Monday, January 30, 2012

Dancing Monkeys

I had to steal this title from my "Make Over" book today.  Jen Hatmaker never ceases to make me laugh and punch me in the gut at the same time.

Who do you dance for?  Basically, this was the question for the day.  For whom and why are we dancing in this life? 

She used the Old Testament story of Elijah and the 3 1/2 years it didn't rain in Israel as a comparison.  The people of Israel had been dancing for Baal instead of God, so God stopped the rain.  Finally, when Israel became desperate for rain, God sent Elijah to the king.  Elijah set up a little competition of sorts for Baal and God.  The prophets of Baal were to set up an altar to him and have him miraculously set the sacrifice on fire.  The prophets danced, and sang, and sliced themselves open screaming until they were hoarse.  Of course, Baal didn't do a thing.  Up to the plate stepped Elijah, had them douse the altar with water.  Upon the first simple request for God to set it on fire, a fire so large and hot burned up the entire altar, sacrifice and trench of water surrounding it.  God's power brought the Israelites back to Him, declaring He was, indeed, the One True God.  Finally, with their hearts in the right place, God opened up the flood gates and let it rain.

So, who do you dance for?  In modern day America there aren't too many likenesses to Baal, but more socially acceptable gods such as money and power and social status. 

God caught me in the mix of it.  Now that I have kids in school I am totally catching myself getting caught up in the whole "popularity' thing again.  I was never Ms. Popular in school.  I wasn't an outcast by any means, or the Homecoming Queen.  I always fell right in the middle, a friend to everyone, but never the first pick.  I still feel that way in most circles that I run in.  I dance for friends.  How sad is that.  I want people to like me.  I want them to invite me over for play dates and supper with friends and jewelry parties and girls' nights.  If I find out that one of these things happened and I was not included, my feelings are hurt and I go through a little pity party dance. 

This chapter was such an awesome reminder that popularity or numbers of friends will not ever fulfill me.  I could be the most adored mom at MOPS or Tri-County schools, but still feel empty inside if I am not seeking GOD with all my heart instead of friends.

Three quotes from this chapter were highlighted and will be read and re-read as often as I can, to remind me where my One True Friend really is.

"Either perform for a merciless audience of humanity, or dance for an audience of One.  There is no middle stage."

After discussing God watching His people dance like lunatics for Baal she says, "God's heart ached with grief, as it does today when we engage in the same futile dance."

"Believer, the drought [of dancing for other things and receiving nothing] can be over.  Lift your eyes to heaven and let God's rain pour down.  Let it rain.  Tilt your face toward God and let it rain.  Get off the stage of humanity and let it rain.  Quit wasting your life trying to measure up and let it rain.  Stop the feverish dance and let it rain. Discover that your value exists because God takes pleasure in you and let it rain.  Let it rain."

So, if you aren't dancing for God, your dancing is futile and pointless and you look ridiculous.  So, are you going to dance like a monkey or dance to the praise and worship of our Lord?

Lord God, I am so glad that you do take pleasure in me.  I am so thankful that I can find my true value resting in your hands.  I am so sorry for making your heart ache with grief when I dance for friends.  Please forgive me and help me to turn only to you for acceptance.  Change my heart God.  This is something I have struggled with all my life and I need your help.  Help me not seek acceptance and popularity in friends, but only in your arms.  Remind me of this when I waiver.  I want to dance for you and you alone.  Help me to learn this today so that I can pass this on to my children as well. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Identity Crisis

Switching modes (which I might do for the next few weeks).  I am starting a new book with my friend, and I will be re-doing another one of my favorites so my posts could come from 3 different directions for the next few weeks. 

The new book I am doing is Make Over by Jen Hatmaker.  It talks about balancing our roles.  Boy, do I have some roles.  I'd list them all, but you'd get totally bored and go back to Facebook after the first 10 or so, so I'll spare you.

Just to name the main ones of course, mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and, the killer, has-to-be-involved-in-everything role I gave myself clear back in high school. 

So, for the next few weeks I will be devouring these roles through this book.  Today, she asked if any of my roles felt more like chains.  While I can't really say any of them truly feel like chains, because there are parts of all of them I truly enjoy I do feel like some of them make me stop to try and figure out who I really am.

But that is the deal, these roles define me.  There is no me apart from these things, because if there were, that would not be the same me.  I would not be the same person I am if I weren't a mother or a wife or, well, you get the picture.  It has always confused me when I hear of people who need "time to figure out who they are".  If you separate yourself from the things that define you, the roles you fulfil, what is left?

I am a mom. I would be lying if I said I enjoyed every single minute of it, because, lets face it, cleaning up poopy pants or spanking a disobedient child is not joyous.  But those moments are fleeting and the true joys of playing Monopoly for hours with your kids one evening, having one crawl up on your lap and cuddle in, or running straight to you for comfort after they have just been hurt cannot be topped by anything.

I am a wife.  Again, a role that, if I tried to separate myself from, I wouldn't be the same.  I am part of this union, it makes me who I am.  Heck, I would be a complete mess without my 'other half' and wouldn't know up from down.

I am a daughter.  In more ways that one as a biological child, in-law, blended family member (in a very non-traditional sense of blended families anyway) and child of God.  My life would not be complete without any of these relationships and I definitely couldn't make it through with out the strength of my God and Savior.

I am so many other things that make me, me.  And I love it - most of the time. ;)

Father, I thank you for making me, me (come on, I know you all want to sing the song right now, don't you!?!).  I am far from perfect and sometimes my roles make me want to run for the hills, but at the end of the day, week, month and year I rejoice in these roles and the way you complete me through them.  Thank you for giving me the strength to make it through the tough times and I am ever so thankful for the people who fulfil the opposite sides of each of my roles.  Help me to do better in each of them.  Giving of myself as selflessly as you give yourself for me. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Nothing Special

Another quiet morning to do my quiet time.  Wow!  This is great.

A quick little section today, but a good reminder nonetheless.  1 Corinthians 4:7 says "For who makes you different from anyone else?  What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?"

It is so easy to get caught up in ourselves, or our children.  It is easy to think you are great at something or above-averagely talented at something else.  It is nice to do something well.  It is even better to do something well and be recognized for it.  But none of this counts unless credit is given where credit is due.

We are "so very ordinary, nothing special on our own" (as a popular Christian song says).  But God does give us talents and gifts to use for His glory.  The thing is, if we aren't using them for His glory and giving Him the glory for giving them to us, our talents become useless.  They fall on blind eyes, deaf ears and unreceiving hands. 

Oh yes, many extremely talented people use their talents every day, get a great deal of attention and make extraordinary amounts of money.  But where does that get them in the end.  No one can hear, see or receive your talents in Hell.  The devil has no crown of glory with treasures stored up for you to wear in the fiery furnace. 

A great example of a simple man who is nothing special on his own has risen to the forefronts as of late.  He had been mocked as not good enough. Scrutinized at his ability to do his job.  But he never listened to the criticism, he gave 100% no matter who was watching, what was being said, or how he was being made fun of.  He gave all the credit to the Lord and didn't hold back what he believed no matter what it would make him look like.  And what do you know, that quarterback rose from the scrutiny and brought his team pretty darn far in the playoffs.  Farther than anyone would have ever imagined in the beginning of the year.  Yet, Tim Tebow is still preaching that it is all from God.  That it is all in His plan.  And that he is a follower of Jesus Christ.  This man is a living example of being ordinary and nothing special on his own, but using some God-given talents to bring God and extraordinary amount of glory.  How many people have heard about how amazing God is in the last few months because of this simple little boy who followed God into manhood. 

A lesson, from which we could all learn.  And, no, I will never be on national television due to the talents God has given me (which is way more than OK with me).  But why is giving the credit for my talents to God in front of my little community any less important?  Every soul saved for Christ is another person to rejoice with in heaven.

So don't hold back.  When someone tells you that you did a great job, tell them how you did it.  Only by the gifts you were given and the grace you have received.

Father, I know the talents you have given me may seem pretty insignificant to me sometimes,but I know they were meant for greatness.  Your greatness.  They may never be seen all at once by thousands of people, but that doesn't mean what you have given me isn't meant to be shared for your glory to those around me. Let me see my successes only as yours. Help me remember to give you all the glory in any and every situation where the opportunity may arrise.  Thank you for trusting me with these gifts and I pray that I will be able to use them in a way that gives you praise.  Help me pass this message on to my children at an early age so that it is something second nature to them. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Motives of the Heart

Some days I wish I could chat with Paul.  How did he do it?  Survive the imprisonments, the ridicule, yet preach such beautiful words and inspiring thoughts?

I guess I know the answer to that one: through the power of the Holy Spirit and his faith in God.  Sometimes I feel a little jealous of Paul.  It helps me to stop and remember where Paul came from.  He used to kill people for preaching what he now preached.  He sought them out and had them stoned.  Yet, God sought him out and forgave him.  Paul followed immediately, without doubts and wholeheartedly.

My reading today touched on a topic that I struggle with daily.  I think most women struggle with this topic as well, but I know I have some issues to work through with this one.  I am thankful for the reminder God gives me through His Word.  "I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. .... It is the Lord who judges me.  Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait til the Lord comes.  He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts."

Oh, how I wish I could say I didn't care.  I guess I could say it, but it wouldn't be true.  I care way too much what others might think of me or say about me.  It is an issue I have been working on, have seen some improvement, but have a ways to go.  And above that, most times I judge myself worse than others probably judge me.  What I might see as as terrible 'mom moment' others could just see a typical occurrence in a home with 3 small children.

Thankfully, it is the Lord that judges me.  And, even though I screw up a lot, He knows my motives are pure.  He knows that I am trying my darnedest to seek Him and do what is right.  And, thankfully, He knows that when I even screw up and don't have my motives in the right place to begin with, I figure it out before too long and seek forgiveness.

Do you struggle with this?  Is it hard for you to remember what judgement really matters?  I am pretty sure I am not the only 'people pleaser' out there. 

Father, keep reminding me.  Keep making it obvious.  Keep sticking in the little 'light bulbs' that bring me back to you.  It is so easy to get sucked in to pleasing people instead of having my motives pure.  Help me seek You first and foremost.  Remind me that it is only your judgment day that truly matters and it is only your approval that counts.  Thank you for this reassurance and encouragement.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

More Wisdom

OK, so today's topic was back to wisdom of Christians vs. Wisdom of the world, and I don't have any new revelations to blog about. 

You don't know nothin' if you don't know God! (pardon the double negative, which is really hard for me to leave there, but I thought it might be a little more dramatic and original that way...)  That is all there is to it.  God is the base of all knowledge and wisdom.

On another quick note, there were 6 women (and me) at our new Bible Study last night.  Two of them have never really learned/tried Bible Study or quiet times.  I am so excited to see what God has in store for us and how He will work in the lives of these women new to a close relationship with Him.  Please pray for me as I work on inviting two more women in the same boat to join us.  God.  Is. Good!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Keeping it Together

OK, so I have to admit I totally just deleted 3 paragraphs of this blog and started over.  Thankfully, I stopped and read the footnotes of my Study Bible before finishing this post.

I just read through 1 Corinthians 3: 16-17 where Paul speaks to the Corinthians about God's temple.  I jumped the gun and assumed that he was speaking singularly to each person and his body.  Nope, evidently here, Paul is speaking of the church body as God's temple since he refers to them as 'you yourselves".   Good to know.

Once again, Paul is conveying the message to the Corinthians (and God to us) that as a church body, we need to take care of ourselves.  That means meeting for a unified reason of spreading the Good News.  If this unity is broken, thus destroying the temple, God deals out some serious consequences. 

He takes where He resides pretty seriously.  Thus, as a part of the church, I need to as well.  It is not just important that we all get along to spread the message, but we must live the message as well.  As a body of Christ we must live the truth so as to not destroy the message we are trying to share. 

Challenging?  Yes.  It is so easy to slip into those little groups that take away from our basic virtues and let those virtues slide just so we can fit in.  But each time we slide, a piece of God's temple as been chipped away, bringing us closer to complete destruction.

So, even though we are but one member, we represent the big picture.  People know where you go to church.  Hopefully, they know you are a believer.  Hopefully, they can tag the way you live your life as a little bit different.  But what does it say to them when you usually live your life for Christ, but let it slide every once in a while just to fit in?  Or worse yet, what if they have missed the fact that you are a Christian altogether?

Father, help me preserve your temple.  Help me live your message every day no matter what the situation.  As a member of the Body of Christ, where your Holy Spirit resides, I need to hold that temple high and not let life chip away.  Give me the strength to know when I am weak and help me preserve unity in any situation involving your temple.  Thank you for entrusting me with such responsibility and help me not take it lightly.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Firm Foundation

Today Paul talked about the foundation that is Jesus Christ and building on Him.

This hit me square in the gut as a mother.  As a pretty simple girl who doesn't see herself destined for leadership and teaching, my building pretty much rests on my kids.  (I am perfectly fine with this).  But what a calling that is!

I have three little minds and souls that need a solid foundation on which to grow.  If I start that foundation firm in Jesus Christ, when they are tested throughout life (when mommy isn't present), what has been built around them should be able to withstand the fire.  The work I put into my kids will be brought to light on the day that Christ returns or my kids get to heaven (for every mom I think we all pray that the aforementioned be the way they go). 

No pressure though.  Or is there?  As Christians, we are taught that God is in control.  This is even what Paul is saying here in 1 Cor. 3.  Christ is the foundation, if I build on that and the truth that He brings, that is all I can do.  If it is built with the gold of the message of Christ, the silver or God's Word, and the precious jewels of obedience it will survive the fires of life.  God is in control of what those fires will be and how they will get through them.  I have to trust Him.  I will build on the foundation of Christ and God's Word and pray that God will guide my teaching and my children through all of the tests. 

He knows exactly what they will go through on this earth.  He knows exactly what they need to be taught.  All I can do is faithfully and prayerfully seek His will and follow His lead.

God, thank you for speaking to me as a mom today.  Some days, the work can seem thankless, but in the end the reward will be more than I can even imagine.  Thank you for a solid foundation on which to raise my children.  Help me to teach them your truth and show them your love each and every day.  When the trials of raising them puts me through the testing fires, help me remember my foundation and how you teach me to respond in love.  I pray that they will receive your Son as their Savior and never turn from Him or your ways, but trust in the plan that you have for their lives.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Reap, Sow and Grow

I have to admit, I am kind of glad to be done with the wisdom section of 1 Corinthians for right now.  God showed me a lot about learning and teaching and worldly wisdom vs. His wisdom, but all those wisdom's had my head spinning and forehead wrinkled in a constant confused look. 

Thankfully, today's reading in chapter 3 was a bit more clear cut for me.  Just like in the first chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul is addressing his readers on arguments they are having about who they follow.  Here, Apollos or Paul.  Paul goes on to state that he and Apollos are merely servants of Christ.

Great verses on serving are found in this passage, "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.  So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.  The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose and each will be rewarded according to his own labor." (vs. 6-8)

This is a great reminder when we get caught up in serving and want recognition for the work we have done.  The recognition is not ours to be had.  We were merely being used as tools, a planter or a watering can.  God deserves all the glory for the growth that comes of it.   Reaping our reward and recognition will come on the other side of eternity.

I have decided that this is going to be the verse I will recite in my head for the Bible Study I decided to kick off this year.  God simply put the idea in my head to organize a group of women together to read a great book, by a great Christian woman with an awesome heart after God.  It is not my doing and God will hopefully help the women who attend to grow, as well as myself. 

I am hoping that God will also cause the group of women to grow in numbers as well, since there were only two of us at the first night.  (This, was my fault since I gave most women only 1 day notice if not less.  We should be up to 5-7 women this week!  Praise God)

I have to be faithful in believing that God will bring exactly the women He wants to grow from this book to the study and that I cannot take it as a personal reflection on whether or not people like me, if they do/do not do the study.

Father, I thank you for your faithfulness, your patience, and your power.  Thank you for using me as a tool to further growth in your kingdom.  Help me not get caught up in earthly recognition and rewards, but remember as I serve your kingdom so that you can make it grow, my rewards will be with you in heaven.  Help me not take things so personally and to only look to for you approval.

Photo taken from by ~mzdinolatino

Thursday, January 12, 2012


The main chunks of my reading lately have centered around the word wisdom. defines wisdom as 1) the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight2) scholarly knowledge or learning: the wisdom of the schools. 3) wise sayings or teachings; precepts. 4) a wise act or saying.

 I am thinking that this goes along with the world's view of wisdom.  God doesn't really value this type of wisdom too much.  Well, maybe only the second part of the first definition, knowing what is true and right, and acting on it.  Knowing that He is true and right really is wisdom and it is only through knowing Him and His Son, crucified and raised again, that you gain the true wisdom meant for us to have through the Holy Spirit.

Short, sweet and to the point.  That is all I have for the day. 

Father, I thank you for the knowledge that you give me through the power of your Holy Spirit.  It is without this knowledge that I would have nothing.  Your Word would be meaningless to me and your presence would seem so far from me.  I cherish knowing that you live inside me each and every day though this special gift of your wisdom, the only wisdom that really counts.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Perfect Timing

I have been checking my Facebook almost every hour since yesterday at about 3:30.  No, I am not an addict or have some big contest I am hoping to win, I jumped into something I am pretty nervous about and I am waiting for the response.  It is something I feel totally led by God to do and has come about due to a number of factors.

Factor 1. (In no particular order) We have a fabulous church we attend with some great women's Bible studies led by awesome and wise women.  However, one of those studies didn't come back this year so everyone swarmed to another, leaving it quite large.  Long story short, some people were uncomfortable with the size and didn't feel like they enjoyed the study as much as they could have.

Factor 2. I read an awesome book (that I have mentioned a few times during my studies) a year ago that revolutionized the way I do my quiet times and study the Bible and have always wanted to share it with others.

Factor 3.  People kept telling me how they missed having another study and how they wished the current study could be a smaller size.

Factor 4.  God kept shoving the book in my face and the idea in my head.

Factor 5.  A good friend finally give me the encouragement I needed to quit ignoring God and follow what I think He has been trying to tell me.

Outcome:  I have started a new women's Bible study at my church.  Ahh!  I am a little frightened and overwhelmed and feel totally unqualified.  I don't plan on doing much "leading" for the study.  Just trying to get a bunch of women together to read and discuss the book and what we are learning.  I just set up the room at the church, let people know about it and will be ordering the books.  I consider myself the facilitator, not leader.  I am totally scared that I have gotten all excited about this, spread the word and will have no one show up, thus leaving me feel a bit worthless.  I pray that since God seems to be leading me in this venture He will provide the women for me to study with.

God's perfect timing:  Check out my reading for the day and see why God had me smiling from ear to ear.  1 Corinthians 2:1-5:  "When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.  For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.  My message and preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power."

All I have to say to that is "Thank You!"  it is exactly what I needed to hear.  God. Is. Good.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Filling in the Holes

And He did it again.  So, last post, I had a really hard time gleaning something out of my selected passage for the day.  I read over and over and in many different versions and didn't come away with anything awe-inspiring, but a good reminder nonetheless.

I read on today and think, "Why didn't I just keep reading last time?  This makes it make a bit more sense."  But, had I just read on, I would have just skipped over the passage before and focused on the one that made sense to me.  Now, this next passage helps clarify the passage before, but then I wouldn't have thought and searched so hard, either, which is always a good lesson in itself.

Anyway, on to today's meaningful and much easier section of scripture.  1 Corinthians 1:26 asks what we were before God called us to be Christians.  Nothing, really.  We weren't wise, influential or of noble birth.  God chooses the weak to shame the strong, the things that are not to nullify the things that are. 

We are all full of holes.  As a popular Christian song says, "There's a God-shaped hole in all of us, and its a void only He can fill."  (I won't mention that the first few times I heard this song, I thought she was singing something about a Bi-Cyc-Le and God-Shaped-Hole sound alike I will never know.)  Back to the point.  If we had all of our 'poop in a group' so to say before we had God in our lives, it would have been way too easy to take all of the credit for ourselves.

Heaven knows I am far from having all my ducks in the same pond, let alone in a nice little row, so all the credit for anything I do worthwhile is always due to God.  Verse 30 says "It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God- that is our righteousness, holiness and redemption."  The thing I need to remember is to do a better job of voicing that credit to Him more than just inside my head. 

Sure, I offer up a "Thank you, Lord, for pulling that off" to Him after something goes right.  But if I am offered a compliment on it, how often do I just say, "Thank you." and forget to add in the, "It was totally a God thing." part of it?  Guess I'll add another thing to my, "Need to work on that" list.

Father, I am so glad that you can use me, even though I am full of flaws and holes and total imperfections.  Thank you for accepting me the way that I am and filling in the gaps that only you can completely fill.  Help me do a better job of thanking you for how you work through me and passing that thanks on to others, rather than just taking all the credit myself.  Keep using me however you can, Lord, and help me look for ways to serve you.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Foolishness and Wisdom

After today's passage I am sitting here scratching my head.  Thank the Lord for whoever translated the Bible into The Message version on days like these.

I read 1 Corinthians 1:20-25 today and was totally lost in all the 'foolishness and wisdom' everywhere.  It left me feeling like the fool.  I read it three times in NIV, once in NASB and NLT and finally gave in and went to to check out the Message since I don't own that version.  Heck I should have it memorized by now.  NLT put it fairly simple and it became a bit more clear, but the Message actually made me laugh out loud.  It actually used the word 'crackpot'!  Ha!  I think that is hilarious!

Anyway, beyond my density for the reading today I gain the fact that God's wisdom is the best and we really don't have to be all that smart .  Yep, deep.   All that reading and that is what I come away with.  Sorry for the disappointment if you were looking for something impressive. 

I love how the Message puts this, "Since the world in all its fancy wisdom never had a clue when it came to knowing God, God in his wisdom took delight in using what the world considered dumb—preaching, of all things!—to bring those who trust him into the way of salvation."

It closes up with this, "But to us who are personally called by God himself—both Jews and Greeks—Christ is God's ultimate miracle and wisdom all wrapped up in one. Human wisdom is so tinny, so impotent, next to the seeming absurdity of God. Human strength can't begin to compete with God's "weakness."

Love it.  Simple.  True.  Can't add much to that.

God, thank you for your wisdom and strength of which I cannot comprehend.  Help me to remember where to go when I start to think worldly and try to follow the 'wisdom' that is around me.  Thank you for many versions of your Word to help me understand a bit more clearly, but help me remember it is time with you that benefits me the most.  Help me spread your wisdom to those around me, not by trying to be wise, but by sharing your Truth and love with them.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Disclaimer: The following post is very opinionated, but this is my blog so I can do that. :) Just thought you might want to be warned before you read on.

I always liked math in school.  I was fairly decent at it.  Division included.  But division in the church is not something that is necessary, helpful or positive at all.  (Hows that for a quirky intro!?!?  :)

Here in 1 Corinthians, Paul is appealing to his brothers about being united.  I must admit I scoffed a bit (in my head anyway) when I read he wants them to always agree with one another and that they be perfectly united in mind and thought.  Seriously?  Is that possible?

Well, if it is in the Bible it has to be true.  However, I do believe that Paul is talking here on being united perfectly in their belief of Christ and not every action in their entire lives.  So, yes, it should be possible. 

We see this too often in our churches today, and I think I have touched on the topic before.  So many different churches exist today within the Christian faith.  So much importance is put on whether you are a Catholic or Lutheran or Baptist or Methodist.  I attend a non-denominational church so it is easy for me just to say that I am a Christian.  Plain and simple.  That is all there is to it.  Just like Paul is saying here, too many people are saying "I follow Martin Luther", or "I follow John Wesley."  This divides the house of God.  I am not implying that if you are a Lutheran or Methodist that you are not a Christian, but we need to be careful in what the key part is of our faith.  Our church or our Lord?

I don't quite get why we have to add in all the rigmarole that exists within many churches today.  The Bible.   That is it.  It is the ONE tool God provided us.  No catechism, no extra gospels, no specific written prayers outside of it, no other materials that were God-breathed.  I fully believe that the Bible is the only needed tool for following Christ.  Read it.  Know it. Believe it.  Live it. 

I am not saying other resources aren't useful in helping us grow, giving us inspiration or helping us understand something a little more clearly, but it all comes back to the Bible.  It needs to be the one thing we all agree on. 

And the central message of this, our Bible, cannot be divided, multiplied, added to or subtracted from.  No math going on here.  Christ was born the Son of God, lived a perfect life, died on the cross to pay the blood sacrifice for our sins, and rose on the 3rd day to live forever with His Father in Heaven. 

I follow Christ.  How about you?

Lord, you are all I need.  I thank you so much for the useful tool you gave us in your Word.  I am so glad I can sit with you whenever I want to hear your voice and glean your wisdom.  Help me keep that my main focus. Help me to not get caught up in other antics and fanfare.  I follow you.


This is one of my favorite quotes that isn't out of the Bible.

It says a lot about how we should live for God and like Him.  This wasn't my quiet time today, but something I wanted to share just the same.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I looked up blameless in the dictionary. that is anyway.  It said "free from or not deserving blame; guiltless" and it said blame meant "to hold responsible; find fault with".

1 Corinthians (my book of choice for my quiet times) 1:8 says, "He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Doesn't blameless sound nice?  It would be so fantastic to go throughout your day completely blameless for everything that occurs.  Dropped and broke a dish?  Don't worry. You are free from responsibility for that.  Didn't get the dishes done because you were busy doing your nails?  No problem, guiltless.  Ahh, sweet freedom from any responsibility for anything at all.  Wouldn't it be lovely?

It would also be disastrous.  If no one was held accountable for what was going on with anything, life would be horrendous.  But the sweet thought of getting away with a few mindless actions or some days of laziness without any guilt does sound a bit nice.

Now that I have gone around in a circle and probably left you thoroughly confused, I get to my point.

Sure, we have to take responsibility for the things we do.  We have to pick up our mess, fix it or get it done the right way and say, "I'm sorry."  But that is where it ends.  Isn't that great?  No "take backs", no rubbing it in your face at a later date, no "I owe yous".  Done.  Finished.  Forgotten.

We will be found blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  If we have faith and stay strong through Him, all is well.  We will approach Him on the day of Glory completely guilt free.  No reason for worry or fear, just anxiousness to "look full in His wonderful face".  Oh, the day.  Won't it be magnificent!

Father, I thank you that I can be made clean through you.  You know all my flaws.  You know all the stupid things I screw up, fix and don't tell anyone else ever even happened, yet you find me blameless.  You are the definition of grace and my thoughts, words and deeds could never express the amount of love and thanks you are deserved for this.  My heart overflows.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Jumping on the Bandwagon

I can't really remember a time I sat down and wrote down a list of 'resolutions' for the upcoming year.

I am pretty goal oriented, but I am far from organized and sometimes take quite a while to fully finish a project.  I am the type of person that starts a fun project, gets bored half way through and eventually puts it in the trash, deals with it partially done or finishes it quickly and half-hearted.

I wish I was more organized and determined, but I am not.  I am a fly-by-the-seat-for-your-pants type of gal, a free spirit.  Making lists ties me down and typically sets me up for failure as I never complete everything on the list.

But, I have realized something recently.  When I don't have a list, I don't have anything to check off the things I have accomplished and done well.  I don't have any record of the fact that I did set out to do something and actually finished it. 

So, here is to 2012.  I am going to do what organized people do at the beginning of every year and make a list.  I am going to make it with 2 things in mind:  1) I am going to try my darnedest to accomplish every single item I write on my list by the end of 2012 and 2) I will not get discouraged if it doesn't happen, but be pleased with being able to finish at least some of them.

With that in mind, here is what I hope to accomplish and ways I hope to grow in 2012:

1.  Spend more time in prayer.  I am a 'hail mary' type of prayer most of the time.  I get in a sticky situation and send up a "Please help me, Lord" prayer, or have something great happen and shout out a quick, "Thanks, God, you're awesome."  I start each of my quiet times with prayer, but I want more purposeful prayer time in my day.  I want to spend time praying for specific people, things and guidance from the Lord.  My goal is to have 3 good prayer times per day.  One in the morning, one at my quiet time and one at night.  (Not setting specific times, as you can see, because this would be too binding for me :)

2. Have at least 4 quiet times per week.  Yes, I know this goal should really be 7, but I have young children, run a part-time, in-home daycare and sometimes it just doesn't happen.  I don't want to set myself up for failure here, people.  Four significant, sit-down, have-time-with-just-me-and-God times per week is what I know I can purpose to accomplish.

3.  Do at least 5 devotions with my kids per week.  We pray with them every night, we talk about God and Jesus every day in our house, but we haven't done too much to further their relationships and learning other than talking about what they learned in Sunday School and doing their AWANAs lessons.  This isn't enough in my mind, so I have ordered a book I hope will help us spur more conversations with them about loving Jesus.

4.  Memorize one Scripture passage per month.  Yes, again a small goal, but doable and if I manage to do more than this I will just be more pleased with myself!

5.  Purpose to ask my husband what I can do for him that day at least twice a week.  His two main love languages are physical touch and acts of service.  Just a way I can make sure I am keeping him feeling loved and honored.

6.  Keep my closets organized.  I have spent some time organizing my main closets the last few weeks and I want to make sure they stay that way.

7.  Spend less time on the computer.  I use it as my connection to the outside world and a source of communication with grown-ups when I am alone in a house with toddlers and preschoolers all day, but I have taken this too far and spend more time on it than with those toddlers some days and I really need to fix that. 

8.  Run the Lincoln Half Marathon in less time than I did last year.  My ultimate goal would be 2 hours, but that is setting the bar pretty high.  I am hoping for 2:05.

9.  Read this list at least once a month to remind myself of what I need to be doing to stay on track to accomplish my goals.  Also, post a blog update on how I am doing.  Accountability helps!

And with that, I sign off - I have kids to go color with!