A Journey of Faith

Saturday, January 28, 2012

I AM there

Do you need ME? I AM there.

You cannot see Me, yet I AM the light you see by.

You cannot hear ME, yet I speak through your voice.

You cannot feel ME, yet I AM the power at work in your hands.

I AM at work, though you do not understand MY ways.

I AM at work, though you do not recognize MY works.

I AM not strange visions, I AM not mysteries.

Only in absolute stillness, beyond self,

can you know ME as I AM,

and then but as a feeling and a faith.

Yet I AM there. Yet I hear. Yet I answer.

When you need ME, I am there.

Even if you deny ME, I AM there,

Even when you feel most alone, I AM there,

Even in your fears, I AM there,

Even in your pain, I AM there.

I AM there when you pray and when you do not pray.

I AM in you, and you are in ME.

I AM the law on which the movement of the stars

and the growth of living cells are founded.

I AM the love that is the law's fulfilling.

I AM assurance. I AM peace. I AM openness.

I AM the law that you can live by.

I AM the love that you can cling to.

I AM your assurance. I AM your peace. I AM one with you.

Beloved, I AM there.

-James Dillet Freeman

Friday, January 27, 2012

"5 finger prayer"

This is the 'five finger prayer'. It's a good visual, for those days when we don't know what to pray for.
Hold your hands together as if you are going to pray

Thumbs: the thumbs are closest to you. Remember to pray for those closest to you, your family
Forefingers: 'pointer' finger. Pray for those who point you in the right direction; teachers, your pastor.
Middle fingers: it's the tallest, remember to pray for the leaders- of your church and of our nation
Ring fingers: The ring finger is the weakest finger. Don't forget to pray for those who are sick, or who can't care for themselves. Pray for those who don't know JESUS, and for those who can't worship freely.
Pinky fingers: GOD says to put others before ourselves. The pinky is the smallest finger, but still important, don't forget to pray for yourself!

Prayer: Search Me

Last night, after spending the day painting my mom's new house, I came home and took a nice hot bath (GOD bless whoever invented the tub, and hot water heaters. Oh, and bathroom doors with locks:). I took advantage of the time alone to spend some time praying. (time alone is a precious commodity in this house sometimes). I feel lately like I need to work on, well, something. But I don't know what exactly. I know I have many shortcomings, many things that keep me from being who GOD wants me to be. I just don't know what to start with. So I asked HIM to convict me, show me what HE would change in me. Then after the kids were in bed I went back onto sermoncentral.com and read some more sermons. I am going thru the sermons on 'prayer:supplication', mostly because I wanted sermons on being still, but they didnt' have that as one of the topics, so that was as close I could get. One that really hit me was called '5 Dangerous Prayers'. The first of the 'dangerous' prayers was 'Search Me'. So now I am kind of worried, waiting for GOD to finish searching me (like HE needs time to do that... HE already knows what my flaws are!) and let me know what I need to do. Maybe HE will use this as an opportunity to make me practice patience, being still, waiting for HIM. Maybe HE will put something 'in my face', a book or sermon. Maybe an email devotion, who knows! I am kind of excited to see how HE will work in this. The next 'dangerous prayer' is 'Break Me'. I'm not looking forward to that one being answered. I spent a lot of time broken, on my knees before HIM, I know it is necessary to allow HIM to fill me up, but I'm still not looking forward to it :). After that comes 'Stretch Me' 'Lead Me' 'Use Me'. Those sound, hmmm; exciting, scary, wonderful, humbling.
I am looking forward to Sunday's sermon. It is the third in a series (the '3 Simple Rules For Christians') and the topic is 'Stay In Love With JESUS'. I read something (I think it was one of the email devotions I get) about GOD wooing us. About how HE pursues us, wooing us to a relationship with HIM. I feel that lately. I have been a Christian, in the Biblical sense, for less than ten years. I have gone to our church longer than that, but my faith wasn't real for a while. I was in the 'going to church makes you a Christian' frame of mind. My faith has come a long way, but lately I feel like GOD is not just calling my name, HE is shouting it, with banners and confetti, and music. I just don't know where HE is wanting me to be. What HE is wanting me to do. I guess I wonder if HE is just working on me, preparing me, getting me ready to be changed for HIM. Goodness knows, there is a lot of work to do, HE has HIS work cut out for HIM. Thankfully, HE has infinate patience, and HE knows my heart. I just pray that I will have the self-control to trust HIM and not run from the unknown and the unfamiliar.

LORD, YOU alone know my heart. YOU alone know my shortcomings, the many many things YOU would change in me. Please search me and convict me to be who YOU want me to be. Thank YOU for all the ways YOU are reaching out to me, pursueing me to a deeper relationship with YOU. I love YOU!!!!!!!! In JESUS' name, Amen

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I love my sweetie :)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13 4-7

I watched The Grace Card this morning. Very good movie, definately a tear-jerker. As I was watching it I couldn't help but think of my husband. One of the main charecters was a man who had lost a child, and had become bitter as a result. I am so incredibly lucky to have my husband. He is the most amazing man. He has an amazing faith, and is the most loving, loyal, honest, hardworking, funny, gentle, godly man. He has seen tragedy in his life, but has remained an upstanding man of charecter. I couldn't ask for a better man to share my life, and faith with. He challenges me to be a better person, and to be more than I think I can be. He never doubts me, he supports me in whatever I do, and he is just, well, amazing! I don't know what I did to deserve him, but GOD knew who I needed and put him in my life. We will celebrate our 20th anniversary this summer, and I love him more everyday.

LORD, thank YOU for my sweetie. He is more than a blessing, and I am honored to be his wife. Thank YOU for putting us together!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Say it Now

Another poem from the book my friend gave me:

Say it now (author unknown)

If you have a friend worth loving,
Love him. Yes, and let him know
That you love him, ere life's evening
Tinge his brow with sunset glow.
Why should good words ne'er be said
Of a friend- till he is dead?

If you hear a song that thrills you,
Sung by any child of song,
Praise it. Do not let the singer
Wait deserved praises long.
Why should one who thrills your heart
Lack the joy you may impart?

If you hear a prayer that moves you
By its humble, pleading tone,
Join it. Do not let the seeker
Bow before his God alone.
Why should not your brother share
The strength of "two or three" in prayer?

If you see the hot tears falling
From a brother's weeping eyes,
Share them. And by kindly sharing
Own our kinship in the skies.
Why should anyone be glad
When a brother's heart is sad?

If a silvery laugh goes rippling
Through the sunshine on his face,
Share it. 'Tis the wise man's saying-
For both grief and joy a place.
There's health and goodness in the mirth
In which an honest laugh has birth.

If your work is made more easy
By a friendly, helping hand,
Say so. Speak out brave and truly
Ere the darkness veil the land.
Should a brother workman dear
Falter for a word of cheer?

Scatter thus your seeds of kindness
All enriching as you go-
Leave them. Trust the Harvest Giver;
He will make each seed to grow.
So until the happy end
Your life shall never lack a friend.

There are often times when I want to thank someone, or encourage them. It seems odd that I feel uncomfortable doing so. Like I would annoy someone by speaking kindly to them. I wonder why that is. I could blame growing up watching too many tv shows that had too much negativity. I could blame having family that was much quicker with critism and put downs than they were with encouragement and kindness. I could blame bullies in school who tormented that shy, insecure person I was even then. Maybe who I should really blame is myself, for holding onto the idea that kindness is optional, and unnessesary. Whoever or whatever the reason, I need to step out of that mindset, and do as JESUS commands, and lift up my brothers and sisters. Be there to love, and encourage, and support those around me. Even when I feel awkward doing so.
Hmmm. I think this fits with the 'do good' rule again. Maybe GOD is trying to tell me something...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The LORD lifts me up

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the LORD.
Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, and the other to the LORD.
When the last scene of his life flashed before him,he looked back at the footprints in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints.
He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.
This really bothered him and he questioned the LORD about it:
"LORD, you said that once I decided to follow you, you'd walk with me all the way.But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life,there is only one set of footprints.I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me."
The LORD replied:
"My son, my precious child,I love you and I would never leave you.During your times of trial and suffering,when you see only one set of footprints,it was then that I carried you."

I have felt the need to write about something for a while. I thought of this poem and how it fits what I have been pondering. See, I have suffered from depression for more than half my life. If I really thought about it, probably most of my life, certainly since I started adolescence. As I have gotten older I have learned to deal with the lows that come, most of the time it is a matter of a day or two, sometimes more. Usually it is pretty mild, sometimes not so much. As I have grown in my faith in GOD, I have (mostly) had an easier time 'riding it out'. Recently though, I had a tough time, partly because of some meds that I was on for my asthma. Being a pretty private person, I didn't tell many people what was going on, but I did confide in a few people pretty regularly. For a while I got to the point where I was really depending on those two people to make me feel 'normal'. I was placing an unfair amount of importance on whether I talked to them, got an email from them, saw them. And if I didn't, I didn't feel ok. Now that I am on the other side of that, I realize that was unfair to them, and unfair to me. And it wasn't a good use of my faith. As a Christian, I am to put my faith in GOD, I am to worship HIM, and call on HIM for strength. For certain, HE put my friends in my life to support and love me, to help me when I am down. But they are tools HE is using to help me up. If being with them and talking to them helps me feel better, great. But I can be ok without their presence, because I have HIS presence all the time. How very blessed I am to have the support of my sisters in CHRIST, but the real blessing is knowing that even if I had none of them, I still have HIM.

LORD, I thank YOU for the people YOU have placed in my life to help me when I am struggling. Please help me to remember that YOU are the strength that lifts me up, and those in my life are merely tools YOU are using to accomplish that. Please help me to remember that YOU are all I need to dig myself out of the pit I sometimes find myself in. Thank YOU for carrying me when I struggle.

Serving Joyfully

So I spent all day yesterday reading sermons (www.sermoncentral.com -it's a wonderful site, full of sermons on tons of topics) and the topic I spent the most time in was complaining. I am terrible when it comes to complaining. A while back the pastor challenged us to wear bracelets, and everytime we complained we were to switch the bracelet to the other wrist. I spent a lot of time switching my bracelet :(. Anyway, as I read these sermons on complaining, I realized that, although I was technically 'serving' GOD, I wasn't always doing it with a joyful heart. Take today's service. How many times did I complain that I was nervous? How many times did I joke that I hoped it would snow enough to cancel church? I was agreeing to serve, but I was missing something important... the joy! GOD doesn't want us to punch our 'serving time card', HE wants us to serve HIM with joy in our hearts. So today, although I was still nervous, I made a choice to be joyful about the opportunity to serve my GOD and Savior. I don't know if I will jump at the chance to lead the worship service again, but today was a joyful experience. Not because it went well (it did), not because people responded positively (they did), and not because it made it possible for my pastor to take the weekend to lead the youth group in fellowship and worship (thank you Pastor S!!). But because I made the decision to serve HIM willingly and with joy. I guess I will always have some nervousness about some things, but that won't stop me from saying yes.

LORD, today YOU gave me immeasurable strength and calm. But in this experience I learned something too, that my attitude in serving YOU is far more important than the act itself. That to truely serve YOU, I need to do more than show up, I need to choose to be joyfull in serving YOU. YOU are amazing, and sharing Your message with others should fill me with joy, not fear. Thank YOU for teaching me that very important lesson! Thank YOU for giving me so many reasons for being joyful. I love YOU!!!!! In JESUS' name, Amen.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Sunday is 'the big day'. I keep telling myself not to be nervous. And I'm not, as long as I don't think about the fact that in less than 48 hours I have to co-lead the Sunday worship service. As soon as I think about getting up in front of the congregation, Satan starts his poking. You are going to mess up! poke poke. No one will like what you have to say! poke poke. You are going to embarass yourself! poke poke. You are going to let everyone down. poke poke.

The verse that is part of the skit we are doing is Hebrews 11:1. Not only does Hebrews call us to have faith that GOD is there, even if we can't see HIM; it gives an account of many of GOD's people who perservered in faith. Some of them endured things far worse and far scarier than sharing GOD's message with people who love and respect them. So what is my problem? Why does this experience cause me such fear and doubt? People keep telling me that I'll do great, and although I hope they are right, I question why they are so certain. Can't they see that I am not the best person for this job? Can't they see that I may not be the best person to share a message about answering GOD's call, when I feel completely freaked out and overwhelmed just thinking about getting up there? Can't they see that if I fail it will be devestating? I know that being nervous and fearful of this is unreasonable. I'm not facing torture and possible death. I am not leaving my home to travel to poverty stricken and war torn places. I'm not risking life and limb for the gospel. I'm driving to my safe, familiar church; surrounded by people who are my second family. I need to have faith that GOD will calm me and strengthen me, and that this experience will help me to see that there is nothing to fear in sharing myself for HIM. Hopefully Sunday I can post that I was being nervous for no reason, and that everything went great.

LORD, I need a lot of extra strength and grace this weekend. Please calm me and give me courage. Please help this experience teach me something about myself and my place as Your servant. Please help me not to let anyone down. Please strengthen my faith in YOU and Your presence and grace. In JESUS' name, Amen

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Lamb

Little Lamb, who made Thee?
Dost thou know who made Thee?
Gave Thee life and bid Thee feed,
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave Thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing wolly bright;
Gave Thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice!

Little Lamb, who made Thee?
Dost Thou know who made Thee?
Little Lamb, I'll tell Thee,
Little Lamb, I'll tell Thee!
HE is called by Thy name,
For HE calls Himself a Lamb:
HE is meek and HE is mild,
He became a little child:
I a child and Thou a lamb,
We are called by HIS name.
Little Lamb, GOD bless Thee.
Little Lamb, GOD bless Thee.

William Blake, 1789

I have a very vague memory of having this poem read to me when I was very little. I think it may have been my grandmother who read it, I'm not sure. I do remember loving the way it sounded, like a song. I don't think I knew who it was about though, it would take over two decades before I fully appreciated who JESUS was, and is. If only someone had taken the time to explain JESUS and HIS gift to me when they read this poem, what a different life I would have lived! I am so thankful that HE kept after me until I found HIM!

JESUS, the Lamb, thank You for being a presence in my life, even before I knew about YOU! Thank You for Your prevenient grace in my life! I love YOU!! Amen

20 years

It's hard to say good-bye,
When I barely said hello.
And it's hard to let you go,
When I barely got to hold you.
And it's hard not to cry,
When I never heard you laugh.
But love never dies;
And I know we'll be together again in a faraway place,
and a faraway time;
But it's hard to say good bye,
when I barely said hello.


Twenty years ago, on January 24, 1992, my stepson stepped into the arms of GOD. He was a week short of 7 months old. The events of that night are forever etched in my memory. The late night phone call, the somber drive to the hospital. The sight of that tiny little person, forever still, on the gurney. The feel of his tiny, soft foot as I rubbed his toes for the last time. The thick feelings of grief, hopelessness, and despair that hung in the air. The sad, quiet ride home, followed by the many phone calls the next day to let family and friends know what had happened. I will never forget that night and the sad weeks and months that followed, but the past two decades have healed the hole in my heart, and made way to remember the good times we had with him, few as they were. The first time I saw him, with his beautiful blue eyes, so sweet and innocent. Walking him around the dining room to help him go to sleep, feeding him bottles, trying to burp him (never did get the hang of the whole burping thing). And knowing now, 20 years and a life's journey of faith later, that I will see him in Heaven someday. Will he know me? Will he remember those few moments we spent together? Will he know how much I love him and how much I have missed him over the years? There are so many unanswered questions when a child dies. What would he have been like? Would he have looked like my husband, tall and handsome? Would he have been a good big brother to his little siblings? Would we have gotten along well? So many things to ponder.

LORD, you know my stepson, you've cared for him since before he was born, and watched over him since he died. Tell him he is not forgotten and still loved and missed. Thank YOU for the assurance that we will see him again someday, and that until then, he is in good hands!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Give Me Your Eyes

Are you tired of songs yet? I hope not, cause I love music and have lots of favorite songs, so here's another one :) This one is called 'Give Me Your Eyes' by Brandon Heath (as usual the lyrics are compliments of elyrics and the video link on godtube http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=J9JJ2CNU ) I hope you enjoy it!

Looked down from a broken sky Traced out by the city lights My world from a mile high Best seat in the house tonight Touched down on the cold black top Hold on for the sudden stop Breathe in the familiar shock Of confusion and chaos All those people going somewhere Why have I never cared? Give me Your eyes for just one second Give me Your eyes so I can see Everything that I keep missing Give me Your love for humanity Give me Your arms for the broken hearted The ones that are far beyond my reach? Give me Your heart for the one's forgotten Give me Your eyes so I can see Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah Step out on a busy street See a girl and our eyes meet Does her best to smile at me To hide what's underneath There's a man just to her right Black suit and a bright red tie Too ashamed to tell his wife He's out of work, he's buying time All those people going somewhere Why have I never cared? Give me Your eyes for just one second Give me Your eyes so I can see Everything that I keep missing Give me Your love for humanity Give me Your arms for the broken hearted The ones that are far beyond my reach? Give me Your heart for the one's forgotten Give me Your eyes so I can see Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah I've been there a million times A couple of million eyes just moving past me by I swear I never thought that I was wrong Well, I want a second glance So give me a second chance To see the way You see the people all along Give me Your eyes for just one second Give me Your eyes so I can see Everything that I keep missing Give me Your love for humanity Give me Your arms for the broken hearted The ones that are far beyond my reach? Give me Your heart for the one's forgotten Give me Your eyes so I can see Give me Your eyes for just one second Give me Your eyes so I can see Everything that I keep missing That I keep missing Give me Your arms for the broken hearted The ones that are far beyond my reach? Give me Your heart for the one's forgotten Give me Your eyes so I can see Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah Yeah, yeah, yeah

I think this ties in with the 'Do Good' rule. The first step in doing good is to know what needs there are that have to be met. You have to see people thru GOD's eyes before you want to reach out to them. How often do we rush past those who are hurting, averting our eyes and our hearts? How often do we make excuse; we are too tired, too busy, too undertrained, not enough resources...etc etc? What if we just stopped and tried to see others as GOD sees them? How much more would get done, how much less suffering would HIS children endure? Suffering that we have the power to stop. We live in a society of 'do what makes you feel good', of 'situation ethics', of man made morals. What if we went back to the simplicity of GOD's way? Do unto others, love your neighbor, honor your parents, when you do it to the least of these. What a blessing we would be able to be!!! What a joy we could share with the world!!! What an increase for GOD's kingdom!!!

LORD, please, give me your eyes! Help me to see Your children as you do, and be willing to put myself out there to help. Please help me to reach out and love others as YOU have loved me. Please convict me not to let the world and it's suffering pass me by without my stepping up to action. In JESUS' name, Amen.

The Weaver's Hand

The Weaver's Hand (author Unknown)

My life is but a weaving, between my GOD and me.

I do not choose the colors, HE worketh steadily.

Ofttimes HE weaveth sorrow, and I in foolish pride,

Forget HE sees the upper, and I the underside.

Not till the loom is silent and the shuttles cease to fly,

Will GOD unroll the canvas and explain the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful in the skillful Weaver's hand,

As the threads of gold and silver in the pattern HE has planned.

I made this box as a gift to JESUS for His birthday. It is a nice box. It's plaid (my favorite color... is too a color!!). I always joke about not wanting to leave my 'box'. Well, now I have no choice, I gave my box away :). I have to trust now that GOD is in control, HE has everything planned out. I just get the blessing of seeing where HE leads and how HE works in my life. The inside of this box is rather plain, you can't see the beauty of the design if you only look at the inside. It's not until you turn it over and look at all of it that the pattern shows. I know that personally, I can't wait to see what masterpiece the Weaver has made for my life!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Little duckling... future pastor?!?!

My littlest duckling informed me a while back that when she grows up she is going to be one of three things: a pastor, a Chinese teacher, or a cook. This is the conversation that followed:

Me: Why do you want to be a pastor?
LD: Cause then I can teach people about JESUS.
Me: You know that Pastors have to talk in front of lots of people right. Like Pastor (S) does every week.
LD: Yup. I don't mind. I like to talk.
Me: Won't you be nervous?
LD: Nope, my legs don't even shake when I talk in front of people. It's fun.

Well then. I guess it's safe to say she does NOT get that from me :)

Do Good

So since I did a post about the first of the 'Three Simple Rules for Christian Living', I thought I should do a post for the second rule too. The second rule is 'do good'. I have been thinking about it a lot. See, part of the message was this quote from Frederick Beuchner (a writer and minister) "The place GOD calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's great hunger meet". Hmm. It seems like everywhere I turn lately, I am getting a message about GOD's call. And in ways that compel me to really think about it. The problem is this; I don't know what HE's calling me to. I know that HE wants me to be with my kids at this time, and as I said in a previous post, I am starting from square one. I can do anything (well, within reason. I'm thinking sumo wrester or opera singer are probably not options.) So what is HE trying to tell me? I like to do good. I like helping people, doing things to make life easier for others. I could take the easy way out and say that helping is enough. That showing up and being available to lend a hand is all that is nessessary to really be following that 'rule'. But given the fact that GOD is hitting me up side the head with a 2x4 (again. Did I mention I'm a bit stubborn?) with messages everywhere about calling and answering HIS call; I would say that I need to reevaluate what else I can be doing. Hmmm. I think I may have to update later on what I come up with!!

The Right Call

"GOD has not called me to be successful; HE has called me to be faithful" -Mother Teresa

This is such a hard thing to reconcile. I tend to avoid doing things I don't feel comptent to do well. I make excuse, saying I don't want to let people down if I don't succede, but really, I just don't want to 'fail'. It is a pride issue, too much of it to be honest. I need to forget about doing things 'just right' and instead focus on doing faithfully. GOD calls His children to serve HIM by serving others, spreading the news that HE loves them and has made a way for them. When I stand before HIM, will I hear 'Well done, good and faithful servant'? Will HE be pleased with the way I lived, pleased that I stood up and remained faithful? Or will HE sigh, and say HE wishes I had trusted HIM more to be the one in charge? Is that what it comes down to, my lack of wanting to give up control? If HE is the one in control of my life, then HIS success will be the end result. I just have to stand back and trust (there it is again, trust!!). Oh, and be still. Still working on that one :)

LORD, I know that I need to stop trying to be the one in control. I know that faithfullness is more important to YOU than success. Please help me to trust in YOU and be faithful. Please give me the strength to stand strong, and to give up control and be still in YOU. In JESUS' name, Amen.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Better To Give

This poem is from a book given to me by a friend a few years ago. The book is called GOD's Treasury of Virtues and the poem is called 'Better to Give' by (Anonymous).

Better to Give

GOD gives us joy that we may give;
HE gives us joy that we may share;
Sometimes HE gives us loads to lift
That we may learn to bear.
For life is gladder when we give,
and love is sweeter when we share,
and heavy loads rest lightly too
When we have learned to bear.

One of the wisest things that anyone ever pointed out to me was the fact that everything I have is mine because GOD chose to bless me with it. Whether it is money, talent, time, health, peace of mind, love, joy. HE knows what I need and gives me the things I have for a reason. I once had a bit of a temper. I had just had to have my vehicle towed to the mechanic, and the resulting bill pretty much depleted our small savings. Money that I had set aside so that we would have a 'cushion'. I was so frustrated! I had saved diligently for what seemed like forever so that I could feel like we weren't living paycheck to paycheck, and now it was gone in the blink of an eye. When I vented to my friend that is was unfair that I had saved for so long and now had nothing to show for it, she quietly pointed out that perhaps we had that amount of money in savings because GOD knew that was how much I would need to handle that emergency. Hmmm. Talk about humbling. It was a turning point in my faith. I started seeing things very differently. Instead of grumbling about how little we had and how close to the wire we were financially at times, I started seeing how GOD really does provide what we need when we need it. And I have been more willing to share what we have; realizing that sometimes, GOD gives us something that wasn't intended to remain ours, it was intended for us to give it away, be a blessing to someone else. Recently we went to the midweek service at our church. When the offering basket was passed around I looked over at my two sons. Both boys pulled out their wallets and put money in the basket. Willingly, selflessly,joyfully, and without prompting from my husband or myself. I was so proud of them, and life was certainly made a little sweeter in that moment, I saw love for others in that little gesture. Wow, maybe some of the things we've tried to teach them are sinking in!

LORD, thank YOU for all you give us! For the joy, and the love, and the loads. Thank YOU for helping us learn to share and bear. Help us to joyfully share all YOU have blessed us with, and be a blessing to others in YOUR name. In JESUS' name, Amen.

Psalm 23

1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2HE maketh me to lie down in green pastures:

HE leadeth me beside the still waters.
3HE restoreth my soul: HE leadeth me in the paths of righteousness

for HIS name's sake.
4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for THOU art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.
5THOU preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: THOU anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

I have heard this psalm countless times, read it at the funerals of both my grandfathers, cried when hearing it at other funerals, heard it sung, seen books and cross stitches dedicated to it. It has such meaning and comfort. HE is our shepherd, there to guide and protect us. HE leads us to safety, sometimes thru valleys full of shadows and threats. HE feeds us what we need, spiritually and physically, until we are filled to overflowing. HE is present and active in our lives, even when we don't recognize HIM. Even when we feel isolated and lonely, or overwhelmed and fearful, or rejected and unloved. Even when the shadows in that valley threaten to swallow us, they can't. HE is the light and HE will conquer any shadows before they can consume us.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Don't Leave it on the Desk!

This was an email sent by one of my 'loaner kids'. I don't know who wrote it, but it is a beautiful illustration of GOD's love for us (on a smaller scale of course!)

There was a certain professor named Dr. Christianson, a studious man who taught at a small college in the western United States and who was a Christian. Dr. Christianson taught the required survey course in Christianity at this particular institution. Every student was required to take this course their freshman year, regardless of his or her major. Although Dr. Christianson tried hard to communicate the essence of the gospel in his class, he found that most of his students looked upon the course as nothing but required drudgery. Despite his best efforts, most students refused to take Christianity seriously. This year, Dr. Christianson had a special student named Steve. Steve was only a freshman, but was studying with the intent of going onto seminary for the ministry. Steve was popular, he was well liked, and he was an imposing physical specimen. He was now the starting center on the school football team, and was the best student in the professor's class. One day, Dr. Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him. "How many push-ups can you do?" Steve said, "I do about 200 every night." "200? That's pretty good, Steve," Dr. Christianson said. "Do you think you could do 300?" Steve replied, "I don't know .. I've never done 300 at a time." "Do you think you could?" again asked Dr. Christianson. "Well, I can try," said Steve. "Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I have a class project in mind, and I need you to do about 300 push-ups in sets of ten for this to work. Can you do it? I need you to tell me you can do it," said the professor. Steve said, "Well ... I think I can ... yeah, I can do it." Dr. Christianson said, "Good! I need you to do this on Friday. Let me explain what I have in mind." Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the room. When class started, the professor pulled out a big box of donuts. No, these weren't the normal kinds of donuts, they were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty excited: it was Friday, the last class of the day, and they were going to get an early start on the weekend with a party in Dr. Christianson's class. Dr. Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked, "Cynthia, do you want to have one of these donuts?" Cynthia said, "Yes." Dr. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?" "Sure!" Steve jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten. Then Steve again sat in his desk. Dr. Christianson put a donut on Cynthia's desk. Dr.. Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, "Joe, do you want a donut?" Joe said, "Yes." Dr. Christianson asked, "Steve would you do ten push-ups so Joe can have a donut?" Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got a donut. And so it went, down the first aisle; Steve did ten push-ups for every person before he/she got his/her donut. Walking down the second aisle, Dr. Christianson came to Scott. Scott was on the basketball team, and in as good condition as Steve. He was very popular and never lacking for female companionship.. When the professor asked, "Scott do you want a donut?" Scott's reply was, "Well, can I do my own push-ups?" Dr. Christianson said, "No, Steve has to do them." Then Scott said, "Well, I don't want one then." Dr... Christianson shrugged and then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Scott can have a donut he doesn't want?" With perfect obedience, Steve started to do ten push-ups. Scott said, "HEY! I said I didn't want one!" Dr. Christianson said, "Look! This is my classroom, my class, my desks, and these are my donuts. Just leave it on the desk if you don't want it." And he put a donut on Scott's desk. Now by this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little. He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down. You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his brow. Dr. Christianson started down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get a little angry. Dr. Christianson asked Jenny, "Jenny, do you want a donut?"Sternly, Jenny said, "No." Then Dr. Christianson asked Steve, "Steve, would you do ten more push-ups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn't want?"Steve did ten ... Jenny got a donut. By now, a growing sense of uneasiness filled the room. The students were beginning to say, "No!" and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks. Steve also had to really put forth a lot of extra effort to get these push-ups done for each donut.. There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved. Dr. Christianson asked Robert, who was the most vocal unbelievers in the class, to watch Steve do each push up to make sure he did the full ten push-ups in a set because he couldn't bear to watch all of Steve's work for all of those uneaten donuts. He sent Robert over to where Steve was so Robert count the set and watch Steve closely. Dr. Christianson started down the fourth row.. During his class, however, some students from other classes had wandered in and sat down on the steps along the radiators that ran down the sides of the room. When the professor realized this, he did a quick count and saw that now there were 34 students in the room. He started to worry if Steve would be able to make it.Dr. Christianson went on to the next person and the next and the next. Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time. He was taking a lot more time to complete each set. Steve asked Dr. Christianson, "Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?" Dr. Christianson thought for a moment, "Well, they're your push-ups. You are in charge now. You can do them any way that you want." And Dr. Christianson went on. A few moments later, Jason, a recent transfer student, came to the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled in one voice, "NO! Don't come in! Stay out!" Jason didn't know what was going on. Steve picked up his head and said, "No, let him come." Professor Christianson said, "You realize that if Jason comes in, you will have to do ten push-ups for him?" Steve said, "Yes, let him come in. Give him a donut." Dr. Christianson said, "Okay, Steve, I'll let you get Jason's out of the way right now ... Jason, do you want a donut?" Jason, new to the room, hardly knew what was going on. "Yes," he said, "give me a donut." "Steve, will you do ten push-ups so that Jason can have a donut?" Steve did ten push-ups very slowly and with great effort. Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down. Dr Christianson finished the fourth row, and then started on those visitors seated by the heaters. Steve's arms were now shaking with each push-up in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity. By this time, sweat was profusely dropping off of his face, there was no sound except his heavy breathing; there was not a dry eye in the room. The very last two students in the room were two young women, both cheerleaders and very popular. Dr. Christianson went to Linda, the second to last, and asked, "Linda, do you want a doughnut?" Linda said, very sadly, "No, thank you." Professor Christianson quietly asked, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Linda can have a donut she doesn't want?" Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow push-ups for Linda. Then Dr. Christianson turned to the last girl, Susan. "Susan, do you want a donut?" Susan, with tears flowing down her face, began to cry. "Dr. Christianson, why can't I help him?" Dr . Christianson, with tears of his own, said, "No, Steve has to do it alone; I have given him this task, and he is in charge of seeing that everyone has an opportunity for a donut whether they want it or not ... when I decided to have a party this last day of class, I looked at my grade book. Steve here is the only student with a perfect grade. Everyone else has failed a test, skipped class, or offered me inferior work. Steve told me that in football practice, when a player messes up, he must do push-ups. I told Steve that none of you could come to my party unless he paid the price by doing your push-ups. He and I made a deal ... for your sakes." "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Susan can have a donut?" As Steve very slowly finished his last push-up, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 push-ups, his arms buckled beneath him, and he fell to the floor. Dr. Christianson turned to the room and said, "And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross, pled to the Father, 'Into Thy hands I commend my spirit.' With the understanding that He had done everything that was required of Him, He yielded up His life. And like some of those in this room, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten. " Two students helped Steve up off the floor and to a seat, physically exhausted, but wearing a thin smile. "Well done, good and faithful servant," said the professor, adding, "Not all sermons are preached in words." Turning to his class, the professor said, "My wish is that you might understand and fully comprehend all the riches of grace and mercy that have been given to you through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. God spared not His Only Begotten Son, but gave Him up for us all, for the whole world, now and forever, even for those who refuse His gift of everlasting life. Whether or not we choose to accept His gift to us and believe that He is our one and only Savior, the price has been paid. Wouldn't you be foolish and ungrateful to leave it lying on the desk?"

So what will you do with HIS gift? Will you take it and make it a part of who you are and how you live? Or will you leave it 'on the desk'? HE made the sacrifice for each and every one of the people on this earth. It doesn't matter if you have lots of money... or none at all. It doesn't matter if you are a liar and a thief... or unerringly honest and hard working. It doesn't matter if you are married, single, with lots of kids or none. It doesn't matter if you have made choices in your life that aren't in accordance with HIS will, or if you are one of the most moral people around. None of us is 'good enough'. But HE loves us enough to make a way to HIM, thru HIS Son.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thru the Storm

I had an appointment today. It was snowing like crazy and I hate, I mean hate (and I don't use that word lightly) driving in the snow. I can do it, but by the end of the trip I am a nervous wreck. Anyway, I got there safely (thank YOU GOD!!) and had my appointment (which went well) and got in the car to head home thru snow falling even heavier and faster than it was on the way there. After saying another quick prayer for safe travel, I set off toward home. As I was driving I was struck by the way the snow was just, well, everywhere. I couldn't see more than a few hundred feet in any direction, it was kind of isolating. It made me think of the ride in. I was going in to talk to the doctor, not knowing if there was something serious going on (there isn't) and was scared about what I might be facing. I had to trust that GOD knows the path I will travel thru my life, even if I can't see anything but what is right there at that moment, HE can. HE knows what trials I will face in my life, and how to get me thru them. HE has already shown me that HE is faithful to strengthen me and give me the tools I need to live for HIM. HE has already shown me that HE will never leave me, that even when I feel that I am living in the darkness, it isn't because HE has taken HIS light from my life. When I feel like the darkness is surrounding me, I can rest assured that HE is sheltering me with HIS powerful hand, protecting me from the attacks of the enemy. So as I traveled home thru the storm (literally and figuratively), I was overwhelmed with a peace and a calm and such amazing love that it took my breath away. How blessed I am to be HIS.

LORD, thank YOU for Your ever-present loving care. Thank YOU for bringing me thru the storms of life. Thank YOU for making me YOURS! In JESUS' name, Amen

Monday, January 9, 2012


So the new year is just over a week old, and I've been asked a number of times if I made any New Year Resolutions. In the past I have made resolutions, usually failing to keep them longer than a month at the most. Things like 'I will yell at my kids less' or 'I will exercise more' or 'I will only eat healthy foods'. Yup, pretty unrealistic. This year, I was glad to have the last year behind me, and start new, so I didn't even think about it. Well, I've been thinking about it. I am still working thru the 'So Long Insecurity' devotion, and since I am learning to change the way I see myself and the world in general, I decided a few 'resolutions' were in order. So here are my 'resolutions', I hope they stick!

1. To put GOD's opinion of me above anyone else's
2. To not worry so much about doing everything perfectly, to not avoid doing something good because it wouldn't be great.
3. To say 'yes' to serving GOD, even if it means getting out of my 'box'
4. To live deliberately, actively looking for GOD's message to me
5. To try to see myself (and others) the way GOD sees me (them)
6. To not beat myself up if (when) I don't keep all these resolutions all the time :)
7. To remember to be still and wait for GOD

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Do No Harm

Sunday in church we learned the first of three 'rules' as seen by the founder of the Methodist church, John Wesley. The rule is 'do no harm', and as I sat there thinking about the sermon, I kept thinking of this song by Casting Crowns called City on the hill. (lyrics from elyrics, video link on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJ5R08xDC6c)

Did you hear of the city on the hill? Said one old man to the other It once shined bright and it would be shining still But they all started turning on each other You see, the poets thought the dancers were shallow And the soldiers thought the poets were weak And the elders saw the young ones as foolish And the rich man never heard the poor man speak And one by one, they ran away With their made up minds, to leave it all behind And the light began to fade, in the city on the hill The city on the hill Each one thought that they knew better But they were different by design Instead of standing strong together They let their differences divide And one by one, they ran away With their made up minds, to leave it all behind And the light began to fade, in the city on the hill The city on the hill And the world is searching still But it was the rhythm of the dancers That gave the poets life It was the spirit of the poets That gave the soldiers strength to fight It was the fire of the young ones It was the wisdom of the old It was the story of the poor man That needed to be told It is the rhythm of the dancers That gives the poets life It is the spirit of the poets That gives the soldiers strength to fight It is the fire of the young ones It is the wisdom of the old It is the story of the poor man That's needing to be told One by one, will we run away With our made up minds to leave it all behind As the light begins to fade, in the city on the hill The city on the hill One by one, we'll be running away With our made up minds, to leave it all behind As the light begins to fade, in the city on the hill The city on the hill Come home And the Father's calling still Come home To the city on the hill Come home

I don't know why that song kept going thru my head. Maybe because it talks about judging others and how that is so harmful and hurtful. Maybe because it is so important to respect our differences, especially as the body of CHRIST. I actually pulled this post for a few days, I didn't like what I had writen, it felt wrong, and didn't really express what I had been thinking. I have a lot of friends and family who aren't Christians. I love them dearly, and want nothing more than for them to come to CHRIST, but am I being the kind of witness that shows them what it is to be a follower of CHRIST? Do they see HIS love and mercy and grace in the way I live my life? Or do they see judgement and hypocrisy? I hope it is the former!! I hope that when they look at me and the way I live my life they feel a hunger to know HIM, that they see HIS light shining in me.

LORD, help me to see the beautiful individuality in each of Your children. Help me not to judge and run away from Your plan and Your light. Please let others see YOU, and YOUR light in the way I live my life. In JESUS' name. Amen

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Voice of Truth

Here is another Casting Crowns song called 'Voice Of Truth'

http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=6GK7NNNX (the link to a really cute video on godtube) lyrics compliments of elyrics.
Oh what I would do to have The kind of faith it takes To climb out of this boat I'm in On to the crashing waves To step out of my comfort zone Into the realm of the unknown Where Jesus is And He's holding out His hand But the waves are calling out my name And they laugh at me Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed The waves they keep on telling me Time and time again "Boy, you'll never win! You'll never win!" But the voice of truth tells me a different story The voice of truth says, "Do not be afraid!" And the voice of truth says, "This is for My glory" Out of all the voices calling out to me I would choose to listen and believe the voice of truth Oh what I would do to have The kind of strength it takes To stand before a giant With just a sling and a stone Surrounded by the sound Of a thousand warriors Shaking in their armor Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand But the giant's calling out my name And he laughs at me Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed The giant keeps on telling me Time and time again "Boy you'll never win!You'll never win!" But the voice of truth tells me a different story The voice of truth says, "Do not be afraid!" And the voice of truth says, "This is for My glory" Out of all the voices calling out to me The voice of truth tells me a different story The voice of truth says, "Do not be afraid!" And the voice of truth says, "This is for My glory" Out of all the voices calling out to me I would choose to listen and believe I would choose to listen and believe the voice of truth The voice of truth

I have loved this song since I first heard it, but lately it has taken on new significance. It seems like everywhere I turn, GOD is showing me something. I have been challenged in the last year or so to leave my 'comfort zone'. I have gotten a little more ok with leaving that comfortable place, but something was holding me back. So GOD gave me the tools I needed to work towards being more secure and confident. I have dealt with some health issues that have, at times, been very scary. But, a while back, GOD made sure I learned about the whole 'breathing prayer' thing, and that has helped immeasurably, calming me when I thought that panic would overwhelm me. I haven't heard HIS voice audibly, but it's still there, in the words of a friend, the books and sermons that came at just the right time, in a tangible calm at a moment of fear and panic. HE is calling out to me not to be afraid, not to worry, not to listen to the other 'voices', and to trust in HIM. Listening to HIS voice only, I can ignore the 'waves' of doubt and failure, and slay that 'giant' of fear and insecurity.

Lord, help me to keep focusing only on Your voice. Thank YOU for Your faithfulness in speaking the truth to me in all things, and for continuing to work in my life. And thank YOU for all those who share their gifts with songs like these!! In JESUS' name, Amen

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My 'GOD moment' for today

I have been seeing GOD's workings in my life a lot lately, and today it was especially obvious that HE is right there with me. I had to have a lump checked, and I was very scared. On the way to the hospital I really started to panic, and couldn't get ahold of anyone on the cell phone, so I started doing the 'breath prayer'. If you don't know what that is, it goes like this: breathe in, saying (or thinking) whatever name for GOD you want to use. Breathe out, saying what you need. By the time I got to the hospital I was noticably calmer, and by the time I was having the test done, I felt calm and relaxed. I know it seems like a little thing, but I really felt like GOD was filling me up with HIS peace and strength. Thankfully, the results looked good, and in the words of the technitian, "nothing looked scary". I have to wait until my doctor's office reviews the report, and I may need more tests to be sure everything is ok, but GOD will get me through whatever I need to face, with HIS strength and peace.

Thank YOU GOD, for filling me yet again with Your strength and peace. Thank YOU too, showing me that YOU are always listening to my prayers, and answering them perfectly. In JESUS' name, Amen.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

"Glory Ache"

I get an email devotional called "Girlfriends in GOD", and today the topic was about feeling like something was missing in our walk with GOD. She called it the "Glory Ache". Did you ever feel like amid the busyness of being servants of GOD, something was still missing? Even with all the activity of serving HIM, you still felt like HE was distant? Then the reading at the evening church service tonight was Psalm 19:7-10 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
8The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
10More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
The message was to make time, and make it a priority to spend time in GOD's word everyday. Not as an item low on the 'to do' list. Have you ever felt like you 'miss' HIM? Like you would miss a dear friend you hadn't seen in too long? I have. Every so often I have this overwhelming emptiness, like a part of me is not where it belongs, like I need to reconnect with a vital part of me. Now I have a word for it, glory ache. The cool thing is, HE is never far away, it's just that I need to slow down and stop 'doing' for a minute so I can feel HIM again. I need to stop trying so hard to 'bless' the world around me (and probably failing anyway because I am spreading myself too thin), and let HIM bless me instead. I need to let HIM me fill me up so I have something to give. So how can I connect with HIM and fill that 'glory ache'?
*read my Bible, not just for study, but to hear what HE wants me to know that day
*pray. Be still and let HIM speak to my heart.
*this blog! I think I have given HIS word and HIS call more deliberate thought when trying to come up with posts than I do if I don't have the goal of making a post that makes some sense.

LORD, please help me to be still and feel Your presence. Help me to focus on YOU and Your word, not on the busyness of my faith, but the stillness. I know that the serving is important, but it's not what will fill that 'glory ache', only connect with YOU will fill that. Thank YOU for being patient with me as I navigate my faith and make my way closer to YOU. I love YOU!! In JESUS' name, Amen.

The Heavens Declare the Glory of GOD

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge Psalm 19:1,2

This is a picture taken by duckling #1. She is an amazing photographer! GOD had gifted her with an eye for beauty, and the talent to share it, whether it is drawing, photography, writing, or crafty stuff. She does not get this from me! Some of the things that she has created amaze me, and she is so non-chalant about it, 'oh, it's easy Mom, you just draw a few lines and there it is'. Hmm. If only it were that easy! I am so proud of her, and thrilled that she uses the gifts GOD gave her to bless us in so many ways. I love you biggest duckling!!

New Year Blessing

A New Year's blessing
May God make your year a happy one!
Not by shielding you from all sorrow and pain,
But by strengthening you to bear it as it comes;
Not by making your path easy,
But by making you sturdy to travel any path;
Not by taking hardships from you,
But by taking fear from your heart;
Not by granting you unbroken sunshine,
But by keeping your face bright, even in the shadows;
Not by making your life always pleasant,
But by showing you when people and their causes need you most,
and by making you eager to be there to help.
God’s love, peace, hope, and joy to you for the year ahead.
—Author unknown

This poem was in our church's newsletter, and I love it. Before I knew CHRIST I had this picture of GOD as making the lives of believers perfect. They never got sick, they were never afraid, they never had troubles to deal with, and they always knew what they should be doing. (can you tell I didn't know many believers? At least not well) I wanted that. I grew up in a broken home, in many ways. My parents divorced just as I was going into middle school, and it was really hard for me. I wanted what those Christians had that made their lives seem so perfect. So when I had an opportunity to go to church for Sunday School I went. But I didn't find the 'magic button' that I knew had to be there somewhere. When I was expecting my first duckling I went to a number of churches trying to find it, nope, not there. I finally ended up at the church we go to now, and honestly, what kept me going back wasn't a 'magic button', but the adoration a few of the members had for my new baby. In the decade plus since, I have come to realize that there is no magic button, and believers' lives aren't perfect. There is pain, and fear, and sickness, and trouble regardless of whether or not you are a follower of JESUS CHRIST, the difference is how we deal with it. I know that, even if I am terrified of how something is going to play out, GOD is next to me every step of the way. HE will give me strength to face whatever trials I have to face, and walk next to me every moment of every day. HE'll even carry me if I need HIM to. The new year is here, and with it, new challenges and trials, and new joys and wonders. I hope that everyone who reads this (all...what, 2 of you:) has a year filled with strength and peace and moments that are filled with the wonder of our awesome GOD. I hope that you see HIS fingerprints all over every day of your lives and feel HIS strength and peace filling you up. Love you all!!!

LORD, please fill all the people I love with Your love and strength. Give them an extra measure of peace and faith, and help them to see Your fingerprints all over their lives. Fill them with a sense of wonder and awe at how amazingly much YOU love them. In JESUS' name, Amen.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Called According to HIS purpose

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love GOD, to them who are the called according to HIS purpose Romans 8:28

In a few weeks I am co-leading a service at our church. Our pastor is going to be away and asked a friend and I to take over. My first instict was to panic and say no, but my husband said I should do it, and the pastor said I should, and since I trust them both I agreed. And I wouldn't be doing it alone, my friend has led some of the mid week services, and is good at it, so I figured I would give it a try. The more I thought about it the more reality set in and with it, major panic. The pastor said we should follow the skit we chose with a short personal testimony on how GOD has called us. More panic. Then one day, while shopping online for last minute Christmas gifts, Amazon's recommendations for me included a book by Beth Moore called 'So Long Insecurity'. I bought it, thinking that it might help me not to freak out about the upcoming service. What a blessing! This book was an eyeopener for me. Not only did it put a label on what I have dealt with most of my life, it gave me the tools to respond positively to fears and worries that can limit the ability to serve GOD. GOD took a situation, where I was feeling completely overwhelmed and out of my element, and used it to put me on the path to healing and peace. I'm still very nervous about the service, and I will be glad when it is over, but at least now I am looking forward to it with the knowledge that GOD has 'clothed me in strength and dignity' (Proverbs 31:25) and that even though HE may not have called me to leave everything behind to follow HIM to lands unknown, or preach to a lost people, or choose a new vocation, HE is certainly calling me. Maybe at this time HIS call is simply a call to loose the insecurity that has clung to me for far too long and accept the security, strength and dignity that is my birthright as HIS beloved child. Maybe HE is getting me ready for something bigger, or maybe HE is just setting me free to live life with the joy HE intended for me to. Either way, I know that whatever HE asks me to do, HE will give me the tools I need to do it.

FATHER GOD, thank YOU for giving me the tools I need to live in joy and peace! I look at the events of the past few months and see YOUR fingerprints everywhere. YOUR providence is amazing to me, that YOU care so much for me that YOU put reminders in every part of my life that I am strong and dignified in YOU. YOU see the struggles I face and give me the tools to overcome them, and for that I am so grateful. I know YOU will keep helping me grow and learn and heal, thank YOU for YOUR loving faithfulness. In JESUS' name, Amen

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Power of Words

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. . James 3:3-5

Our tongues have power. The words they speak have the power to uplift, or tear down. The power to show love, or indicate impatience. The power to make someone feel cherished, cared for, respected, accepted. And the power to make someone feel abandoned, pitied, rejected. Even the tone of our voice can be powerful. It can indicate frustration, love, anger, friendship, patience. For many people, especially those who are 'chronically insecure', words heard are tools used to build walls to keep people out. Every unkind or impatient word they hear is like a brick used to make that wall bigger, and stronger. GOD wants us to lift each other up, encourage each other, there is nothing as healing as the kind words of a friend when you are feeling down: Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.2 Corinthians 13:10-12/Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.1 Thessalonians 5:10-12

LORD, help me to hold my tongue! Help me to only speak words that uplift and encourage those around me. Help me to never give anyone the tools to build up a wall around them. In JESUS' name, Amen