Thursday, September 29, 2011

Role Reversal....It does a soul good!

As you know, I spend time each week with my mother in another town.  She is up in age and suffering from a myriad of organ dysfunctions.   My momma will be 81 in just a few short months, and we have had the best times together.   As our church goes thru The Story (an NIV orderly version of the Bible) I am reminded that The Upper Story (God) placed us here in Ohio (the Lower Story) just for our parents. Getting the chance to spend time with Steve's dad before he passed away and enjoying Steve's mom as she continues good health was and is a blessing.  Being here for my momma is a personal blessing for me. Watching her go down hill these past 4 yrs has not been the blessing any child would wish upon another.

I just came back home after spending Wed/Thur with my momma and we had a ball, from watching TV court shows together to going out to get the perfect hair cut from her favorite hair stylist, we live each day together laughing and hugging.   

Last night we were watching TLC Extreme Couponing marathon when she had a spell of sickness that took the wind out of her sails. She felt best laying on the dinning room floor (close to the bathroom) so  realizing that this would be a loosing battle to get her into her bed I sat there. I started running my fingers thru her beautiful silver hair and prayed for Jesus to stop the sickness in her stomach. I realized that the role had reversed.  So many times she sat with my head on her lap and took care of me.  So many times she went without so I could have what I needed. So many times she loved me thru bad times so I could feel encouraged.  Now I am doing the same for her...WHAT A PRIVILEGE!  It is so worth time away from my husband or the countless gallons of expensive gas, or mileage on an already older model car to be there for her.

Above my relationship with God and my husbands, she is next in line for ALL  of my attention. My memory continues to fill with all sorts of funny things and fun times and jokes and patience as these prayerfully years with my momma  continue.   I watched her do the same with her parents and her in laws.  She is my example of a loving daughter. 

Today on the morning news they asked for people to Facebook, Tweet or email who they would love to have morning coffee with.. The top 2 answers were: President Obama and Bill Clinton.  I was shredding papers for my momma and thought answer would have to be my mom. And God has granted me that opportunity every  week! If having coffee with a famous historical person is good for you, then having one more cup of coffee with your parent has to be BEST.  So if you have parents still alive ...take them out for coffee...bring it to their home..add a donut to the date and just laugh! It does a soul good!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Leviticus Chap 3....PEACE....

...Peace offering background goes as follows:
*could be a male or female animal (except for birds)   *Offering from any herd had to be w/o defect  *animal was to be slain by laying the hand upon the head of said animal, in front of the doorway of the Tent of Meetings   * the blood was sprinkled around the altar by Aaron or one of his sons.   * the fat around the entrails (or inners) of animal was to be smoked by fire   *must include within the fire offering, 2 kidneys...lobe of liver and all the fat surrounding these organs  IF offerer used a lamb then the only exception was the lambs tail and all the fat around it was to be offered up as well. *IF a bird was to be offered, it had to be a male and a female w/o defect.

This offering was to be offered up in smoke for a "soothing aroma to the Lord."

V7 "It shall b e a perpetual statue (or law) that throughout all your generations, you shall not eat fat or blood."

This offering was the only offering that could be eaten by both the priests and the offerer.  The priest received the breasts and right thigh, the remaining meat went to the offerer.  BUT this had to be eaten by the 2nd day...if left to eat on the 3rd day, this offerer would be cut off by his people. Every time a person wanted to eat meat , they had to offer a Peace Offering.

Peace Offering was for one of three reasons....1-Thanksgiving  2-a special vow  3-freewill (you had to be specific with your animal sacrifice in order to participate in a Peace Offering. What was your motive for offering?
NOTE:  Before Moses, Israel was offering peace offerings as a form of heathen worship b/c before Moses came down from Mt Sinai w/God's instructions people were giving  this offering as a way to (simple stated) party! NOTHING WAS DONE OUT OF SACRIFICE. The meaning of peace is WHOLENESS. Israel became one  w/God and was complete. They became (thru this offering)  accepted by God. Unlike the Burnt and Grain Offerings, the Peace Offering brings the offerer closer to God and he receives something in return. (meat to eat) 

For ME? it's Christ.  He is my Peace Offering.  being born apart from God I needed my own peace offering so I could connect w/God. In 1974 I first committed myself to Christ for the forgiveness of my sins.  You could say that it was my Special Vow part of the Peace Offering. I then became complete, whole for the first time w/God and with myself.

Before Christ, I was no different that Israel waiting for Moses to come down from the mountain. I went thru the actions of "church" and really loved it, I tried to do the right thing (make wisdom decisions) I ate and I partied.
Since Christ I worship w/a true heart, I struggle with my old nature and I am complete thru the sacrifice of blood of Christ. Once and for all times. I don't have to "offer" anything again, it is done, on the cross. BUT I DON'T TAKE this cross offering for granted. I treasure it. I come to Him anew many times with a Peace Offering of Thanksgiving or a Freewill spirit.

Monday, July 11, 2011

more from God on offerings....

....I have moved onto chapter 2 of Leviticus today.  I prayed myself to a place where God would reveal how my relationship with Him can be seen through the list of laws that He sent forth for His chosen people.  After all, I am a child of  the King and therefore all parts of the Word are given for instruction and obedience. So I dived into "The Grain Offering."

* it must be a finely grained flour. It shall have oil and frankincense poured over it. A handful to be offered on the altar with the remainder given to Aaron and his sons, the priests.

(Frankincense is an oil from the Boswellia tree which has to mature from 8-10 years before you can harvest it's resin like oil. It is such a hardy tree that is has been found growing out of solid rock formations. It is  an edible perfumed oil that has also been used for medical usage.)

These are the verses and the instructions that were given:
V1-3...uncooked grain     V4-10....various cooked grains   V11-13...ingredients to be or not to be used: leaven (which was refused) and salt (which was required)     V14-16....early grain offerings

As with the Burnt Offering the Grain Offering also produced a "soothing aroma to the Lord"

These two offerings were most often performed together.  But since the Grain Offering did not require blood, it was not a part of atonement.  Grain was hard to come by in the middle of the desert so having  grain, oil and frankincense was a SACRIFICE for the offerer. 

What was it purpose?  WORSHIP. The act of this sacrificial offering praised God for His provisions daily.  (get it, daily)  It was a combined reminder of how the offerer needed to obey and please God out of his sacrifice not abundance.

As I read my Bible and gather biblical scholars views on these offerings I see where this takes me in 2011.  It takes me  to a simple list of  "must be's" worship must be:  authentic...pure...sacrificial...and  personal. (Note: this offering was to be done daily as the Burnt Offering was to be done)

Do I daily offer up to God my complete needs?
Do I sacrifice time , money and self so I can minister to others in their need?
Am I pure in my thoughts and motives?
AM I always reaching upward for that personal one on one time with God?

And since I have to answer honestly, I have to say, not always. But after today's study I realized I have to get better at this. Already The Book of Law is revealing to me my shortcomings and ways I can keep a "soothing aroma to the Lord" as a way to offer the best of ME to my God.

2Cor. 9:10 states " Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, will supply and multiply your seed and increase your harvest of righteousness."

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Book of Law...

...after a question in small group the other night, my sweet husband challenged me to find the answer. It was brought up that the Talmud laws were ones that man made and they far out weighted the original laws that God gave to the Israelites.  The question?  How many laws are in the book of Leviticus? And so I decided to compare them to what we are doing today as believers, not Jews but Christ believers. This will be my record of each law.

Leviticus 1: The Burnt Offering (1 Astrix = the offerer  2 Astrix = priest)
*unblemished cattle, sheep, goats or turtledoves/pigeons---the very best of these were to be offered
**Priest would bleed out the animals and sprinkle blood upon the altar
**Skin animal, lay head and parts upon the altar of wood
* washes out the inners of animal then gives these as well to the priest for the burnt offering

As it burns  V9 states it is a "fire offering of a pleasing aroma to the Lord."
This Burnt Offering was a personal/private offering between man and God.
 It was: the first altar you saw as you entered the tabernacle,  the most common of offerings, to be observed daily (am /pm), purified the offerer, the only offering that was totally consumed. (other offerings helped to feed the priest), to help the offerer understand his need for atonement ( reconciliation of God and man) not so much for forgiveness (willingness to forgive) , to symbolize O.T. faithfulness in God and the intention to love God with his heart, soul, mind and strength.

So if I could take away anything from this first law it would be....
My need: to have a daily personal time with God especially when I wake up and fall to sleep, to remember I need to be pure and unblemished before Him b/c He is a Holy God, to be totally "sold out" to this relationship b/c of what God sacrificed on the cross in my behalf, to recognize my need for my Savior, to give my all to follow Christ with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, to keep this FIRST in my life (and all else will fall into place)

Sounds pretty hard to do, can it be done?  I am an imperfect soul who accepted Christ on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.....past present and future sins. I am so glad that I do not have to work out my salvation in the sense of always trying to stay on Gods good side..I work out my salvation b/c I want others to know of His great love for them.. I am free in Christ!  I am no longer in bondage and I hope what I do daily is a pleasing aroma to the Lord!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cruise, recital, VBS, baby boy makes it all complete....

...but not enough time to capture it all! In a nutshell, we became grandparents AGAIN! And this time it is a beautiful baby BOY! After 4 grand granddaughters, who are the sparkle in our eyes, we were blessed with a boy....and the sparkle gets brighter with a tint of boyish blue!
After I was blessed to babysit the granddaughters while momma and dad went on a cruise for their long awaited 11th anniversary, I got back home to find us leaving again for the girls dance recital. Oh how I wish we could of been there the week before to watch the Gymnastic recital of LB but time is a hard thing to work with when you live 14 hrs away. Both recitals went well, LB is on her way to the Olympics one day on the uneven bars, with KK and AA finishing up to loud applause after ballet n jazz. Of course we can not wait to see little EG finding her place in the creative art or sports venue world.
After the recital weekend we arrived back home and started working on VBS. VBS was so different this year and I am so proud of Steve for taking it out of the box. He wrote the lessons this year and had a fabulous staff to carry everything out to the inth degree. (can't say enough for volunteers) The kids enjoyed a sports/drama/art/techie VBS week and many kids made decisions to accept Christ. Plus there was so much fun being made in the process. I was stretched to organize drama tract (b/c I knew I would be in Georgia during this week) God gave me the words to create a video drama skit that I have never before done IN MY LIFE! Thank you Jesus!
We received the call we had been praying for on June 6, 2011. "Mom, she is in labor." And with that we were packing for Georgia! It was a long week but so worth it when we saw how God planned Jill and Warren's family. This little one is so pretty! (can you say that about a boy?) But there are no other words to describe him, he is a pretty baby. I was so fortunate to stay for 3 wks and 4 days! My arms still miss this sweet baby falling asleep. My nose misses the smell of baby lotion and the feeling of softness of his skin on my fingers. But I can deal with these small things. Why? B/C my heart carries him with me, my minds knows that God revealed His choice for our daughters family and we will have these memories to share forever!
So I tip my prayerful heart to a loving God who gave 2 faithful people hope in a family unit. Little Baker is now apart of our family forever. I say words of praise to God for protecting our granddaughters and giving them experiences they will treasure in their hearts. I am thankful that even though a job was taken away from our son, God is AT WORK providing another one for him. I have ahusband who is not afraid to climb out of the box to make things right for kids and volunteers to enjoy and In all these things I leave my trust! And that dear friends makes it all complete!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Poll Day elections and Protection...

...kinda funny that this hit my thoughts on election day, but here goes....

Protection: a word divided into 3 sections, for sure not dictionary approved but for blogging and my minds eye here is what it is worth.

Pro-as in professional

TECT- as in knowledge

Ion- as in active

Funny how this word conjures up: experience, knowledge and action. So many different thought also flood my mind, negative thoughts of protection. The act of covering up or smothered, observing, private times, caution. Then you can say well, positive thoughts are the act of caring, real love, liberties, freedom to express and abilities.

Growing up I had a mixture of both but I mainly focused on the negative. Our parents were very protective of us three kids, to the point that many times I felt (just like our girls did) that I could not be trusted to make good decisions. I felt that my desires to try new things always were conditioned to safety and monetary issues. Of which the later was usually the first on the priority list. Yet still as a young girl my desires to be on the drama team or join Girl Scouts were never about money, but ran alongside my mothers schedule. You see, she had the bulk of raising us kids and since I was 7 n 8 yrs older than my siblings, she was tied down to other responsibilities. Of course I didn't "get that" until I was in my 20's. I understood that they loved and cared for me.

Then I suddenly felt the negative side of protection slide away. I became a parent at the age of 22 and started the same path that my parents took with me...PROTECTION. I also knew that I needed to change the way I protected our children. I had just gave Christ my whole life, complete surrender so I knew that FAITH IN HIM was the key to protecting my children. How do I protect yet not smother them? Steve was so much better in "letting them go" with little increments of trust and faith and when it deemed right for the occasion. I on the other hand, wanting to do what is right, would find myself fighting inside over the "what if's" that never came! i.e. our youngest going to a Texas Ranger game with her sweet friend Jessica. Steve assured me that her parents would watch her closely...yet my tiny 1st grader was (I assured myself in fret) going to get lost in the sea of thousands of people. I had her face on the 10 o'clock news before she ever left the house!

For along time I so worried about things that I realized I was missing out on experiences and would relay that to my children. Life almost stopped for me, short of living life to it's fullest with a large dash of wisdom thrown in I almost missed out. That is when Christ revealed to me my long time issues on TRUST. I had to trust Him in all areas of life. I am afraid that my negative feelings of protection transferred to our daughters to some extent. For this I apoligize girls.

Jesus said "do not worry about tomorrow while it is today." I started heeding that advise. Now when I think of PROTECTION I first see God. I see the positive side, why? Because God to me represents: love, trust, truth, strength and forever. I remind myself that this is real protection, yet sometimes I throw ole Mr. What-If into the mix and almost always he really never shows up!

Easter Sunday as I led my 1st graders into telling me their favorite stories of Jesus, they had all forgotten the story of Jesus and the little children. I said, "remember all the kids wanted to be near Jesus and the disciples started shewing them away, yet Jesus said (1st grade version) "Whoa, wait one minute, let the children stay with me." One sweet little girl very boldly said "that's because Jesus is never to busy for anyone."

And she is right- never to busy to deal with my worried thoughts of "what-ifs", never to busy to hear and heal cancer patients or broken marriages, never to busy to stop and hear us complain or praise, never to busy to watch over our military or cover a car with His protection so an accident does not occur. Never to busy for that is PROTECTION PERSONIFIED!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Happy Way to start a New Day....

...was when I opened up my email and saw a note from India! Yes, India....while living in Albany, Georgia in a spacious apartment, our upstairs neighbors were from India. We were privileged to meet their parents and then in the summer meet some more family members. We shared so much of each others culture during our stay in Albany. It was a true blessing! But that summer I got to spend time with their niece who was 15. She is a jewel! We use to sit outside on the porch , sip sweet tea and I would listen as she explained the history of India. To hear a 15 yr old talk about her country's history was amazing. I have never heard an American student talk with so much passion about this country. We both shared our beliefs of God without discourse. I ate her food and she ate mine. I so enjoyed getting to know this beautiful , passionate teenager. They spent 8 wks in the states and when they got back from a trip to Disney World, we went out looking for a scrape book for her to remember her trip to America. The time came for them to leave and go back home. We shared tears of joy and tears of sorrow. I was gonna miss this sweet person. Before they got into the car she told me that I would always be her American Grandma! WOW!~ So today I received a email from my adopted granddaughter from India and as she explained her busyness and school exams and holiday....I couldn't help but notice the very large print at the bottom of the page..Love to my AMERICAN GRANDMA ! She still remembers the last time we spoke...awesome, my day has started out well. (maybe this is how we settle peace around the world....just sincerely adopted one another, love changes all)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hovering n stones......(sounds heavy to me)

.....I listened in Joyce Meyers this morning and had to write down what I heard. You now how we can read scripture many times and according to what we are dealing with in life, things just pop up? Well today was one of those days for me. She started out reading Genesis 1:1-2, easy right? "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void and darkness was over the surface of the deep and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters." Wait, I had to read it again...the Spirit of God was hovering? WOW, really, how long have I read this chapter to myself and to the children I have taught over the years yet did not notice that the Spirit was hovering? Some translations say "moving," but hovering caught my attention. God hovers over us just waiting for us to join Him. Do angels hover over us just waiting for us to get to work for His glory? Am I lazy, because I am sure many times God hovered way to long over me. I am so thankful that He never tires of me. That His love is so deep, He never gets impatient waiting for me to recognize what He has in store for me.

Ezekiel 37:2-14 talks about dry bones, very dry bones and how the Holy Spirit revealed to Ezekiel the Prophet, to tell Israel to "Come Alive." Am I hearing God right? When I feel that hope is gone- hear God, (He's hovering) COME ALIVE. V-4 says that God will put His Spirit in me, He will settle Himself within me, this is my victory...I am alive in Christ. But do I show it? No amount of sitting in a pew, listening to a pastor or watching an instructional video will take me to the level of victory alone.

I found out that Mark 4:24 says that the measure (of thought & study) I give (to the truth of God's word) will be measured (thru virtue and knowledge) back to me. So how big is my measuring cup? Hint: satan will always try to steal that victory from me. When I fill myself daily with God's word, meditate on it, tell myself that God is hovering over me in love, then satan cannot take it from me.....the measure I use will be given back to me!

Romans 4:17 (God) "who gives life to the dead & causes things into being that do not exist" Like: promising Abram that he will be the "father of the nations"....a boy named David promised to be King.....Mary a young teenage girl promised to carry the Son of life that was full of blemishes and pain......your life! Life! Stones/boulders that block God from hovering is our choice. Hovering over my life has been stones of sin, hurt, trust issues, esteem, fears. I have to consciencely give God my faith, my love and trust. It can't just be said like repetition, it must be shown, acted out each day that I fight these issues.

I decided to change the particulars of hovering ...I chose to have the Spirit hover over me. Quoting Joyce Meyes: "Jesus had the habit of telling the crippled to get up, of telling the blind to go......Jesus tells us to do the unseemly impossible in order to see if we are willing to trust Him. Putting faith, that we say we have, into action. Stop complaining and roll away those stones. satan is the thief..he is disguised as procrastination! I will not allow satan to hold onto whatever those stones represent in my life. God is hovering over me, waiting to reveal purpose, love, direction for all my days. I do not want to waste any of them . So grateful Lord, thank you.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Just me.....

....being a pastor wife, I am me, JUST ME. At Walmart, volunteering at school, cheering at sporting events. I am me, when I am teaching children (my passion) at church or singing in the choir. (w/same passion) I am me from the very first time we meet.

I believe that I do no more than any other wife would do to support her husband in their positions in society. I am no netter than the working family who goes to our church and has to pay for their Wednesday family meal ticket. I do not take a free ride just b/c of this position that God ordained for me since the day I was born. I am not privy to anything new b/c although I am a pastor's wife, I am also a church member in a community of believers who serve in this community together. I love the fact that my husband takes great care in protecting me from news I need not know so that my perspective of others is not shaded.

I laugh, I cry and yes I make mistakes. I helped raise 2 daughters on a shoestring budget. I cook almost every meal for my family and also cook for others in need. Our home is a home not a museum, so if you are looking for perfection you must go somewhere else. Our doors have been opened to teenagers who ran away from home all the way to businessmen from Japan and missionaries from Germany.

I cannot sing like Sandy Patti nor can I play a piano, however I can give time to be president of said choir. I cannot give a dramatic line by line performance in a Easter program, but I can imagine what Mary the mother of Jesus felt like and act with my whole heart. I can build any set you want for any program from PTA to VBS.

I taught our daughters to serve others w/o expecting anything in return. I told them numerous times to always remember to be a friend first. ("if a person who has mistreated you was on fire and you had a bucket of water, you had better be the first to douse the flame.") Now these young ladies are pastor wives as well. At one church interview our daughter was asked if she felt she could handle the job as pastor wife, her response, "I only know that the examples I have before me is Jesus and my mother and so my answer would have to be, I am very assured of my calling as a wife."

I am inspired that God knew who I was to become before I took my first breath. I am encouraged that my Lord has never given up on me. I am inspired by the 7 churches we have served in and know that I held my head up high, did my best to listen to God and not man and helped others who were in need.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Carpe a Diem....

.....just got back from 3 days with my momma and have to journal my thoughts. Listening to a CD arrangement of encouraging music sent with love from my staff wives, song #8 was "Seize the Day." I love this quiet song....Seize the day, seize whatever you can, cause life slips away just like hour sand sand, seize the day, pray for grace from God's hand....then nothin will stand in your way...seize the day.

As I was singing at the top of my lungs, I realize that I just "been there, done that" with my momma this week. After spending 3 days with her, I seized whatever I could. We laughed alot, talked even more, WalMarted, ate homemade chile, watched alittle TV and slept less. Gave blood for more tests and had a doctor visit to attend today. We were exhausted from a long day on Thursday but was grateful for a full nights sleep. Seize the day!

"Grace from God's hand" He gave us some memories to enjoy. I love serving my momma so I cleaned her home from top to bottom being grateful for the time I can share. Nothing stood in our way, not even the lady in the drive thru at the bank yesterday. We were both so tired...the lady in the truck beside us had a cigarette hanging from her lip and I said, "I think that is very unattractive for a lady to hang a cigarette out of her mouth." (just a personal opinion) Mom said something and I said, "shhh, she might hear us and want to beat us up." My momma said, "Yeah, I know she could beat me up." I said, "yeah she could probably beat us both up while never loosing the ashes from her cigarette!" Mom started laughing so hard...we just sat there in the drive thru with tears in our eyes. I know it's not that funny now but at the moment and being as tired as we was hillarious. Seize the day!

"Life slips away just like hour glass sand" None of us are guaranteed tomorrows breath, yet God have choosen to give me 3 more fun days with my mom. I am blessed. I have to make sure that I pay attention to all those moments with those that I love. I would hate to think that I missed it b/c I was selfish or lazy. This thought is not only for my mother but my 2 awesome mother-in-laws, my husband, our children, grandchildren and the strangers who come to the Open Table at our church. Or what about those strangers whom you meet on the street? Seize the day!

Everyday I want to be reminded of this song...looking into a beautiful sunrise , may I remember that I must take advantage of the day God has given...I cannot waste time on fear of the unknown or what I am not able to do. Seize the day!

"One thing that I noticed whereve I wander, everyone's got a dream he can follow or squander. You can do what you will with the days you are given. I'm trying to spend mine on the business of livin." Seize the day!~

P.S. Had a awesome lunch this week with old school friends..3 of us were friends since kindergarten! Beth Charlotte and I went to school since kindergarten and Debi Long came into my life in 7th grade. Long time friends were have been seperated by almost 43 yrs came together and acted like it was just another lunch date. So fun...we really did CARPE A DIEM!~

Monday, March 14, 2011

Slave or Free.....

...well of course we all would pick "Free!" But according to God's word we choose "slave." Reflecting upon myself I have to admit that at this moment in time I am a captive to my weight. As I pondered more on this slave/free thing, I am a slave to being overweight, not tons, just 25 lbs. My health is relatively stable, no BP problems or thyroid issues. I eat healthy, no processed meats, lots of veggies and a new taste for oven kale. My main failure is the lack of exercise. That is my slavery issue.

EXERCISE...yuck! Who wants to exercise? I do not know of anyone who really "loves to exercise" yet I do know that it is an essential part of being healthy. Just like drinking water is important to our health so is activity. I can be active but the thought of a daily regimented exercise just turns me off. In the Bible today, it talked about being a slave to self. Humm, how could that be? As I read I saw myself in the very words of God and Oswald Chambers. Chambers said, "Yielding to Jesus will break every form of slavery in any human life" The Bible says "His servants ye are to whom ye obey." Romans 6:16

Yielding for one day in exercise last week made me weak enough to yield every day since. My reason for delaying this process was a dentist visit that kicked my jaws....then having to go back the next day to re fix the problem.

We yield in all sorts of ways...."I must have that" or "just one" or have you ever said...."it won't hurt and no one will know", how about "I can give that up any time." Sound familiar?

I am at blame because I yielded way back last Monday and now here it is 7 days later and I still have not got back into the groove. I became a slave to self. But if I obey God, I do so because I am yielding myself to Him and not self. THEREFORE I AM FREE! It sounds pretty redundant, to obey is to be free, but it is the only truth we have to cling to. If you think about self, we become slave to what has captured our attention or pleasure for that moment in time...But God gives us freedom to be ourselves, in Him! That my friends is very freeing!

Then I read today in James 1:14-15..."But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desires. Then after desire has conceived it gives birth to sin and sin when it is fully grown, it gives birth to death."

I got it God, I am starting back into my dull routine of exercise this afternoon! Promise!

Monday, February 28, 2011

By this we believe...

John 16:30-31 was my verse for the day...then I read a devotion that went along with it. "By this we believe, Jesus answered, Do ye now believe?"I responded quickly in my heart, YES, yet do I?

DO I? do things out of a sense of duty as a believer.
DO I? have my own agenda
DO I? feel I have grown enough spiritually to make the right
decision every time.
DO I? think of myself as superior
DO I? think with robot precision on godly things
DO I? quickly pray w/o a burden like items on a grocery list

Jesus knew that a time would come when his disciples would leave Him alone and He knew that we would as well. YES~ I have done all of the above at one time or another in my journey as a believer (I cannot lie)

I HAVE~ served b/c I am a pastor's wife and it is what is expected, my duty.
I HAVE!~had my own hidden agenda before. If I do something will there be some kind of recognition in it for me.
I HAVE~felt that in some areas the old quote "I arrived" so I didn't need to attend "that" Bible study, boy was I ever wrong.
I HAVE~never felt superior....really!~ But the word inferior has claimed my thoughts and actions many times. They are both wrong. Both make you believe that the job or service or ministry cannot be done by you. Maybe you are the very person God has in mind for the deed or idea to get accomplished.
I HAVE~been robotic in many decisions. I am speaking of the small ones here, b/c "I can handle these and leave God to other bigger issues." Yet I know God wants to be a part of my daily mundane life.
I HAVE~quickly prayed w/o compassion or urgency or burden before, only to find God convicting me later. ( I have to be honest here)

Jesus knew I would try this on my own. But he stands ready and willing and lovingly to forgive my unbelief and show me how to live this life in full belief. Every one of the 'I HAVES" I have done...learned my lesson ....moved on. But sometimes I fall back into old bad habits. Oswald Chambers has a quote "We have put our sense of duty on the throne instead of the resurrected life of Christ."

My words: when I do "believer things" w/the attitude of duty then it is always backed w/a clear defense. When I do "believer things" w/the attitude of obedience then there is no defense. It is all about faith in the cross, the power of the cross.
In this present week (2-28-2011) I need to claim the power of the cross. Not for just belief (b/c I do believe) but to trust God's perfect will in the decisions that must be made....w/my mom's health...Steve's book....our home in Tennessee....Billie's job....Jill and Warren and a baby.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Absolute certainty....

...been going through some hard weeks lately. The defination of tenacity: the quality or state of being. Well, my state of being has been tosseled alot these past few weeks. But today in my quiet time I see the "state of being" as described by Oswald Chambers.

"Tenacity is more than endurance, it is endurance combined with the absolute certainty that what we are looking for is going to transpire."

So to drink this statement up I have got to be certain of life and all the variables it encompasses.

#1. My mother and her health. We found out that surgery was not going to help her kidneys because they are shrinking, dying. Her function level is 26% at this point in time. and with the knowledge that dialysis starts at 15% , decisions are being made with absolute certainty. With absolute certainty my mother decided to not have surgery on a 5cm anerisum. With tears in both our eyes we know with absolute certainty that a ticking time bomb is within her.
#2. Our daughter/son (youth minister) is without a job in this ecomonic season. With 4 children and a home that needs to sell they have absolute certainty of quiet a few things on their plate.
#3. Our youngest daughter/son (small group pastor) knows with absolute certainty that God will start their family through adoption, yet when the call came for a newborn baby girl, that certainty was dimished by the birth mother.

Please note that all 3 concerns in my life are composed of facts! Just facts! Stats from a talented surgeron....decisions of others that was beyond their control. Absolutes for sure and because of the information given, very certain. But Chambers went on to say that " then comes the call to spiritual tenacity, not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately on the certainty that God is not going to be worsted." We must have the spritual tenacity to know with absolute certainty that God will work thru the struggles to refine us and bring praise to His name.

"If our hopes are being dissappointed just now it means that they are being purified. One of the greatest strains in life is the strain of waiting for God. Because thou has kept the word of my patience."

With everything going on these weeks in my life, I found comfort in these words. I am happy to be dissappointed because that means God is purifing me. I welcome strains of life or what I call storms, because God knows what is happening and He delights to give me the desires of my heart. I now that doesn't make sense but through God's bet for my life and the lives of those I love, I know He will give us the desires of our hearts....because our hearts desire to learn, grow and love the Lord more.

So, Bill and Shana...hang on with spiritual tenacity because God thru this storm is protecting you and your family. He will provide at the moment it will bring Him glory. (not thy will but God's will be done) I am so proud of how you have handled this storm...your faith is sustaining your family.
Warren and Jill.....God has directed you to start this precious family through adoption and adoption will happen. And when the call comes and you see your child, you will know that "for this child" you waited on. God will receive the glory for the patiences you both have shared. Your child will hear this story every year on it's birthday and God will become a permanent friend in the childs heart for eternity.
My momma...her health is ebbing but her humor is strong. Her will is strong. I am focused on absorbing everyday with laughter and memories of the old days. I remind her daily of God's love for her and that each day is a gift from God. I appreciate more things about my mother every week I get to have her in my life. God is praised for the certainty that we have each other for one more day.

Absolute certainty/spiritual certainty, I think I choose spiritual certainty! "Tenacity is the supreme effort of a man refusing to believe that his hero is going to be conquered."

My hero is God, who is yours?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Stuck vs Unstuck....

Acts 2:42-47
Believers devoted themselves to a daily teaching and reading of the Word of God. They made time for fellowship and set aside time to pray regularly. As they did this they were witness to many signs and wonders from God. Selling their possessions as was needed for the good of the entire community they never went without a need met. Daily they got into a habit of worship, eating together with gladness and of a simple mindedness. These believers praised God everyday and everyday God added to their community of believers.

Stuck vs Unstuck....

Sometime we get STUCK, stuck in programs, stuck in the ritual of busyness, stuck in health issues, stuck in managing our own little world thinking that “we have this covered”, God can use His time on someone else. So many times I have felt stuck but never when it traveled parallel with God. Only when I choose (for whatever reason) to take the vertical direction did I find myself stuck.

I am reminded of a story long time ago when I was 6 years old. We lived in a trailer court. (The PC word in 2011 is Mobile Home Park) but nonetheless it was a place where trailer living had you “parked” on a piece of ground and you paid rent to keep your trailer parked there. A rather nice community of people who believed that the “American Dream” had not but one day would occur for them. (I digress a bit)

Stuck vs Unstuck....

I was best friends with Bonnie Gabanny; her dad was paid to manager this trailer court. The neat thing was they lived in the only house on the “court-land” so I enjoyed the spacious life of a house everyday as we played.

The best part was we got to play house with our dolls in vacant trailers. With peanut butter, wonder bread and a plastic knife in tow we enjoyed our imaginations. One day Bonnie’s dad left the large ladder propped up against the maintenance garage so we decided it would be fun to climb to the top of the garage and see what was on top or as we like to think, the wonders of the world. Bonnie went first b/c she was not as afraid as I was to get in trouble. Next it was my turn. Getting up the brave heart to start the climb I got have way up then decided to look down, my first big mistake. My fear froze my actions. I was STUCK!

There are many kinds of stuck-ness w/the God. Pastor Tom described them this way: Fear: (Jer 4:19-20) that overwhelms us. Fatigue: (V21) so very tired of whatever has been consuming us. Foolishness: ( Jer 2:25 & Jer 5:21-22) the ignorance or selfishness we determine to be “our own” and not God’s. So caught up in the world and forgetting that God said “Be in the world and not of it.” Faking it: (Jer 5:23-24) giving God mouth service and not heart service. There are times where we just go through the motions tipping our hat toward God 1 hour a week.

Stuck vs Unstuck....

Well on that ladder I was full of fear and fatigue. I started crying, Bonnie started screaming for her dad and as hero’s always do, Mr. Gabanny came running around the corner. He pranced up that ladder in two shakes, grabbed my waist and the next thing I knew I was standing on green grass. I was UNSTUCK. Yeah me!

Pastor Tom shared how we can get un-stuck. Read Jeremiah 6:16. It says that we should ASK for help (I did) Listen and abide by that very help (or what I wrote in my journal) DO IT. In that minute I find REST.

Ask by looking to the wisdom of others who have gone before you…”the old godly way.” Attain wisdom that comes from God’s word and believers who have already walked that path. Don’t just give lip service but actually do what they/or God tells you to do. And only then will rest find you, find you standing on green grass, feet firmly planted in a safe place.

Stuck vs Unstuck....

Today after worship I found Pastor Tom and told him that I was stuck in Fatigue, so tired of many things that have occupied my heart and my mind. There are personal struggles that allowed its ugly head to have a stronghold over my life. There are tired days of doctors and my mother’s health, days of struggle w/relationships that I so want mended but know it is out of my hands.

I have asked for wisdom from God Himself and wise believers. Just like screaming for help as a child on that ladder, I’m flat tired. Today I started resting. Today I am UNSTUCK. Like the rungs on a ladder, I use them as a measuring devise for my believers walk thru this world. Some days I climb high enough to see what God has to give me and some days I freeze on a rung, standing still for a while only to finally realize that I need help. So I ask, do it, and rest again.

I am so glad God’s grace is pouring over me daily. I am so glad God never gives up on my poor soul; He never tires of rescuing me from me.