Thursday, January 19, 2012
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
"B" - Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will Be saved. Acts 16:31
(Double B's if you haven't noticed!!)
Somethings are hard for me to believe. How about you? Have you ever heard yourself fill in the blanks?
"I can't believe __________________ ." or "I can't believe I __________________ ."
Usually we find ourselves saying statements like this about something that has already happened and we know for a fact it did, yet we can't get our minds around it.When it comes to believing, are can't and won't the same or different? (You'll have to answer that one for yourself, but keep reading! :)
Believing is always a choice. You wither choose to believe something or not. It is an extension of your faith that something is real or where you place your trust.
I'll admit that I have had these thoughts:
~ "I can't believe that God entrusted me with the gift of our son." How many times did I say that when he was in infant and motherhood both engulfed and intimated me!
~ "I can't believe that God has blessed me with my husband." By all accounts, a happy and healthy marriage is nothing short of a miracle these days...a miracle!
~ "I can't believe that God has allowed me to be a part of so many of His plans." From conversations in a grocery store to leading a teenage girls Bible Study, I am humbled He wants me and then uses me.
But, each of these statements are true of things that I have seen or felt (24 hours of labor pains) and I know that they are true. I do believe them, even though it is hard to get MY mind around it, I know they are true!
So, how much harder is it to believe something that you haven't seen?
That is the story of Thomas. He was a disciple, a follower of Jesus to who Jesus hand-picked to come along side him and tell God's story. But, after Jesus died, and laid in a tomb for 3 days, Thomas could not believe he came back to life. Yep. A follower of Jesus, hand-picked, given responsibilities to share the message was having trouble believing. Thomas said something like, "Unless I see the nail holes in his hand, and put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won't (not, can't but, won't!) believe it (John 20:25 The Message). Well, don't worry friends, Jesus loves us so much to die for our sins, and that includes our unbelief.
The account finishes 8 days later and 3 verses further into the story with Jesus reappearing (after he was dead, buried, and risen to life again), this time in the presence of Thomas. Look at what Jesus said to Thomas, "Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." Jesus knew exactly what it would take to make Thomas believe! And Thomas did believe, friends! He did!
If you are learning this "B" verse with us these 2 weeks, let me share this bit of encouragement with you. After Jesus invited Thomas to touch where he suffered for us, the Savior says, "So, you believe because you've seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing'" (John 20:29 The Message).
What a promise friends! Believe and be saved! Believe (without seeing) and be blessed! Tell God of your unbelief. Tell Him where you struggle with believing that He is real or that He sent His Son to die for your sin because He loves you. Ask Him to help you with your can't and/or with your won't, so that you can believe, and be saved. Thomas did.
Monday, January 16, 2012
Go ahead and ask me anything about sharks! I have read enough books, seen enough episodes of "Shark Week," and role-played enough shark attacks to challenge the top scientist at any national aquarium. Well, ok may not "the top" scientist, but defiantly his assistant.
My son is a huge fan. He reminds me that the tiger shark is known as the "garbage can of the sea." "Be careful, Mom! Sometimes sharks mistake people on surf boards as baby seals!" Even when we brush his teeth, he wants me to brush the "sharpest shark ones." What a hoot!
Yesterday was also a great day to finish one more exam in my Liberty Home Bible Institute studies. Small bites toward graduation...slow but sure. It just so happened that after shark painting, I took a Final Exam on the Doctrine of another very well know predator...Satan. You know the one who seeks whom he may devour, always lurking to steal, kill, and destroy.
Despite being inside all day, my little guy 's eagerness to learn about "a predator" really got me thinking. It made me look at myself...like so often we learn from those whom we trying to teach. With everything I learned in the Doctrine of Satan Unit, I am most encouraged by 2 Corinthians 2:11, "Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices." We are charged to know how Satan works so that he doesn't take advantage of us when he tries to attack.
Let's not get caught unaware of what is lurking.
Do we know Satan's devices? Am I trying to learn them or be able to identify them in my own life?
As I prepared for my exam, I had to learn about how Satan tries to attack us. My little guy would be proud of how much I knew about THIS predator. I found this so enlightening, I wanted to share from Dr. Harold Wilmington's textbook, Wilmington's Guide to the Bible...The 16 Deadly "D's" of the Devil.
Have you heard of them? Does everyone know these but me?!
#1. In the attack of Disappointment, let's remember Romans 8:28.
#2. In the attack of Discouragement, let's remember 1 Samuel 30:6.
#3. In the attack of Despair, let's remember 2 Cor. 4:8.
#4. In the attack of Doubt, let's remember 1 Timothy 2:8.
#5. In the attack of Disbelief, let's remember Hebrews 3:12.
#6. In the attack of Distraction, let's remember Matthew 14:30.
#7. In the attack of Double-mindedness, let's remember James 1:8; James 4:8.
#8. In the attack of Dishonesty, let's remember 2 Corinthians 4:2
#9. In the attack of Deceit, let's remember Jeremiah 17:9
#10. In the attack of Dullness, let's remember Hebrews 5:11 and 1 Corinthians 3:1-3.
#11. In the attack of Deadness, let's remember Hebrews 9:14.
#12. In the attack of Delay, let's remember James 4:13-15.
#13. In the attack of Discord, let's remember Proverbs 6:16-19.
#14. In the attack of Defilement, let's remember 1 Corinthians 3:16-17.
#15. In the attack of Defaming, let's remember Psalm 101:5.
#16. In the attack of Disobedience, let's remember 1 Samuel 15:22, Romans 6:14-18.
So, think Dr. Wilmington is right? Is this how Satan nibbles, gnaws, and attacks at you? I answered "yes" to a few, myself! Let us not tread as victims, but thrive as educated victors! Amen?!
May this sweet list encourage you and lead you to His Word as much as it did me today, friend!
Inhaling God's faithful aroma,
Friday, January 13, 2012
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Most important: comment and encourage the person who linked up before you.
OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on:
When do you awake? No, not like an A.M. time, but what stirs you, excites you, makes you stay up late into the night and not care the next day?
I don't like the artificial highs that wake me up like coffee, diet Coke, and sugar that slowly ebb off and don't last (although I am a frequent consumer). That is not really "awake" that is more like "pushing." You "push" someone out of bed on most days, but you see them come "awake" on Christmas morning! I long for those time where I feel more refreshed and awake. Very little can distract me in those moments (or fortunate seasons).
Think about this. Do you think awake can just happen at the snap of the finger, or do you think awakening comes after rest, slumbering, or snoozing? Is that good or bad? (Can my 5-minutes just be filled with questions?! HA HA)
I took a long rest this past fall, too long. It might not have felt like it with committing to a part-time job as our church's secretary, but after finishing a 4-year long (should have been 2, or 3 for most) Bible course, I took a break from any formal Bible Study. Left to my own devices, I stumbled, turned sluggish, and slumbered. I tried quick fixes, but for me it just wasn't the same as having a routine and motivation. After Christmas was over, literally and figuratively, and by the end of the year, I did not understand what was wrong. It was only after the new year when I started reading the Bible through chronologically did I even open my eyes to see what had happened.
I awake in the Word. Nothing causes my eyes to open more that hearing God's voice speak to me. Something stirs in me that I can not explain. It isn't so much what happens in me, but it is that the Word itself is alive. It is always awake. The Holy Spirit is always ready to illuminate from it. No pre-setting required. I was the one who was hitting the snooze button.
Enjoying Fridays and linking up with Gypsy Momma!
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
But words do have power, even when we feel powerless. That is not because of gifting, that is because of the Gifter! To quote Beth Moore, “Without exception the most powerful built in instrument God has given us is our mouths.” Re-reading some notes I took while watching her Believing God Bible Study DVDs, she said, “For reasons ultimately know to God alone, He has ordained that SPOKEN words carry a power, authority, and effectiveness that exceed words we simply THINK.” Words are important and powerful.
Oh how it has blessed me when a friend TELLS me that she has been praying for me! How it encourages me when a friend SHARES that she was blessed by a blog post! How it humbles me to have a friend CALL and share when she is just plain stuck! So just imagine how God rejoices and is glorified when we SPEAK to Him and share from our hearts and our mouths, or simply REPEAT His powerful Word to a friend or over a situation! On the other hand, how He must hurt when we ignore it or go against it. Ever know someone’s small words to hurt you?
That is why I am giving a lot of thought to my ONE WORD for 2012. You can learn more about it here. Simply, you pick 1 word to focus on for 365 days, instead of 365 resolutions to focus on for 1 year.
You would be so shocked to learn how quickly I can come up with a 365-item “to better myself” list, yet I have struggled, yes S-T-R-U-G-G-L-E-D to think of just 1 word to focus on this year. I have thought of this ONE WORD for 11 days now, ever since I read everyone else‘s and wanted to join in.
The wait is over.
My ONE WORD for 2012 is (drum roll, please) “Words!”
Before you think this is just a cop-out or super cheesy, I did some self-inventory before make my decision:
I thought of GRACE for days even wrote the word in my day planner to think and pray about it being “the one!” Then, what about LOVE? “Lord, help me with my failure to LOVE like you can!” Even thought about SERVE. “Am I SERVING where you want me to, Lord?”…the list could go on and on, and trust me it did!
In the end, I thought of how I love words and so many words have a waterfall of emotion for me. But then again, how perfect are God’s Words! Pop! (in my head, wish you could have heard it!): Do “my words” match “God’s Word?” Can they? All the time?
First, took a look at God’s Word. Do I know His Word? Am I reading it? Daily? A duty or delight? Are His Words in my heart? Memorized? How am I meditate on them? Do I speak them over my husband and son? What does God want to say to me? Through me?
Next, took a look at my words. What am I saying? Do my words help or hinder? What is the motive of what I say? What is the tone of my words? What is coming out of the abundance of my heart (Matt. 12:34)? What are God’s plans for my words? Do my words reflect God’s Word? Am I courageous enough to speak His Word to those that do not know it? (Is anyone else getting hot in here?)
I just laughed out loud thinking that I just signed up for Beth Moore’s new Bible Study called, James: Mercy Triumphs! Not familiar with it? Oh, it is the one where there is an entire chapter (Chapter 3) about “controlling the tongue!” HA HA!! Please encourage TELL me to do my homework!
What is your ONE WORD for 2012? Got ONE? Think about it!
I look forward to your wonderful words,
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Now, before you start shaking your head and saying, “Really? Make your own bread?!! Wouldn't it just be easier to buy a loaf?
Have you ever tasted real homemade bread? There is just nothing like it. And if I am going to eat the CARBS, well…let’s just say, I AM going to eat the carbs; I want them to be yummy!
You should know the first FOUR loaves (and first BAG of FLOUR) were total flops! The first Oatmeal Buttermilk loaf I made was tasty, but after the first slice, it got so hard, I was worried about dropping it and hurting our kitchen floor. Seriously! Then, I got flour all over the heating elements while it was mixing the second loaf (filled it too full) and the entire house smelled of burnt flour and I had to turn the machine off prematurely. We did not want our New Year’s Eve horn and whistles to be fire trucks (aroma was not pleasant, either). The third loaf did not rise. The fourth crumbled like graham cracker pie crust.
However, we just finished the fifth (and only successful) loaf and it was so delicious, I only got 2 slices total!
Getting ready to make another loaf, I wanted to sit here in the kitchen and share.
Know what the problem was with the first FOUR loaves?
Measuring the flour. Pretty basic, right? You know, one of the MAIN ingredient in BREAD!!!!
I was measuring the flour like one would measure brown sugar: Grab a measuring cup, any one will do, thrust it in the flour, scoop it along the side to pack it in, and add. Then, do that 3 times. Why do I do it this way? I don’t know. Is there a different way to measure things? C’mon, is there anyone else who just uses the same measuring cups for both dry and liquid ingredients? How about those of us who don’t measure at all and just “eye ball it,” you know who you are!
So wrong in the bread making world, friends, as I quickly learned.
With all my failures to my record and this exciting new present from my husband, I was glancing back over the instruction booklet and saw this page that said, “Tips: Use Exact Measurements” and I re-read what I had originally skimmed over. It was right there in black and white:
“ Measure dry ingredient by GENTLY spooning flour, etc., into the measuring cup
and then, once filled, leveling of with a knife. Never use the measuring cup to
scoop your dry ingredient directly from a container as this could add up to one
tablespoon of extra ingredients. Do not tap the bottom of the measuring cup or
Oh these were like sweet words to me! There was still hope!
How had I missed them? Now, like most things in my life, I thought, “Look at all the spiritual principles here!” Yes, we should always go to God’s instruction book, the Bible, when we feel as if we are failing to let it correct, train or disciple us. God’s Word can also act as a recipe for a faith-filled life of abundance.
However in this situation for me, I am reminded of “portions.” Last Friday, I sat down for lunch with a dear friend and our conversation swirled around our “portions” in life. More is not always better. Amen? Packing too many things in, like grams of flour, will inhibit us from even being able to consume what is rich.
There is much to be said about GENTLY scooping things into our lives, allowing the Holy Spirit to measure them against God’s Will and Word, rather than just saying “Yes.” Then, once filled with confirmation, level off.
As the New Year begins, where are you? PACKED DOWN tight or FILLED by your Portion? Who is your Portion?
As you choose this day whom you serve and how you do it, choose God to be not only your portion, but choose Him to also be the CUP! “LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure” Psalm 16:5. Just simply beautiful, do you think? Where ever your lot is, however your lot is going in life, when you CHOOSE to make God your portion, even your CUP, He holds it secure in His Hands.
May it overflow with praise, not false priorities.
Friday, January 6, 2012
Let’s do it. Let’s just write without worrying if it’s just right or not. For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Let your mind and your words and your heart fly free; wild – no editing, no over thinking.
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – don’t edit; don’t second-guess.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Must: leave a comment for the person who linked up before you – encouraging them
in their writing!
OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on:
Good thing that I have a timer on the bottom right-hand corner of the computer screen because 5 minutes feels like a wink to me, but then again it is sweet buying time when I say, "You have 5 more minutes, son." He loves that! So, these are 5 precious minutes to me.
This lion here is just yawning (at least that is what the caption said), doesn't look like it does it? Right? But just as I have experienced in my own life, "the Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch YOU napping" (1 Peter 5:7 MSG). Oh, how True!
Step 1. Do not nap...the Devil doesn't.
Step 2. Don't stand to close...the Devil pounces.
Step 3. Don't listen...when the Devil ROARS, it will just be like he is yawning to you...no effect!
The hardest step is 3. Lies deafen our senses to the Truth. But the Devil has no power over us if we do not listen to his hissssss or his ROOOOOOOOOAR!
(2 minutes over for photo searching! I'll try again next Friday!)
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
"Time to wake up."
"But I don't want to go to school." Eyes clinched shut.
The bright sun peers through the room like his words do to my ears. Oh Lord, please help us have a good morning, I pray. Thousands of beams of thoughts rush in my mind and are on the tip of my tongue like:
You are well in mind and body! You live in a land with enormous opportunity. There are children all over the world who are not well enough to go to school or don't have a school to go to. Do you know that? You are blessed! Other children might go to school but don't have the care that their teeth are brushed or that their breakfast is filling to start their day. What a blessing to sleep later than most and be driven to school. You have a wealth of resources! You have been given so much to grumble EVERY morning! Open your eyes!
Tell me, did Joshua understand a mother's morning getting kids up for school in Chapter 24 of his book? Over and over, Joshua points out all that the Lord God had done. Now, in the wealth of the new land that had just simply been given to them by God's hand, they had a choice. Joshua challenges the Israelites by recounting all that God had brought them through and then says go ahead and worship another god if you want, but I am not and neither is my household.
Our "A" verse in the 2012 Scripture Memory Challenge is Joshua 24:15b "As for me and my household we will serve the Lord."
When asked what that verse means to me, the word "serve" stuck out. How am I serving him? Not just doing, but serving? When do we serve him? Is it so for my whole household?
So you know me, right?! I looked it up! :)
The word serve is "abad" in Hebrew, pronounced (aw-bad) a verb meaning to work. Remember when Jacob served Laban (Gen. 29:15) and the Israelites served the Egyptians (Ex. 1:4)? I read on. To quote, "When the focus of the labour is the Lord, it is a religious service to worship Him. Moreover, in these cases, the word does not have a connotation of toilsome, but instead a joyful experience of liberation."
Joshua was telling the people who didn't attack the walls (they fell down), who didn't work for the land (it was given), who didn't cultivate the land (it was flowing with milk and honey), and who who didn't build the cities (they were already constructed), that if you think you'd rather SERVE someone else, other than the one who did all that for you, go ahead.
What?! Joshua told his people to worship someone else?
Well, if they didn't serve the On True Living God, weren't they doing that anyway? The god of ease? The god of comfort? The god of wealth? Or worse, the god of "me."
The "the joyful toil of liberation" that the definition spoke of is the beauty of worship. Putting forth effort acknowledging that God is greater than me or anything else; liberates me.
It is a freeing experience to serve
the God who provides .
the God who comforts.
the God who is faithful.
the God who rescues.
the God who saves.
Know what that means? He does, so we don't have to.
I serve the God who is, so I don't have to be.
I don't have to provide everything.
I don't have to solve everything.
I don't have to be everything.
I don't have to do everything.
Like Joshua's Israelites, I have a choice to SERVE, WORSHIP, LABOUR, TOIL for the One who does.
I don't have to rely on me. God doesn't even need me, He WANTS me! Do I want him? Did the Israelites after Joshua challenged them? You don't have to go too far, just pages over from the book of Joshua, and you will find that although they claimed they would never want another god, they lied.
The true test of memorizing Truth and hiding His Word in my heart, is when the situation becomes most difficult, I make the right choice to forget myself and SERVE the Lord.
Stroking his hair, I don't depend on my super mommy skills, I speak to him about the Lord and we start ANOTHER morning. "This is the day that the Lord has made, right? Let's rejoice in this day, Jeremiah."
Sunday, January 1, 2012
I am so thankful for a NEW year. I thank God that He, and HE alone, has the power to make all things NEW! That includes me, not just the year. And, the shocking thing is, HE wants to...in me and in YOU! Year after year, after year!
Last fall, I accepted a part-time position and our only son started kindergarten. Although this felt like an expolsion to the "stay-at-home" norm I had known for the last 5 years, that is when everything started to smolder. The vibrant flames of deep, rich time in the Word were snuffed out with rushed mornings, travel mugs of hot coffee forgotten on the counter, and e-mails of apologies for things I forgot to do, messed up while doing, or could not commit to do. Know the feelin'? Thanks to all those of you who extended me GRACE in 2010 (more to share about that this month!). But, praise the Lord, His Light can not be put out!
A new year has sparked, my friends!
Not to conform to the list of self-striving resolutions, I seek to be transformed by His reNEWing of my mind (Romans 12:2). Want to join me? Here's how....A favorite blog (and a dear friend), She Sparkles, is hosting a 2012 A-Z Scripture Memory Verse Challenge and we are invited! Every other week, our hearts and heads will be challenged to reNEWed with a truth from God's Word all the way from A to Z! We are not talking about passages...just verses! Click here to learn more about it! Wait! Before you click over, let me share something. There is a limitless number of things that we can add to our lives and lists, I know. Often, they suffocate and burn us out. But, a fire needs only 3 things to burn bright: oxygen, fuel, and a heat source (checked that fact out with my Seach and Rescue hubby!). Think about it: With the Source of All breathing His Life in us, the fuel of God's Word is one that will never fail, only prevail!
I am super excited to share some thoughts about our "As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord" verse from Joshua 24:15b later in the week. Want to join us?
Happy ReNEWing Year,