Sunday, December 26, 2010

Immanuel...God With Us

"Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: 
Behold, the young woman who is unmarried and a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel 
[God with us]."
Isaiah 7:14 (amp)

Christmas, 2010...

Another Christmas has come and gone. 
Another year soon to be ended.
So many emotions run through me....
I'm not really sure I can put it all into words.

I am in awe of the things for which I have to be thankful, to be grateful...and the many reasons I have to say "I am blessed." God is with us...

I am constantly amazed when someone tells me that something I have written or said has blessed or encouraged them. I have to go back and read it again and try to figure out how something I said could possibly have any affect on them. God is with us...

I am so thankful that my son's college tuition was provided for in miraculous and amazing ways, and always, at just the right moment. God is with us...

I am honored to be a part of two separate prayer groups with some amazing praying women. The result of these times has been healing for several and financial provision for others. Relationships are being restored and new lives brought to Christ. God is with us...

I am privileged to rejoice with a young woman who believed she would never give birth to a third child as she prepares for the birth of her little boy. God is with us....

I am amazed at His faithfulness as he provided a house and a car for my son and his family...all in one week! God is with us....

I am so proud of who my children are growing up to be. This Christmas, when all our budgets were stretched beyond limits, I watched them give to each other sacrificially...preferring others over themselves...letting go of something they want so desperately and saved for and worked towards for so long, just in order to give to others. God is with us...

I am forever grateful for the old friends that have walked beside me throughout the years; and for the new friends God has given me this year to continue the journey, encouraging me and loving me along the way. God is with us....

But, He doesn't always look like we think He should! :)
The past few years have taught me many things, one of the most important being that His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). When I have prayed for Him to come through for me, He did...but many times He did it in an unexpected moment, in an unexpected and often surprising way. Many times it just didn't make sense to me...but His thoughts are higher than mine.

And so, we come to the end of Christmas, 2010 celebrating  in the birth of Jesus. And we quickly approach the beginning of the New Year, 2011, filled with thankfulness for what God has done and is continuing to do; filled with promise and hope; waiting expectantly for the surprises.

Because, God is with us.....

Merry Christmas!
"Behold, the virgin shall become pregnant and give birth to a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel--
which, when translated, means, God with us."
Matthew 1:23

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Conversation I Never Had....

Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, 
and attend to know understanding.
Proverbs 4:1 KJV

Me and Daddy, 1980

I called my mother tonight. She and the rest of my family live in Texas. I haven't been back for a visit since August, 2008 and much has changed since then. My father now lives in a nursing home, while my mother and her sister live together in a seniors' apartment complex type of know, no kids allowed. The last two years have been difficult for both my parents. After 62 years of marriage, my mom is having to live without my dad. And my dad, requiring pretty much constant care, has to stay in the nursing home often asking her if he can come home yet.

The last time I saw my dad was at their 60th wedding anniversary. I have a picture of the two of us as he gave me a Bible that my mother's parents had given him in 1944. Often, he would get a little confused in his mind and his stories, but he was very lucid that day and we had a wonderful visit. Since then, his health has had its ups and downs. He had a stroke last Thanksgiving, which is why he is in a nursing home now. Every now and then, I'll ask my mother  if he remembers me, and she assures me that he does...but sometimes, I wonder.

Tonight she told me about a conversation Daddy and I ..... never had. 

Mother visits Daddy every day. One day last week when she got there, he told her he had just been on the phone and had the best conversation with 'Lena Jean...that's me! He was so excited because I was writing about Jonah and I had called to ask Daddy some questions about him. We apparently spent quite some time on the phone together discussing Jonah and he was so happy to hear from me and tell me everything he knew about him. He said it was a wonderful visit......

Daddy doesn't have a phone in his room. He doesn't have access to a phone at all. But he  had apparently spent the morning talking with me and  discussing God's Word. I so wish I could have been there for that conversation. I'm sure I would have learned a lot from him. And at least for that one day, he remembered me.

Daddy, Father's Day 2010
Happy Thanksgiving, Daddy! I love  you very much....

Now, I think I'll go read Jonah again.....I may have some questions for my Dad.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; 
come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. 
It is he who made us, and we are his; 
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.  
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; 
give thanks to him and praise his name. 
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;  
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 100

When I was a little girl, I memorized all of Psalm 100. Of course, it was the King James Version, which to a small child doesn't always make sense. But as I grew older and began to take God's Word to heart, I realize that everything we have to be thankful for is right here in this little Psalm. We can thank Him for our families, and our health, and our "things" that we have been blessed with. But really...doesn't it all come out of who He is and how He loves us?
  • He is God! The creator of Heaven and Earth and all that is in them. The God who was here before time and will be here when everything else has passed away.
  • He made us! He created us from the dust of the earth and breathed the breath of life into us....His breath! His Spirit dwells within us.
  • We belong to Him! We are precious in His sight and His eyes are always upon us. He sees our going and our coming and will never leave us or forsake us. Our names are written on the palm of His hand!
  • We are His people...His sheep. He tends to our needs as a shepherd tends to the needs of his flock. He guards over us and protects us. He searches for us when we go wandering off. He corrects us when we take a wrong turn.
  • He is good! He is altogether good...and He will not withhold any good thing from those who walk in His ways. His desire is that we would have not only life, but an abundant life full of good things.
  • His love endures forever!  Endures....that word means "to continue to exist; last: to support adverse force or influence of any kind". That means that nothing we can ever do will cause Him to stop loving us! We can disappoint Him, we can deny Him, we can turn our backs on Him and walk away....but He will never stop loving us.
  • He is faithful! His promises are "yes" and "amen". He will do all that He has promised to do. He is always there; He is always watching over us; He is always listening to hear us when we call on Him, or just sit and talk with Him.
What more could we possibly need or want? So, today while we are celebrating with our friends and families, remember to take time to thank Him for all that He is and all that He will be.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever!
1 Chronicles 16:34


Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Thankful Heart...revisited

This is actually an edited re-post from November 20, 2009....but I think it bears repeating.

It's that time of year again. The weather has changed...we actually had snow flurries today; the days are shorter...I keep thinking it's bedtime at 6pm; and the fireplaces are stoked. The shopping centers are starting their "Black Friday" sales a week early and the radio stations began playing Christmas music on November 1st....

It's almost Christmas!

There is a sense of anticipation and excitement again this year. Everyone is so excited for Christmas! The neighbors down the street already have their Christmas lights up. I went the last week of October to purchase fall decorations for Thanksgiving and the stores had all them all put away and the Christmas decorations were out on the shelves.

What's the rush?
I love's one of my favorite times of the year. There is a certain stillness...a peacefulness in the lights, the aromas; and a joyfulness in the giving. But, I'm afraid that in all the excitement and preparation we forget a very important day...

The world tells us that Thanksgiving is a day for food and football.  A day for the family to gather and enjoy each others company....or get on each others nerves. A long weekend to begin shopping for Christmas. And for some, it's a couple of days to work for double time and a half. But the day was meant to be set apart to remember our blessings and be thankful.

We  have so much to be thankful for. Psalm 50 says that God does not scorn our offerings. He told His people that he accepted their offerings, but not because He needed them. He owns all the creatures of the forest, the birds of the air, and the cattle on a thousand hills...He had no need for their burnt offerings. He even said if He were hungry, He would not tell them. But this is what He wants...

“Sacrifice thank offerings to God....
 call on Me in the day of trouble; 
I will deliver you, and you will honor Me.”
Psalm 50:14,15

Remember all that He has done for you, and all that He has yet to do. For His promises are "yes" and "Amen". And He will do all that He has promised.

God has done so much for me...
~He saved me.
~He raised me when I was in the pit of depression.
~He restored my soul.
~He healed my broken heart.
~He gave me back my self-worth.
~He provided a home when we had none.
~He supplied food, when the cupboards were bare.
~He sent finances when we were in need.

God has given me...
~A wonderful husband who loves me and our children and works hard to provide for us.
~Five amazing children who love God with all their hearts, and bring such joy, laughter, love and encouragement to me each and every day.
~Two beautiful daughters-in-law who love our boys and complete them, coming along side them to encourage and support.
~Our first grandchild....Allison Lucy Ehlert.
~Friends and family who listen and support us.
~Health, strength, love, mercy, grace, joy, peace, restoration

God has promised me...
~Strength for today.
~Hope for tomorrow.
~Abundant Life
~Life Eternal
~Joy Everlasting
~And so much more!

What has He done for you? 
What has He given you? 
What has He promised you?

I do love Christmas...and I feel the same excitement and anticipation that I sense in so many others this year. But, God wants a thankful heart. So, before we get caught up in the Christmas season, take this week to offer a sacrifice offering of thankfulness and give Him...

A Thankful Heart.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


"To the faithful you show Yourself faithful..."
Psalm 18:25

Once a month we try to go out to eat somewhere, as the budget allows. Last Saturday afternoon my husband and I took our two youngest children out for an early dinner. As we left the restaurant, we passed by Wight's Nursery. Out front was a sign that said, "Come In and See Our Fall Colors". So, since it was a windy, stormy autumn afternoon, we thought it seemed an appropriate thing to do. Much to our surprise, as we entered the front doors, all of the "autumn colors" had been relegated to a corner and Christmas was going up!

For those of you who do not live in the Seattle area,  Wight's Nursery is a garden nursery that sells plants of all kinds, indoor and outdoor, and anything and everything you could possibly think of needing for your garden or patio. And every year for Christmas they put up dozens and dozens of Christmas trees decorated in all styles. It's truly a Winter Wonderland! All the lights and decorations are for sale, even right off the trees. It has become a wonderful Christmas tradition for us  each year to go and pick out an ornament, one per family member, for our tree. However, we were very surprised to see Christmas set up so early this year! But as we wandered around, we began to get in the spirit of things.

Another tradition that my youngest son, Mackenzie, and I have started is to pick a "Christmas word". Last year it was HOPE; the year before that it was BELIEVE. We try to find an ornament or decoration of some kind with that word on it. As we wandered about Wight's, we started looking for our "word". There were lots of JOY and PEACE. But we were looking for something different...something that fit our lives the past year.

As we rounded a corner, I saw a snowman made out of Styrofoam balls holding a little sign that said, FAITH. That one caught my attention, because this has definitely been a year to live and walk by faith. But honestly, it was kinda ugly! So, we kept looking. But, I began to ponder....


Mark and I have had to stand in faith and believe God for some huge things this year. Each week, I pray with women who are facing giants! Financial issues, health issues, family crisis, grieving the loss of loved ones, waiting for those prodigal children to return. These and so many more situations we face are ones that could destroy us.....if we do not stand on faith. Isaiah 7:9 says,

"If you do not stand firm in your faith
you will not stand at all."

This is one of my favorite verses of scripture. God is telling us that faith is our sure foundation. When the uncertainties, the fears, the anxieties...the health issues, the bills, the  failed relationship...when all those things that can shake us do just that - we have to stand on our faith!  Or we will fall.

But comes through for us.....

Back in August, I put  my 18 year old son on an airplane to Cleveland, Tennessee, headed off for his first year of college. When he left on that Wednesday, we needed $8000 for the rest of his tuition....$4000 per semester! I had NO IDEA where that money was coming from. But, we took a step of faith and sent him on his way. Two days later, on Friday,  he registered for classes and headed off to the business office to find out how much we needed to pay. His bill came to $400 per semester!! That's 1/10 of the total we needed. I don't know where the extra funding came from but I DO know....All things are possible, if we believe (Matthew 19:26).  

Last Saturday, as I continued to wander around Wight's, I came upon a beautifully decorated tree. As I admired it and studied the ornaments on the tree, right in front of  me was a simple ornament of white wood and written in red it said, "Faith". It was perfect! I had already decided that my tree would be decorated in red this year...and here was the perfect ornament. I picked it up and searched the store for Mackenzie...we had found our first ornament for 2010.

No matter your circumstances, no matter your can rest in the faithfulness of your God. He will never leave you, forsake you, abandon you or ignore you. Jesus said, "According to your faith will it be done to you" (Matthew 9:29). So stand in your faith, and I will agree and stand with you. And we will see God do great and mighty things.....

And, let me be the first to wish  you.....
Merry Christmas!!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sweet Tea.....

I just wanted to take a moment to send out a message to all of you. I'm hoping to place an order for my book, "Sweet Tea: Finding Divine Goodness in an Ordinary Life" next week. You can pre-order yours today for $10!! I've been told they make great gifts for birthdays/Christmas, etc...... (I'll ship it to you for an additional $2 per book.)

For any of my new readers....last spring I wrote a book based on prior posts on my blog. I sold out the first printing and I am going to a Second Edition printing.  If you are interested in purchasing a book, please email me at and I will send you an address to which you can send your check or money order.

Thank you all for your encouragement and support. And I pray God blesses you all immensely today!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Haven of Rest....

"He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven"
Psalm 107:30-31

Tuesday night in prayer meeting, Pastor was asking us how we knew we were in the Presence of God. My mind and heart began to travel as it so often does.  I began with his original question, and my first thought was, "I have known His peace in horrific, terrifying and uncertain circumstances." Remembering that peace and how I felt in those times, reminded me of an old hymn we used to sing when I was a child...

I’ve anchored my soul 
in the “Haven of Rest,”
I’ll sail the wide seas no more;
The tempest may sweep 

o'er the wild, stormy, deep,
In Jesus I’m safe evermore.

A haven is defined as "a place of safety or sanctuary; shelter, refuge." Jesus is  my refuge, my safe place. The rock that I anchor myself to when the storms of life assail. Jesus is my comfort, my support; He surrounds me and protects me. And at times, He wraps His arms around me and holds me....and lets me know that I am safe. 

How precious the thought 
that we all may recline,
Like John, the beloved so blest,
On Jesus’ strong arm, 
where no tempest can harm,
Secure in the “Haven of Rest.”
Henry L. Gilmour, pub. 1890, Public Domain   

Jesus is my Haven of Rest...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

No Time For Excuses....

Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, 
"Who do people say I am?"
Mark 8:27

It's been a while since I have written anything. No reason, really...mostly just excuses. You see, school started and our daily schedule shifted. My laptop died and I hate sitting down here in the office at a desk. I'd rather sit on my couch in the dark, quiet of my living room. So, I stopped. 

However, it's time to put away the excuses ... but, where do I go from here? I have spent the last year studying and remembering who God is and how He shows up in my "ordinary" life. And I know I have not even begun to tap into all the He is. 

God is Father
God is Creator
God is Holy
God is Almighty
God is All-Sufficient
God is....

When I think of God, I think of all the hugeness and might that He is. The majesty, the Kingship, the things that can make us feel like He is unapproachable. But what do we think of when we consider Jesus? We know that the three, God - the Father, God - the Son, and God - the Holy Spirit are one, yet they are each separate. So what comes to mind when we think of Jesus? Let's explore this a bit...give me your thoughts and ideas. And we'll take this journey down a new path.

Who is Jesus to you?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Holding Onto the Lie...

Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?" He feeds on ashes, a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say, 
"Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?" 
Isaiah 44:19,20

Several years ago as I was reading Isaiah 44, I was struck by a question God asked. The chapter begins with God talking to Israel, His Chosen people. He encourages them by reminding them that He is God and there is no one like Him. As the chapter continues, God begins to talk about those who make idols...creating gods out of things they have made with their own hands. He points out that they take trees and use part of them for firewood to keep warm; they use part of it to cook their food; and then, with what is left they form a god and worship it. This same material that warms their bodies, they then bow down to and say, "save me, you are my god." (vs. 17)

As I began to ponder, I realized that there are many things in our lives that we turn into idols. Sometimes it can be a seemingly trivial thing, like watching too much TV or spending too much time on the computer; maybe it is fashion or careers. It can even be mistakes we have made in our past...things we  just can't seem to let go. Anything we put before God becomes an idol. Mine was a lie....a lie I had believed for a very long time.... 

"I'm just not good enough!"  

You see, I have never had a lot of confidence; not in myself, not in my abilities. I knew there were things I loved to do; things I wanted to do; even things I was already doing. But I never felt like I was good enough. I never felt like I quite measured up to the expectations of others. When I got to that line in verse 20 "Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?" I heard God say..."You are believing a lie....and you have made it an idol." I spent so much time worrying what others thought of me and my abilities, that it had pushed God out of first place in my life.
I have a date beside this chapter in my Bible...
The date God said,
"Let go of the lie!"
The date I decided, 
"It's a lie! I am good enough!"
December 3, 2002

We all have gifts and abilities in different areas that have been bestowed upon us by God. He created each one of us uniquely to accomplish those things He has set before us. Our giftings and our callings are indeed from  God and "God's gifts and His call are irrevocable." (Romans 11:29). I decided then that I no longer needed the approval of others. All God expected of me was my best....and my best is good enough for Him.

I think the reason this is all coming back to my mind is because I find myself contemplating my life a lot lately. In 25 days I will be 50 years old! (I just had a small anxiety attack!) And I have discovered that if I am not careful...the old lie resurfaces. The enemy,"the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray" (Revelation 12:9) would love to convince me that I have failed and that I'm done. 

I was reminded by my dear friend Janet, that I have indeed been busy these last 50 years...
  • Married for 27 years
  • Raised (and still raising) five children
  • Homeschooling 
  • Ministry opportunities in the church
  • "Sweet Tea:Finding Divine Goodness in an Ordinary Life"
There are still things that I want to do that I just don't see ever having the opportunity. I still have dreams that haven't been fulfilled. I have wondered if I shouldn't have done more or accomplished more by now. And then there is the question..."Am I done?"

But I have decided that I'm not done! I still have a purpose and a calling. I still have children at home; still homeschooling. I now have a granddaughter to cherish. I still love to lift my voice and sing praise to Him. I still want to teach and encourage others....and who knows, I may have another book in me! All God expects of me is my best...and my best is good enough for Him!

Are you holding onto a lie? Has the enemy convinced you that you have no purpose? No future? No hope? Have you created an idol out of something in your life? Something that has purpose and importance, but perhaps you have given it too much credence in your life?

Ask yourself, "Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?" then let it go....Not only is it extra baggage you are carrying, but it will free up that hand to accomplish that which He has set before you.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

It's Time to Tear a Hole in the Roof.....

"And when they could not get him to a place in front of Jesus because of the throng, they dug through the roof above Him; and when they had scooped out an opening, they let down the [thickly padded] quilt or mat upon which the paralyzed man lay. And when Jesus saw their faith..." 
Mark 2:5(amp)

I was reading the other day in Mark 2 about the paralytic man Jesus healed. Jesus was teaching in a house, probably Peter's, and the place was packed! There was no room for anyone else to get in the house...even outside around the door was jammed full of people listening to Jesus teach. Four men carried a paralytic man on a bed or quilt of some kind. They couldn't get in the door for all the people. However, instead of giving up, they climbed to the roof, still carrying this man. They tore a hole in the roof...probably not an easy task. The four of these men then lowered this man down through the roof.  I don't know what the roof was constructed of, but I would imagine that as they were tearing a hole in it, debris would begin to fall upon the heads of those inside. 

I wonder what the people thought?
I wonder if the distraction annoyed those listening to Jesus?
I wonder if Jesus stopped teaching and waited ?
I wonder why those four men went to so much trouble?

We all have those times when we are in desperate need of a touch from God. The situations we face when we know that without an intervention from God Himself we will not make it. 
The pink slip you get at work
That unexpected bill that demands to be paid!
That dreaded diagnoses that only the Hand of God can heal
The loved one who has wandered so far from God and is lost

Remember that feeling you get? That desperation you feel? Most of us will find a few friends and ask them to pray with us and for our situation.We might even call the prayer chain at church if it's serious enough. And we do so with full faith and confidence that they will stand with us in prayer because we can't do it all alone. We need our friends to intercede with help us get to Jesus.

Then one day, a friend comes to us and says, "I need you to pray with/for me", or we get an email or phone call from the prayer chain; a requested mentioned in church or our Bible Study Class.....

"I just lost my job and have no idea where to turn!
 I have a huge debt that needs to be paid!
I have received a diagnosis that only God can cure!
My son, my daughter, my husband, my wife...they are lost and they need to be found!"

Do we feel their desperation? Do we fall on our face before God and intercede on their behalf? Do we carry them up the roof and tear a hole through it? Do we do whatever it takes to get them to Jesus? Or do we say, "I'll pray for you" and then go on our way?

I've been reminded of this lately for two reasons. 

One, I have several friends that are facing desperate situations. I have a precious friend who is desperately in need of healing. She is battling stage 4 cancer and has been for several years. I often think of her and pray for her healing. I have two dear friends who are the same age as my husband and myself and the husband has just recently received that "pink slip". In this economy and at our ages, this is a huge battle to face. Both friends have asked me to pray with and for them. I am praying and believing for complete healing for Lori; and I am praying for guidance, direction and provision for CJ and Doug. I know that our God is a Healer, Provider, Deliverer; He's our Victory, and He never leaves us or forsakes us.

The other reason I have been dwelling on this lately is because...I'm guilty! I have been asked to pray with someone over a situation and I have done that time. Then, I have forgotten about it..only to be vaguely reminded when I see them again the next week at church.

I wonder what would have happened to the paralytic man if his friends, upon seeing the crowds in and around the house where Jesus was, said to him, "Well, we don't seem to be able to get in today. Let's come back and try again tomorrow." They may have obligations or responsibilities the next day that kept them busy or caused them to forget. They may have thought, "well, we tried, but it didn't work" and given up on their friend. 

But these men, these friends, pursued Jesus... they continued on in desperation. The same desperation this paralytic man must have felt, but was powerless to do anything about. They didn't give up until they got through the roof to Jesus. 

They didn't give up until they got their friend to Jesus and he "arose at once and picked up the sleeping pad or mat and went out before them all..." (vs. 12)

I've been in desperate situations. I remember the hours, the days, the nights, crying out before the Lord for deliverance, for provision, for healing. I have asked friends and family to pray with me regarding those situations. And I have trusted that they are praying with the same desperation that I have for an answer. 

God has reminded me lately as I have prayed for these dear friends and others who I know are facing similar battles, that I don't have the same fervency in prayer that I would if I were praying for my own needs. My prayer is that God would help me tear through the roof on behalf of others. To keep on until we see the Hand of God move  miraculously in situations that seem impossible in our eyes.

The other thing I am reminded of is that whatever your need is, it is a desperate need. It's not our place to judge the significance or importance of the prayer request. The next time you are asked to pray for someone facing desperate situations, or any situation, remember those four men who wouldn't give up until their friend got to Jesus. Do whatever it takes to "tear back the roof" and receive deliverance from Jesus.

Matthew 7:7 says, "Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you."

Lori, I'm gonna keep on
Doug, CJ, I'm gonna keep on.

It's time to tear a hole in the roof.......

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I Give Him to You, God...Again

I put him on a plane little boy.
Not so little anymore...6'2" and all grown up
Tender-hearted...sensitive to the feelings of others.
A gentleman who knows girls should be treated differently than "the guys".
He's never "too cool" to say "I love you, mom".
He has a mantle on him...a call of God.

When he was a baby, Mark and I dedicated him to the Lord, just as we have with all of our children. We have trusted God with his life, his health, his safety and his well-being. And God, being the Faithful One, has never let us down.

Last night at prayer meeting while praying with a precious woman, she reminded me that we had given Him to God once...and that now it was time to do so again.

So, I put him on a plane little boy.
Not so little anymore...6'2" and all grown up
Tender-hearted...sensitive to the feelings of others.
A gentleman who knows girls should be treated differently than "the guys".
Still not "too cool" to say "I love you, mom".
He has a mantle on him...a call of God.

"...being confident of this, 
that he who began a good work in you 
will carry it on to completion 
until the day of Christ Jesus."
Philippians 1:6

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Letting Go.....

I have been so honored and yes, amazed, at the number of people who have told me how blessed they are by my posts. And I have to say, that all the credit goes to God our Father. And I am so grateful to each of you for your kind words and encouragement. So I was wondering, could you return the favor? I need a few words of encouragement from those of you who have been where I am now.

You see, I am totally stressing out! Most of you are aware that I am a mother of five and even a grandmother. But I've never had to say "goodbye" to one of my children. While my two oldest boys are married and out of the house, they live close by and we see them often. And even if a couple weeks go by without seeing or hearing from them, I know that I can stop by or have them over for dinner anytime.

My third son, Mitchell, just graduated from high school and two weeks from today he leaves for Cleveland, Tennessee!! And the "mommy" in me is having a really hard time with this...

We were hoping to have him fly out with a friend who attends there, but that flight was unavailable to us. So I had to book him on another flight that's not a non-stop... he's going to have to change himself.

I was up until 2am this morning trying to find financing for the rest of his tuition. I don't get this.....there are all these websites that say there is "tons of money" out there for education, but I can't seem to find it. I cannot begin to tell you how many scholarship offers we have filled out! It's crazy!!! And so incredibly frustrating...

And you know what the craziest thing is???? As I'm sitting here typing this, feeling sorry for myself, crying into my Kleenex my play list below is playing. And the first thing I hear is...

"I will be still and know and know You are God".

And while I am trying to ignore that one, the next song comes on.

"I am not forgotten....He knows my name"

As I continue to type and spill out my woes to you, the next song comes on....

"Shake yourself loose from everything that binds you up!"

I guess while I was hoping to get pity and perhaps a few more Kleenex from some of you God decided to use what He has already given me to help me through this storm. God has reminded me to be still and know that He has all things under control. He has not forgotten us; He knows MY name and He knows Mitchell's name. Therefore, I will stand on His Word and shake loose from the fears that have tried to encamp around me. Mitchell is perfectly capable of doing this without me, because, in fact, he won't be alone. God is our provider. And all things, including the enemy, are under our feet!

But, if you think of us, please include us in your prayers...I still have to say goodbye; we still need provision for tuition, books and the miscellaneous items he will need for school.

And there will be that empty room downstairs....

Friday, July 23, 2010

From Traitor to Super Hero...

"How far has the LORD taken our sins from us?
   Farther than the distance from east to west!"
Psalm 103:12 (amp)

I'm a simple person, really. If you've read much of my writings you probably know that. God speaks to me in the simplest of things. 

Today was the last day of VBA (Vacation Bible Adventure) at our church.The theme this year was Heroes and my son, Mitchell (18) was part of the dramatic storyline that carried throughout the week. He was  Secret Agent 0011. I stopped in this morning to see the opening session and watch his skit. As the story unfolded, to my dismay, it was discovered that Agent 0011 had in fact been working all along for the bad guy...Mega Really Bad Dude. My son was a double agent and my mother's heart broke! But in the end, he did the right thing and became a Super Hero. I was so proud of him!

It was a simple story, and the kids all loved it. But what was interesting to watch during the course of the day was how Agent 0011 was treated by the children after that session. At the end of the day, the children were coming up to the actors and getting their autographs, and several of them would call Agent 0011.....traitor. Even though in the end, he realized the right thing to do and saved the city from Mega Really Bad Dude, what they remembered about him was who he was; not who he became. 

 "Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ 
(the Messiah) he is a new creation 
(a new creature altogether); 
the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] 
has passed away. 
Behold, the fresh and new has come!"
2 Corinthians 5:17 (amp)

As I was driving home from the church today, thinking back on it all and feeling proud of the young man my son has become, I pondered  the story line and wondered if the children actually got it. I think they understood the concept of being a hero, but did they get the idea that once we come to Christ, we become different...a new person?

For that matter, do we get it?

How many times have talked about someone and said, "You know, the ex-drug addict" or "the ex-prostitute" or the "ex-whatever"?  And while we are so grateful for God's mercy and grace and the deliverance He has brought, we still describe them by what they were and not who they are creations in Christ.

If God has indeed separated our sins from us, as far as the east is from the west, then why do we act and treat each other as if they are still in our back pocket? They no longer define who we are. The redeeming work of Jesus' blood now defines us.

So, if like Agent 0011 you have been working in the past for the wrong side, so to speak, but have come to know and serve God, don't let the enemy remind you that you were once a traitor. You are a new creation. And greater is He who is within you, then he who is in the world....You are a Super Hero now!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Fear vs. Dentist....

"But perfect love drives out fear..."
1 John 4:18

I have an irrational, totally unreasonable and unfounded fear of dentists. I have never had a bad experience with one...just don't like them! (I apologize to any dentists who are reading this; it's nothing personal, I assure you).

My whole life, I have had those ridiculous dreams that have me in some public place or party and suddenly all my teeth fall out. The weird thing is...nobody seems to notice. It's kind of like those dreams where you are the only one with no clothes on and no one cares or thinks it's odd. I'm not sure if I'm afraid of dentists because of the dreams, or if I have the dreams because I am afraid of the dentist.

I have been to the dentist three times in my life. The first time I was about six or seven years old and had a loose tooth that I wouldn't pull. So my mother decided to take me to the dentist, who informed her it wasn't ready to pull. Later that night...I pulled the tooth.

My second visit to the dentist occurred about 15  years later. I was on a lunch break from work and eating a piece of chicken. Something broke off the back of my bottom front tooth. I dreams had come true and my teeth were falling out! Turns out it was only plaque that had built up over 22 years. 

My third and final visit was about ten years later. My bottom right wisdom tooth began to fall apart. So, I took a deep breath and headed to the dentist. He simply pulled it and sent me on my way...still no cavities, mom!

Fast forward another 18 years (if you are good at math, you  now know how old I am). My left bottom wisdom tooth began to fall apart this past Memorial Day while we were visiting friends in Arizona. When we returned home I had things to to finish up school, Mitchell's graduation, anything else I could think of to put off the inevitable...another visit to the dentist.  

Last week, I finally went to the dentist. It was very obvious that I was anxious and well, afraid. He was very gentle in looking at my teeth, and yeah, mom...still no cavities. But that wisdom tooth has to come out. He could have simply pulled it....but he knew my fear. So,he decided that it was in my best interest to have me put completely under anesthetic to remove the tooth. So Monday I get to visit...the oral surgeon!

This may seem like a silly story, but it got me to thinking about fear. The thing about fear is, the more you give in to it, the bigger it becomes. It would be much simpler and easier to just have the tooth removed. But my fears have gotten the best of me, and so for my sake, and possibly for the dentists, it has become more complicated, more expensive and more anxiety ridden. often do we think we are protecting ourselves by letting our fear rule? If we play it "safe" we won't get hurt. We don't follow our dreams because we are afraid of failing. We don't follow our hearts because we are afraid of what people might think. We don't follow our calling because we are afraid we aren't good enough. We don't follow God's leading because.....we are afraid. 

What are we afraid of?

Have you ever sensed that you were supposed to go to someone and pray for them, but hesitate because you don't want them to think you are strange? Have you ever been sitting in church and felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to read a scripture or give an encouragement, but hesitate because... what if you're out of place? Do you feel like God has called you to the ministry but fear getting up in front of people? Has God placed in you a desire to sing but your fear of inadequacy holds you back? FEAR....

"What if I don't have what it takes? What if I fail?"
Jeremiah 29:11 says, "I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for." (MSG) If God has it all planned out, and His only intent is to give us hope, then do we really think He would ask us to do something that would cause us to fail?

"The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1) When the enemy tries to put us in a stronghold of fear, we can tell him we already reside in a stronghold!

"Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe." (Proverbs 29:25) Our fears trap us; but we find safety in Him.

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10) God is always with us..and will enable us to do that which we need to do. Whatever that may be...from the great things to the small.

"You came near when I called you, and you said, "Do not fear." (Lamentations 3:57) He is there when we call out to Him, and calms our fears and reassures us. no matter how trivial our fears may be....even the dentist!

So even though my story is a little silly, I hope it reminds you, as it reminded me that we have a great big God that doesn't think anything that affects our lives is silly. He cares about everything, whether it be my irrational fears of doctors or something that takes a great step of faith. 

If you have a desire, a dream, a calling, and your fears are holding you back, remember that God is your stronghold; your shelter, your master planner. He has your best interest in mind and will not call you to do that which you are not equipped to do. 

And if you happen to think of me at 9:25am on Monday morning, I'll be facing my the oral surgeons office!

May the God of peace...strengthen (complete, perfect) and make you what you ought to be and equip you with everything good that you may carry out His will; [while He Himself] works in you and accomplishes that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ (the Messiah); to Whom be the glory forever and ever (to the ages of the ages). 
Amen (so be it).
Hebrews 13:21

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Going Through the Motions...

"Never be lacking in zeal; but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord."
Romans 12:11

If you have kept up with my blog, or read my book, then you are aware that music speaks to me. Matthew West has done a song  called The Motions that makes me stop and think about my every-day life each time I hear it. There are so many days that I feel like I am just existing. I don't really do anything purposeful... no meaning... nothing important... just going through the motions. It's very easy to get bored and fall into the "nothingness of life".

You see, I am a stay at home mom who home-schools her children. It's summer, so we don't have school to do. We are a one-car family, so when my husband gets up at 3:30am and takes the car to work, we are home-bound. I get up fairly early, try to spend some time alone with the Lord, and then wonder, "What's next?" The  kids sleep in because I let them stay up later at night, so my mornings are quiet. My husband gets home in the early afternoon and usually takes a quick nap. Then it's time to fix dinner; clean up dinner; watch a little television maybe....and the day is over. The next day, we start again.Very little variation in the day-to-day schedule, except when Sunday rolls around. But, if we're not careful, Sundays can very easily become the same week to week routine.

Most of the time, I think I am doing just what I am supposed to be doing. I love my husband and children; try to be the wife and mother God has appointed me to be. I love God with all my heart; pray; read my Bible; go to church regularly...all those things good Christians are supposed to do. that enough? 
Is that all there is? 
What am I really doing to affect the Kingdom of God?

I don't want to just go through the motions. I don't want to do "just enough". Paul tells us to never be lacking in  zeal. What is zeal? And what does it mean to have spiritual fervor?  Zeal is defined as "intensity; eager desire; passion." So, how do we put that intensity, that eagerness into our every day, hum-drum lives? How do we keep that spiritual fervor, when it seems that nothing special is happening? These are the questions I have been asking God lately...

I don't exactly know what it means to "press in". But I know it involves stepping outside our comfort zone. There are things God has asked me to do that I am not comfortable with. But I believe as we become more willing to step out in faith and do what He has asked us, then the "nothingness of life" will become more exciting and satisfying.

I don't want to go through the motions
I don't want to go one more day
Without Your all consuming
Passion inside of me
I don't want to spend my whole life asking
"What if I had given everything?
Instead of going through the motions?"

Colossians 3:23,24 says, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men...It is Christ you are serving."

My challenge to myself today, and to you, is whatever you are it with all your heart; be zealous in what you do. And do it as if you were working for the Lord...for indeed you are. Look for opportunities to step outside your comfort zone. 

Let's give Him everything...instead of going through the motions.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Love Letter from God...

I came across this video today as I was preparing to write....I think someone needs to hear and be reminded of this today.

(scroll to the bottom of the page and pause the music player)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Filled With the Mention of Your Name

"The nations will fear the name of the LORD".
Psalm 102:15

There was a time when the people of God had such reverence of Him, such fear of Him, that they wouldn't even speak His name. They wrote His name without vowels so it was unpronounceable. 
His Name was holy 
His Name was awesome 
His Name was to be feared
Last night at prayer meeting we sang Revelation Song. In the last verse there is a line....
Filled with wonder 
Awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your name...
And I couldn't help but wonder...when did we lose the wonder? When did we become so cavalier in our thinking, in our our worship? We know longer recognize the awesomeness of His name alone.
Jesus, Your name is power...
Breath...and living water
Such a marvelous mystery
Each of us face battles... 
His Name is the power we need to be victorious
Each of us face days that leave us weak and lifeless... 
His Name is the breath of life to us

Each of us walk through dry and barren deserts... 
His Name is living water to refresh, restore and cleanse us.

Maybe if we regained that wonder... that awestruck wonder, we would see more victories; have more breakthroughs; experience more miracles! 

And He shall be called...
Advocate; Lamb of God; The Resurrection & the Life; Shepherd; Bishop of Souls; Judge; Lord of Lords; Man of Sorrows; Head of the Church; Master; Faithful & True; True Witness; Rock; High Priest; The Door; Living Water; Bread of Life; Rose of Sharon; Alpha & Omega; True Vine; Messiah; Teacher; Holy One; Mediator; The Beloved; Branch; Carpenter; Good Shepherd; Light of the World; Image of the Invisible God; The Word; Chief Cornerstone; Savior; Servant; Author & Finisher of Our Faith; The Almighty; Everlasting Father; Shiloh; Lion of the Tribe of Judah; I AM; King of Kings; Prince of Peace; Bridegroom; Only Begotten Son; Wonderful Counselor; Immanuel; Son of Man; Dayspring; The Amen; King of the Jews; Prophet; Redeemer; Anchor; Bright Morning Star; The Way, the Truth & the Life
Jesus Christ

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lift Up Your Eyes...

Tuesday night before prayer meeting I was sitting in church reading my Bible when a gentleman I know came and sat beside me. He asked what I was reading and I told him Psalm 121. I told him I have been doing a study on the desert (I am actually thinking of a new book) and this particular psalm came to my mind. He asked me to read it...
I lift up my eyes to the hills—
       where does my help come from?
 My help comes from the LORD,
       the Maker of heaven and earth.
 He will not let your foot slip—
       He who watches over you will not slumber;
 indeed, He who watches over Israel
       will neither slumber nor sleep.
 The LORD watches over you—
       the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
 the sun will not harm you by day,
       nor the moon by night.
 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
       He will watch over your life;
 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

The first thing I realized in the chapter is that if the Lord made ALL the earth that means he created the desert. The hot, dry, barren, lonely desert. The place where there is little life or water. I have recently driven through the desert on a road trip and it is truly a lonely, desolate and monotonous place. 
Sometimes our spiritual lives get that way. We become dry; the road becomes monotonous; our lives can seem barren with no fruit. And we feel all alone. The nights are dark and treacherous; the days are long and scorching. But He will not let our foot slip, and His hand shades us from the sun and the moon.
As I continued to read, this friend stopped me asked what I thought the psalmist meant when he said, "...nor the moon my night". We know we need shade from the sun during the day, but the moon at night? I have to admit I was confused myself with that one. But as I read through this scripture again today, I had a thought...scary, huh?
On a dark and lonely highway, in the desert, with a full are in plain sight. There aren't many animals in the desert, but there are some. The light from the moon would leave you in clear sight of perhaps, a hungry coyote. But the hand of God shades us from the moon.
One thing I have learned about deserts is that they have monsoon seasons. The rains will come...the dry ground will produce fruit. And so will we. As we continue to walk with God and trust in Him, He will bring the rains again.
The repeated phrase in this psalm is "the Lord watches over you". No matter the circumstances, whether you are in the desert place or on the mountain top, remember...
The LORD will keep you from all harm—
       He will watch over your life;

the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Just One Moment....

Jesus turned and saw her. "Take heart, daughter," he said, "your faith has healed you." 
And the woman was healed from that moment.
Matthew 9:22

God keeps reminding me…”just one moment”. That’s all it takes, just one moment in His presence and nothing is the same. In our neighborhoods, workplaces and even in our churches,  there are countless people in all kinds of circumstances, carrying heavy burdens... 

fear, doubt, oppression, depression…
health issues, financial issues, relational issues…
broken hearts, hardened hearts

And we walk around with our “masks” so everyone will believe we are fine; or at the least they will believe that we are dealing well with our circumstances. When all it takes is just one moment in His presence and He can turn it all around.

I was thinking back to the woman in the Bible with the issue of blood. And she KNEW that all she needed was one moment… even just the simple touching of Jesus' robe… and that one moment would be enough and she would be healed. (Luke 8)

Saul was on the road to Damascus; he had spent years persecuting the Christians. But suddenly,  a "one moment" encounter with Jesus and his life was turned around. (Acts 22)

There were countless people following Jesus because they needed just one moment…Bartimaeus, the blind man who called out to Jesus and wouldn’t let the disciples hush him because he needed his moment with Jesus. (Mark 10)

The centurion who said, “Jesus, you don’t even have to come to my house to heal my servant; all I need is the “moment” it will take for you to say the word and he will be healed.”  (Matthew 8) 
 And then there are those who, because their need is so great they couldn’t get to Jesus on their own…the man lowered down from the roof because his friends were determined that he would have “just one moment”. (Mark 2)

I can recount numerous times when just "one moment" in the presence of God has changed my life dramatically. Just one moment and He has healed me physically. Just one moment and He has healed me emotionally. Just one moment and He has restored relationships. Just one moment and He has!!!!

What do you need today?

Jesus is passing by. All you need to do is call out to Him, just like Bartimaeus - He'll stop and listen. Just like the woman, reach out to Him - just one touch will heal you. And if you know someone who is broken and hurting and too weak to stand on their the friends that will tear back to roof and get them to Jesus. 

God is a healer; 
a provider; 
a way-maker; 
a life changer. 

And all it takes is just one moment...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It Is Good To Wait Quietly....

I have been consumed....
I am a "project driven" person. When I am given a task or project to work on, I grab it by the horns and do whatever it takes to complete it. When I was working, often there were projects or tasks that took a great deal of commitment, determination and dedication to complete. It didn't matter how long it took; how many hours I spent at work; how much time it kept me away from the family...I got it done. It consumed me.. I sang in the choir, led Bible Studies, helped with VBA...and I loved it. They made me feel as though I had purpose, meaning, a reason to be here. And then one day, God took it all away from me. 
It hurt. 
I was angry. 
I was......relieved.
It took me a while to realize I was relieved because up to that point I wasn't aware of how much of my identity I had wrapped up in what I "did". I didn't really know who I was anymore. So God forced me to take a break. I had to lay it all down and do nothing for a couple of years. 
Those years were not wasted....they were invaluable. I met some amazing women who loved me through it all. I learned so much about who God is...and who I am in Him. Then He let me start picking up little things to do. I led a Bible Study for a summer. That led me to meet some more incredible women of God that I would not have met had I not done that. And then He told me it was time to sing again, which required me to step down from the Bible Study. I struggled with that one, because those ladies were my outlet to share what God was teaching me through all of this. 
Now what do I do?
And so...I began to write. I thought it was just for me; just a way to keep my thoughts and the realizations God was giving me all together. And if it just happened to bless someone else who read it, well much the better.
Then someone suggested a book, which at first I found to be a crazy idea. But after many encouraging friends and much thought and prayer I thought, "Why not? How hard can it be? After all, most of it is already written. Right?"
And so it began....
re-reading again;
more editing;
more proofing;
chapter organization;
oops....can't use those pictures from the internet,
must take new pictures;
formatting the pages to book form;
copyright information on quotes used;
permission letters to be written...
who published that song, anyway?
I need an author bio??? Really?
Then began the research...
who's going to publish and print this book?
how much will it cost?
what do they offer in services?
are they legitimate?
will they format the cover?
will they market it?
Can I afford this???
It consumed me.....
In the midst of all this chaos, I found a verse one day that said, "It is good to wait quietly..." I was doing it again. I was letting this project, this task, this exciting new chapter in my life....take over my life. I wake up in the morning thinking about it; I go to bed at night thinking about it. There are lots of ways to get a book published and printed. It's really not a difficult task. There are just so many choices and decisions to make; financial resources needed; disreputable agencies to avoid. It becomes overwhelming.
Today, I was talking with my son, Ryan and he said, "Mom, you need to just stop and put everything on hold. Pray about this and wait and see what God says and does." His words took me back to that verse, "It is good to wait quietly...". I went to Lamentations and read the entire chapter.....this is what I found:
"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
So I ask you Lord, to forgive me. I have once again allowed myself to become consumed by something that, while it is good and I believe ordained by you, it has taken precedence over You. So I will wait...quietly. My hope is in You and you never fail.
And for those of you who have encouraged me on this endeavor, I'm not giving up, just waiting on Him. Please continue to encourage me and pray with me for His will.
Love you all!!!