Monday, December 31, 2012


"Our conduct verifies His presence."  This is the last statement made in the notes of my new Life Application Study Bible I received for Christmas.  It comes from 1 John 1:24, "Those who obey God's commandments remain in fellowship with Him and He with them.  And we know He lives in us because the Spirit He gave us lives in us."

I just love that statement about this verse.  It is so true.  The way we behave, carry ourselves, interact with others, speak to our loved ones and even what we do when we are all alone and no one is watching, verifies His presence in our hearts. 

Sure, as soon as you accept Christ as your Savior, the Holy Spirit takes up camp in your heart.  Done deal.  But, how much you make His presence in your heart known is the true verification of the effect Christ is having in your life.

If Christ is at the forefront, our conduct will show it.  It will be evident to all those around us. 

So think on that statement for a while and remember it next time you want to roll your eyes, or snap at someone in your way, or any of the hundreds of other things we do but always regret later. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Fresh Perspective

I got a new Bible for Christmas!  Woot!  Woot!  I love new Bibles.  I own 4 different ones now that I use frequently.  I think this one might be my favorite though.  It is a NLT Life Application Study Bible and I am just finally sitting down to break it in.  I am praying about doing a year through the Bible ready plan starting next week.  We'll see if I think I can do it.

Anyway, continuing on in 1 John for now and read 2 vs 21 thru the end of chap 2.  I LOVE vs 21.  It states, "Dear friends, if we don't feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence."

Guilt: a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.

Confidence: full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing.

With forgiveness we have reason to feel guilt.  Thus, we can have full, BOLD confidence in our Lord and Savior.  Doesn't this just make you feel all warm and snuggly inside?  Love it.

Friday, December 21, 2012

He's Always There

He is always there, even if I am not.

The hustle and bustle has got me entangled.  I went from dress rehearsals, to performances, to Christmas concerts then to a big family vacation to Florida.  Can we say stressed?

I failed to meet with Him very often through all of the craziness.  Any quiet moment I had was jammed full of preperations.  Either getting supper ready so that I could leave at 4 pm for dress rehearsal or performances, or packing for the trip, or running errands that needed to be done before we left or anything else.  I am not sure I sat down during the last week and a half for more than 2 minutes and I surely didn't take much time to sit with Him. 

But He was still there.  I could feel Him in the sleepless nights when I worried about how I was going to get it all done or if I was forgetting something.  He brought me the strength I needed to get through the days on only 3 hours of sleep from being up with sick kids or being sick myself.  He calmed my soul when I thought I might explode from the busyness.  He reassured my mind when I started to doubt myself and what in the world I was doing.  He was there.

Now that I look back on the past weeks and the insanity of it all I can see the little things that made His presence known.  It is amazing how He works.  And now that I am finally taking the time to sit with Him and give Him my all just as He never fails to do for me, I can feel His love for me.  I can feel how much He missed this time with me and how much my sould needs it with Him.  It is times like this I wonder how in the world I ever thought I didn't have the time.  It is times like this I realize that if I would make the time for Him, to find that rest in Him that He promises me, maybe things wouldn't seem quite so crazy.   

A Few Cliches

"Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.  This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence." 1 John 3:18-19.

"Actions speak louder than words."  "Its not how you talk the talk, it is how you walk the walk."  These over-used cliches are so very, very true in Christian life and these verses prove that.  It is akin to "faith without works" in James.

I am not sure if there is really any more that needs to be said on these verses.  They are a call to use our hands and feet for Christ.  To stop talking about how "Christian" we are and start proving it.  It doesn't have to be anything huge, although huge things are awesome, but the little things count too.  Showing love to a person a Walmart who looks rushed by letting them go ahead of you.  Putting a dollar or two in the Salvation Army bucket.  Hold back that grumble that wants to come out when someone is rude to you and smiling instead, realizing that everyone messes up now and then. 

It is all about sharing the grace that Christ has given us, even when we don't feel like it.  Especially when we don't feel like it.

Let us love in actions and truth.  How can you share His love today in a way that normally might not think about?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Starting a New Path and Sailing On

Sin is what separates us.  Good from bad.  God from man. 

1 John 3:5 tells us that we know he appeared so that he might take away our sins.  And in him is no sin.  Verse 6 says "No one who lives in him keeps on sinning.  No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him."

To me, this is another one of those verses where the rubber meets the road.  It helps differentiate the true believers from those who just know the story.  It goes back to the pure heart of the matter.

True believers, who have accepted Christ in their lives and hearts and have a real relationship with Him, will show their gratitude for His sacrifice by the way they live their lives.  This doesn't mean we never mess up and have to fess up, but it means after accepting Christ we start a new path in life.  A new mind set.  A new way of making decisions.  One that follows Him first.

To those who just know the story, well, they just keep the story in the back of their minds for when it might come in handy and keep on trucking.  They continue on the same path.  They might bring the story up when it is convenient and attend church because it is what they are supposed to do, but they do not truly know Him. 

Now, so as not to discount the "story-knowers", they have a start.  At least they have not disregarded the story itself.  Having the knowledge of the story and the presence at church, their door is open much wider than those with nothing at all.  God will use the knowledge of the story and hopefully one day they will take the path of true belief as well.  I pray for these people fervently because, while they might think knowing the story is enough, the real connection they are missing is the actual key to eternity.  This false sense of security is the scary part for me as I know and love way too many people in this category. 

However, I am not God, and I do not know the genuine level of their belief, so I am unable to discern their place in heaven.  I am sure there are some that I think are missing the boat that will join me on it and there will also be some that I believe are with me that will be left behind.  Only God knows this.  But God has given us all the task of trying our best to share what He gives us so that we can all set sail together. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

When the Devil Attacks

OK, I'm still a little off my regular routine.  After a fabulous weekend with my family, laughing, eating, opening gifts and sharing germs, I got home on Sunday evening to two sick little girls.  By 1 am, I was the only one left not puking.  Joy.

The hubs and I divided and conquered.  The boys went in the master bedroom and the girls hung out on the couches.  It was a long night.  So, the next day, I spent reading and re-reading my verses on finding my rest in God.  Many of those are going on my "must memorize" list.

Last night, after a very long dress rehearsal, I headed out of the church at 10:20 pm to find that the battery was dead in the car.  Thankful for a set of jumper cables in the trunk and a fabulous co-cast member with a truck that knew how to use them, I was on my way home within 15 minutes.  Twenty minutes after that I was in bed, noticing my tummy didn't feel the greatest.  Two hours later I was over the toilet.  I guess I didn't escape the bug.  So from 1 am to 5 am I was on the couch in an upright fetal position with my stomach feeling like it was having full blown labor contractions (seriously, for about an hour I liken what my stomach felt like to labor with my first 2 kids with no drugs).  It was miserable.  Finally, a little before 5 am I was able to lay down in the fetal position and doze off.  When my husband woke me up at 6:50 am I felt 1,000 times better, with just the 'flu hangover' feeling in my stomach and head. 

Still feeling a bit yucky, I sat down to send a shout-out for prayers on Facebook.  I have been with all of the play cast members for the last two days.  Laughing with them.  Hugging on them.  Singing with them.  There are sure to have been some germs passed.  We also had another one of our child cast members out sick at last nights rehearsal. 

So it begins, every year it seems the devil is against this musical.  Which may seem like a scarey thing to some, but it is quite an uplifting and powerful feeling to those of us involved.  You see, the devil only attacks if he feels threatened; if he is trying to stop the Word of Christ from being spread to those who are normally 'safe' from it.  So, Satan's attacks make us feel like we are doing the right thing.  We are presenting God's Word and love in a way that is outside of the box and will bring people in that normally wouldn't step foot in our church.  It is a powerful thing.

But it is a powerful thing that requires a great amount of prayer and trust.  We have to trust in God that He will use the message of the show to reach those people Satan is trying to protect and we must pray and pray and pray like crazy for God to protect those of us trying to share that message from the attacks of Satan trying to stop it.

So please pray for us.   We really need it. 

Oh, and come see us!!   "Flagpoles, Fueding, and Fudge" a musical in two acts (it runs just over 2 hours including a 10 min intermission) presented at Christ Community Church, 2727 Lincoln Blvd, Beatrice, NE.  Thursday, December 6th, Friday, December 7th and Saturday, December 8th at 7 pm and Sunday, December 9th at 2:30 pm.  Check out this article in our local paper and tomorrow I will have a link to a TV spot we got to do this year as well.

In the meantime, I decided to do some searching on verses to do with standing firm against attacks from the devil.  Here is what I found.
John 16:33
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Ephesians 6:10-17
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

2 Thessalonians 3:3
But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.

2 Timothy 4:18
The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

James 4:7-8
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

1 Peter 5:8-10
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

1 John 3:8
He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work.

1 John 4:4
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Sleepless in Stressville

OK, so I don't feel overly stressed, but I suppose if I write it all out it would seem that way.  I just have a lot on my plate right now.  It doesn't make me freak out or get grumpy or, like I said, even feel majorly stressed.  It just makes me feel like I have to keep going to get it all done, like I need a digital recorder attached to my brain so that I don't forget anything.

Want to see a sample of what my schedule looks like for the next 13 days?
We have my family's Christmas tomorrow so I have a lot still to do to prepare for that including wrapping, laundry and packing as well as some food prep.
Sunday is my niece's birthday party and we'll have to leave very early from it to get back for dress rehearsal by 2.
The rest of the week is normal busyness with MOPS on Monday, gymnastics on Monday, daycare kids through the week, I volunteer at the school on Thursday and have dress rehearsal Monday and Tuesday nights.  Wednesday is our light day with only 1 daycare kiddo and an evening at home.  Thursday is Opening Night for the musical going all through Sunday afternoon.  The following Monday night is more gymnastics, plus Noisy Man's school program and Tuesday I have a packed house of daycare kids and we leave that night for Omaha to get on the plane to Disney the next morning!
YIKES!!  Lots to do.....

So with all this on my mind I have NOT been able to sleep.  My to do list keeps replaying in my head and I wonder how I will get it all done.  So, today, instead of reading along in my normal trend in 1 John, I decided to take a look more closely on how I can find my rest in Him since I am not getting it through myself. 

Matthew 11:28
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Exodus 33:14
“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Psalm 73:26
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Psalm 61:1
“Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.”
Psalm 62:1-2
“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”
Isaiah 40:28- 31
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Hebrews 4:16
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Psalm 127: 1-2
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives sleep to his beloved.”
I think I'll paint these on the ceiling above my bed and just recite them at night instead of going through my to do list.  Any other ideas?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Little Clarity and Purity

I read a few verses for today and felt a little perplexed.  That is how I have felt through most of my reading in 1 John.  I think John is a bit deep for me, but I know that there is plenty of good stuff I need to figure out.  So, I did what I usually do when I am stumped by what I read and know that there is something I am missing.  I hopped on over to and read it in a few other, more modern day wording, versions. 

I love how The Message translation put 3:1-3 "What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to.  But friends, that’s exactly who we are: children of God. And that’s only the beginning. Who knows how we’ll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we’ll see him—and in seeing him, become like him. All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own."

What great points.  Now, yes, it is easy to figure out the children of God part.  That is pretty plain in all of the versions.  But what amazing love that is, that He would adopt us as his own children.  As Jeff and I have been prayerfully considering adoption or different possibilities of being involved with adoption on another level, I have been thinking about how hard adoption really is.  To just bring someone into your family that you don't really know (of course God doesn't identify with this because He knows every hair on our head) has to be very difficult.  The adjustments that have to be made, the behavior and language barriers that exist, the learning curve, figuring out how it all works.  It is hard stuff, but God does it with perfect ease to each and every one of us.  It is amazing. 

The second thought is on how the world doesn't really know or accept us for who we are because they don't know who He is.  They don't understand why we make the decisions we do or live the way He commands us because they don't know those commands or the love that drives us to follow them.  It is a love that cannot be comprehended unless personally experienced. 

And of course the majesty in meeting and fully understanding Christ and then becoming like Him.  I'll just stop there because that speaks for itself.  I mean, seriously, how can you not get goosebumps thinking about how amazing that will be?

And last, "the glistening purity of Jesus' life".  Love this!  What a word picture of perfection!  And what a challenge each and every day to model our lives after His.  That is what He commands us to do.  We are to love like Him.  If you do that and only that, love like him, everything else falls into place.  Selfishness can't take over if you love like Jesus.  Pride can't take over if you love like Jesus.  Sins can't take over if you love like Jesus.

So go, use the glistening purity of Jesus' life and love as a model of your own. 

Monday, November 26, 2012


I have been on another blogging hiatus lately.  For one I have been busy and tired so for this very sad reason I haven't been as good about getting in my quiet times.  Lame excuse I know and terrible of me to put my quiet times off instead of the other busyness.  I know which is better for me.  Why do I choose the wrong one? 

The other reason is that I haven't felt overly inspired to write too much.  I seem to be falling a little flat with connecting with John.  Don't get me wrong.  This is God's Word and it is always filled with good stuff that I need to know, I just haven't felt much 'connection' to what John has specifically been saying at this current time.  I know God will use it at some point though, so it is good to know where it is.

Today I read about confidence.  Confidence is something I am not too great at.  I have always been a people pleaser so I don't want to step on toes or disappoint anyone, so I have always been a bit hesitant to do things out of the 'norm'.  Now, this statement might surprise some who know me now because I am usually one who isn't afraid to get up in front of a group or take charge of this or that.  This could be construed as confidence, but I assure you that I have just gotten used to making a fool out of myself over the years and it just doesn't bother me as much anymore.  I still finish and think about how silly I looked or what I said or did wrong and then fret and fret over this and that. 

But, of course, John wasn't really talking about this kind of confidence, but rather the confidence we need to have when Jesus returns.  We need to be able to have confidence and be unashamed when we stand before Him on that day.  I am so thankful for this confidence.  I is one that I never have to question myself about or fret over.  I know that the day I stand before Him, He will look at me and know that I love Him.  He will know who I am because I try my best (sometimes better than others, of course) to spend time with Him and get to know Him better.

Now, this isn't to say I never screw up and have to run back to Him begging forgiveness.  But I know that as long as I repent and try my best to do better next time, I am washed clean of that sin and no longer have to be ashamed of it.  He will not bring it back up on the day that I meet Him because as soon as I ask and He forgives, He forgets what it ever was.  I can have the confidence of complete forgiveness and love from Him on the day I get to see Him face to face.

This is a confidence worth striving for.  It is eternal.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Seeking Peace and Great Things

I am doing something new tonight.  I get to share my testimony at a MOPS evening out.  I am a little scared (and that might be a understatement).  It is one thing to share with others in one-on-one situation or even in a small group, but to stand up and share to 25 plus or your friends and peers is a tiny bit intimidating. 

I have everything ready to go, including Kleenex and waterproof mascara.  Would you please pray for me and the other two gals sharing tonight?  We need peace of mind.  Knowing that sharing our faults and sordid pasts is how God wants us to connect with the women attending is an awesome power, but getting to that point is tough.  We need His words to be our own.  It is so hard to know what parts of your story are part of the big picture and what are just unnecessary details.  We need to focus on Him and how His love has changed us and share that amazing power with the women in attendance.  We need it to build our relationships with them and theirs with eachother. 

Pray that the women who attend would have open minds and hearts to hear about Him and what He means to us.

Most of all, we need this night to be about Him.  To glorify His power, His forgiveness, His healing.  We don't want it to be about us, but only about how He has made us who we are today and is still continuing to mold us. 

(And if it isn't too much can I make one more request? - I need steadiness.... when I get nervous speaking I shiver.  Pray that I wouldn't shiver please.   ;)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Its Gonna Happen

I grew up reciting the verses I read today in church every week.  It wasn't until I was in college and started a real relationship with Christ that I learned they actually came from the Bible and weren't just part of the "Lutheran Book of Worship." (The verses might have been cited in the LBW, but I just never paid attention.  I might have to check that out next time I go to church back home.)

"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and His word has no place in our lives." 1 John 1:8-10

I love these verses now.  Back then, it was just part of the routine; what you said in church because everyone else did. (Now, don't get me wrong, some Lutherans might actually understand this and mean the words, I'm just saying the majority of the ones I was around didn't.)  I love these verses because here, through John, God tells us that we are screw ups.  He isn't going to sugar coat it or hide it under a rug.  He flat out tells us we are sinners, and if we try to deny it, it is akin to denying Christ. 

So, I don't love the fact that I am a sinner, and God isn't giving me permission to sin, He is just telling me He knows its going to happen and as long as I fess up to it and try to do it right the next time, He will forgive me. 

It is the fessing up part that gets a little tricky.  I hate to admit when I screw up.  I have this little pride issue.  But God tells me here that it must be done.  The other issue I have with the general "recitation" of this passage is that, while confessing you sin, it isn't confessing the sin itself, which I feel is a major part of the confession God desires.  We have to recognize when and where we sinned and let God know that we know we messed it up.  (Somewhat like a catholic confession, only I am all about cutting out the middle man and going straight to the Savior Himself .) 

Now, I am not saying that I know this to be a hard fact, but it is my interpretation of what I have felt the Holy Spirit teach me about what scripture tells me about confessing sins.  Please feel free to share what you have learned on this topic as well. 

So I must swallow my pride, own up to my actions and ask for His grace and mercy once again.  Praise Him that He gives it so freely!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

In the Light

I often struggle with those in my life that claim to know Christ and believe in His death on the cross, but do not live their lives any differently.  I struggle with knowing whether or not they will join me in heaven.  I struggle with not knowing how to make them understand the difference.  I struggle with not wanting to make it seem like I "know better" or "am better" than they are because I recognize this difference and they don't think it is important or that they are just fine where they are.

1 John 1:6-7 are some of the verses that back up my worst fear with this situation.  The fear that 'head knowledge' of Christ is not enough and many of my loved ones will 'miss the boat'.  It is a full-life change and heart change that must occur to really truly know Christ.  He states, "If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin."

These verses tell us that our lives must change after receiving the blood of Christ for our sins.  We cannot go on living in sin or as if nothing has changed.  We have to make the decision to live in His light and for Him.  This takes change.  It means recognizing the sin and making a conscious effort to rid it from our lives.  It means making sacrifices and different choices and seeking Him first.

I also love how this passage makes it clear that accepting Christ fully does not mean that we cannot sit or won't sin ever again.   It clarifies that His blood will purify it for us when it does happen.  And it will.  We are all human, and no matter how much we seek God with our whole hearts we are bound to screw up at some point.  If we could live sinless lives we wouldn't have the need for Him, but trying our hardest to reach that point brings us closer to Him in the process.  For both of these things I am very thankful.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Rest In the Light

As I grow weary of the junk mail, phone calls and bickering TV ads finally ending today as we vote, I am all-too-often reminded of all the darkness in the world.  Crime, corruption, lies, drugs, unemployment, divorce, hungry and abused children, and so much more.  Darkness.  It is hard to get away from it all.

But there is one place I can always turn to find the light.  1 John 5 reminds me that, "God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all."  God IS light.  He IS hope.  He IS love.

So when my heart grows weary, when darkness tries to creep its way in, when I get stressed out and want to crawl in a hole to hide, I need to turn to and rest in the light.  In Him there is no darkness and His hope and love can bring me up from the depths.

So, find the light.  Turn to Him and have hope.  And go vote!  :)  But most of all remember this:  No matter who is President, God will always be the King, the true light of the world.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Work In Progress

I am working on writing out my testimony for a thing we are doing at MOPS.  Once I get it all done and perfected I will be sure to share it on here.  In the meantime, I have been trying to figure out a 'main message' of what I have learned through my journey.  I'm pretty sure I have settled on 'insecurities'.  We'll see where that takes me.

However, I am sometimes reminded that even though I have made significant progress in many of my insecurities over the years since being saved, I am still a work in progress. 

I was put in a stressful situation the other night being forced to choose between what my kids needed and an activity I had made a commitment to.  The commitment is usually not an issue but this particular night my husband also had something come up.  I explained that I would appreciate if I could get my parts done and be able to leave a bit early.   My requests fell on deaf/unsympathetic ears and I was left standing there stewing about what to do.

The insecurities crept into my mind, going crazy with thoughts like, "no one else ever has scheduling issues like I do," and "this person has never really liked me anyway, so now I am just annoying him once again and confirming that I am not good enough," and "if it was this other person I am sure they would make sure she could get out of here when she needed or they would tell her it was OK to leave instead of saying, 'I guess you need to do what you need to do (hearing definite hints of which one they think I should do)'"

I let these thoughts take over as I stood there watching the clock tick, feeling very inadequate and I finally caved and left in tears (added to my insecurities has been a very busy and stressful week which always makes me overly emotional anyway).   Then I felt even more insecure thinking of what everyone I left behind was thinking about the drama-queen-cry-baby that just walked out the door. 

Ugh!  Why do I do this to myself?  Why did I stand there and let those thoughts take over my mind and heart?  Why do I care so much about what others think about me and what they think I should be doing?

Granted, this used to be a daily occurrence that made a huge part in daily decisions that I made and I have moved well past that.  I have to remember to look at it as "imperfect progress".  I have made huge improvements, but still have minor setbacks here and there.

It is times like these that I am ever so thankful for a husband who swoops me up and coddles me at times that I melt down, then threatens to go "have a word" with the people involved (even though he won't do it, it riles him up enough to think about it and makes me feel very protected). 

I am also very thankful that God's Word reminds me:
1.  "destroy speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ"  2 Cor 10:5
2. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving let present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." Phil 4:6-9
3. "be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil." Eph 6:10

I need to stop listening to the insecurities that the devil tries to convince me are true.  I need to, instead, stand on and trust in what these verses tell me are true.

Do you have insecurities?  What verses help you in those times (also read as: "searching fore more verses to use in my testimony")?  (hehehe)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Complete the Joy

1 John 1:4 "We write this to make our joy complete". 

I have heard this verse many times and and have never really stopped to think it through.  I have always just kind of thought that it was when we get to meet Jesus.  Then it will all be complete.  But tonight I stopped and really read what it all said (and cheated a little by reading the footnote in my Bible). 

John is saying, here, that he cannot fully enjoy the knowledge of his salvation until everyone else shares in that salvation as well.  This made me think of my thoughts I had the other week on not quite being ready for Jesus to return.  I mentioned how I wasn't ready for the rapture because I knew that there were many of my loved ones who will miss the boat and I can't stand the thought of not having them in the right place for eternity.

I was so glad to read this and have my thoughts expressed this way.  It made me feel a little more validated in my hesitations.  My joy cannot be complete until I know everyone will be joining me in glory on that day.  It isn't that I will have any hesitations when I see Him that day, but right now, when I can't comprehend what it will be like, my human spirit still needs a little more to make my joy complete.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Little Off in La La Land

Moving right along in my New Testament, I started in 1 John today.  I think this is going to be a little bit different than the Peter I got used to over the last few months, but different is good.

So of course, I started off reading the introduction (the part I usually skim over since it is just some sort of "Hello"), and it got me day dreaming a little bit.

John talks about how Jesus had been around since the beginning of time, yes, something most all Christians know.  Then he goes one to say how 'we', apparently speaking of the other disciples/apostles, had seen with their eyes, looked at and touched with their hands the Word of life.  Now, John is not talking about the Bible here, but the Word Himself, Jesus.  Yes, again, something most Christians know.  The disciples spent time on earth with Jesus; that is why they were called disciples.

But, for some reason (aka the Holy Spirit spoke to me) I just really went of in "La La Land" thinking about how awesome that would have been to have been right there.  To be able to touch Him and see Him and hear His voice.  So often we just want God to give us the answer we are seeking.  We want the heavens to open up and declare the right answer.   Wouldn't it be great to know what His voice sounds like?  Wouldn't it be awesome to know if all the depictions we see of Jesus in paintings and such were accurate?  Wouldn't it be great to hold His hand and walk down a winding road and listen to His stories?

Ahhh.... All the wondrous things that we will get to experience someday.

But in the meantime, while we wait for that day, I am reminded that we shouldn't take the Holy Spirit living inside of us for granted.  We have the very spirit of God living right inside of us, and that is no small thing. 

Know and Grow

Well, I wrapped up 2 Peter and he closed up with this: "Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (3:17-18)

There has been a theme throughout the Peters on increasing your knowledge of God and I have really enjoyed the reasons he gives us for doing so.  For the most part, he tends to give growing and resisting temptations as the main reasons. 

He states it in these passages once again.  We need to be on our guard so that we don't get pulled away from God by lawless men.  When put so eloquently it seems a little less threatening, but it is a true danger.  It is so easy to get sucked into the ways of the world.  Lawless men seem to have more fun, more things, more freedoms.  It is not hard to see why Peter tells us we have to be on our guard against it.

But he tells us to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus.  It is with this grace and knowledge that we can be more prepared to resist these temptations.

Know the Word and grow with God and it is easier to stay on the right track.  Pretty profound, huh?  :)  Not an eloquent or profound way to state it, but very important nonetheless.   A pretty central theme that I have gathered from going through 1 and 2 Peter in the past few months, though.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Maybe I Should Try That?

"Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation..."  2 Peter 3:15.

So, we already covered that I am not a 'good little Christian' in the area of waiting excitedly for Jesus' return.  But after hashing through all that I discovered that I am more ready than I thought.  Other than the few reasons I gave for not being ready I am totally excited to see what heaven is all about.  So, in this sense I am impatiently waiting.

In the verse above, however, we see that God has a very good reason for giving us some time.  This is a re-state of verse 9b earlier in this chapter, but I just really like how he states it here.  "Our Lord's patience means salvation".  Love it.

God is waiting for you and him and her and that girl and that woman and that boy and on and one.  He does not want anyone to perish, but all to come to repentance (also from vs 9), so he waits.  He has been waiting for two thousand years.  It really makes me stop and wonder how long it will be before He gets fed up with our self-loving, self-indulging, self-centered society and just say enough already.

But that is me.  Impatient.  I don't comprehend how He sees it all.  I see all the filth in this world and just get exasperated.  I get sick of seeing the smut on TV and the sadness in too many nations and get angry.  I don't see how he can put up with it.  But that is me.

I cannot comprehend His patience.  He looks upon us with grace and love, not the human eyes that I have.  Maybe if I tried to have an ounce of the patience Peter is talking about here with non-believers or even those who have the 'head knowledge' but not the 'heart relationship' of Christ I would do a better job at leading others to salvation as well.  Instead, I think I know it all and have to get them to follow me right now and turn them away.

Perhaps if I tried the patience of God it would also mean salvation?  Something to mull over a bit.  But of course, you also have to keep in mind that we do not know when Jesus will come back and we don't want to use 'patience' as an excuse not to share the gospel.  We just have to make sure that we share it with the patience of God in our hearts instead of trying to set up our own agenda in getting others to come to salvation.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Not Quite There

I feel like a failure Christian when I read passages like 2 Peter 3:10-13 "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.  The heavens will disappear with a roar, the elements will be destroyed by fire and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.  Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?  You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.  That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire and the elements will melt in the heat.  But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness."

The "looking forward and speed its coming" part is where I fail.  While there are elements to Jesus' return that I entirely look forward to, (things like seeing the baby I carried and lost way too soon, being reunited with the mother I never got to know, finally realizing what heaven is and how to grasp eternity, and ultimately getting to see Jesus face to face) there are too many things my selfish heart wants to see finished here on earth as well.

Foremost, while I know at this point, that my children will join me in heaven, I selfishly want to see them grow up.  I want to help my daughters plan their weddings and be there for them when they have questions about raising their babies (things I desperately wish I had a mother to do for me).  I want to see the kind of husband my son will become and the things he will accomplish. 

Secondly, I know and love way too many people who will not join me on that day.  I know I have failed too many times with too many of them to plead the gospel to them.  It is verses like these that remind me of how I have no clue if I'll ever have the chance to share it again.  While there are others who know where I stand and even know who Jesus is, but miss the 'big picture' when it comes to their true salvation.  I don't want to see them suffer.  I do not want to be separated from them for eternity. 

So, I don't know if it makes me a bad Christian to admit I can't quite say I'm ready.  I am not at the point where I completely look forward to the day Jesus comes back. I know that once I am there all the selfish thoughts will disappear and it will be an eternity of bliss, but I am not there yet.  I still live in my earthly body full of sin and selfish ambition.

I guess that is something I need to add to my prayer list.  Do you have any tips on how to get there?  Any 'ah ha' moments or thoughts that helped you move past all of the things that held you back from reaching that point?  The point of being totally ready for Jesus' return at any moment?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tick Tock

Started yesterday:  I often pray to be able to use my time more wisely.  I am a procrastinator, a dawdler, a socialite and often lose track of time with which I should be doing more productive things.  Now, I am smart enough not to ask for more time, because I know I would not use that wisely either.  I'd waste it away just like the other.

So, I pray for better decisions, little reminders that the clock is ticking, and an organized schedule.  Now, if you know me, you know I am not a 'planner' person.  I love planners and their sleek and organized look and how it all makes sense.  I love to find adorable or fashionable ones and fill them up with dates and appointments and deadlines.  Then a week or two passes and I have no clue where said planner is, or it sits right in front of me, but I haven't opened it in days.  I am not a calendar person.

However, I have learned that in order to juggle my schedule, 3 children and a husband it does take some planning.  Thankfully, we have phones with calendars in them now.  I use that, but I digress.  God has told me to "number my days aright, that I may gain a heart of wisdom" (Ps 90:12) so He expects me to be meaningful with the time and tasks He has set for me to do.

But in the same sense He has told me that "my times are in His hands" (Ps 31:15) so He is in control of it all.  I can't be so caught up in planning it all that I try to control it all and forget to trust in God. 

Mainly, God doesn't need time.  He views everything in light of eternity.  Something my measly little brain cannot begin to comprehend.  Thus 2 Peter 3:8 says, "But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day."  God doesn't need a little clock to keep track of things, it is all eternity to Him.  But He knows I need time.  He knows I need to use it wisely but trust that it is in His hands.

I can just see God chuckling at me when I am having a slight melt-down in a time crunch, when I send up a 'hail Mary" prayer asking for everything to go "just so" so that I can get it all done or make it there in time.  I can see Him sigh in disbelief when I waste away another hour doing mindless searching on the computer instead of folding laundry, doing dishes or reading books with my kids.  Heck He probably even lets out a quick laugh when I pray everyday that I would use my time wisely, thinking, "If only you knew, child.  If only you knew."

So, for us, time is important.  God asks us to be stewards of what He has given us.  Our time is one of those things.  But we have to remember that He ultimately controls it all and we have to give it to Him, for, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace." (Ecl 3:1-8)

God has given us time to use wisely and to trust Him to be in control of it all at the same time.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Gentle Nudges

Sometimes God gives me "Spiritual Spankings", sometimes he gives me what feels like a slap upside the head and others it is just a gentle nudge.  You know, one of those things that you get the sense He just keeps sending little reminders to you about?  You might read it in a book, hear it in a conversation with a friend and then read it in your Bible.

I think God realizes that, with me, it takes a few time before I might catch on.  In the past week, my nudge has been on verse memorization.

My good friend, who I have the pleasure of meeting with weekly to discuss our quiet times, is amazing at this task.  In fact, in our discussion last week she mentioned how she memorized James last year.  James!  An entire book of the Bible.  She also stated that she was feeling called to work on a chapter of Romans.  A whole chapter.  And I whine and come up with excuses on a doing a couple of verses?  (She is such an inspiration.)  Anyway, my friend and I were not talking, in any sense, about memorizing scripture.  It was just something she mentioned as we were discussing something else.

Then, in my Bible Study book that I am doing with some fabulous gals at my church, the author mentioned memorizing scripture as a way to keep yourself "fit" spiritually.  This comment led to a discussion on the topic in our gathering last Wednesday.  We all stated the general excuses as to why we don't think we can do it or why we aren't any good at it and then moved on. 

Now, I read in 2 Peter 3:1-2 and I feel a gentle nudge once again.  Verse 2 says, "I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles"  So, I realize that Peter might not specifically be talking about memorizing the Bible here, but this was what the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear about this one. 

I am bad at memorization of verses.  Why?  Because I tell myself I am bad at it.  I don't put the effort in that I should.  I start off all in and then piddle out after a few weeks because I get 'busy'.  I don't commit myself to "hiding His Word in my heart" (I know verses but am terrible at remembering where they are from).

Remember my nice long resolution list?  Epic fail.  (OK so I have succeeded a little bit on some of them, but it is still quite disappointing.  Imperfect progress, right Lysa T.?? - reference from "Unglued")

Well, I am getting up, dusting off my pants and trying again.  I am also dragging my Bible Study gals in with me.  I started them off with the verse I started earlier.  "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."  Psalm 119:11  A verse I know well from a song we sang in choir that contained it, but again, I had to look up the reference for it.  I plan on adding a new one each week for us to keep each other accountable on.  Hopefully, I stick to it.  :)

You just have to love those gentle nudges.  The times when you feel like it is all people around you can talk about, when all the books you pick up mention it, and you see it in writing in the sky.   OK maybe not that obvious, but you get my drift.  :)  Do you have these times too?  Pleas pray for me that I would hide His Word in my heart and stop coming up with excuses to get around it.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Gloom and Doom

OK, so while on my blogging sabbatical, I had been reading 2 Peter 2 which is part of the reason for my sabbatical.  Have you read it?  Gloom and doom.  "Their condemnation has long been hanging over hold the unrighteous for the day of judgement while continuing their punishment.....They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done...They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity...."

Do you see why I had a hard time coming up with anything? 

I have been reading it over slowly, trying to figure out what God is trying to teach me through it.  I have come to the conclusion that it is for me to figure out at a later date.  He wanted me to read it to know it was there.  I can guarantee that after these 10 days of slowly going through, reading and re-reading parts of this chapter in 2 Peter I won't soon forget where this information lies.

I think is is a warning that temptation comes.  It happens to all of us.  We see 'fun' in the world or the 'freedom' that is perceived by having no morals.  It is tempting to stray from God's will.  It is just easier to 'go with the flow' and fit in with modern society.  But those who do and ignore God's Word and God's ways will reap this gloom and doom and then all the 'fun' is over.

I think someday, when I am terribly tempted to put God "off" for a minute to just fit in with the crowd, these verses of 2 Peter 2 will come back to me.  They will remind me that "If {I} have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and {am} again entangled in it and overcome, {I am} worse off at the end than {I was} at the beginning. (vs 20)

I have to remember that I might not receive 'revelations' from the Holy Spirit for right here and right now every time I sit and read my Bible, but many times, God is preparing in advance works for me to do, (Eph. 2:10) and I just need to hide those words in my heart for just that time.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I have been on a blogging sabbatical as of late I guess.  Two main reasons 1. I have had to be on my computer a lot lately doing emails and such to coordinate different things going on in the organizations I am involved in and 2. I haven't felt like I had anything to journal/blog about in my quiet times the past few weeks.

Mostly, reason #1 has led Satan to be able to talk me into #2.  When he/my excuses keep me from journaling it keeps me from really connecting with what the Holy Spirit is trying to teach me. 

You see, for me thought processes happen during my journaling/blogging.  As you have probably been able to tell from reading many of my posts I can totally go off on a different subject/thought pattern by the end of my blog because the Holy Spirit has shown me something that I didn't think of at the beginning.  Usually I try to go back and make the whole thing flow as best as possible from beginning to end, but you can still see the evidence in many posts.  Sometimes I even have to change the title from what I originally started with.

Have you ever tried journaling through your time with the Lord?  It does wonders for letting the Holy Spirit speak to you.  It stops the just reading/thinking then moving on.  It forces you to stop and concentrate on the thoughts He is giving you from what you have just read.

I am sure you have seen the obvious evidence of this in many of my posts.  Pretty much all of the thoughts, revelations and life applications I have during my journaling process are not of my own, but what He has revealed to me through the Holy Spirit. 

Do you ever stop to ask the Holy Spirit for a little help and then really listen to what He is saying?  Sometimes you might not hear anything but if you really let Him work in you little thoughts and ideas that might just pass as just that [thoughts and ideas] are really little gifts from Him; answering your prayers. 

I rob Him of the chance to do this for me when I skip my journaling and I really rob myself of the lessons I learn and closes I gain with God. 

So, forgive me for my absence.  I tend to do this every once in a while and have to remind myself yet again why I need to stick with it, whether I feel like I have anything worthwhile to blog or not.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Daunted "Calling"

Christians are always talking about their "calling in life".  It is one of those "Christian-ease" things to say.  Granted, it isn't just talk and stuff made up by those awe-inspiring, faithful people, it is a Bible-based saying.  But even so, it is one of those things that always makes me go, 'Hmmm."

Today Peter tells us to be all the more eager to make our calling and elections sure.  For if you do these things (add to our faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love) you will never fall and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:10-11)

I think if we are striving to do all of these in increasing measure it is easy to find our calling.  It is just hard to do all of those things all the time.  Doesn't that make you super-thankful for grace?  Like the other day, I totally failed on the brotherly kindness thing when I gossiped with a friend.  But God gave me the opportunity to increase that skill yesterday when a gal I was frustrated with for not holding up her end of a position she signed up for needed yet more help.  Instead of telling her to get it done herself like she should have in the first place, God gave me the grace I needed to extend to her and help her out.  In the end, none of it is a big deal anyway and was able to avoid another 'spiritual spanking.'

I feel as if right now I am fulfilling the calling God gave me, to be a wife and mother.  But I often wonder what my calling will be down the road.  Yes, I will always be a wife and mother, but feel as if there is more to come once my children have moved on.  It is reassuring to know that as long as I am following in His ways and these fruits as well as the fruits of the Spirit I will never fall.  Notice it doesn't say "never have hard things come my way" but I will be able to stand through these hard things through the faith and grace He has given me.

Do you often wonder if you have found your calling?  Maybe you need to stop searching for only your calling and first search your to increase your faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love.  God tells us that our calling will follow.

What are your thoughts on God's calling in your life?  I'd love to know as it is a topic I love to/have a lot to learn about.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Ineffective and Unproductive

Ineffective: not adequate to accomplish a purpose; producing the intended or expected result.

Unproductive: not to to provide, furnish, or supply.

2 Peter 1:8 tells us "For if your possess these qualities {faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love v.5-7} in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The last thing I want to be in my faith is ineffective.  What good is faith if it is not accomplishing its purpose or producing a result?  What good is it if my faith does not provide or supply what I need?  Useless. 

This is where I think the line is drawn between "church attenders" and "true believers".  Now far be it from me to be able to make the judgement as to who is whom in these two categories, but the categories exist nonetheless. 

Church attenders by my definition are the ones who are regular and active church members who have all of the head knowledge.  They are there because they are expected to be or because it is all they have ever known.  But the true heart decision to follow Christ and have a real relationship with Him has never been made.  This is an ineffective faith.  It will not produce the fruit of a deep and meaningful knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.  My heart aches for people who fall into this category.  They think they know all that they need to know, but yet miss the big picture of it all.  They are happy just where they are attending church and doing their duty, but typically there is no growth, no increasing measure.

Again, it is truly beyond my wisdom whether or not their knowledge and faithfulness to the church and the concept of Christ will attain them entrance into heaven, but I lean towards doubting its certainty.  Christ says He must "know us" in order to write our names down in His Book of Life and if the true relationship with Him is never established, how does He get to know us.  But then again, He says "all those who believe" will gain entrance into heaven. So, is the head knowledge and belief in Christ enough?  This is something I struggle with, as I feel much of my family falls into this category and feels that it is. 

And of course, true believers are those who trust in the Lord with all of their hearts.  They spend time with him in prayer and in His Word.  Their belief in Christ changes them to the core of their very being.  They know who He is and He knows them.  Granted, there are many different levels to this belief and knowledge in Christ. New believers are just starting on this journey and life-long believers have an understanding I can only hope for one day. That is why Peter tells us we will possess these qualities in increasing measure.  I don't think we will fully know Christ until we meet Him face to face. 

But isn't that a good thing?  I think it is exciting to think that I can keep learning each and every day and never get bored with it.  Never reach the end of the learning potential.  Never 'graduate'.  It means I can read the Bible over and over again and learn something new each and every time.  I can go through life situations, stumbling blocks and celebrations and see God in them in a different way every time one comes my way. 

It is a long list of wonderful attributes to aim for; things I stumble over time and time again.  But isn't one of them perseverance?  Increasing measure.  Just keep moving on and being effective and productive.  We may fail time and time again, but all He asks is that we don't give up, just do a little bit better next time.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Spiritual Spanking

This is a funny title a friend told me about the other day that fit what I was sharing with her.

Earlier yesterday, (I meant to get all this blogged yesterday, but didn't) I was blessed with a wonderful conversation with a friend.  However, I was kinda naughty on said phone call as well.  I was gossiping.  Gossip is not a title I want, or frequently earn.  I try my hardest to keep my conversations friendly and change the subject if the need arises.  However, this time, I failed.  (I have been getting F's a lot lately, yikes!)

We were chatting along nicely and she was telling me about an experience with some friends she had in the past few weeks.  These same friends had been a little rude to me earlier this summer (this was my perception of the interaction anyway).  Well, since they had been nice to her and rude to me I felt the little green monster well up inside and I decided to tell her as much.  One thing led to another and we were singling out some people and going on and on.  I could feel little tugs telling me to stop and that what I was saying might not even be the full truth, but I chose not to listen and to go on.

Eventually the conversation ended, thankfully (not that I wanted to stop talking to my friend, but that it ended the gossip session), because I had another call come in that I needed to take.  After that, I felt terrible.  I knew I was wrong.  I saw my friend just about an hour later that day and apologized for what I had done.  I asked for forgiveness.  I gave her permission to shut me up if I ever started doing it again in a conversation with her.

Then, at my quiet time I sat down and asked forgiveness from the Lord and for help in reigning in my tongue the next time my jealousy took over or the desire to gossip arose.

Then came the 'spiritual spanking' in the form of God's Word (now that I know a fun little term for these moments, I recognize I receive them quite frequently!)
2 Peter 1:5-7  For this very reason {vs 4 says to escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires}, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.

All the above things I failed to do in this conversation with my friend.  My gossiping was not good.  It did not show my knowledge of God and His Word, thus it didn't show any qualities of godliness.  I didn't practice self-control with the jealously arose.  I did not persevere through the urge to gossip.  And gossip is definitely not kind to my brothers or showing love. 

I totally caved to the corruption of this world and my evil desires.  Praise God for this verse that I can recite to myself next time the idea of gossip might pass through my head. 

There is a little meme thing floating around facebook and pinterest lately that says "Live in such a way that if anyone should speak badly of you no one would believe it."  I want this to be true of me.  Thus, I need to start practicing the verses above with hopeless abandon.  Won't you join me?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Already There

As I sat and prayed before I started reading my Bible today I asked God for a lot of things.  I need energy to get through the rest of the day.  I need calmness to deal with my youngest's potty issues.  I need motivation to not stay on the couch when I am done and get the rest of the things finished in  my house.  I need Him to fill me.  I need Him to get it all done.

I have been at home for three days now by myself.  I don't know how single mothers do it.  I tip my hat to them.  Daddy is off on his yearly fishing trip, so I am flying solo.  Not only that, but I agreed to take on an extra day of daycare kids during this solo run, so I have had two to three extra kids during the day all three of these days.  I need God's help to finish it out.  Daddy comes home tomorrow afternoon.  Praise. The. Lord.

Anyway, after praying for all these things and repeatedly asking for Him to help me through it all, I flip open my Bible to my next verse in 2 Peter.  Now, after having taken 3 days to get through the first 2 verses, I figured I might have to read a little while to get a little 'nugget' this time.  Wrong.

God has a great sense of humor.  Don't you agree?  Here is what I read in 2 Peter 1:3

"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by His own glory and goodness."

Nailed it. 

Of course, should I have ever doubted He would?  Seriously, He gives us just what we need.  The thing that got me in this verse is not that He still needs to give it to me, but that He already has.  And, just like yesterday, it comes through our knowledge of Him. 

He has given me everything I need for life and godliness.  Becoming more like Him is what I need right now.  God never lacks energy.  He never lacks calmness when it is needed most and He never lacks motivation.  I lack all these things, not because He hasn't granted me these talents, but because I fail to use the power He has given me through Him.  I fail to do these things because I fail to get to know Him better.  I fail to succeed in all of these areas because I don't seek Him first. 

Through Him all that I truly need is already there.  I just need to realize it and utilize it in the way that He has planned for me.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ours for the Taking

Its another one-verse day.  Like I said, it might take me a while to get through 2 Peter at this rate. 

Verse 2 tells us "Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord."

Grace: favor or goodwill, mercy or pardon.  Peace: freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, an obsession, etc.; tranquillity.  Good things, yes?

These are granted to us in abundance through the knowledge of Him. 

Now, the pardon (grace) of our sins is ours at first acceptance of Christ and the favor He has given us through His blood.  But peace is another story.  You can't just accept Christ, keep doing life the way you were before, and expect things to be all honky dory.  It doesn't work that way.

This Christian life stuff takes work.  It takes time and it takes a knowledge of Him to fully reap all the benefits.  I don't know about you, but peace sounds awful good to me.  Here, Paul tells me I can get it abundantly by knowing God. 

Sure, I know Him.  I was raised in the church and have been faithfully following Him for 13 years now on my own.  The kind of peace Paul is talking about comes from knowing God on a truly personal level.  Really knowing Him.  Resting in His presence.  Giving Him full and complete control of whatever may come your way.

Does this kind of peace mean that my kids won't fight or disobey, or that hard things will never happen to me?  Heavens, no.  It just means that through knowing Him, when these things happen I can find peace in knowing that He is in control, knowing that if I seek His will for my life through thick and thin, I will be able to peacefully come to the other side a stronger person. 

Knowing Him comes from these hard times.  It comes from having no where else to turn and having no other option but to give it up to Him.  It comes from spending time with Him.  In prayer.  In His Word.  In fellowship with others who know Him.  It is a lifestyle.

So, go find your grace and peace in abundance.  He is just waiting to give it to you.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Got a Big Ol' F on that one

I just screwed up.  Big time.  And I thank God for His mercies and His forgiveness as well as the forgiveness of children.

We have been having a really hard time with my youngest daughter lately.  She potty trained almost a year ago.  A whole year.  But lately she has decided (and she has done this off and on throughout this whole year) that it takes too much work to stop what she is doing and go to the bathroom.  So, she just goes in her pants.  Not enough, mind you, to leave a puddle or get completely soaked, she stops herself before that point.  But just enough to get her undies and pants wet, enough that she has to be changed. 

I don't know if you have ever been through this, but you can not imagine how frustrating this is.  We have tried everything.  Reminding her to go.  Taking her to the bathroom.  Making sure she knows what a good girl she is when she does make it to the potty.  Spanking her when she doesn't go on the potty.  Taking away privileges.  And just about anything else we can think of.

Today was another one of those days, as was yesterday.  The day we went to LegoLand in Kansas City, she had six accidents like this SIX.  In four hours nonetheless.  I am at my wits end.  I am tired of picking her up only to realize she is wet.  Or looking down at her playing and seeing that all too familiar wet spot between her legs.  When I picked her up to carry her upstairs and tuck her into bed for nap today, she was wet.  I already had to change her once this morning.  I snapped.  I lost it.  I was mad.  I yelled (a lot, think ugly, mad-red mama face).  I spanked her when I was still angry (which I never do) and I made her sit on the toilet for 10 minutes (which is a long time for a 2 1/2-year-old who still has to hold them self up on the seat).  The 10 minutes was mostly for me to cool off, but I told her she had to sit there so that she could remember what she was supposed to do and where she was supposed to do it.  Lastly, I took away her "mines" (her security blankets that she is very, very attached to).

So after I finally got her cleaned up, changed and tucked into bed I crashed on my couch and just asked God, "Why?"  Why is she being so difficult.  Why can't she figure it out?  Why does it make me so angry?  Why did I just scream at my baby?  I was so mad at myself at this point for how I had treated her, I had to ask for forgiveness. 

Still fuming inside though, I knew I needed something to calm me down.  Prayer and music do that for me.  So I flipped open my computer and turned on  Praying all the while, I just kept asking how I deal with my anger and the issue at hand.  And what do you know?  "Blessings" by Laura Story was the first song on. 

Through this song God reminded me of two things: 1.  If a little potty training issue is the worst thing going on in my life right now, I am blessed and 2.  Even if it is a small thing, I have to bring it to Him, rely on His strength and wisdom to get me through and remember that, like the song says, the trials of this life could be His mercies in disguise.

God is so good.  He knew exactly what I needed to hear.  Even if it doesn't solve the problem, it helps give me perspective. 

So, please don't judge me for losing my cool with my daughter.  Help a poor mama out.  Do you have any suggestions?  Is there something I'm not thinking of.  Do I just need to put her back in diapers?  Even if you don't have the answer, will you do me a favor and pray for me (and her) on this issue.  I don't know what else to do, that is all I have left.

Thanks for "listening".  I needed to get that out.  And now I need to go apologize to and love on my baby girl. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Not Mine, but Given to Me

Again, the Holy Spirit nudged me to slow down today.  Read it and take it in.

2 Peter 1:1b "To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:"  (at this rate it might take me a year to get through 2 Peter).

Praise God for His righteousness and a precious faith.  The think that got me in this part of the verse was that we  have received our faith.  That word made me stop and think.  Now, received is not a word I need to look up to have to know the definition of or even the specifics of.  It means to take or accept something that has been given to you (I am sure there are other, more fancy definitions, but you get my laymo version here).

Up until I stopped and read this verse I had always thought of faith as something that was mine.  It was a decision I made when I decided to accept Christ and what He did for me.  But, here, in this verse it says that faith is also something that was given to me.

When I stop and think about it, it is so very true.  Faith is something that God gave me.  Why would I ever be conceited enough to think I could have something like that on my own?  God planted faith into my very being.  It is part of who we all are.  We just have to make the choice to accept it, to take it into our possession, to make it part of our daily lives.

We also have to realize that this God-given faith is not something we can do on our own once we have accepted it.  As we grow in this faith, we have to stop and realize many times that we don't often have enough, but have to rely on God to fill us.  We have to remember that He is the "author and perfecter of our faith".  So we can't think that we can do it all by ourselves.  It is from Him.  Once we accept it, it doesn't mean that He is separated from it, but that we are now on the faith 'team' together.

Have you made the choice to accept the faith you have been given?  To accept the precious gift of righteousness given to us by the blood of Christ?  It isn't anything you can do on your own, or make better, or be good enough to receive.  It is already there for you.  You just have to accept it and He will accept you.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Stopping the "Skimming"

I am finally moving on from 1 Peter.  It took me a while, but I finished it up and am very thankful to have learned a great deal from it.

So, I just naturally went on to 2 Peter.  Usually, I open up a new book of the Bible and kind of skim over the little greeting that always fills the first couple of verses.  You know, the one the often introduces who the author is and where said author says "hello" to the people to whom he is writing. 

Well, I was doing that today once again, and the Holy Spirit nudged me to stop it.  Stop and actually read it.  See what it says and how it might effect what you are about to read or something else applicable like that.

Here, Peter introduces himself as a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ.  It made me stop and think what I am "of Jesus Christ".  I am a follower of Jesus Christ.  I am a child of Jesus Christ.  I am a believer in Jesus Christ.  All great things that make me who I am.

However, it also made me stop and think about the things I should be "of Jesus Christ" but often choose to skip over as well because they are a little harder.  I should always be an evangelist of Jesus Christ.  I should be a servant of Jesus Christ.  I should be a defender of Jesus Christ.  And I am sure there are many, many more.

So, what are your "of Jesus Christ" labels?   What do you want them to be or which ones do you often find yourself shying away from?

God calls us to be His hands and feet for whatever might need to be done for His Glory on this earth.  It is time we start reading the things we often find mundane (like introductions) and doing the things we are called to do. 

Monday, September 3, 2012


You know when God says something twice, you had better listen up.

Well, within two chapters of 1 Peter God has mentioned self-control.  First in 1 Peter 4:7 where he tells us to be clear minded and self-controlled so that we can pray and now in 5:8, telling us to be self-controlled and alert because the devil is on the prowl looking for someone to devour.

What a picture, right?  The devil roaming around like a lion searching for its prey to take down and dismember.  Scary if you ask me.

This world can be a scary place.  There is so much going on.  So many bad things happen to good people and bad things happening around the world. 

So why does self-control and alertness help us in this world?  I had to do some thinking and praying on this one. Here is what the Holy Spirit showed me and since this little topic has come up twice now, I figured I'd better pay attention.

Each of us has weaknesses that pull us down.  Little things that pull us a little more towards the devil's side and away from our closeness to God.  Now, as Christians we can't be separated from the love of God as long as we still believe in Him, but the more we let our weaknesses pull us away, the fellowship we have with Him and dedication we have towards Him are put in danger.

We have to ask God for help.  We can't just think that we can handle these little dilemmas on our own.  The devil wants nothing else but to pull us over to his side, so he is going to use what he can against us, and what better areas to prowl than where we are easily sucked in?

So, if nothing else, this little nudge from God, His repeating something to me to get my attention, shows me to stop and pray about what exactly my flaws may lie and where I need the most help from Him to build resistance.

How about you?  Do you know where your shortcomings lie when it comes to self-control?  Have you stopped to ask Him about what they are and for His help in overcoming them?

As a little added note, dont' you just love the imagery Peter is using in this chapter.  We go from sheperding sheep to watching out for lions on the prowl.  Life is a jungle, people!

Friday, August 31, 2012


I am not generally a worrier.  I am pretty laid back and deal with things as they come.  But as any mother knows, a good amount of worry comes with raising kids.

1 Peter 5:7 is a fairly well-known verse from the Bible.  "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you."  It is almost one of those 'cliche' verses that gets tossed around too often without people stopping to really appreciate the true meaning in it.

Cast all your anxiety....  Really?  Can one just cast anxiety off?  I know when I am burdened by a worry, care or extra stress it isn't all that easy just to cast it off.  What a skill to learn.  What a trust to give.  But it is exactly what we, as Christians need to do in any and every situation that we are faced with.  Whether it be good or bad, we are to give it to God. 

I think this verse seems cliche because it is SO much easier said than done.  How do you get to that point?  I know I am not there yet.  But, again, this is part of growing in your walk with Him.  You learn as you go, and letting go has to get a little bit easier every time.  To submit and do what we ultimately know is best will hopefully one day become the easier thing to do.

And lastly, we are to do this because He cares for us.  He knows that it is the best way. He knows that it is best for us to give it up to Him.  His plan will always prevail, whether we are anxious about it or not.  He will take care of us.  Watch over us.  Love us.

What are some good ways you have learned to give your anxiety to Him?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

More Shepherding

Yesterday, I sat and thought and prayed on shepherding my kids and following the example of the True Good Shepherd.  I also chatted about my thoughts with my friend and we realized that while we kind of knew what a shepherd was we didn't really know the true definition. defines it as
1. a person who herds, tends, and guards sheep.
2. a person who protects, guides, or watches over a person or group of people.
3. a member of the clergy.
4. the Shepherd, Jesus Christ.
Well, I am definitely not #3 or #4 and I guess if you are talking in true terms of sheep, I am not #1 either. 

The definition actually goes quite well with what we were discussing.  Shepherds don't force sheep places and they don't lead them on ropes.  They guide.  They protect.  They watch over.
What a perfect definition of a mom.  Enough said.
Now, my friend also pointed out that I have been put in a shepherding position with my Bible Study as well.  I have made it quite clear that I am not the leader of the group, nor will I have all the answers or anywhere close to it.  I simply pick out the book and set up the group.  Shepherd.  I guide it along.  It is really all I can do.  Most of the gals in my Bible study know more than I do.  :)
I just love was the end of 1 Peter 5:3 and verse 4 says though.  It is such an encouragement for moms shepherding over their little flocks and even those trying to do what God is calling them to shepherd in other ways.  "...being examples to the flock.  And when the Chief Shepherd appears you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away."
I am called to guide, protect and watch over.  To be an example of the Perfect Shepherd.  And through all the poopy diapers, potty accidents, plates spilled on the floor, vomiting incidents in the mini-van, and all the other pretty things guiding a Bible Study comes with.....  Ha!  Just kidding.... all the other things motherhood comes with I can remember the crown of glory waiting for me.  And just maybe there will be a little extra jewel for getting to sit with a wonderful group of women every week and talk about Jesus.