Friday, January 30, 2009
The trip to YS from where we lived required a trek through Beartooth Mountain Pass which I think was on the border of Montana and Wyoming. It was huge and high and we had to pass through to get to our destination. We were a pretty good way up the mountain and I began to get scared. I have always been afraid of heights and this was definitely high.
As I looked ahead, I could see just how far we still had to go. I could also see just how high up we had to go.
If I looked out the side window I could see the very edge of the road and then the drop off right next to it. I could see where we plummet into nothing if we got too far over on the road!
I began to cry and panic and my parents were trying to keep me calm and they told me to look out the back window and that would make me feel better. ( I guess my sister and brother were stunned into silence by their crazy sister!)
Well, I looked out the back window and that did NOT help at all. When I did that, all I could see was how far we had come and how high up we really were. I just finally closed my eyes and put my head down until we were safely off that mountain.
As Christians, we have many mountains to climb in our journey. If we focus too far ahead we may get weary and discouraged. We can concentrate too much on just how far we still have to climb and be tempted to give up.
But if we spend too much time looking back at where we have been, we may focus too much on past experiences that didn’t go well, or even old hurts or strongholds that we have since conquered but somehow “hold on to”. Even though it is good to remember where we came from – our old life of sin – we have to be careful not dwell there and get distracted.
Our eyes have to be focused on our “NOW” work. We have to remain diligent in what the Lord is accomplishing through us at this moment. Keep our eyes on the path that He has chosen for us to walk along at this particular season of our life.
If we look too far ahead then we lose our vision for the present.
If we look too far behind then we lose our perspective for the present.
We need to look up. Our direction comes from Christ. If we keep our focus on Him we can take it step-by-step, day-by-day, mountain-by-mountain.
“Show me your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths.” (Psalm 25:4)
Climbing Joyfully for Him,
Thursday, January 29, 2009
When I sat down here today, I was thinking that I didn't really feel like posting today. It's been a rough week. My daughter, Melissa, goes to LSU in Baton Rouge and on Monday morning, she went to get her back-pack out of her car (her laptop was in it) and someone had jimmied her window and stolen her back-pack. Bye-bye laptop.
Then last night when I was at church, I get a phone call from her and she had been in a wreck (her 2nd in a year). She was the last car in a 4 or 5 car pile-up and it appears her car is totaled. Both airbags deployed and her windshield is shattered and her entire front end/radiator is history. Being the insurance claims specialist I am, the first thing I could think of was how it would all play out....
I didn't sleep last night and wasn't in a good mood when I got up this morning. But after I did my bible study I realized I do have much to be thankful for. I am joining Sonya again.
1. I am thankful that I had the laptop insured, so yesterday she was able to replace it and get busy on her paper that is due tomorrow!
2. I am so thankful that Melissa wasn't really hurt last night. She is a little sore from the airbags, but she is OK. Nobody was hurt in all that mess.
3. I am thankful that I have 4 precious angels that call me Nana. Number 5 will be here in less than 10 weeks. I guess I'll have to change my name to Nana2Five!
4. I am thankful that God is faithful. He knows my weaknesses and when I am weak He is strong.
5. I am thankful for all the women I have come in contact with on this blog. Each and every one inspires me.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
The other night I did something that I know is going to make you think that I am strange. I couldn’t get my husband to play scrabble with me. We had played a few nights before that and he beat me! It’s not that I have to win, but I do not like to lose…..Well, for whatever reason he wouldn’t play again. So, I just decided to play by myself. Yes, I know that is weird, but it was fun. Really. I decided to only make words that pertained to being a Christian. ( I learned that there aren’t enough “Y’s” for all the words I could think of. And no, I did not keep score. : )
Well, God always has a way of teaching me and making a lesson out of the simplest things. He did the same with this simple game of scrabble.
When you play, you choose 7 tiles to start with and whoever goes first has to lay that first very important word out on the board. It is the “foundation” so to speak of the rest of the game. Everything else after that is essentially building upon that word.
As Christians, the foundation that we first lay as a child of God, has to be solid and firm. Our foundation has to be on that solid rock of Jesus. We have to plant ourselves solidly in the Word of God, so that we can not be moved. We have to take the Word and guard it so it can not be snatched away from us. We have to make sure that our foundation is strong.
“According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:10-11)
After we make sure that our foundation will hold, we begin building upon it layer by layer. Each step we take toward spiritual growth is just like adding words to that scrabble board. We take what is already there and build upon it. We can even take a word that is already there and add to it and strengthen it. That is just how our life should be as a Christian. Constantly adding to and reinforcing our foundation with things that we learn or that Christ has shown us through bible study or experiences.
Another thing that I thought about, was the fact that you can only build upon what is already there. You can’t just put a word in a corner by itself. It can not stand alone. It has to be connected to what is already being built. That is just how we are to construct our lives. We have to utilize what is already being laid out and already built and add to it. We have to constantly be using our experiences and growth as stepping stones to the next level. We build upon what we have and only make it stronger. We use the existing structure and expand and edify.
The finished product is one big puzzle. Even though there are many, many words IN it, it is still one piece all connected together. Each word producing the means to make another word. Each word strengthening the next. Each word built upon that solid foundation of the first word.
Our first word is Jesus. He is our rock. He is what we build upon. He is the one who strengthens us and keeps us connected to the Father. He is our foundation.
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:18)
Monday, January 26, 2009
“It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect” Psalm 18:32
I see this every day. Several times every day. I know exactly what it says, but for some reason this morning (perhaps a lack of sleep), when I looked at it I read “It is God who amazes me”. I thought, “wait, that isn’t right!” I had to look at it a second time to make sure what it really said.
But then the wheels started turning in my head and I thought how true that was. God really does amaze me in so many ways.
He amazes me with the amount of mercy and grace He has shown me in my life. Mercy and grace that is so undeserved.
He amazes me with the daily provision in my life. I can look back from the very beginning of my married life and see how God took care of all our needs at times when we were very dependant upon Him. He always supplied our needs.
He amazes me in His faithfulness.
He amazes me with the beauty of his creation. Sunrises. Sunsets. The stars. A rainbow. (“The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.” Psalm 19:1)
He amazes me with the power of His Word. No matter what is going on in my life, I can open up the Word and find peace and solace. I can find answers to questions. I can find promises. I can find the Truth. (“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your Word is truth.” John 17:17)
He amazes me when He sends me a Word just at the time I need a Word. Amen?
Simply put, God is simply amazing.
If we cry out - He hears.
If we repent - He forgives.
If we confess Him - He enters in.
If we pray - He listens.
I will never look at that scripture card again without thinking about how amazing my God is. I needed this reminder today. I needed to put my focus on something besides myself. I needed to ponder and dwell on my Lord. I needed to remember what I had in essence forgotten.
It is God who amazes me.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
We are readily impressed with people in high profile vocations such as doctors, lawyers, business executives, professional sports figures etc. We admire them and look up to them. For some reason we put a higher premium on those people whose jobs seem so important and perhaps even a little exciting. We even day dream about what we would do if we had that kind of lifestyle and the means to make it possible. We dream of being successful.
But someone who has dedicated their life to the ministry and maybe doesn’t have a very high profile or income or a very big following, doesn’t invoke that same concept of “making it big” in our minds. We simply look at the outward evidence of “success” and are neglecting to see the true meaning of “making it big” as manifested in the lives of those in ministry. We can’t see the inner evidence or the hearts of all the people touched by those dedicated to discipleship. We definitely have the wrong idea of what success is all about.
* Putting Christ first in our lives.
* Enjoying what you do for a living.
* Liking who you are at the end of the day.
* Being the same person at work that you are at home.
* Praying for others on a daily basis
* Teaching the Word to a lost and dying world.
* Serving others
Now I am not saying that people that are financially well off are not Christians. That isn’t what I am saying at all. I just think that we need to re-evaluate what our idea of success really is and what it should be.
Success isn’t measured in numbers. It is measured in substance.
When we serve the Lord with our whole heart. When we are praying daily for the needs of others. When we love others as Christ loved us. When we deny ourselves and pick up the cross and follow Jesus…
We are successful.
“He who trusts in his riches will fall.
But the righteous will flourish like foliage.”
In His Grip of Grace,
Friday, January 23, 2009
Lyndon just called to let us know that Linda is in the presence of our Almighty Father! King Jesus! She is at His feet and she is worshiping the Lord.
Thank you so much for all your prayers. Lyndon said he could tell that people were praying. He is on his way now from Houston back to his home in DeRidder, La. Continue to pray for him and his family. The funeral will be Monday at 2PM.
You are all so special to me. It is so nice to have a place to go where you know prayers will be lifted up to the Throne.
UPDATE: 4:30 Pm
Lyndon called and talked with my husband. He said that Linda's BP is 20/10 and her heart is beating about 14 beats per minute. He has just been by her side all day. Just waiting. Jimbo said he sounded very tired. But Linda's mother arrived and perhaps he said she was waiting on her mom. Her mom is in her mid 80's. Please continue to pray. Thank you so much! You are all so fabulous.
We got a call early this morning from a college buddy and good Pastor friend of my husbands. Lyndon Longoria is a full-time evangelist and an awesome Man of God. His wife Linda has been battling Myleoma since about May of last year. She has undergone several rounds of Chemo and was at MD Anderson for a stem cell transplant. They had recovered enough stem cells and were waiting for her lungs to heal. She started having trouble yesterday with her breathing and couldn't get the carbon monoxide out of her lungs. It just keep getting worse and when Lyndon called this morning, Linda had slipped into a coma and her blood pressure is almost non-existent. She is about to be in the Presence of God.
Please pray for Lyndon as he watches the love of his life slip away from this earth. Please pray for comfort and peace and strength. His 2 grown children are there and they need much prayer also. I know I have some prayer warriors out there!
Oh precious Father, please take Lyndon in your arms and show him love that only You are capable of. Lord, give him the kind of strength that only You can give. Give him such a peace that he has no doubt it is of You. Lord I pray for your Spirit to minister to Lyndon, Billy and Kelly right now. That they can feel your presence with them. As Linda is ushered out of this world and into the Throne room of heaven, give them a spirit of Joy knowing that she is in Your Presence!
Thank you all for your prayers. They are very special people to us. Lyndon has spent several occassions in our home when he comes to preach our revivals. He and my husband (Jimbo) have been friends for about 33 years.
Lyndon will be lost without his sweet bride, but I know that the Lord will stengthen him as only He can.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I am joining Sonya again for Thankful Thursday. I have so much to be thankful for but here are my five today:
1. I am thankful for the power of prayer. My friend Phyllis had surgery yesterday and God has been working in this situation for weeks now. She came through the surgery great and could feel the prayers of everyone! Thank you Jesus.
2. I am thankful for the church that my husband has the privilege of being Pastor at. We have a fellowship filled with loving people who love us and support us.
3.I am thankful for the health of my whole family.
4. I am thankful that I have a job. God has provided for us over and over and I am so thankful for His faithfulness.
5. I am so thankful for the Word of God. I am thankful that my grandson Bryton at 23 months of age already knows that the bible is important. My daughter will go to check on him at night after she has put him to bed and she will find him in his bed holding his little bible story book and "reading" it. Turning the pages and talking. Precious. Thank you for your Word, Lord.
Joyfully and thankfully His,
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
"And as He said these things to them, the scribes and Pharisees began to assail Him vehemently and to cross-examine Him about many things, lying in wait for Him and seeking to catch Him in something He might say, that they might accuse Him"
Oh, my.. When I read this last part my heart just broke because I realize that this is how the world is today. That as Christians in today's society we have 2 accusers:
1. the devil
2. the world
Both are just lying in wait, biding their time and looking for such an opportunity to pounce on us when they think they have "caught" us in something.
Being a Christian in a not-so-Christian world is hard. We are always being watched under a microscope. We are held to higher standards than others are. We have to be on our toes 24-7 so as not to fall into the devils snare and get eaten alive by the world.
It's not so much that it's hard living a Christian life - it's just that the world is so anxious to prove us wrong and trip us up that they can take nothing and make it something. They can take an innocent occurrence and make it a guilty one. They can turn the tables in a heartbeat and change the outcome of a situation. So what are we as sojourners on the Christian walk to do?
1. Stay focused. Keep our mind on Christ and in Christ.
2. Pray without ceasing - a continual state of prayer.
3. Stay in God's Word - hide it in our hearts.
4. Don't let the world distract you from your mission.
5. Rejoice in everything!
6. Stayed churched (very important)
It is so important to be in fellowship with other believers. We get strength from one another. We draw that feeling of unity and oneness in the Spirit from each other. We share that bond of Christ that is beyond comparison to any other bond.
When we stay in Christian fellowship, we can leave the doors of the church ready to face those who are against us. Those who oppose us. We can stand strong. We can stand united. We can be the light of the world. Burning for Jesus. Burning with a contagious flame.
Thank you Lord for your word and that it ALWAYS speaks to my heart. Help me to stand firm in my faith - unmoveable - unwavering. Shining bright. Let my light be contagious.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His Glory, the Glory as of the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)
GLORY - beauty, power, or honor; a quality of God's character that emphasizes His greatness and His authority.
I learned there are 3 aspects of God's Glory in the scripture.
1. We fall short of His Glory which is the moral beauty and perfection of Christ. Romans 3:23 tells us that we have all sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.
2. God reveals himself to man as a visible presence of His glory. We experience that glory through Jesus.
3. When we praise Him, we experience God's Glory. We give honor to Him.
The Word became flesh. God became Jesus. God sent Himself in the form of Jesus to take our place on the cross. Because His Spirit lives among us we can experience Glory. We experience it through the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. When we are praising and worshiping our Savior, we feel the presence of God descend upon us - that is Glory! We feel God's Glory around us when we commune with Him. We see His Glory in all the beauty of nature. A sunrise, a sunset, the moon, the stars, a newborn baby. All these things showcase the Glory of our God.
The desire of Christians should be that our lives are thus transformed into the glorious image of God. We need to be revealing Christ through our actions, our words and our deeds.
Our lives should be the physical evidence to others of the Glory of God. When I think about that I realize how I fall short of this daily. It makes me even more determined to try harder to live in the reality of who God is.
Lord, I want to be evidence of the grace and Glory of You. I want to see Your Glory in all the beauty of Your creation. I desire for the Word to dwell in me. Manifest itself in me. Overflow and spill out of me to those I encounter. Let me be poured out for You. Let me be Your servant. Let me behold Your Glory.
Joyfully, gloriously His,
Monday, January 19, 2009
Yes! That is exactly how I have felt these last few days and I was getting a little worried about myself... I love how the Lord saved this lesson for me for just this day! He knew I was going to need it.
I have learned that prayer is the area in a Christians life that takes the most discipline. It is the most difficult exercise in our walk. It is like the part of our journey that is "uphill". (both ways :) )
When the mundane details of life get a little out of hand or things get tough - the first thing that usually suffers is our prayer life. The thing that is probably the most important to keep going is the thing that we often neglect. Prayer is the main resource we have to communicate with God. Prayer is the area that we really need to focus on during these times. Yet, we let it suffer. Why do we do that?
Prayer is what connects heaven and earth. It is our lifeline to the Throne of Grace. Sometimes when there is nothing else... there is prayer. Through prayer we:
1. show our allegiance to Christ
2. worship Him
3. thank Him
4. commit to His will
5. bare our emotions in repentance
6. cry out
Prayer is how we communicate with Christ. It is what enables us to make it through our day. It is that one-on-one time in our realtionship with God. So why would we ever let that part of our life go unattended? I can't think of any good reason why I let that happen.
Perhaps laziness. Perhaps procrastination. Perhaps irresponsibility. Not prioritizing correctly. Lack of discipline. Whatever the reason, I realize that's what has taken place these last few days in my life and thats why I have felt the way I have.
Empty. Like the power has been shut off to me. Like I have run out of gas. I don't ever want to feel like this again. Praise God, I don't have to! I am so thankful that God allowed me to feel this way for just a few days so I could really see what I was missing and resolve to never go there again.
I need more prayer time. More fervent, effective prayer time. On my face prayer time.
Thank you Lord for being patient. Thank you for wanting good things for me. Thank you for allowing me to recommit myself to spend more time in prayer with you so I can hear you speak to my heart.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
"'... The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much."
Thankfully, prayerfully, joyfully His!
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Have you ever been waiting on a Word from the Lord and it just doesn't seem to come? Have you ever just wanted Him to speak to you and just can't seem to hear anything? I spent time this morning in my bible reading and bible study. I have been studying for the past hour or so. But I just haven't felt like I am hearing anything. Can anyone relate to that? Is it just me? I feel like I am getting bits and pieces, but those bits and pieces aren't really coming together to form anything at this point.
I am trying not to get discouraged. I know that God has led me to this venue of blogging for a purpose. I am not sure exactly what that purpose is. All I want is to glorify Him - I don't ever want to do it for just vain glory of my ownself and maybe that is part of what He is trying to teach me. It's not about who is reading or how many are reading or how many are commenting. It's about Jesus and only Jesus. It's about a journey with my Savior.
I continue to just be obedient and keep my mind on Him, in the Word, in an attitude of prayer.
Thankful for all the blessings He has bestowed upon me and my family.
Ready to hear when He's ready to speak,
Friday, January 16, 2009
Putting Holy thoughts into Words
Raising my hands in worship
Acknowledging who Christ is!
Internalizing the Holy Spirit
Singing God's name back to Him
Enjoying fellowship with my Savior
What do I love about Praising?
- I love the overwhelming feeling of joy that floods my soul to point of overflowing.
- I love the inexpressable gratitude that fills my heart.
- I love the chills that spread from the top of my head to the soles of my feet.
- I love the way I can't stop tapping my foot.
- I love the way I sing in my head while my hands are busy playing the flute.
- I love the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
- I love the heaviness of the Spirit in the room pressing down upon my head.
- I love the closeness I feel to Him when I am praising.
I praise Jesus because I absolutely love Him! He gave me life and hope and peace. He shows me love and mercy and grace. He took nothing and made me something. He took all the broken pieces of my life and made me whole. He molded me into a vessel to be used for His Glory. He gave me His Word so I can study and grow. He gave me promises that I can hold fast to.
Jesus is my everything. He is my all in all. I want to praise Him all the days of my life. Thank you, Lord, that I can praise your name. Thank you for the ability to praise and help me to always remember that you are worthy.
"Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God. For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful." (Psalm 147:1)
"Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the LORD!" (Psalm 150:6)
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I trying my first Thankful Thursday post. Hope I can do it Sonya. I am thankful for so many things, but I will try and keep my list short.
1. I am thankful for God's Word. He gave us 66 books full of treasure!
2. I am thankful for a Godly husband who has put up with me for 24 years. He loves me and takes care of me and he supports me.
3. I am thankful for our 3 precious daughters. Megan and Ashlie are wonderful Godly mothers and wives. Melissa is a beautiful, smart, child of God with a mission minded heart. (in her last semester of college!! Yay!!)
4. I have the most amazing grandchildren. Megan has blessed me with Mikaela, Eli and Mercie. Ashlie has blessed me with Bryton and the little fella on the way! They bring this Nana so much joy. They are pure love.
5. I am thankful for family. I have a wonderful mother who not only loved me (and still does), but who raised me in a Christian environment from the moment of my birth and for that reason I was able to accept Christ when I was 9 years old. I had a precious father who has been with the Lord for 14 1/2 years now. Today would have been his 73rd birthday. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of him. I never doubted that he loved me...Happy birthday, Daddy.
6. I am thankful for friends. Friends who are there for you no matter what. They support you, they lift you up, they are on your side.
I could just keep going, but I will save some for next week.
I am going to head on over to the LPM blog and post my scripture memory verse for the 15th.
"If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O LORD, who could stand?"
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
A little while later I noticed that his cereal was still in the bottom of the bowl, but all the milk was gone. It kinda struck me as odd that he drank the milk because he won't drink white milk anymore. He will only drink it if it has chocolate in it. But then I realized that he drank the milk out of the cereal bowl because when it had a little sugar in it and it was in the cereal, it didn't seem like milk. It was as if it were disguised as something different.
Hmmm... aren't we as Christians sometimes like that? Trying to disguise things as Christianity when in reality they aren't even close? We think if we put a different label on something then it changes what it actually is, but that isn't the case at all.
We can label sin in all sorts of fancy and pretty ways, but the reality is that it's still sin. Plain and simple. Just sin. Oh, we can make it sound completely opposite of what it really is. We can manipulate it. We can justify it. We can even convince ourselves that it's something different. We can make all kinds of excuses about why 'it's really not that bad'. We can even call it something else. But we can't hide the fact that it is sin.
1. A movie is wrong even if it "only" has 1 ugly word.
2. A book is wrong even if it "doesn't really have anything questionable in it".
3. Music is wrong if ANY words at all go against the teachings of Christ.
4. Going places where things go on that aren't godly is still wrong. Even if we aren't partaking in it.
5.Gossip is wrong even if you tell yourself you are really just trying to get people to pray for them or the situation...
We have to call sin what it is. We can't afford to compromise our beliefs and our convictions. We can't live in denial.
We don't need to water down our theology.
We are the temple of God and need to present ourselves in that manner. Holy.
"For I am the LORD your God.. be holy because I am holy" (Leviticus 11:44)
"Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are."
(1 Corinthians 3:15-16)
Still basking in Him,
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
John was most likely the youngest disciple. The one with the most energy. The one who stuck the closest to Jesus. He was always right by His side. But even so, He was so sure of the love that Jesus had for him, that he had not qualms about calling himself the beloved of Jesus! He had no doubt whatsoever that Jesus loved him.
That, beloved, is how we need to be. We need to know without a shadow of a doubt, undeniably, that Jesus loves us. We tell our children that. We tell our grandbabies that. We tell other people that. But do we tell our own selves? We have to be secure and grounded in our knowledge of Christs' love for us.
In John 13:23-25 the scripture tells us that John was actually leaning on Jesus. He was reclining on Him. Why? Because John wanted to be near Him. He wanted to touch Him. Because he loved Him and because he knew that Jesus loved him in return.
We have to become so sure of His love for us that we want to lean on Him and get as close to Him as we possibly can. Bask in His love for us. Feel His presence in our lives. We need to take a lesson from John and have that security deep inside of us. We are loved by Christ.
"We love Him because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19)
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
Basking in His love,
Monday, January 12, 2009
I looked up the word amazing and here is the definition:
"So extraordinary or wonderful as to be barely believable or to cause extreme surpise"
When I thought about that word and what it really means, I truly began to focus on just how amazing God's grace truly is.
Amazing grace, shall always be my song of praise,
For it was grace, that bought my liberty;
I do not know just why He came to love me so,
He looked beyond my fault and saw my need.
I shall forever lift mine eyes to Calvary.
To view the cross - where Jesus died for me;
How marvelous the grace that caught my falling soul!
He looked beyond my fault and saw my need.
As I sit here typing this my eyes are just filled with tears. It just completely blows me away that this is what Christ did for me. I know that I can never be worthy on my own - only through Him can I become worthy. He looks beyond my faults and the Lord knows I have many. I am just so thankful today that He sees more than just the messes I make. That He sees the potential I have and the longing I have in my heart to praise, worship, serve and love Him.
I hope that this ministers to someones soul today. My whole purpose of this outlet is to minister. I only want to write what God is leading me to write. I want to truly be an instrument for His Glory.
Humble and thankful,
Saturday, January 10, 2009
I get the water really hot and then I relax and enjoy it for a little while. Then the water cools down so I have to run more hot water in the tub to heat it up. I have to kinda swirl it around so that the heat is spread around to all the water. The water stays hot for a little while longer and then I have to repeat this process over and over until I get through with my bath. It seems like a lot of trouble just for a hot bath, but I do it because I don't like to bathe in lukewarm water. I want my bath hot.
Sometimes I think that I approach my Christian walk in this same manner. I start out very hot like a consuming fire for the Lord. Then over time my flame dies down and things cool off. I have to run a little more hot water into my life to heat things back up so I can be effective spiritually. I probably repeat this pattern more often that I would like to admit. I don't know why I just don't work at keeping my spiritual temperature at a constant level. It sure would make things easier. I don't want to be a lukewarm Christian. God doesn't want me to be a lukewarm Christian. He wants me to be hot.
"I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth." (Revelation 3:15-16)
My desire is to remain on fire for Christ at all times. Regardless of my circumstances. Regardless of the curveballs life throws me. I want to learn how to keep that hot water flowing and not allow it to cool down. The only way to keep the water hot is to keep a continual flow of hot water coming in. To keep ourselves on fire for the Lord, we have to keep a continual flow of the Holy Spirit coming into our lives. I want to remain at a constant temperature in my passion to serve my Lord. I want to be useful and effective in His kingdom work. I want to always be a consuming fire for Christ. He is worthy.
"Let your heart therefore be loyal to the LORD our God, to walk in His statutes and keep His commandments, as at this day." (1 Kings 8:61)
Joyfully desiring more of Him,
Thursday, January 8, 2009
As I left the store, I started thinking about what I had just witnessed. There was a cash register with a drawer full of money. There was a cashier who needed access to that money. Even though the drawer was fully equipped with the right stuff, it was totally ineffective because the right stuff had no way to be used. There was no communication between the register and the drawer. Somehow that connection was missing.
As Christians, if we lack communication with the Father, we are just like that cash register. Completely ineffective. We can fully equipped. We can have full knowledge of Christ. We can have full intentions of being used for His glory. We can even be willing vessels who want to spread the gospel of Christ. But if we haven't established a connection with the power source - if our "drawer is stuck" - we are completely, utterly, fully useless for the advancement of God's Kingdom.
I realize that at times I am just like that cash register. Doing all the right things, working hard to equip myself, but nothing is happening because I have lost that connection. I've unplugged myself from the source of my power. I've taken my eyes off of the one in charge. I am forcing God to have to pry me open to try and get something out of me! Working and being ineffective is just as bad as not working at all.
We have to keep ourselves hooked up to Jesus. We have to make sure that we are not only equipping ourselves, but that we are allowing God to use our equipment. We have to keep the lines of communication with our Lord open. Hear His Word. Do what it says.
"But be doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." (James 1:22)
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."
In the Grip of His Grace,
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
I am so disappointed in myself. There is a particular issue that I deal with from time to time and I really thought I had gotten to the point in my Christian life where I would no longer let it affect me the same way as it always had. I really thought I had beat this thing. I thought that I could control my reaction if I stayed "one step ahead". But once again, some old hurts came up and I didn't handle it well. I have been beating myself up about it for the past 24 hours or so. So, this post is for me....
"How do we transform our minds to the "Mind of Christ?"
Only through the reading and studying and application of God's Word in our lives. We can only become like Him if we actually know Him. Knowing Him only comes through communication with Him. A true relationship with Christ isn't merely seeking a stirring of emotions. It goes much deeper than that. It is engrafting our hearts with the Truth of His Word. It is really hungering for Him and really feasting on His Word. We have to savor the sweetness of the Word and let it settle in our hearts so it can manifest itself in our lives.
Our lives will only be transformed when we conform to the teachings of our Lord. How do we conform our lives?
1. We commune with God - daily in prayer
2.We dig into the scripture - every chance we get
3. We study His Word - not just read it, but disect it
4. We apply His Word to our lives
5. We live His Word
The hardest part is to actually live His Word. We have to live our faith out loud. It is so easy to say what we know we should do, it is harder to actually do it. The only way we can even begin to succeed in this area is to develop that intimate relationship with Jesus. We have to get our hearts in tune with His. We have to desire the transformation. Then we have to take the steps necessary to make it happen.
"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Romans 12:2)
"Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God" (2 Corinthians 3:5)
Thank you Lord, that through You, I can become like You. I desire for my heart to reflect Your Heart. I want my mind to be transformed. I want your perfect will for my life.
In His Redemptive Grace,
Monday, January 5, 2009
My oldest daughter, Megan, and her husband had decided to do Christmas a little different this year. They incorporated the biblical feasts in their celebration time and didn't actually use the word "Christmas" too much. They are trying to get their children to see the real reason for the celebration without the focus being on the tree and all the decorations etc. They also don't do Santa. Mikaela (6) is a little too smart for her age and picks up on so much more than we realize. She is quick to tell you all about what's wrong with "Christmas".We've had to explain to her that sometimes you just don't need to say anything because everyone has their own opinions on things and that Christmas isn't bad, it's what we have made it that is bad.
A few weeks ago, before Christmas, they were at our church and during Sunday School she and Eli (3) were in the same class. The teacher said that she asked the class the question, "What does Christmas mean to you?" and she was going to go around and ask each child their answer. Well, she got to my precious little Mikaela and the teacher said that Mikaela looked up at her and closed her little mouth and then ran her fingers across her lips and zipped them shut. (I'm guessing our little talk was going through her head...) So then it was Eli's turn and the teacher said when she posed the question to him Mikaela just quietly leaned over and zipped his little lips shut too! She was making sure that he didn't say too much also. They funny thing is that he just sat there with his lips shut..
I thought about this as I was getting ready for work today. I wondered how many times the Lord wished He could just reach down from heaven and zip MY lips shut... Probably more than I would like to imagine. There have been so many times that I have said things unintentionally and then later thought, "Beth, why did you say that?"
Lord, help me to think before I speak and to pray before I think! Help me to keep a guard on my mouth so that You don't have to zip it shut for me. May I speak truth and love. May I edify and glorify.
"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength and my redeemer." (Psalm 19:14)
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Are we still getting used to the dark? Has our light that at one time shined so brightly for Jesus become dim? Has it become just a mere nightlight in our souls? Do we even recall when it started happening? When did our power source no longer light us up like it used to do? When did we get used to the dark?
Matthew 5:14-16 tells us that we are the light of the world and we are supposed to let our light shine for men to see!
So if that's the truth, why is the world in darkness? Because our light is not shining. Why is our light not shining and how did we allow that to happen?
It happened because our voices stopped teaching the Word. It happened because our prayers stopped changing hearts. It happened because our hands stopped serving. Our ears quit listening. Our feet stopped going. It happened because of change. God hasn't changed and the Truth hasn't changed. We did.
We have let the darkness of this world take priority over the light of Jesus. Why? Because it's easy. It's easier to stay in the dark, than to turn on the light. Do we like the dark? Do we think that in the dark our deeds are hidden? We must or else we would get up and turn on the light.
We have got to light our lamps again and shine for Jesus. If we don't shine then the darkness will take over. It's not always going to be easy and it's not always going to be convenient. But if we are going to win souls for Christ, we have to show them the light. We can't just tell them, we have to be that example. They have to see it.
"And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."
(John 3:19 - 21)
Oh, Lord let me keep my light shining for You.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
So, Melissa and I headed back to Monroe to go see a movie and to go to Lifeway (my Favorite store). On the way, my youngest daughter called me to tell me that one of their childhood friends, Amber, had lost her 4 month old daughter to apparant crib death this morning. I couldn't even believe what I was hearing. I had held this precious child in my arms just a few months ago. I had seen the excitement on Amber and her husbands faces as they showed off their new, tiny daughter to me. My heart just broke for them and their families. My throat still has a lump in it. My eyes sting with tears.
Please pray for this young family as they have some very tough days ahead of them. Pray for peace and comfort. Pray for wisdom for those of us who will minister to them in the coming days.
I walked back in my house this evening with such a burden on my heart and such sadness in my soul. Then I looked at the bible verse that I have on my refrigerator.
"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." (Proverbs 19:21)
Praise you Lord for your mercy and your grace. Thank you for your comfort and your peace. Minister to those hurting hearts tonight. Thank you that Your grace is sufficient.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
I can hardly believe that another year has passed and we are starting 2009. I think the older I get the faster time goes by.
I have never really liked "New Year Resolutions", because it seems as if it is just a list of things we SAY we are going to do, but that we know we will never be able to do, but we make a list anyway out of some sort of duty or habit. But there is no time like the present to reflect on the past, re-evaluate the future and set a few goals in the process.
I made a list of things that I will begin doing TODAY!
1. Go face down EVERY day for prayer.
2. Pray more effectively.
3. Study the Word more diligently.
4. Seek a deeper, more intimate relationship with Jesus. Have a REAL 'Jesus year'.
5. Be more loving and compassionate. (my husband is loving this one!)
6. Praise the Lord more.
7. Encourage others more.
8. Be a more Godly wife, mother, Nana and friend.
9. Learn to rely on God fully and realize He doesn't need my help!
10. Learn to relax. ( I just can't seem to sit still very long...)
11. Be more giving of myself.
12. Don't buy anything to hang on the wall unless you KNOW where it will go. (I walk around the house holding things trying to find just the right spot and find I don't have any vacancy)
I know that we don't have to wait for the dawning of a new year to begin doing things that we should be doing anyway, but it is a good starting place. There is no time like the present.
I pray that everyone has a wonderful 2009 and that we allow God to do things in our lives that will glorify Him. May He show up mighty in your midst. May He bless you in ways that only He can. May He be Lord over all. Let's all have a Jesus year!
"Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth.." (Isaiah 43:19)
In the Grip of His Grace,