Monday, May 30, 2011

1000 Gifts - 101 to 135

101.   Men and women who gave their lives defending our country
102.   God's promise that evil will not prevail
103.   Daisys
104.   Red Baron pepperoni pizza

106.   Iced green tea
107.   Moisturizing hand lotion
108.   Pretty dresses
109.   Sunday afternoon naps
110.   Polka dots

111.   Maximum Your Mornings challenge
112.   motivation to exercise
113.   God's forebearance
114.   Past experiences which have prepared me for today
115.   Signs of spiritual growth

116.   Freshly cut grass
117.   Washing machine
118.   Soap
119.   Ability to learn new things
120.   Godly friends

121.   Religious freedom
122.   Bubble baths
123.   Hearing the birds sing in the morning
124.   Coupon for Smoothie King
125.   Juicy oranges

126.   The Holy Spirit living within me
127.   My nephew
128.   Being in church from an early age
129.   My future being secured with Christ
130.   Clear, blue skies

131.   Soft, warm blankets
132.   Witnessing a new believer's baptism
133.   Ability to drive
134.   Opportunities to help others
135.   Anti-virus programs

What are some of the gifts that you have received?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Note to Self #2

From Praying for Purpose for Women by Katie Brazelton:
A successful person is one who uses the gifts and abilities that God has given her to make a difference. Whatever situation, place, or season she finds herself in, she knows that is the place God has earmarked for her to represent him. ~ Laura Krauss
From Proverbs 31 Ministries via Facebook:
Dreams deferred don't necessarily equal dreams denied. Dreams derailed don't have to debunk belief.
From a friend on Facebook:
Bad habits are like bad wallpaper...difficult to remove once they are stuck.  Choose wisely what you put on your walls and in your hearts.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

For Such A Time As This

“Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it you can never get it back.”
Photo Credit: katerha (flikr)

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish.  And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this? Esther 4:14
After King Xerxes, king of Persia, issued an order that all Jews in the country were to be killed, Mordecai went to Queen Esther, his cousin, requesting that she intervene on behalf of the Jews. To do so would put Esther's life in jeopardy because no one dared to enter the king's presence without an invitation. However, Mordecai reminded his cousin that either way her life was at risk since Esther was a Jew and her position as queen would not protect her from the king's order. 

We don't always know why God places us where He does, but we can trust that no detail of our lives slip past him. Just like Esther and Mordecai, God has placed you in your family, in your community, in your local church, and even at times, in the longest line at the grocery store, for a very specific reason -- to carry out His will. To do this, it requires obedience and at times, courage to move outside your comfort zone. Yes, it may be scary, but rest assured when God gives you a mission, He will also equip you for it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

In the Valley

On April 27, 2011, the following quote was published on David Wilkerson's blog:
To those going through the valley and shadow of death, hear this word. Weeping will last through some dark, awful nights -- in that darkness you will soon hear the Father whisper "I am with you. I cannot tell you why right now, but one day it will all make sense. You will see it was all part of my plan. It was no accident. It was no failure on your part. Hold fast. Let me embrace you in your hour of pain."
On that same day David Wilkerson died, as a result of an automobile accident. Some may say the quote from his last blog post is ironic, but I see God's sovereignty.

God is in control of everything.  He knew the details of each day of everyone's lives before the world began. There are no mistakes, accidents or coincidences. God knew that there would be people who would need to hear the words quoted above, and He chose April 27, 2011, David Wilkerson's last day on the earth, to have them posted.

David Wilkerson's quote reminds us that there will be troubling times in this world just as Jesus assured us there would be (John 16:33). However, having that knowledge doesn't make it any easy to deal with trials and our overwhelming emotions. Our flesh cries out for answers and wanting to know why our lives have been shaken by a calamity.

It's human to want to know "why?", but it takes faith to cling to God and persevere through the hardship. We have to get over our need to know "why" and trust the One who knows all and controls all.  It is in the valleys that our faith is tested.

Faith believes "in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28). Faith holds fast to God's promises. Faith believes in God's unfailing love, even though He has allowed our world to be turned upside down. Faith remains faithful to God, even when others may be out of hope.

It's inevidentably that we will someday find ourselves going through the valley. So what are we to do when we are there:
  • Hold onto the Master's hand knowing that He will neither abandon you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5);
  • Pour out your feelings to the Lord. Don't worry He can handle your honesty.
  • Acknowledge and accept God's sovereignty. God is good, and everything He does is good (Psalm 119:68a), even though at times it's hard to see.
God has a plan for each of us, and at times we must pass through the valleys so He can complete His greatest work in us and through us.

What's on My Nightstand - May, 2011

This month I read:
  • From Dust and Ashes: A Story of Liberation by Tricia Goyer.  I first became aware of Tricia Goyer and her writings by following her on Twitter.  This is the first novel by Tricia Goyer that I have read, and I was not disappointed.  The story takes places near the end of World War II and follows the lives of an American solider, a concentration camp survivor and a wife of a Nazi solider.  I enjoyed the book because of the historical perspective, even though the descriptions of the concentration camps and its survivors were extremely difficult to read.  It is a story of forgiveness and restoration.
  • Every Day Deserves A Chance by Max Lucado.  Like previous books I have read by Max Lucado, this book was easy to read and understand.  There were some suggestions that I immediately put into practice, such as gratitude and dealing with anxiety.  Though some of the illustrations seemed oversimplified which bothered me some, this book reminded me that in order to give each day a chance I must include God in each day and acknowledge His will for my life.
  • Her Mother's Hope by Francine Rivers.  This story covers three generations of mothers and daughters and their often strained relationships.  Like most of  Francine Rivers' books, I found this story to be very deep and made me think about many things, such as submitting to parents and to our Heavenly Father, dealing with past hurts so they don't sabotate future relationships, and forgiveness, to name just a few.  This book shows that every child wants to be loved and accepted by their parents, every parent wants the best for their child and  misunderstandings can develop so easily between a parent and a child.
What good books have you read lately?

Monday, May 23, 2011

1000 Gifts - 71 to 100

71.   Germ-X
72.   A new TV
73.   Medical insurance
74.   Coupons for groceries
75.   Clean sheets

76.   Low humidity
77.   Being able to leave work early
78.   Hindsight
79.   Happy memories
80.   Dependable people

81.   Laughter
82.   Sunsets
83.   Time
84.   Live oak trees
85.   Fresh fruit

86.   Ice cold glass of Coca Cola
87.   God's perfect timing
88.   Desire for healthy food
89.   Watching hummingbirds feed in the backyard
90.   Air conditioning

91.   God's promises
92.   Hamburgers
93.   Luna bars on sale
94.   Rain shower
95.   Opportunity to help those in need

96.   Tropical smoothie
97.   God's sovereignty
98.   Beautiful (the perfume)
99.   Happy clients
100. A hunger for God's Word

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Facing Trials

From Open Windows:
To look within is to discover our own inadequacies. To look around is to realize the chaos of our times. Only as we lift our eyes heavenward, toward Him "with whom is no variableness, neither shadowing or turning" (James 1:17), do we find a remedy for our fears and a strong ground for our confidence.
From Treasures of Wisdom:
To do anything less than commit ourselves completely to our Lord in simple trust during the troubling times of our lives is to insult His wisdom. To resist Him, question Him, doubt Him, or criticize what He allows in our lives is to deny that He is the only wise God, and claim that we are wise than He. ~ Richard L. Strauss

Monday, May 16, 2011

1000 Gifts - 41 to 70

41.   Leaves of different shades of green
42.   A timely reminder...John 14:1 "Do not let your hearts be trouble. Trust in God; trust also in me.
43.   Hearing a loved one's voice over the phone
44.   Patience with difficult people
45.   Finishing a big project at work

46.   Electricity
47.   Ability to see
48.   Allergy medicine
49.   Friends who are also prayer warriors
50.   Warnings about approaching weather storms

51.   Reliable transportation
52.   Gas money
53.   Dinner time with the family
54.   Conviction from the Holy Sprit
55.   The boost I get from listening to Christian music while exercising

56.   Field peas
57.   Singing to the Lord
58.   Jesus dying on the cross for my sins
59.   Christians who taught me in church when I was a child
60.   My local church

61.   The warmth of the sun
62.   Men who are gentlemen
63.   Manicure
64.   Sleeping straight through the night
65.   A lost person who is saved

66.   Safety while sleeping
67.   Ability to read
68.   Headache medicine
69.   Childlike faith
70.   Joy in the Lord

Sunday, May 15, 2011

It's All About Focus

From The Measure of a Man:
"Fixing our eyes on Jesus" is perhaps the most important lesson in this athletic metaphor. Any runner in the Greek stadium who took his eyes off the goal and either looked at the crowds, or his competitors, would lose valuable time and concentration. So it is in the Christian life. When we get our eyes off the Lord, and onto others, we are in danger of getting sidetracked spiritually. ~ Gene Getz
From Twitter:
A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence. ~ Jim Watkins

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Our Responsibility to the Next Generation

Vacation Bible School Class 2
Photo credit:  boatwrightsphilippines

He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children (Psalm 78:5)

God has given us the Bible, and He expects us to share it and teach it to our children. Even if you don't have children in your home (like me), there are children in your life that you can teach about God's commands, lessons from His Word and about His character.
If you don't know who from the next generation you should be teaching, ask God to reveal that to you.  There are plenty of children who need to learn about God and His Word.  Are you will to be their teacher?
Dear Lord,
Thank you for Your Word. It is a valuable gift which I pray that I will never take for granted. I know I have the responsibility to teach children about You and Your commands, even though I don't have children of my own. I realize I am not excused from this awesome responsibility.
Help me to recognize and take advantage of opportunities that you give me to teach the children You have placed in my life, especially my nephew and niece. Give me the words to say so they will understand Your truth, and give me wisdom to answer their questions accurately. I cannot do this without Your help so I'm trusting You to supply not only the opportunities to teach children, but also to guide me as I do so.
In Jesus' name, I pray.

Monday, May 09, 2011

1000 Gifts - 19 to 40

19.   Big, fluffy, white clouds
20.   Pink petunias

21.   My joy
22.   Money to pay the bills that are due
23.   Cold, clean water to drink
24.   My aunt's release from the hospital
25.   Safety of our military during the recent special operations mission in Pakistan

26.   Kleenex tissues
27.   God speaking to me through a devotion from the Proverbs 31 ministry
28.   Being able to exercise
29.   E-mail from a dear cousin
30.   Seeing a beautiful bird during my morning commute (it had a red head, white body and black wings

31.   The Bible
32.   Not being able to remember why I was so upset earlier in the week
33.   An unexpected windfall (no matter how small it may seem)
34.   Cucumbers
35.   Moist pound cake that reminded me of my grandmother's

36.   Reconciliation of relationships
37.   One last cold front before summer
38.   Dining out for a friend's birthday
39.   Christian radio
40.   A bed to sleep in

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Prayer Time

From Home Life:

Dear God, whether or not You choose to change my circumstances, I will trust in You still. And Lord, whether or not You call on me to suffer a little longer, I will worship You even still, for You embodied 'suffering well' for my sake. Either way, Lord, I know that You are in control. Not my will, but Yours be done. In Jesus' name, Amen. ~ Casey Ewen Avenriep
From Facebook:
And they lived happily ever after. Dear Lord, I know that is the way the story of my life will end. I've the read the book. I'll live in eternity with the Prince. Forgive me when I sit in shame and forget what Jesus has done for me. Today, I will walk clothed in the mantle of righteouness that Jesus purchased just for me. In His name, Amen. ~ Sharon Jaynes
From Proverbs 31 Ministries:
I must not merely seek the answer to my prayer. Instead, I must seek a deeper relationship with the answer Giver. ~ Karen Ehman

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Silent and Still

stillness by water
Photo Credit:  Per Ola Wiberg

O God, do not remain silent; do not turn a deaf ear, do not stand aloof, O God. (Psalm 83:1)

What we perceive to be silence from God is not a sign God is ignoring our plight, but that He is waiting for the perfect time for Him to respond to our request. God is always working on our behalf.

If God hasn't answered your prayers, it may be because it's not the right time for God to do so. While we wait, we must trust in God's divine plan and perfect timing. Those who wait on the Lord will be blessed.

Dear Lord,

Help me to wait patiently for you to respond to my requests. May I never take matters into my own hands and move outside Your perfect will for me. Forgive me for getting frustrated when things do not change according to my will.  I know You have a plan and a purpose for my life, and I trust You to carry it out in Your perfect timing.

In Jesus' name, Amen.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Note to Self #1

Great reminders from Proverbs 31 Ministries via Facebook:
Don't mistake your guilt over sin with perceived condemnation from God. Remember "there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" ~Romans 8
A wise old owl sat in an oak
The more he heard, the less he spoke
The less he spoke, the more he heard
Why aren't we more like that wise old bird?
From Home Life:
Pastor and author John Piper once said, "Multitasking only makes sense when none of the tasks require heart-engaged, loving attention."  If something requires you to be fully attentive and emotionally invested, you shouldn't let a lesser task distract you. ~ Marc Goodwin

Sunday, May 01, 2011

1000 Gifts: 1 to 18

I am taking Ann Voskamp's challenge: to live each day fully by counting the gifts I receive from God.
  1. Magnolia blossoms
  2. Sloppy sandwiches
  3. My friend, Karen's, safety during the recent torando outbreak in Northern Alabama
  4. God bearing my burdens daily (Psalm 68:19)
  5. Quiet, relaxing weekend
  6. A good night's sleep
  7. Bird watching
  8. Clothes to wear for ever season
  9. Answered prayers
  10. Ministers who are passionate about the Gospel
  11. Sweet dreams
  12. The ladies in my Sunday  School class
  13. Christian authors
  14. Opportunity to help those affected by the torando in Smithville, Mississippi
  15. Worshipping at church
  16. Plenty of food to eat
  17. Seeing God work in the lives of other people
  18. Good books



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