Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What's a little pain anyway?

Yesterday, my granddaughter Mikaela had a dentist appointment. What started out to be just a routine filling on a back tooth, turned into a not-so-routine crown. A nice,shiny, silver crown that Mikaela was very proud of! Of course, when she got home the first thing she did was show her little brother, Eli. He looked at it and in a voice filled with awe said, "Mikaela, that is so beautiful!". She looked at him and said, "Yeah, but it hurt to get that tooth, Eli."

Sometimes the wonderful things we obtain in this life come with a little pain attached.

The process of making a marriage work can be painful. The miracle of birth is accompanied by some pain. Standing tall for Christ can come with a little pain. The spiritual growth process in a Christian's life doesn't come without a little pain. Being obedient to the Lord can hurt sometimes.

But the end result of all these things makes a little bit of pain well worth it! The beauty of what is yielded from those experiences gloriously exceeds the level of discomfort.

Two become one. New life. Allegiance to Christ. Relationship with Jesus. Walking with God.

Just like that shiny, silver crown came with a little bit of pain, so do the things that help us to become molded into who God intends us to be.

Oh, Lord Jesus, help me to find joy in the pain and rejoice at the end results!

"Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful nevertheless, afterward it yields the peacable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." (Hebrews 12:11)

Rejoicing in Him,

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Are we Fruitful?

As I was doing my bible study by Kay Arthur, she asks this question. "Do you know people who acknowledge the worship of God yet don't seem fully aligned with His Kingdom? If so, what things seem to take priority in their lives and do these things take precedence over God and His work?"

Talk about a loaded question! The answer is most assuredly, yes. I thought about it and I came to a realization that all things take priority over God in the lives of people who haven't begun to understand who God is and what surrender actually means.

Even as Christians it is so easy to get bogged down and side-tracked in this materialistic, success-driven, 'all about me' world that we live in. We want to say all the right things, wear all the right clothes, do all the right stuff and appear all the right ways. We are willing to do what it takes to be 'somebody' in the world. But are we willing to do what it takes to be committed to being somebody in God's Kingdom?

We can know God and we can confess Him as Lord. But is our allegiance to Him? Are we living in total obedience and unwavering loyalty to Christ and the spreading of the gospel? Are we seeking things when we need to be seeking truths? Are we seeking pleasure when we need to be seeking purpose?

If most of us (including me) are honest with ourselves, we would admit that we aren't completely surrendered to God's will. We have this inborn longing and need to fit in. The dissatisfaction we so often feel in our lives feeds our desire for more of something. We want to make more, to have more, so we spend more, to be more and then we desire more, so we have to make more! How crazy is that!

What we need is more Jesus. More time spent in the Word. More time spent in prayer. More time spent communing with God. More time producing fruit.

God deserves our firsts and not our lasts. Anything less than our best is divided allegiance. Our number one focus should be Christ. We need to give more than just lip service to our Lord. We need to make Christ the top priority in word and deed. Let the fruit that we bear be witness to this. Deny ourselves. Take up our cross. Follow Jesus.

"Therefore by their fruits you will know them" (Matthew 7:20)

Seeking Him,

Monday, December 29, 2008

Making Memories

Just thought I'd post a few pics of what my 2 oldest grandyoungin's and I did Saturday. I had purchased a gingerbread snowman kit and we tackled it with full force. (of course, I thought it was an actual gingerbread man until Mikaela informed me otherwise!) I think Eli ate more frosting than he put on his snowman and he used a TON of sprinkles. He also took one last lick off of the bottom of the snowman before I dunked him and his sister in the tub. Mikaela had a great time also, but her long hair kept getting in the frosting so needless to say, she had a much needed hair washin' when I put them in the bathtub. We had tons of fun and that's all that matters. Price of gingerbread kit - $7.00. Making memories with my sweet grandbabies - priceless.
Loving my Jesus,

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Because of Christ

Because of Christ, I am made righteous. I aspire for holiness and desire sanctification. I have been redeemed.

Because of Christ, I don't have to worry about my identity with the world. I don't need others to define who I am. I am defined only by Jesus and the price He paid for me at Calvary!

Because of Christ, I have been engrafted by grace into His family. The family of God. I have been sealed with the Holy Spirit.

Because of Christ, I am a child of the King! My greatest accomplishment is accepting God's free gift of Grace - my salvation - and becoming a disciple for Him.

Thank you, Lord, for having mercy on me. Thank you for saving a sinner like me. Thank you for being the redemption for my sins. May I always be a disciple for your Glory.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2:8)

Seeking Him,

Friday, December 26, 2008

Do you have any empty boxes?

I sat in front of the tree on Christmas Eve night. The house was quiet. I was the only one still awake. And I started thinking... I looked at all our decorations from 24 years of collecting, the white lights all aglow. The blinking angel on top of the tree which quit blinking that night..Passels of presents under the tree wrapped and ready to be eagerly opened in the morning. The day that we so anxiously look forward to would soon be here and then as quick as it came it would be over.

All the list making, the cards we sent out, the shopping, the money spent, more shopping, the wrapping of presents, the stuffing of stockings, the christmas caroling. All the preparation of food and candy and cookies. All these things that preoccuppied our time and lives would soon be behind us.

We allow all this to raise our stress levels, tire ourselves out and spend more that we need to spend. We get so overwhelmed by it all that sometimes we are ready for it to be over before it even starts. That in itself is the saddest part of the whole thing.

We miss the reason we celebrate. We miss the immaculate conception. We miss the angel. We miss Mary and Joseph. We miss the star. We miss the shepherds and wise men. We miss the baby in the manger. We miss Jesus.

We put so much of ourselves into the "things" that we think make up Christmas, that we neglect the only thing that matters.

The birth of our Savior. Born in a stable in Bethlehem. Born to become King. Born to save us from our sins. Born to die. Born to rise. Born to come again. Hallelujah!

Now, it's the morning after Christmas and all that's left is remanents of paper, empty wallets, empty stockings, empty boxes.

Let's fill our boxes back up with praise, worship, giving, love, forgiveness and kindness. Let's keep our boxes full of Jesus so that we don't miss Him in our daily lives. Let's fill our hearts to overflowing with the love of Christ. Let's fill our boxes with gifts to lay at the feet of Jesus.

"Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, God with us" (Matthew 1:23)

Loving my Jesus,

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

He is Here

Have you ever had a church service where the presence of God just abounds? We experienced that on Sunday (yes, I know that I am the Preacher's wife, but it's true..) The presence of God just filled the sanctuary and you could feel Him everywhere! You could not only feel Him and sense His presence, but you could hear it. Sweet voices giving praise to our God. Sweet voices that sounded so angelic. Voices that were sincere. Voices filled with worship. Voices that cried out to Jesus.

"Surely, the presence of the Lord is in this place.
I can feel His mighty power and His grace.
I can hear the brush of angel wings, I see Glory on each face.
Surely, the presence of the Lord is in this place."

When we totally surrender ourselves over to worship, God will show up in a mighty way. He desires to be right in the midst of our praise. There is nothing like the feeling of having God's presence wrap itself around you like a warm blanket. It envelopes our being and the warmth floods our souls. You can feel it on your skin like a chill in the air. You can feel the presence pressing down on your head. You close your eyes and are transported to another place. A place where holiness abounds. A place where nothing matters except Christ. A place where you are communing one on one with the Savior. A place of peace.

If you have ever experienced this, it's something you desire to feel again and again. You never want the sweet fellowship to end. Can you imagine what Heaven is going to be like? Continual worship. Continual fellowship. Continual presence of God. Continual Glory. Face down. At His feet. Praising.

"And every creature which is in heaven and on earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:

Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!"

Revelation 5:13 (NKJV)

Loving my Jesus,

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Fresh start anyone?

New beginnings. New mercies. What an awesome God who gives us daily chances to renew our love for Him. As hard as I try to live a life in the Spirit, my flesh somehow manages to rear it's ugly head and I allow defeat to creep in. Praise the Lord that there is repentance and forgiveness.

New determination. New desire to live my life for Christ. I want to be a consuming fire for God. I want to do all I can to bring Glory to His name. I want His name to be on my lips 24 hours a day! He is so worthy and I am so lacking. I long to feel His presence as i go about my daily life.

Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the mundane things of this world, that I realize I have become the very thing that I try so hard to avoid being. Worldy. Materialistic. Forgive me Lord for hungering after things when I need to be hungering after You. Let there be more of You and less of me.

May my hands do what You will. May my feet go where You lead. May my paths be directed only by You.

New direction. New passion. A new start.

"Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:22,23)

In Him,


I would love to get some suggestions on daily devotions. I do my "Journey" each morning. I also have a devotion book by Jennifer Rothschild. But if anyone has any good books to recommend, please let me know!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas memories

My precious girls - Melissa, Ashlie, Megan 2008

My sweet babies Christmas 1993

My sweet babies Christmas 1994

I love the Christmas season and I love the memories that are stored in my heart from when I was a little girl all the way up until now. When my 3 girls were growing up, my husband and I focused on creating memories for them. It was important to us that when they grew up and left home (which at the time seemed AGES away) they would be able to remember and relive, with fondness, the time they spent in our home. Those years have passed much too quickly and there are times when I wish we could go back and just have a "do-over" if you know what I mean.

Things started to change for us when Christmas 2002 rolled around. It was no longer just the 5 of us, but we had a new granddaughter in the mix. What a glorious addition to the family and what joy that precious little bundle brought to our household. But the Christmases of the past were forever changed. By the next year, there were only 4 of us around the tree on Christmas morning. Our oldest daughter, Megan, was at her own home with her husband and daughter beginning the process of making her own memories. By the time Christmas 2006 came around my youngest daughter, Ashlie,was newly married and beginning her own traditions in her own home, so we were a little family of 3 around our tree that year. Christmas morning is now very different than in the past. Our daughter Melissa, who is now 22, wants to sleep late on Christmas morning and the anticipation and excitement of it all just isn't the same. I don't have any little ones at home. I don't have 3 sweet little girls waking me up early to see what's under the tree. I don't have toys to put together Christmas Eve night after the girls have gone to bed. But I still have my memories.

When I asked my girls to tell me some things that really stood out in their minds about their childhood Christmases, not one of them mentioned anything about gifts and what they did or didn't get. Here were their memories:

1. Decorating the tree Thanksgiving weekend (until this year!)
2. Listening to Christmas music while we decorated the tree.
3. Drinking hot cocoa (made from a mix) while decorating. Melissa wanted to know one year "How else would you make it?"
4. Shaking the presents and trying to guess what was in the packages.
5. Opening 1 gift on Christmas Eve (always pajamas to wear that night).
6. Baking Christmas cookies with sprinkles and lots of icing.
7. Homemade cinnamon rolls Christmas morning.
8. Me always having to pour that first cup of coffee before we began opening gifts.
9. Their daddy handing out gifts one at a time. (We all had to watch each person open each gift...)
10. Reading the Christmas story out of Luke.
11. Having "ice-skating" contests in the living room in front of the tree while we listened to Christmas music. Poor Ashlie always had to win the bronze medal, because she was the baby and didn't care...
12. Laughing, fun, togetherness.

I miss those days, but I am proud of the young women that my girls have become. I am glad that through the Grace of my Lord, He equipped me and my husband to hand down to them the most precious gift of all. We taught our children from very early on about Jesus. We taught them the Word. We went to church as a family. We loved them. We cherished our times (good and not so good) together. We gave them roots.

So, even though there are no more "ice-skating" contests in front of the tree, no little girls begging to open "just one more present" before Christmas, no more happy squeals Christmas morning, I look forward to this time of year when we celebrate the birth of our Savior. There is nothing that can bring us any more joy than Jesus. He is the greatest gift. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is truly the reason for the season. May I always keep my eyes on Him.

"For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger." (Luke 2:11,12)
In His Redemptive Grace,

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

There's nothing like a good soaking...

Nana and Bryton after bathtime!

What do you get when you take one filthy little boy with sticky hands and perhaps a little grape jelly on his mouth and then you dunk him in a tub filled with soapy water? Miracle of miracles, you get a squeaky clean little fella looking just like he did when he started his day fresh. He comes out smelling so clean. He comes out looking brand new! There is nothing like a good soaking to get rid of the dirt we accumulate during the course of our day. I couldn't help but think about this when my youngest daughter was bathing her little boy the other day. When I lifted Bryton out of the tub he looked quite different than when she plopped his little body in there. He went in dirty and came out clean!

I am so thankful for the cleansing blood of our precious Lord. I am thankful that when I accumulate a little "dirt" in the process of my daily life, I can go to Him for a little dunking in some sudsy living water and come out squeaky clean. I can be washed as white as snow. A fresh start... a fresh feeling... ready for a fresh encounter.

Thank you, Lord for the cleansing power of your Word. Thank you, Lord that we can come to you and get rid of the filth we collect during the day. Thank you for sanctification through Jesus.

"Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water." (Hebrews 10:22)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Look Who's Walking!

I spent the day with all 4 of my sweet grandbabies. The oldest, Mikaela, is now 6, Eli is 3, Bryton is 21 months and the baby of the bunch, Mercie, just turned 10 months. Over the course of the last 6 years, I have witnessed many milestones among this crew of youngins'. The first times they rolled over and sat alone, their first tooth, their first words, the first time they pulled up and then eventually their first steps.

In the last few days, Mercie began taking her first steps. It was so exciting as she went from 1 or 2 steps to now being able to take about 8 or 9 steps. It was fun to watch her. She would take a few steps and then stop and clap for herself, then take a few more. If she faltered and fell, I just encouraged her to get back up and try again. Of course I was clapping and cheering for her the whole time! Even though I have observed my other 3 grandchildren do this very same thing, it was just as precious to me and brought the same amount of joy as if it were something totally brand new. Each new milestone of each grandchild evoked the same emotion of amazing wonder in me even though they were not new experiences.

I thought about this concept in relation to the way God feels about us and our Christian walk. From the time we start our journey as a new baby Christian, we will encounter many different phases along the way that make up the growth process. Each milestone that we reach in our spiritual growth is just as precious to God even though He has seen the same thing in other's lives. Each little baby step we take is exciting to Him. From the moment we took that first step to our salvation, each step that follows takes us toward a more intimate relationship with Him. Sometimes our steps are a little uncertain and wobbly. Sometimes they are steadier and we are a little more sure of ourselves. I can just picture our Lord standing along the path cheering us on and encouraging us when we take those timid little steps and cheering louder as we get more steady on our feet. Finally we are walking and He is rejoicing! He is so proud of us. He is our Father and He feels all those same fatherly things toward us.

Now that we are walking, we just have to make sure that we continue on our forward journey. We certainly don't want to falter and revert back to those tiny little baby steps. We need to keep our focus ahead. We have many more milestones to reach. Many more steps to take. If we happen to fall, we just need to get back up on our feet, steady ourselves and keep walking. Heading toward the next step in our progression to a deeper walk with God. And there will be our heavenly Father, clapping for us and cheering us on. Encouraging us to keep our focus on Him as we take it step by step. Milestone to milestone.

"as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious" (1 Peter 2: 2-3)

In His Grip of Grace,

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wanted: Workers for the Harvest

We spend a lot of time - no, too much time - making sure that our homes have just the right decor, the right furniture, the newest and biggest tv's etc. We paint and wallpaper and repaint. We arrange and rearrange. We seem to think that is where our security lies and we tend to exist solely within those "four walls" we call our home. That is our comfort zone.

Truth is, God gave us a mission that extends beyond those walls. Let's look at the very familiar passage in Matthew 28:18-20. "Then Jesus came near and said to them, "all authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

As Christians, we are supposed to do what we believe in. If we took this seriously and cared as much about the outside of those "four walls" as we did about the inside, people wouldn't have to wonder about whether God was real. They would SEE that He was real. They would see it from us.

In Matthew 9:35 it says "Then Jesus went to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news...". You know what the first thing I noticed in this verse? That Jesus went to ALL the towns and villages. It didn't say that He went to the ones that would welcome him or the ones that would be the easiest to get to or even the nearest ones. It says all.

If you read on to verse 37, "then He said to His disciples, 'the harvest is abundant, but the workers are few'". The harvest is abundant. That means there are many people who need the saving Grace of our Lord Jesus. Abundant harvest means that we have a lot of work to do. Abundant harvest means that we won't run out of people to witness to.

But the next part is the kicker - "the workers are few". We KNOW this is true. How many people do you actually know that are working? It is not just the responsibility of a select group of people. Don't just leave it up to the preachers. It is up to ALL of us. We all need to have the compassion of Jesus and see the needs of people and see their weariness and see their hunger for SOMETHING! We, as Christians, have the answer to what will satisfy that immense hunger in their lives. But they will never know if we don't tell them. If we don't "go" they won't "know".

In Romans 15, Paul writes to the church in Rome asking for financial assistance so that he can continue on with his missionary work. He wasn't apologetic about it. It was just a necessary request in the natural scheme of things. He was willing to go and others had to be willing to make it possible. That's how it is today. We not only need to have a heart for missions, we need to have a mindset for missions and be willing to open our wallets and put our money where our mouth is! It takes money to reach others. We need to welcome the opportunity to give and do it cheerfully. It should be our privilege, our passion and our pleasure.

I have been on both sides of missions. I have given so others can go and I have been the recipient of gifts so that I could go. They are both rewarding. I challenge you to pick a country or nation and begin praying specifically for them. Pray for the people there to have exposure to the gospel of Jesus Christ and that it will create such a hunger in them for the Word. Pray that it will bring salvation to many. Let's go out into that abundant harvest and work! Let's put some feet to our faith. Let's work till Jesus comes.

In the Grip of His Grace,

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Give me some JOY!

"The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing" (Zephaniah 3:17)

I read this verse this morning and after it just blew me away it filled my heart with such joy! To think that God takes delight in me just filled me such wonder.

I looked up the word 'delight' and here are the 2 definitions I found:

1. give joy to somebody
2. derive joy from something

That means as God delights in me he should derive joy from me at the same time that He is giving joy to me. Wow. It started the wheels in my head turning and I began to ponder the thought. Do I give God joy? Can He actually derive some joy from me? Oh, man. I wasn't sure for a minute there if I was actually capable of this. Then I began to discern some things in my spirit. When I pray and commune with Him, there is joy. When I hunger after Him, there is joy. When I dig into the scripture with zeal and feast on His Glorious Word, there is joy. When I sing praises to His Name and I worship, there is joy. Oh, yeah.. I can bring Him joy.

He IS my joy. He is my delight. All the things that I do to give Him joy, are the same things that give me joy. How awesome is God? Only God could ordain such a wonderful concept. Only God can give us the kind of joy that in turn causes Him to receive the kind of joy that quiets us with His love and causes Him to rejoice over us with singing.

If you will excuse me now, I am about to go and spend some time delighting in the Word. Giving and receiving some joy.

Delighting in Him,


Wednesday, December 10, 2008


"For she said to herself, If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made whole" (Mathew 9:21)

There was no doubt in this woman's mind that all she needed was "just one touch". She didn't say that she needed to talk to Him, or that she needed Him to talk to her. No. All she needed was to touch Him. And not actually touch Him, but touch His garment. I love her phraseology here. If only.... I shall. Very cut and dried. Very direct. Full of Faith.

Oh, to have this kind of faith. I WANT this kind of faith. I long to have the absolute knowledge that if I only reach up and touch even just the hem of my Master's garment I will experience the cleansing of the Holy Spirit. Living Water will flow over me and I will be made whole! Yes! And then I wonder. Why would He do this for me?

When my girls were little and they desired my attention, and they were too little to vocalize their need, all they had to do was crawl or walk over to me and touch my leg. When I felt those precious little baby hands touch me, I would immediately reach down and scoop them up in my arms. Why? Because even only by their touch I knew they were there, I knew they were mine, I knew what they wanted and I loved them. Their action of "If only" became my response of "I shall".

That's how Jesus feels about us! If we are His, then He will recognize our touch. And when we touch Him - in prayer, in praise, in worship, in faith - He feels us, perceives our need and reaches down to scoop us up in His loving arms. Making us His. Making us whole. Praise you Jesus!

Oh, precious Father, help me to always remember the promise and power of your Word. Oh, how I Love your Word! Help me to live more in the present reality of who You are. I want to know you more deeply and more intimately. I seek you Lord. I seek your Holy Presence in my life. Give me strength. Give me wisdom. Give me the faith to say "If only...I shall".

In His Redeeming Grace,


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Way in the Manger

For the 1st time in 25 years my tree did NOT get put up and decorated Thanksgiving weekend as tradition dictates. I am not really sure what caused this lapse in my usually structured life, but I do know it has slightly reeked some havoc on the OCD tendencies inside of me. Since I missed that "window of opportunity" I now await the arrival of my middle daughter who is still in the midst of finals in Baton Rouge. I've gotten past the initial feeling of despair that came when I realized the magnitude of my error and now am focusing on the prevention of my hyperventilating as I try not to dwell on the fact that I have to move my love seat to another location to accomodate the tree. But that's another story...

As I think about Christmas and the birth of Jesus, I think about Mary. She was highly favored by God. She alone carried the Christ Child. She gave birth to the Savior of the world. I sometimes overlook the fact that Jesus was Mary's precious little baby! He was her pride and joy. That tiny newborn babe that she delivered brought hope to us all. With HIS birth was the birth of eternal life. He was Heaven's perfect lamb. I think about Mary kissing his glorious little face and that she was kissing the face of God. The Holy presence of God was in that tiny little manger in the form of a baby. Jesus.

Praise you Jesus for making a way in that manger for me. You are my deliverer, my God, my King. May I never put my focus anywhere else but on You.

"And she brought forth her firstborn Son and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger" - Luke 2:7

In His Reedeming Love,


Saturday, December 6, 2008

God's Provision

When we look back at times of crisis in our lives we can usually see where the hand of God was at work. We find ourselves saying things like, "God really carried me through" or " God was really watching over me during that time". As I sat and thought about this, it dawned on me that this line of thinking was not good although on the surface it seems to be. It is really a sad thing that we fail to see the hand of our Lord upon us and His provision for us at the time of our crisis or deep need. Why do we so often overlook the mighty hand of God in our lives until AFTER the storm? I think perhaps because that is the easiest thing to do. Once everything is OK it's easy to look back and see God's handiwork. It's harder to put our trust in Him at the time that things are not going according to plan. Not according to OUR plan..

We have to learn to be more alert to what He is doing in that moment. To fully rely on Him and be ever so mindful of even the smallest of His works in our lives. We have to learn to "see" the entire process of His hand guiding our steps and protecting us from harm. Not just the end result. God is there even when we don't realize it and He is there before we even begin to see the storm brewing. Our trust in Him isn't just the final step - it is the whole process.

This is something I have to work on. I need to learn to put my complete trust and faith in Christ. It's easy to say it, sometimes it's not so easy to relinquish the "control" that I feel the need to have.

One of my favorite verses (that I keep taped to my bathroom mirror) is Psalm 18:32 "It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect."

Lord, please help me to not only remember this verse, but to actively apply it to my life. Help me to always see your grace and providence in my life and the lives of my family.

In His redeeming grace,


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Marking our territory

Do you remember when your kids were little and sometimes they would have the age-old argument "she's sitting in my chair!"? And as parents we would calmly explain to them that their names were NOT written on the chairs and it didn't matter who sat in what chair? Well, it seems my oldest daughter had been having this "discussion" at her house for the past few days with her 2 oldest blessings. It appears that Mikaela (6) has a favorite chair and that Eli (3) knows it is her favorite chair... After a few days of hearing "that's my chair" and saying, "Mikaela, your names are NOT written on your chairs", my sweet grandbaby decided to take matters into her own hands. So... yesterday when the argument began and my daughter said those famous words, Mikaela piped up, "yes they are mommy!". My daughter said she stopped in her tracks, took a deep breath and said, "excuse me?" Well.. guess whose names are INDEED written in marker on the wooden dining room chairs?? You got it... But Mikaela was quick to inform me, "it's not permanent marker, Nana".

I thought about this episode on my way home and it occurred to me that my precious grandbaby was just 'marking her territory'. She was letting everyone (Eli) know that was HER chair. It came to me that as Christians we need to start 'marking our territory'. We have to make sure that Christ is evident in our lives. We need to be willing to write it in marker! (Permanent marker). Our lives should be full of the outward evidence that Christ dwells in us. We should show an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Live our faith out loud. What a difference we could make in this world if we would all just mark our territory for Christ.

Oh, Lord, fill me up to overflowing with the power of your Holy Spirit. Let my life glorify You and edify You in all things. Thank you for your hand upon my life. Fill me, use me, teach me.

In His Redeeming Love,


Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Joy of Harvest

This time last year I was spending my last night in Nicaragua with my husband and 8 other members of our church. We were on a mission trip and had spent time spreading the gospel of Christ in 3 different villages over the course of 7 days. We enjoyed the time we spent there so much and one small village in particular stole all of our hearts. The village was extremely poor, very rustic, no electricity and most of the homes had dirt floors and no doors - just openings. Dogs, chickens and even pigs roamed freely about outside and inside the homes. The church was very primative and the walls were wooden slats that had openings in them that let rain and bugs and other critters in. I was very much out of my element and comfort zone. The entire experience was very enlightening and very humbling. We had such an awesome time of praise and worship with a people who were so hungry for God. The look of joy on their faces was priceless. A happy people whose circumstances were anything but... One night at an open air meeting the presence of the Lord was so heavy that we could actually smell a sweet aroma like the Rose of Sharon. It was nothing short of amazing.

It was an experience that I will never forget. Just the fact that I even got on an airplane was a miracle. I am terrified of heights and had never flown before and was absolutely scared to death. But I clearly heard the Lord tell me that I was to go on this trip, so I certainly didn't want to be disobedient. When we boarded the plane, I felt like I was dreaming. I couldn't believe I was actually on an airplane! I didn't mind the takeoff but I hated being " in the air". Every time the plane would bounce, I got so scared. Every sound, every ding had me on edge. I told someone later on that if I had known for certain that the plane wasn't going to crash, I could have enjoyed flying more!

Well, we promised that village that we were going to build them a new church and that we would come back to dedicate it. The church is almost finished and we are scheduled to return on January 3rd. Here I go again. I know the Lord intends me to go, so once more I will board an airplane in faith. I will return to a land with no electricity and no running hot water. I will sleep out in the open during the rainy season. Nothing glamourous about it. Every day is a bad hair day. The food situation is another story...But it is the least I can do for my Lord. He gave His life for me. I can sacrifice the "good life" for Him. Spreading the gospel. Sowing the seed. Receiving a harvest of joy.

In His Redeeming love,

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Music to God's ears

I called my daughter's house this morning and when the phone was picked up on the other end, I heard this precious sweet voice. "Hello, Nana. I love you." It was my oldest grandchild, Mikaela, who turned 6 on Sunday. I wasn't expecting to hear her voice and when she answered, I just melted inside and my love for her was just magnified! Nothing quite as sweet as grandbaby voices.

It made me stop and think about how God feels when we talk to him. When we get on our knees and softly say, "Father" - do you think he has that same feeling toward us? Do you think our voices are precious to Him? Do you think His heart melts? Oh, yeah.. I think when He hears us speak it is just as sweet to Him. The problem is we don't talk to Him enough. Or we only talk to Him when we are requesting something. We need to remember to praise Him and thank Him. Just let our Lord know just how much we love Him. Let Him hear our precious voice.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us, "In everything give thanks!" Let's do our best to incorporate more thanks in our daily lives. He is worthy.

Happy Thanksgiving.

In His Grip of Grace,

Sunday, November 23, 2008

He Looked Beyond My Fault

Do you know that Jesus presents us faultless before the Presence of God? Jude verse 24 says, "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy."

I read this verse some time back and I had to give it a second glance as the reality of what it meant dawned on me. It means because of Jesus giving his life on Calvary for me and for you, that He presents us to our Almighty God, our Creator as having no fault. We are presented as blameless before the Throne of Grace. We are certainly not blameless. We are sinners. We are imperfect and undeserving. We are most definitely not faultless. But our Lord loved us so much that not only did He give his life on that old rugged cross for us, but He continues to show us that same Mercy and Grace every day of our lives.

Oh, Lord, thank you for saving my soul. Thank you for reaching down from heaven and lifting me up out of the pit of sin and redeeming me with your shed blood. Thank you for forgiveness and mercy. You are my light and my salvation.

In the Grip of His Grace,

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Lord our Maker

I love Psalm 121. The first verse asks the question, "Where will my help come from?" The very next verse gives us our answer. "My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth." As we are on this uncertain journey we call life, it is imperative that we remember that our Lord is the uncontested Maker of heaven and earth. He is ever present as our Protector. He never slumbers nor sleeps. He is our shelter.

When we embark on unknown paths, what a comfort it is to know that the one who created all things is there to guide us. We simply have to lift our face up to heaven and call out His name and He is there. Life's challenges don't have to overwhelm us. They don't have control over us. When things seem to be out of our grasp and we don't know what to do or where to turn, that's when we need to recall this Psalm and remember who our help is.

I am so grateful that my trust is in God. I praise Him for the mercy He has shown me. May I always be an instrument for His glory.