denying ourselves means denying self the right to rob us of God.
- Taking up the cross means to play your role well.
- Denying ourselves:
a) Selfishness - robs us of contentment. Christianity does not treat our selfishness.
b) Insatiable ego - I have to get over myself to find myself! No Voting Stock - quell it in Jesus' name. [Why so downcast? - Why so ego driven?]
- Our culture is mass producing narcissists! [staring at our own refection; being self-consumed, "all me-ism"]
- If we are obsessed with ourselves we will thirst to death. The allegory of man and reflection where the idea narcissism is taken from.
- 2 Tim 3.1 "The more godless our society gets, the more narcissistic we become." Would I rather be right or have a relationship?"
c) saves us from the bondage of addictions.
- both substance and behavioral Addiction to approval?
- "addiction" from Latin, "addictus" means to "surrender to the gods" Addiction is stronger than human love, but not stronger than God's love. Addiction is worship. Christ demands to be the central activity, because everything but Christ hurts us.
- "Every man is eaten up with some kind of zeal." Surgeon
- "The idea that self must fix this broken self is self-destructing. But I sure kept trying to fix myself with myself. Self-help is no help at all!" (the addiction of self-help)
- God is bigger than any addiction and is sovereign over those who trust and surrender.
- In order to live in victory, we have to trust the Lord daily.

6.) This life involves giving ourselves up, not giving up!"
- Luke 21.19 "By standing firm, you will gain your life."
~ persevere to win!
* tribulation vs. irritation We are not wimps. We are warriors!
~ We will never lose a fight when we are in Jesus.
~ Our calling will not be convenient for us. Adapt. We do not quit.
- Worldly understanding of happiness:
~ self-absorbed narcissism
~ success produces a celebrity.
- Biblical understanding of happiness:
~ self -denying apprenticeship to Jesus
~ success produces a hero.

7.) Whatever we lose to find this life will be incomparably supplanted.
- (Matt 16), (Heb 11.6), (Rom 8.18)
- My rewards lie with Jesus, my creator

Christ calls us to self-sacrifice. He will esteem you, beloved!

Monday, May 5, 2008

"How Sad to Live With the Consequences of FORGIVEN Sin"

"How Sad to Live With the Consequences of FORGIVEN Sin." William Culbertson. 

Have you ever come to that place in your life when you thought you had dealt with all your sin and junk in your past and then realized that you really hadn't? That describes my weekend. 

Let me start at the beginning. I went to a women's ministry leadership conference on Thursday and Friday last week. I went with the intention of learning some fun things to add to our women's ministry. I didn't go in with the intention that God was going to rock my world and change my life, why not? That is another story about how I don't go to things expecting God to do a MAJOR work in my life, but we are working on one thing at a time here. 

We had a choice of what classes we wanted to go to and I picked Maximizing Your Ministry. I thought that would be the perfect class for me. There was also another class called Ministering to Your Women In Crises, and I thought it looked OK but really wasn't for me. Most of you know, for awhile I was a crises on wheels and thought that I didn't need to attend THAT class. But I met a sweet lady from a area church and as we sat through the first class of Maximizing your Ministry, we both felt it was not what we were looking for so we changed and headed unexpectantly to the ministering to women in crises. As luck would have it (grin over that statement) there was only one seat left and it was right in the front of the lady teaching. I went to sit there and asked if anyone was sitting there. The lady behind me sad no, the lady that was sitting there moved because she kept getting called on. Oh great, here we go. 

As this lady started her class, she was just a doll and I loved her from the first second. She was dressed so cute and had on the best, quality shoes (HAHA) I have ever seen. I was hooked from the moment she started. Her name is Pat Layton and she has just written a book called Surrendering The Secret. ( It is a bible study for post abortion trauma. As I listened to her teach us how to deal with women in crises. She said so many things that I needed to hear. Beth Moore says over and over again that before we are ready to minister to others we had to deal with our own stuff. Ladies, let me tell you, I thought I had dealt with my own stuff.  Sitting there I had to come to grips with the fact that I hadn't totally done that. There was a lot of stuffing down and not truly healing. God was showing me that it was my pride and self-protection (you will hear that word from me lots in the next few weeks, I am sure. After the leadership training, we went to Living Proof Life with Beth Moore and her topic leads right into all of what God was showing me. More on that later, there is so MUCH, it is all running together.YEAH GOD) 

Anyway, back to where I was, God was telling me that I needed to forgive myself of past sins and not act like they weren't there. Not thinking about them doesn't mean always mean forgiveness and healing has taken place. We have to deal with our sin and lay it at the cross. I realized that I only wanted to tell parts of my testimony and not all of it. I didn't want to admit to ALL that I had done wrong. I was just pretending it wasn't there. I had to text my parents in the middle and apologize and ask them for forgiveness for all that I put them through - some stuff they knew about and some, praise the Lord, they don't. My Mom was so sweet and had already forgiven me and went on to let me know that there was no shame in Jesus. That my not accepting Jesus' forgiveness was telling Him that the cross was not enough. Oh Lord, what a price He paid, the least I could do was accept that forgiveness. 

So, this morning, as I was reading my bible reading. I was in Psalms, and my heart just jumped out in my skin when I got to Psalm 51. Now I have read Psalm 51 before many times, I have sang it, prayed it. But this morning, I read it, as if it was a text (grin) to me. It was my personal prayer to the Lord. All in one psalm. It wrapped up everything my heart and soul needed to say to Him.  I wrote out that prayer this morning in my journal making it personal as if it was from me to Him (with a thanks to David for his words and a praise to the Lord that He allowed David to write it as an example to us). 

After doing that I opened my With the Word by Warren Wiersbe and this was the quote he had under his commentary of Psalm 51. "How sad to live with the consequences of FORGIVEN sin." I thought that summed it up better than I could. God has offered us so much at the cross, a forgiven life, let's start living it, bask in His forgiveness and as we do we can then do, what God has called me and each of us to do,  Psalms 51: 13 "Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you." My new life calling! and then David goes on to say, "O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise." (Ps. 51:15) My other life calling, a life of praise!

Let's live today as Jesus intended it when He died on the cross, to offer His perfect life for our imperfect one! Amen and Amen.