Friday, September 30, 2011

His Word Friday - September 30, 2011

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.  Lamentations 3:22-26

Linking with Nicole because some days I don't have a lot to say, but God's Word always speaks volumes.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I'm All Over The Place

Grief, Black & White
Photo Credit: Eric Chan (maveric2003) ~ Creative Commons

Today I received a phone call. A phone call I had been anticipating the past few days.  A call that would send my thoughts and emotions off in different directions. 

That call came this morning at 8 a.m. -- Mr. Bill, the father of a childhood friend passed away. 

I have felt sadness because I know how much my friend's family is hurting. I feel their pain -- not as deeply, but I still feel it.

I feel helpless because I know that there are no words or covered dish that ease their sorrow. I want to do something, but I know the only thing I can do is to pray for them and to be a shoulder for them for cry on.

I am trusting that God is close to them and will provide my friend's family with the strength and comfort to face the coming days.

I am thankful to have known Mr. Bill -- a humble Christian man, full of integrity, a strong work ethic, who loved his family, church and community and was willing to serve them. A man who helped with our youth group and was willing to invest in my life and the lives of others.

I am rejoicing because this morning Mr. Bill saw Jesus for the first time face to face in heaven. How awesome is that? 

And to be honest, that makes me a little jealous because I want to see Jesus too! But it's not my turn yet. God isn't finished with me here just yet.

I have been reminded how short our time on this earth is and that each moment is precious. Time is a commodity, and I've been convicted to use it wisely by investing in the lives of others.

So in the days to come, I'll be there for Mr. Bill's family, faithfully do the work God has given me while keeping my eyes on heaven.

What's On My Nightstand - September 2011

This month I read:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.  This was my first time reading this classic, and now I'm eager to see the movie.  I loved the witty dialogue and the development of the characters which made me change my initial perception of several people in this book. The book started slow for me since I was struggling to keep up with the many characters, but by the end I was sorry to get to the end of the book.

Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire With God, Not Food by Lysa TerKeurst.  The author honestly tells of her struggle with food and her weight and her journey to control these issues which had seemed uncontrollable for so long. Even though I have not experienced these same struggles, I found many nuggets of truth in this book so many that I must re-read it in order to glean them all. The heart of this book is about turning to God instead of food or anything else to fill our most pressing need and to replace God's truth with the lies Satan would have us to believe.

Escape from the World Trade Center by Leslie Haskin. This is an autobiographical account of an insurance executive who worked in Tower 1 of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. This book vividly describes all that Ms. Haskin saw and heard that fateful day, and from her account it's understandable why she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Additionally, this is a story of a woman who grew up in a Christian home who had been living away from God, but amid the tragedy and the horror she began to find her way back to the Lord.

Charlotte Figg Takes Over Paradise by Joyce Magnin. Charlotte Figg moves to a trailer park called Paradise after her husband dies. What she finds is a community of seemingly mixed matched people, but discovers that the common thread among them is the pain and suffering that they have each had to face in life. The author manages to interweave humor and Scriptural references while addressing the painful subject of spousal abuse.

Aesop's Fables came with my Kindle app download so I decided to read it. While I was familiar with some of the tales, I was surprised at how many stories actually make up this book.  I appreciate the values that these tales impart, but I believe there's a better way to do so without referring to mythological gods.

Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back by Todd Burpo. I had heard about this book and got the opportunity to read it when a friend loaned it to me. Colton, the author's four year old son, gets a glimpse of heaven while he was seriously ill in the hospital. The story tells of how his parents and others come to know of his trip to heaven and describes heaven from a child's viewpoint.

For check out what other bloggers are reading, visit 5 Minutes for Books.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Working Definitions

Use working definitions [with your children]:

1.    Obedience is doing what someone says, right away, without being reminded.

2.    Honor is treating people as special, doing more than what’s expected, and having a good attitude.

3.    Perseverance is hanging in there even after you feel like quitting.

4.    Attentiveness is showing people you love them by looking at them when they say their words.

5.    Patience is waiting with a happy heart.

6.    Self-discipline is putting off present rewards for future benefits.

7.    Gratefulness is being thankful for the things I have instead of grumbling about the things I don’t have.

The Parenting Book You Can Read to Your Kids by Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller

These are simple definitions for children, but a powerful reminder for this adult.
For more great quotes, visit Barbara at Stray Thoughts.

1000 Gifts - 531 to 545

Still counting...

531.  Protection of a friend's husband while he is serving in Iraq
532.  New brakes for my car
533.  Having my three year old niece ask questions about Jesus
534.  Talking to my niece about Jesus and heaven
535.  Seeing my niece's eyes light up when I told her that Jesus was coming back for us one day

536.  Big, fluffy clouds that seem so close that you could reach up and touch them
537.  Making progress with the work that has been in my inbox
538.  Medicines for migraines
539.  Being almost back to normal the day after a migraine
540.  My sister being able to find something good about being in bed all day with severe back pain...she had a lot of quality time with the Lord

541.  The accountability and sweet fellowship of #mym3 which gets me out of bed a little earlier for Bible study and prayer time
542.  Abiding Fruit Bible study
543.  Blessings received from connecting with other Christians on Facebook, Twitter and blogs
544.  Seeing how God is using sermons on Sunday, my Bible study and devotions to communicate a single message to me
545.  Seeing friends turn to God when they have challenges in life

Friday, September 23, 2011

In His Word - September 23, 2011

Yet their Redeemer is strong; the Lord Almighty is his name.  He will vigorously defend their cause so that he may bring rest to their land. (Jeremiah 50:34)

He made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding. When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar; he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth. He sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses. (Jeremiah 51:15-16)

Do not lose heart or be afraid when rumors are heard in the land; one rumor comes this year, another the next, rumors of violence in the land and of ruler against ruler. (Jeremiah 51:46)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Daybook - September 22, 2011

Outside my window...79 degrees and cloudy.

I am thinking...I'm tired and I really should go to bed early.

I am thankful...for my health.

In the beans and rice.

I am creating...order in my office (or at least I'm trying to).

I am wondering...if we're going to have company this weekend.

I am reading...Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent.

I am praying...that my sister's chronic back pain will be gone soon and for the families that I know that have lost loved ones this week.

I am looking forward to...getting a Kindle for my birthday.

I am hearing...a TV commercial.

I am the Israelites repeatedly refused to listen to God's warnings as written in Isaiah and Jeremiah and wondering how often I have done the same thing.

One of my favorite things...watching the hummerbirds fly in my backyard as they "battle" to see who will get to drink from the birdfeeder.

A picture that I'm sharing...

Linking with The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Note to Self #11

From Explore the Bible - Learner Guide, Fall 2011:
There is no real peace without grace. Grace initiates the journey, while peace eliminates hositility toward God. This is why we tell others about the gospel of Jesus Christ. ~ Dr. Paul Norman Jackson
From The Rurban Church:
Fear of criticism kills spontaneity; it prevents men from showing themselves and expressing themselves freely, as they are. Much courage is needed to paint a picture, to write a book, to erect a building designed along new architectural lines, or to formulate an independent opinion or an original idea. Any new concept, any creation, falls foul of a host of critics. Those who criticize the most are the ones who create nothing. ~ Paul Tournier, Guilt and Grace (New York, 1962), page 98.
Linking with Barbara at Stray Thoughts.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

1000 Gifts - 511 to 530

Still counting...

511.  God revealing opportunities to me where I can serve after I prayed about wanting to make a difference for His kingdom
512.  A call from sister telling me how God spoke to her through K-Love's programming after her praying to Him
513.  Being safe and dry in my house during a hard downpour of rain
514.  The conviction of the Holy Spirit
515.  Seeing how God is using sermons, my Bible study, devotions and Christian radio programming over the last few weeks to guide and direct me in a certain direction

516.  Being open to God's correction
517.  God loving me enough to not leave me the way I am, but continually working in my life to make me perfect in Christ
518.  Dining out with friends to celebrate a birthday
519.  A fresh perspective after visiting my hometown
520.  Visiting with a friend who has cancer

521.  Hugs from friends
522.  Reconnecting with old friends
523.  Seeing members of my home church minister to my friend's family during their time of need
524.  Watching my friend's wife take care of him during his illness
525.  My co-worker's husband having several job prospects after a year of unemployment

526.  Safety while driving on wet and flooded streets due to Tropical Storm Lee
527.  No torandoes from Tropical Storm Lee
528.  Seeing the sun trying to come out after four days of rain
529.  Fully recovery from a stress fracture in my foot
530.  The fact that Jesus knows exactly how I feel

Friday, September 16, 2011

2011 Siesta Scripture Memory Verse #18

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1 (NIV84)

For more information about joining the Siesta Scripture Memory Team, visit the Living Proof Ministries Blog.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Keeping Up Appearances

mannequin 7
Photo Credit: Dennis Hill (fontplaydotcom) ~ Creative Commons

Isaiah 3:16-26 describes not only how the women of Judah dressed -- with the finest clothes and jewelry, but also how they acted -- prideful and flirtatious.

The women of Judah chose to put more emphasis on their outer appearance than their relationship with God. They dressed to impress others and to be noticed. The women of Judah were so wrapped up in themselves that they were blinded to the needs of others.

There's nothing wrong with dressing up and looking good, but that shouldn't be our end goal. Our first priority should be making sure our hearts are clean. A pure heart will make a person beautiful from the inside out.  There is nothing more beautiful than a person who humbly serves others and loves them unconditionally.  Inner beauty like that will be obvious to everyone, and it will not fade with the passing of time.

Lord, Please cleanse my heart so that I may be beautiful from the inside out. Amen

Linking with Encouraging Word Wednesday and Spiritual Sundays.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Who Jesus Is To Me

He is the first and last, the beginning and the end.
He is the keeper of creation and the creator of all.
He is the architect of the universe and the manager of all times.
He always was, He always is and He always will be unmoved, unchanged, undefeated and never undone.
He was bruised and brought healing.
He was pierced and eased pain.
He was persecuted and brought freedom.
He was dead and brought life.
He is risen and brings power.
He reigns and brings peace.
The world can't understand him, the armies can't defeat Him,
the schools can't explain Him the leaders can't ignore Him.
Herod couldn't kill Him, the Pharisees couldn't confuse Him
and the people could hold Him.
Nero couldn't crush Him, Hitler couldn't silence Him
and the New Age can't replace Him.
He is light, love, longevity and Lord!
He is goodness, kindess, gentleness and God!
He is holy, righeous, mighty, powerful and pure.
His ways are right, His words is eternal, His will is unchanging and His mind is on me.
He is my Redeemer, my Savior, my guide and my peace.
He is my joy, my comfort, my Lord and He rules my life.
I serve Him because His bond is love, His burden is light
and His goal for me is abundant life.
I follow Him because He is the wisdom of the wise,
the power of the powerful, the ancient of days, the ruler of rulers, the leader of leaders, the overseer of the overcomers, and the sovereign Lord of all that was and is and is to come.
He will never leave me, never forsake me,
never mislead me, never forget me and never overlook me.
When I fall, He lifts me up.
When I fail, He forgives.
When I am weak, He is strong.
When I am lost, He is the way.
When I am afraid, He is my courage.
When I stumble, He steadies me.
When I am hurt, He heals me.
When I am broken, He mends me.
When I am hungry, He feeds me.
When I face trials, He is with me.
When I face persecution, He shields me.
When I face problems, He comforts me.
When I face loss, He provides for me.
When I face death, He carries me home.
He is God.
He is faithful.
I am His and He is mine!
God is in control, I am on His side and
that means all is well with my soul.

Author Unknown
(emphasis added)

For more great quotes, visit Barbara at Stray Thoughts.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lessons From 9/11

NYC Twin Lights 9/11
Photo Credit: Jackie (Sister72) ~ Creative Commons

I couldn't bring myself to write about my experiences 10 years ago today. Even though I was thousands of miles away from the crash sites and a decade has passed, it seems like it was just yesterday and the pain feels anew today.

Instead, I've tried to focus on lessons that can be gleaned from September 11, 2001:
  • You can plan your day down to the minute detail, but ultimately God will determine what will happen.
  • Don't take anything or anyone for granted. In a split second your life can irreversible change.
  • Evil forces are all around us in this world, and the face of pure, unadulterated evil is an ugly one. However, God is in control of everything in this world, even though those determined to do evil.
  • Everyone will have defining moments in their life -- moments when they are challenged to persevere in the face of hardship. What will define us is not the trial we face, but our response to it.
  • Trust placed in anything or anyone other than God is misplaced, and if we are to boast, then it should only be to boast that we know the Lord.
  • Events in life will knock you down, and the best response is to get on your knees and pray.
  • Time doesn't heal all wounds...not the ones that cut you to your core. Time may ease the pain, but there will be occasions that will rip the scab off the wound, and the painful memories will be revisited.
  • Regardless of what happens in this world, you can trust in these truths: God is good, God is just, God is righteous, God is faithful and God is sovereign.
Linking with Spiritual Sundays, Soli de Gloria, On Your Heart Tuesday and 5 Minutes for Mom.

1000 Gifts - 491 to 510

Continuing to count my many gifts....

491.  God's protection for our nation
492.  Military personnel and their families who sacrifice so much so the citizens of our nation can be safe and free
493.  The unsung heroes of September 11, 2001
494.  My citizenship as an American
495.  My citizenship in heaven as a child of God

496.  Seeing evidence that blended families can work
497.  Finding a ringing cell phone in a restaurant parking lot and being able to return it to its owner
498.  My nephew doing so well in school
499.  My co-worker's husband getting a job after four months of unemployment
500.  Spontaneous hugs from my niece

501.  An immune system to fight off the viruses
502.  A summer cold that was very, very mild
503.  Seeing the Holy Spirit work in and through's so encouraging to see spiritual progress in myself
504.  Motivation to take care of my body
505.  A post from Priscilla Shirer's blog that made me see my singleness in a different perspective

506.  Sharing Scripture with my sister to encourage her
507.  Ability to remember things
508.  Discerning God's voice from the enemy
509.  A client's diagnosis of no cancer
510.  Reminder that one person can make a difference

Saturday, September 10, 2011

In His Word - September 10, 2011

"You are saying about this city, 'By the sword, famine and plague it will be handed over to the king of Babylon'; but this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says:  I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. They will be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them:  I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me.  I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul.  (Jeremiah 32:26-41)

Monday, September 05, 2011

1000 Gifts - 471 to 490

Still counting my gifts....

471. Having the privilege to vote for those who will serve in our local, state and federal government
472.  Eating lunch at my favorite restaurant
473.  Being able to have an extra long quiet time with God on Saturday mornings
474.  So many verses in Isaiah 43 that speak to me
475.  A friends' sister being declared cancer free

476.  Being able to take part in significant events in my nephew's and niece's lives
477.  My nephew having a good 1st day of school
478.  Safety while driving on the interstate during a hard rainstorm
479.  Seeing unity within my church
480.  God being incomparable...there's no one like Him

481.  God not remembering sins that have been forgiven (Isaiah 43:25)
482.  Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.  Isaiah 46:4
483.  God teaching me what is best for me
484.  God directing me in the way I should go
485.  God will not forget about me

486.  Comfort and compassion for God
487.  God using people to encourage me
488.  Seeing the racial division that existed within my home state in a different light after reading The Help
489.  The Lord going before me to guide me
490.  The Lord being my rear guard to protect me

The Truth About The Little White Lie

Photo Credit: Glen Van Etten (Glen's Pics) ~ Creative Commons

Satan loves to get us to think of certain sins as small and not that big of a deal. However, God sees all sin the same from the little white lie to those acts that we label as heinous.  Each and every sin, no matter how small or large in our eyes, is punishable by death, and Jesus paid the penalty for every sin.

When we start labeling the size and severity of sin, we are buying into the devil's lie that some sins are just not that bad. Our actions will seem right to us, and we will excuse and justify our wrongdoing. We discount what our sin cost Jesus and forget the horrific cost that Jesus paid for us.

If the Enemy can get us to lie to ourselves about our "little" sin, he can and will do the same with other sins because he has found a foothold in our life. A foothold occurs when we relax our guard against spiritual attacks, and it can happen so imperceptibly because the devil is very sly and subtle in his attacks.

Thus, periodic exploratory searches for sin are critical to our spiritual health.  Existing footholds may not be apparant which is why we need to ask God to search our hearts and minds and reveal sinful acts and thoughts to us so that we may confess and repent of them.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Giving Myself A Break

From "Permission to Exhale" by Joan C. Webb that was published in In Touch:
Burnout can happen in any facet of life when we cling to unreasonable expectations and ignore this truth:  that only God is perfect.
Perfection on this earth isn't possible, and striving for what remains impossible is a guaranteed path to frustration and disappointment.  While many of us know this in theory, we tell ourselves that we're just trying to do our very best, and to let go of our ideals would be to allow our lives to fall apart.
A freedom-producing truth I'm learning is that I'm not responsible for other people's reactions -- whether that person is a family member, friend, coworker, or stranger.  I can express my beliefs or opinions, but if someone else doesn't concur, I don't need to try to change her mind or silently judge her. It just isn't my job! God is the Master, Protector, Provider, and Persuader.  And although I'm grateful for the privilege of partnering with Him in His work here on earth, I know I can release others to Him because He really is sovereign.
For more thought provoking quotes, visit Barbara at Stray Thoughts.

Friday, September 02, 2011

In His Word - September 2, 2011

This is what the Lord says:
"Cursed is the one who trust in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord.  He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes.  He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.
"But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
"I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve." (Jeremiah 17:5-10)

Never Married

wonderful day
Photo Credit: Julie Pi (Cherry Pi) ~ Creative Commons

In Jeremiah 16:1-9 God told Jeremiah not to marry and have children and that he could not participate in any wedding celebrations or funerals. How lonely Jeremiah must have been -- to be the bearer of a message no one wanted to hear and then to be forbidden from socializing and from having a family of his own.

After a recent visit to the community where I grew up I read this passage, and it struck a chord with me because I can in a way relate to Jeremiah's pain because at almost 43 years old, I've never been married.  

During my hometown visit, I heard the same question that I have heard now for 20+ years..."You're not married yet". This particular remark over the years has been posed as both a question and a statement, and it is usually followed by either "Well, I don't understand why not" or "You are smart not to have married".

These conversations are awkward and sometimes very painful for me as I try to be nice and polite.  What I really want to say is, but never do is:
"I didn't choose this. This wasn't my plan. I'm not smart because if it was up to me I would be married by now and have children, but that wasn't God's plan."
As I gotten older and possibly wiser, I realize that by preventing me from having been married that God has protected me from things that could have caused me much pain and put me in situations I wasn't prepared for and never meant to handle.

Even though I accept that singleness is the best thing for me (at least for right now) because God wouldn't give me anything less than His best, some days are a real struggle for me.  I don't always like my marital status nor am I always comfortable with it, but I'm learning to accept God's provision and trying to be content.

I don't know what God's answer is to my being married -- if it's a flat out "No" or if it's a "Wait" until the time is right. But in the meantime, I still hope, and I trust the Lord to direct my life in the way He wants it to go.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

2011 Siesta Scripture Memory Verse #17

"Everything is permissible for me" -- but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me" -- but I will not be mastered by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12

To join the Siesta Scripture Memory Team, visit Beth Moore and post your own memory verse.



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