Friday, December 23, 2011

Simply Christmas

Of all the stories that could be told, none is greater than this.

Sometimes we have a tendency to view the familiar as common and think, "Yeah, yeah, I know this already."  This story is anything but common. 

Read it slowly.  Breath it in.  The power of it, the annointing of it.  Feel the story this morning.

And she brought forth her first born Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the field keep watch over their flock by night.


And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.


Then the angle said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.


And this will be a sign to you.  You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a 

manger. "

And suddenly there was with the angle a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:


"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"  Luke 2:7-14


God sent His Son to earth in the form of a precious baby. 

The other day, I told a story about how my daughter was pretending to buy baby Jesus.  We, of course, cannot buy Jesus, we cannot buy salvation.   It is a priceless gift from the Lord.  The ironic part is that God actually bought us.   He views us as priceless.   Yes, us.  With all our faults, all our shortcomings, all our failures. 
  
Jesus bought back what Adam and Eve gave away.  When God sent Jesus He implemented His divine redemptive plan to get us back.  He was willing to go to the cross to pay for us, to cleanse us of our sins.  There is no greater price or sacrifice.  To Him, it was the deal of a lifetime.   He wanted to pay it, He loved you so much that no cost was too high. 

May the joy of this season surround you as you remember and meditate on the gift of Jesus and the price Jesus paid for you.

Jesus is our gift.  He gave us Jesus on that first Christmas.  Have you given the Lord your gift?  You are His gift.   All He wants for Christmas is you, your heart, your life yielded to Him. 

Keeping it simply Christmas this morning.  May His peace and joy rest on you as we celebrate His glorious birth.  May His presence surround you and fill your lives today and everyday. 

Praying for you and your families to have a blessed and Merry Christmas. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Buying Baby Jesus

Today is my little Sarah's fifth birthday, so I want to start by saying HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my sweet little girl.  It is an honor and privilege to be your mommy.  You are the precious gift I received for Christmas five years ago. Sarah is the second best Christmas gift I have ever received.  Second, only to Jesus.

I love to play with Sarah.  Sarah loves to play dolls and dollhouse.  One day last week, we were playing dollhouse together and I noticed she had baby Jesus (from a kid's manger scene) in the back of her doll's car.  The dolls were driving baby Jesus around in the car. : )

Curious about the scenario, I asked, "Sarah, what is baby Jesus doing in the back of the car?"

She responded, "They went to the store and bought baby Jesus."

Now, of course, this facilitated a nice lead into a conversation about how Jesus is a free gift from God and we don't have to buy Him.  In fact, we can't buy Him.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.  Ephesians 2:8

Aren't you glad this morning that Jesus is a FREE gift to us?  God sent His precious Son to earth to be our Savior.  We can't make it to heaven on our own, we can't be good enough.  Only the blood of Jesus could save us.  He came willingly and lovingly into our world to be the first Christmas gift.

The One who cannot be bought.  There is no amount of money large enough to purchase this Gift.  You don't have to get in your car and fight Christmas traffic and shoppers to get this Gift. 

All one must do is come.  Fall on your knees.  Lift up your heart to Him with arms open wide and receive the Gift. He is on the other end with open arms to receive you.

He is the best Gift you could ever receive. 












Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Treasure in Earthen Vessels

Excitement emanated from all three kids.  Finally, the movie they had been waiting to see for months was right in front of them.  Pajamas were on, blankets were brought down from upstairs, and eyes were glued with anticipation.

Now normally, Chris and I would sit down and watch a rented (Redbox) movie with our kids, but not this night.  We had some things to do, so this night we just casually viewed it from time to time. We were in the next room and could hear most of the movie.

One "bad" word.  Then two.  Three....

I quote "bad" because our definition may be different than some.  Our view is obviously different than the producers of this movie or other children's movie producers.  Anything that berates others or is disrespectful in our opinion is "bad".  However, this particular movie even crossed over into the "bad" realm of adult standards.  It was PG! 

Realizing this was not a movie for our kids to watch, I went in the living room and turned it off.

Anarchy broke loose.  "What are you doing?"  "That movie was so funny."  "We have been waiting months to see it!"  Tears.  Pleas to turn it back on.

Father, help us to explain to them why we are doing this.  

We want our kids to understand that when we make decisions like this, it is not to keep them from what they want or "fun", it is because we love them and want what is best for them.  The same is true of our Lord.  When we trust Him and know this truth, it is easier to obey.

The Lord did help us.  We explained how we need to be careful about what we watch.  We must guard our hearts.  What goes into our minds, comes out.  We need to be prudent in what we view and hear.

Guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life
Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you.  Proverbs 4:23

We explained how it was our job to help protect their minds until they could monitor and protect it for themselves. This was all very unsatisfactory to their tired little ears.  The tears and protests continued up the stairs, through brushing teeth and into bed. 

Lord, what now? 

Part of the protest was that we (the parents) were able to watch whatever we want.

My son was accusing me of a double standard.  Was it true?  Time to self-examine.

Condemnation raised its ugly voice.  You hypocrite.  It was a lie.  I silenced it with truth. 

"Joe, no we don't get to watch whatever we want.  We have to guard our hearts and minds also."  It was then I realized that I could TOTALLY relate to what our kids were going through.

Many times I will be watching a show that I have been look forward to seeing, a show that I was very excited about seeing and right in the middle of it, I will get a knowing that I have to turn it off.  Disappointed, I will turn it off.  This happens ALL THE TIME with television shows.  Seriously, there are very few shows I can watch on the TV.   And it is common for me to finally find a show that is funny, just to have to turn it off after a few viewings.  It can be disappointing.

Let me say that I am disappointed with the television producers, never the Lord.  I am not resentful,  it is my choice to guard my heart.

We explained all this to the kids.  Then, the Lord gave me another verse.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.   2 Cor 4:7 (Emphasis added)

In us is a treasure, the greatest treasure. 

A concept my kids should understand.  They love pirate and treasure stories.  So the conversation continued....

"We have in a us a treasure more valuable than gold.  If you had a treasure chest full of gold, would you just throw garbage and junk on it?  No, you would want to  keep it shiny and beautiful. We don't want to make our treasure yucky by throwing garbage on it?  We have Jesus on the inside of us and He is the greatest treasure, more valuable than gold.  When we watch movies or listen to something that is unpleasing to the Lord and has bad words, we are throwing garbage on our Treasure.  We make our insides yucky, and we don't want our insides to be yucky.  We want our insides clean so our Treasure can shine." 

Finally, a glimmer of hope!  I saw the light bulb start to turn on.  They were still disappointed, but a seed of understanding was planted.  Phew.....that was a hard one.  Time for bed. 

The verse above in 2 Cor 4:6 is also good:

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 

The same God who commanded the light to shine, lives in us and shines His light in our hearts, and works through us!  He has chosen us, frail and flawed earthen vessels, to hold His glorious treasure.

On a majestic, glorious night 2011 years ago, God sent His greatest Treasure in the form of a frail, human vessel.  A precious gift from our Heavenly Father.  This gift was greater than any treasure ever given.  Completely God, yet completely man.  The treasure of eternal salvation, of living free, of being forgiven, of joy and peace. 

WE HAVE THIS TREASURE! 








Monday, December 12, 2011

All is Calm...All is Bright

Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Matt 11:28

Rest for our souls.  Rest for our bodies.  Rest for our mental well-being.  Rest for our spiritual growth.

The song playing today is "Silent Night".  We all know the song and sing it every Christmas.  Think about the lyrics in contrast to the busyness of the Christmas season.

All is calm....All is bright.

Jesus came so our souls can be calm, so we can be bright as the star shining that night. 

It is hard to be a light with a stressed, hurried, and worried heart. 

The Greek word for  "rest" above is anapaulo.   It means:

-To cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labour in order to recover and collect his strength.
-Refresh
-To keep quiet, calm, and patient expectation

Do you need a break?  Do you need refreshing?  Do you need calmness and quietness?  Ask God.  Bring this promise to Him and ask Him to give you rest.  Ask Him to restore your soul.  Ask Him to quiet your mind.   Ask Him to fill you with His peace. 

The Lord is giving me a period of refreshing and rest.  I am so thankful.  He will do the same for you. 

He spoke this to me recently and He wanted me to share it with you this morning:

Where you are empty, I will fill you.

Where you are weak, I will be your strength

Where you are overwhelmed, I will be your peace. 

He is saying the same to you this morning.

Come with Me by yourselves to some quiet place and rest.  Mark 6:31

Instead of inner turmoil, we can have peace.  All can be calm no matter what is going on around us.  The song says "Sleep in heavenly peace."  We too can experience "Heavenly peace."   It is not just a song, it part of the gift God gave to us when He gave us Jesus.









Friday, December 9, 2011

Believe

And the winning of the So Long Insecurity Journal and Promise book is................Alicia A.! 


Congratulations Alicia!!!  I will get the book to you.  : ) 

For a short post today, the word "BELIEVE" has been on my heart this morning.

This time of year, with the Christmas season, we see the word "Believe" often.  

We recently re-watched the movie, "The Polar Express".  Great movie, so magical.  There is a significant line in the movie that says:

"Sometimes the most real things in life are the things we can't see."

He may have been referring to Santa Clause, since the movie was about the North Pole and seeing Santa.  However, he is very right. 

Growing up, I heard the phrase, "I'll believe it when I see it."  It wasn't until I was older that I learned the opposite is actually true.

"Believe and then you will see it."

It takes faith to believe in Jesus Christ. 

Thomas doubted that Jesus was alive until he saw Him and felt Him. Jesus said.....

Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed.  Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.  John 20:29

BELIEVE

I encourage you today to believe like a child with wide-eyed wonder.  You will see Jesus when you do. 









Wednesday, December 7, 2011

So Long Insecurity, and Good Riddance! + A GIVEAWAY!

Ten weeks have past since we opened the cover of the book So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore.  The words on the pages inspired by the Holy Spirit have held much revelation and encouragement for me and I hope for you as well.

Woohoo!!  SO LONG INSECURITY and may I add, GOOD RIDDANCE.  You really have been a bad friend.

Here are some of the main points from each week:

1.  God created us, He knows our humanity and all our faults and loves us unconditionally. He knows we are but dust.  He has everlasting mercy on us and wants to help us. 

2.  The excellence of the power of God lives in us.  The Spirit of God lives in you.  Do not doubt that you can do what God has called you to do, He has equipped you for every good work. He has chosen you to glorify Him. ( 2 Cor 4:7. Eph 2:10)

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.  2 Cor 4:7

3.  Some of the most prominent figures in the Bible dealt with insecurity and by God's grace they overcame.  Insecurity is rooted in fear.  Identify what you are afraid of and go to the Lord.  He delivers us from all our fears. 

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.  Ps 34:4


4. There are many roots of security and many run deep.  Rejection is a common root of insecurity.  Our perceptions of rejection are not always accurate.  Whether it is perceived rejection or actual rejection, we need to disregard the voice of rejection and listen to what the Lord says.  He accepts us.  He wants us.  He loves us.  He pursues us.  He fights for us.

No matter what our root of insecurity is, He has made all things new including us. 

5.  We are clothed with strength and dignity.  We are covered by God.  He has called us worthy and honored.

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.  Proverbs 31:25

6.   Ask God to help you see others through His eyes.  Keep your eyes on Jesus. 

7.  Think of yourself as the one Jesus loves. 

8.  We have the power to choose security.  We can choose to spiral up instead of down by choosing to react a different way when face with insecurity triggers. We don't have to attach insecurity to our hurt, disappointment, uncertainty, humiliation, failures, etc. 

9.  Be mindful of others.  Personalizing people helps disarm your insecurity triggers.  Everyone has insecurity triggers.  Eyes off self and on others and Jesus.  Build others up.  Don't play the comparison game.  Don't do "bad math" (See "Eyes Off Us" post).  

God calls us lovely and has chosen us as His dwelling place.

How lovely is Your dwelling place, Oh Lord Almighty.  Ps 84:1

10.  Trust God. 

Doesn't number 10 just sum it all up nicely?   Thank you for going on this journey with me! I hope you  have enjoyed it as much as I have. 

In celebration of our security in Christ, I am giving away a copy of the So Long Insecurity Journal and small resource book The Promise of Security.





To enter to win the GIVEAWAY, you can do one of the following:

1.  Become a follower of this blog.  I would LOVE for you to become a follower! 

2.  Leave a comment below with your name, so I will know who you are.  : ) 

3.  Share on facebook or leave a comment on facebook link. 

You have until Friday morning at 6:00 am. to enter.  I will announce the winner on Friday.  Thanks to all you SECURE women in Christ!!!  (and men too.. )   : ) 







Monday, December 5, 2011

Eyes Off Us

Last Monday night, we actually discussed two weeks of the Bible study.  It was all too good to put on just one post.  So, here is part two.....


Sometimes we are victims to our insecurity triggers.  Others times, we are the ones pulling the trigger.

Today, at work or school or shopping or at the gym, there are women all around you ALSO with insecurity triggers.  We unknowingly and unintentionally do things to bring out insecurity in others.

I don't want to play a part in pulling the trigger for any of my fellow girlfriends.  However, we all have probably done it at one time or another.  The result is that we all go around a little wounded from being shot at, whether intentional or not.

Insecurity has robbed us of some wonderful female friendships.   Why do we feel threatened by other women?  Why do we compare ourselves to them?  Aren't we all mostly all the same? 

Why do we assume that it takes away something from ourselves if another person is pretty, smart, witty, talented, well-to-do, organized, or well-off financially.  It doesn't take anything from us.  God made us all different and He has given us all different talents, gifts, and abilities. 

Beth Moore talks about "bad math" in her book, So Long Insecurity.  This math concludes:

I tried to talk to her + she didn't seem like she wanted to talk to me= she doesn't like me.

She is beautiful + she gets all the attention= she must be a snob

She's got this + she's got that= I've got nothing.  

She doesn't have this problem + I have that problem= everything is great for her and not for me.

Bad Math - why do we assume because someone else has something we do not have that it means we are less or that we are nothing. 

We need to trust God that He has given us what we need.  He is our provider!  He has promised to give you everything you need. 

We are fearfully and wonderfully made! (Ps 139:14) God created us and put everything in us He wants us to have, and He has a good plan for all of us.  When we trust in His plan and obey Him, we have no need to compare.

Knowing that ALL women have insecurity triggers and many of them are constantly using bad math gives us the opportunity to look outward and upward instead of dwelling on ourselves.  When we go into a situation, look around you, be mindful and aware of others.  Let's get our eyes off of us and onto others. 

Personalize people, get to know them and the barriers go down.  The problem is that we don't allow ourselves a chance at a relationship with someone we feel is superior to us in some way.  They are not.  We tend to be threatened by people we don't know personally because we assume they must be perfect or not have any problems.  Not so.  They too have issues and insecurity triggers.

We have Jesus Christ living inside of us, we should be the most secure people in the world!!

Not only does God say you are loved, He also says you are lovely!

How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almight!  Ps 84:1


Let that sink in for a moment.  I've sure you have heard this verse or even sang it.  Have you thought about the location of his "dwelling place"?  It is YOU!  You are His dwelling place! YOU ARE LOVELY!!

Remember Who is inside of you.  He made you lovely.  He chose YOU as His dwelling place.  He could have chosen anything to reside it.  Heaven seems like a nice place to reside.  You are more lovely....what a Treasure you hold.

Walk around today with the knowledge and assurance that YOU ARE LOVELY and YOU ARE A LIVING VESSEL OF THE GREATEST TREASURE. 

This Wednesday will be the last post on this series.  Tune back in Wednesday for a GIVEAWAY!  











Wednesday, November 30, 2011

So Long Insecurity, Week 8, Power to Choose

Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.  Hebrews 10:35-36

"Don't throw away your confidence."  This past summer I attended a conference in which one of the speakers spoke on this very topic.  It was life changing.  She had miniature garbage cans placed on each table.  She emphatically encouraged each of us to write down on pieces of paper provided whatever was hindering us from fulfilling God's call on our lives.  

Self doubt.  Insecurity.  Sinful past.  Fear.  Unbelief.  Etc.  

This week in the So Long Insecurity Bible study, we discussed choosing security.  Have you ever thought that you could choose to keep your security and throw away whatever was causing you to lose it? 

We also talked about the legacy we want to leave to our children and the girls that are coming up behind us.  What kind of legacy do you want to leave?  Do you want the daughters behind you to be secure and confident in Christ?  Sometimes looking beyond ourselves can give us extra motivation to deal with our stuff, and we all have stuff. 

Most everyone has insecurity triggers, even the most confident among us.  The difference is how we choose to respond to those triggers.  

In the past, you may have been faced with a situation that intimidates you or brings out insecurity in you.  That situation may have caused you to spiral downward leaving you feeling inferior and insecure.  As a result, you feel bad for reacting that way and feel even worse about yourself.  It is a downward vicious cycle.  

We can choose to react differently even while feeling insecure. The way we respond leads to a new feeling and the new feeling leads to a more secure reaction.  The result is a new positive cycle.  We spiral up instead of tail spinning down in the dizzying destructive path of insecurity.  
   
We can choose whether or not those habitual triggers of insecurity go off or fizzle out.  

Beth Moore pointed out that we do not have to attach insecurity to our emotions.  It was a great revelation.  Why do we tend to pair insecurity with negative emotions? 


We can feel disappointed, rejected, hurt, uncertain, humiliated without also attaching insecurity to it.  


I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live, that you may love the Lord you God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of you r days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.  Deuteronomy 30:19-20

Choose life.  We have the power to choose.  We don't have to just take every negative emotion and hold onto it as our own.  

Don't feel rejected, reject rejection.  


Don't feel inferior, reject and cast down that feeling.  Make inferiority feel inferior. 


Don't feel incapable, you are able with the Lord.  


We need to "talk" to ourselves.  We are given a choice.  We can hold on to thoughts that lead to death of our self worth and our security, which also keeps us from becoming all God intends.  Or we can choose life giving reactions to those negative feelings.  We don't have to act on how we feel.

Choosing life means choosing to react Christ-like, turning away from sin (selfishness and self absorption that go along with insecurity are also sins), putting others first before ourselves, serving others, choosing a positive mental attitude and holding onto our confidence instead of throwing it away.  


The Lord has a abundant life planned for all of us.  For you.  We can choose to walk in it or choose to wallow in our insecurity.  Let's not throw away all the good God has planned for us, do not throw away your confidence.  Let's toss out that old insecurity and choose life.  Let's leave a legacy of security and confidence in Christ for the generations behind us to follow.  




Monday, November 28, 2011

Magical to Mundane

Last week was wonderful. Chris' father treated us and Chris' brother's family to a trip to Disney World.  It was a much needed and welcomed vacation.   Warm, fun, adventuresome, and even restful in the midst of Disney madness.

I have to say coming back to the routine of reality was not necessarily appealing.  The thought of driving kids to school, working, work emails, laundry, homework, driving kids to activities, etc, just made me want to turn right back around and run away to Never Land in Fantasy Land. 

Now, also mix in there the added thought of it being the holiday season and it is a recipe for being overwhelmed if a spoonful of the right attitude or sugar isn't added to help it all go down.  Sorry, I just love Disney analogies and couldn't help myself.  : )

Life is busy with three kids and I do not want to live my life dreading the inevitable everyday essentials.  Life can seem like a mundane merry-go-round at times.  However, I have to remind myself there are those that long for the mundane. 

Cancer, death of a loved one, poverty, care of elderly or the disabled, job loss, foreclosures are just some examples of what some people in the world deal with day in and out.  Probably someone you know, a close friend, or possibly you yourself are dealing with the above and would love a taste of tedious.

We just ended the weekend of Thanksgiving and officially entered into the Christmas season.  Will we carry  the heart of Thanksgiving into the end of the year and beyond?  Thankful in the midst of hustle and bustle (while trying to not have it so hustly and bustly), thankful for the mundane, thankful for the countless blessings that surround us daily...we have so many. 

This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalms 118:24
(I know you know this verse, but let us daily make in our confession and aim.)


O God, my heart is fixed, I will sing and give praise, even with my glory.  Psalms 108:1  
(A heart fixed.  Fixed here is the Hebrew word "kuwn" meaning securely determined, firmly established, fastened, enduring.   Our hearts need to be fastened securely to praise. )

Stop.  Breath in the sweet smell of Christmas.  Take in the glorious lights.  Ponder on the birth of our Savior.  Find magic and beauty surrounding you.  Find things to be thankful for daily......

I am thankful I have three beautiful kids to drive to school and a car to drive them in. 


I am thankful for my job and for the work I do and for good health that enables me to do it.


I am thankful for emails and computers and technology.  (It has made our lives easier in many ways.)

I am thankful we have clothes to wash and for washing machines/dryers.  (Along with that, I am thankful I don't have to go to creek and carry water a mile, make my own soap, build a fire to heat the water, then get my wash board out and scrub all the clothes by hand.  2011 is a nice time to live.)

I am thankful for the school my kids go to and that I am able to help them with homework.  

I am thankful for the activities our kids can be a part of and for the opportunity and means to be able to take them to those activities.   

I am thankful for Immanuel, God with us, Who enables and equips me to do all things unto and for His glory.  I am thankful He gave up His glorious Heavenly realm to live with us.  Talk about returning to the world from Fantasy Land!  From heaven to earth was quite a change for the King of Glory. 

Jesus never complained that his birthplace accommodations were less than desirable, that He had to walk everywhere, or constantly keep an eye on those disciples of His.  He did it all graciously and willingly.  He went from being born in a manger to death on the cross all with an attitude of servanthood and grace.  And yet at times I have difficulty going from my comfortable home to a well known superstore with a graceful and Christ-like attitude!  Oh, Lord, change my heart to be like Yours.

This is the beginning of the Christmas season.  We get to choose our attitude.  We can choose to have our hearts fixed on praise or be bah humbug about the season.  It is Christmas!  The most wonderful time of the year.  Let's unwrap each day as a gift and live thankful for every moment whether magical or mundane.   



With Thankfulness and Praise,

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Upon doing a word search, I discovered that the word "Thanksgiving" occurs 28 times in the bible. 

It is not surprising that Thanksgiving means "Thankfulness" or "The giving of thanks". 

I love Thanksgiving.  It is one of my favorite holidays, just below Christmas and Easter. I love the food, the fellowship, the family-time, the food.  Oh, and did I mention the food.  : )

It is also a special time for me because 14 years ago on Thanksgiving day in 1997, my dear husband proposed to me right in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner.  It is a very funny story.

I got in my head that we should all go around the table and tell one thing for which we are thankful.  (Now, my family never did this before that year, but it has been repeated often since that year.)  Chris may have planted that seed in my head, I cannot fully remember.  Anywho, there were about 30 family members present.  Finally, it was his turn (I had NO idea it was coming and neither did anyone else!) 

Picture this:  

He is being very sweet telling how thankful he is for me and I am leaking out of every hole in my head. Then he gets down on one knee!  The leaking goes to a whole new level, turning into a full fledge flood.  Now this is the really funny part. --

My Uncle Wayne also figures out what he is about to do and yells, "Stop!  I have to go get the video camera!"  Seriously, I am not making that up!  : )  So, we all wait.  Chris on one knee and me leaking everywhere.   He returned after running upstairs to get the camera and Chris then continued.   I love my Uncle Wayne and I have to say in hindsight I am glad to have it recorded on video.  Thank you Uncle Wayne! 

So, as we go around the table this Thanksgiving--- I am thankful for my Uncle Wayne, thankful for my wonderful husband and that he went through with the proposal 14 years ago, the beautiful children the Lord has given us, our health, our jobs, our home, our church family, our precious friends, Sammy (our dog), my extended family, and for the opportunity to write this blog and for all of you who read it.

Most of all, I am thankful for the Lord's love and grace.  I am thankful for Jesus' sacrifice on the cross for me, that all my sins are washed away and that He has made all things new. 

Let's  look at some of those 28 verses and give Him praise and Thanksgiving......

That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all Your wonderous works.  Ps. 26:7


I will praise the name of God with a song, And will magnify Him with Thanksgiving. Ps. 69:30


Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. 
Ps. 95:2

Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever, Amen.  Rev. 7:12

As we continue around the table, would you share with us one thing you are thankful for this Thanksgiving.....

Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!  Psalms 103:1

Happy Thanksgiving!!!


Monday, November 21, 2011

A Post Revisited

How God Spoke to Me Thru Disney

God speaks in many different ways.  He spoke to Moses through a burning bush. He spoke to the king of Babylon through writing on a wall. He spoke to Elijah in a still small voice. He spoke to King David through a prophet. And sometimes He speaks to me through....... Disney movies.   Yes,  that is right....Disney movies.
: )

God knows exactly how to speak to us!

About 8 years ago, I knew I was called.  I knew what God wanted me to do and I was not doing it.  I had gotten complacent...lazy.  Television became my favorite escape from the overwhelming realities of a new baby.  God did not want me to escape.  He wanted me to be involved, engaged in life, and in what He had called me to do. 

God decided He had to get my attention.  So, one day while I was watching Disney's The Lion King, God spoke to me.  He spoke very plainly to me.  I hope you have seen it.  It was just re-released by Disney in the theaters in 3D.  It is really good!   : ) 

In case you haven't seen it......  Mufasa is the King of the Jungle (lion) and he has a son, Simba, who is heir to his throne.  Mufusa is killed tragically and Simba thinks it is his fault even though it isn't.  Simba runs away instead of taking his rightful and responsible place as King of the Jungle.  He thinks he is unfit to be king.

I think that is enough information to get my point.

There is a part in the movie where Simba has a dream where Mufasa comes to him and says to him, "You have forgotten me."  Simba shocked says back, "No, how could I?"  Mufasa then says,


"You have forgotten who you are and so you have forgotten me."
"You are more than what you have become."
"Remember who you are... you are my son."

That is when God spoke to me.  He said the same things to me.  It was a wake up call I will never forget.  I had forgotten Him. I had forgotten who I was in Christ and who He created me to be.  I had forgotten my calling, and my responsibilities in the kingdom of God.

We are all heirs in the Kingdom.  We all have responsibilities, gifts, talents, and callings God has given us.  We may feel unfit at times (like Simba did), and we may feel like running away.  However, God has said that He has made us fit and worthy to do whatever He has called us to do through the blood of Jesus. 

When you neglect your calling, you neglect your God. (1 Tim 4:14) God has a great plan for you in His Kingdom, He has something He needs you to do for Him.  

God never gives up on us.  He sees the end result. He knows you are more than you are right now.  (Phil 1:6, Hebrews 13:31) That is not to discourage you, but to encourage you to press on. Be patient as He works on you and in your life.  

Remember Whose You are.  ( 2 Cor 5: 20-21, Rom 8:16-17). You are the child of a King, remember who you are and Who lives in you.
 
God is speaking to you today.....Remember who you are...you are My son (or daughter)

 I would love to hear some different ways God speaks to you.    : ) 









Friday, November 18, 2011

So Long Insecurity, Week 7, Playing God

I know this Bible Study summary is a little tardy.  I usually post it on Wednesday, but it just wasn't going to happen this past Wednesday.  This girl was happy to get some much needed catch up rest and study up on the back of her eyelids.

On Monday, though, we did have Bible study.  If you are just now joining us, I have been hosting a Bible study at my home on Monday nights for the past several weeks.  We are now on week 7.  We are studying So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore.  AWESOME BOOK!

This past week, we read about our tendencies to want to play God.  You may be thinking, "Not me, I don't ever try to play God."  Well, girlfriend, maybe you haven't.  However, I discovered that I have been guilty.

God is omnipotent (all powerful) and omniscient (all knowing).  Both of these words come straight out of the Latin.  Glad my four years of Latin in high school were good for something! 

Only God is all powerful.  Chronically insecure people have a need for power and control over others. Does anyone you know come to your mind?  Pray for them, they most likely are chronically insecure. 

It is essential that we remember that we are not God, we are not all powerful and we cannot control anyone but our own reactions.  Even that is a stretch, we also need the in-filling of the Holy Spirit to help us react rightly and Christ-like.  We cannot even control our own actions correctly without the Lord, so how do we expect to be able to control others. 

The only person we can change is us.  If there are problems in a relationship, the place to start in making positive changes is in ourselves.  We may want to try to change the other person, but we cannot.  Only God can work on a person's heart and pull it in a direction for change.  However, God cannot even force a person to change.  It is ultimately up to the person to decide to work with the Lord to change.  If God cannot even force a person to change, why do we think we can?  We need to work on ourselves, and submit the situation to the Lord in prayer. 

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.   1Thessalonians 5:23-24


When you became born again, praise the Lord, you were made a new creature.  Your spirit was made new. Holy. Blameless. Righteous.  However, our soul (mind) and body are still in the process of sanctification.  You have been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.  His ability is in you.  Work with the Lord to fulfill what He wants to accomplish in you.  He who called you is faithful to do it.


Thankfully we do not have to play God, He is alive and working in us and will complete what He began in us and others. 

God is also omniscient or all knowing.  Sometimes people try to play God by digging in and trying to find out more information than they need to know. 

Here is an example from the book: A girl broke into her old boyfriend's email account after they broke up to find out if he had been talking to other girls while they were dating.  The Lord had clearly told this girl that this man was wrong for her, but she couldn't just leave it there.  She wanted details.  She discovered not only details but detriment.  What she learned devastated her. 

As Beth revealed, she had eaten from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. 

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.  Genesis 2:17
 
It can be tempting to go beyond what God reveals.  We can be deceived that it will bring wisdom as Eve was deceived.  Her eyes were opened and destruction followed. Only God can know everything and handle it perfectly.

Anything we search for beyond what He reveals can lead us down a path towards death.  It may not be a physical death, but of self-worth, emotional or spiritual.  I am not saying that God won't reveal secrets to us because He will.  However, we know when we have crossed over the line of His divine revelation into our own curiosity.  We are not omniscient and we shouldn't try to play God by digging for every fact in every situation. 

We need to let God be God and let ourselves be human.   We are going to make mistakes, but praise the Lord that He is perfecting us day by day to make us more like Christ.

We don't have to be in control, He is.  We don't have to be omniscient, He is.  Phew, what a load off!  A facet of our security comes from knowing the Great I AM is also the Great HE IS.   HE IS everything we need Him to be.  HE IS more than enough.  HE IS GOD and we are not.







Monday, November 14, 2011

His Will or Your Crayola?

Overflowing with excitement, his body was unable to contain his enthusiasm. His anticipation burst through his limbs with skips, leaps, and bounds.  His destination....the water gun game at Dollywood.

For months, our lovable 9 year old son named Joe, begged to play this carnival game at Dollywood.  We attempted to discourage it knowing he could end up wasting his money and leaving with 5 dollars less and teary-eyed. 

This time, though, he was determined.  He asked for his allowance convinced he would win the over-sized stuffed crayon the size of a small child.  This was the day he had been waiting for all summer. Seriously, or so he insistently told us.  

When we arrived at the long awaited game, only two others plus himself were lined up to play.  He was more convinced than ever that he would finally get his giant crayola trophy.  Then... 2, 3, 4 more entered until the game was nearly full.  The odds were tougher now, but he was still confident. 

My heart was torn.

Part of me wanted my son to lose so he could learn a valuable lesson about being a good steward of money and how paying money to play a game to win something was similar to gambling.  Only do it if you don't mind throwing away money.

The other part of me was hopeful for my son to achieve his heart's desire.  He had waited so long with bubbled over enthusiasm for this crayon he desperately hoped to win.  I so wanted him to have his heart's desire.

So, I prayed....Lord, I pray for your will to be done, whatever is best for Joe.  

The starting bell rang and the guns shot forth streams of water. Joe was ahead.  Oh, he might win!  It looks like he will win....wait, that other one is also close.  RINGGGGG!  Game over.  Joe had lost by less than a centimeter.  It had been so close.  To the naked eye, it looked like a tie.  Tears.  Five dollars gone. Nothing to show for it.

There is always a reason when we do not get what we desperately want.

When God does not give us what we want, it is because He has something better in mind.  God is the only one who knows what is best for us.  He knows whether a job is right for us, whether a house we want to buy will be a blessing or a disaster.  He knows what the future holds and can see into situations unknown to us.

When God says wait or no, we need to trust He has our best interests at heart.  He always wants what is best for His children, just like I want what is best for my son.  Joe's idea of what was best in this case was not necessarily what was best for him.  He couldn't see the big picture.  God sees the big picture. 

We need to be careful about insisting on our own way with the Lord.  The children of Israel insisted on having a king even though the Lord warned them against it.  In 1 Samuel chapter 8 it explains how Samuel warned the Israelites about all the negative consequences of having a king rule over them.  However, they did not listen to the voice of the Lord and insisted on their own way.

God will give you your own way even if it is not best for you if you insist on going against His voice. 
Our prayer in areas of uncertainty of the Lord's will needs to be for His will to be accomplished.  Then, trust in His provision.  We need to have a healthy fear of the Lord that restrains us from asking Him repeatedly for something that may not be His perfect will for us.  


Seek the Lord while He may be found, 
Call upon Him while He is near....
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord.
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, 
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:6-9

He always will give us what is best for us when we trust in Him.  It may not be in our timing or in the way we think is best. It will always be in His divine timing and in the way that is His best for us.  The Lord is never late and He is never less than best.

So, if you don't get that giant crayon you've been wanting, remember the Lord has something better in mind for you.  Christ-like character is developed in us in the waiting.  God is more interested in the condition of our hearts than the condition of our pocket books.  Our character development and heart conditions are more valuable than any monetary treasure we may desire.

It says in God's Word, those who have faith and patience will inherit the promise (Hebrews 6:12).   Patience is only developed by waiting.  Wait with faith, expecting God's best and He will always deliver.  It may not be in the exact color you were expecting, but it will be what you need to help color in the picture of God's perfect will for your life. 


















Friday, November 11, 2011

The Ugly Cry

Have you ever experienced the "Ugly Cry"?  You know, when you cry and your face gets all red while snot and tears run everywhere.  The type of crying where you really know you should stop but your emotions are at odds with your mind.  The only thing worse is when that happens in a public place. 

Maybe I'm the only one this has ever happened to, it is quite embarrassing.  Thankfully, it hasn't happened often, only a few times that I can recall. One of those times was this past Wednesday night. 

I arrived at church with my emotions already raw from something I won't go into at this time and then my husband and I had a disagreement.  (Doesn't the enemy like to do that right before church?!)  There was one other thing that happened that really sent me into an emotional tail spin.  Both of us were serving in ministry areas that night, so we didn't have time to talk about the disagreement.  We just had to go inside and try to put on our "church face". 

I don't like pretense.  Sometimes just fessing up that we are going through something and admitting that we could use some prayer is best. Life can overwhelm us.  Nothing is too hard for God.  We don't necessarily have to wear our emotions on our sleeves and we should try to control our emotions.  However, I have seen people drown in their pretense because they wouldn't reach up for help for fear of what people would think. Many times people put on a "church face" when they should be seeking the "Face" of the Church-- Jesus.

This night, however, I wish I could have put on a church mask.  I was a mess and everyone who was around me knew it.  I couldn't hide it.  The tears started rolling and wouldn't stop.  If I could have stopped them, I would have gladly done it.  It was quite embarrassing.  Thankfully, I found a closet in the ministry area I was serving in and I went inside the closet to hide. Yes, that is right, to hide.

God is so good.  It was a supply closet and one my dear friends was also in the closet. (No, she wasn't crying, she was getting supplies.)     : )   One of the supplies she was getting was chocolate to pass out in the children's department.   She prayed with me and gave me a piece of chocolate.  What a great friend?!  God provided a friend and chocolate!  I tell you, God is so good! 

Let's fast forward now to Thursday.  My emotions were better now as I had time to process and pray about the situation. However, it was still there....lingering.  Plus now I was embarrassed about my ugly crying at church the night before.

But God.....  God did something amazing on Thursday.  He provided everything needed to calm my unsettled emotions-- 

He had a doctor call me with good news that I desperately needed to hear.  The doctor's timing couldn't have been any better.  He had a friend call me and encourage me without her knowing the timeliness of the phone call.  He had another friend provide confirmation and assurance that I was doing the right thing in stepping down from an overcommitment.  He had my wonderful husband provide me with a much needed night off. 

God graced me with everything I needed.  By the end of Thursday night, His love and grace covered me and I was overwhelmed with His goodness and love. 

He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.  Ephesians 3:20


Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.  Isaiah 43:19


The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices and with my song I praise Him.  Psalms 28:7

I know my God will meet my every need.  I know He will make a way where I cannot see the way.  I know He is my strength and my ever present help.  My heart is glad and I rejoice in Him.

I don't know why God calls me to tell on myself and announce to you when I make a fool out of myself.  My prayer is that it helps you in some way and glorifies Him.  If you cannot relate to this post, don't tell me and just pretend you didn't read it. ; )  Wednesday I was not ok, but thank the Lord that sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning!  He is good, His mercies are new every morning.  I will rejoice in Him today! 





Love to you all,

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

So Long Insecurity, Remember Who You Are


This week was a different kind of week in the bible study.  We didn't go over many of the discussion questions, we watched a Simulcast from Beth Moore.  Today I am going to share some truths from the Simulcast plus some personal revelation as the Lord leads.

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. Ephesians 5:1

If you are a parent, you probably realize that your children imitate you, good or bad.  We are God's children and as God's child we should imitate God. 

The reason I do this blog is because God told me to "tell people who they are" and "tell them I love them."  So, if you wonder why I talk about our identity in Christ in abundance, that is the reason.  Our security level is directly related to how much we believe God loves us. 

When we KNOW we are beloved children of God, we act differently.

I know someone who every time their teenage son left the house, she would remind them...."Remember who you are, you are a {their last name} and a child of God."   How we think about ourselves is vitally influential in how we act.

Eph 5:1 starts with the word "Therefore", so you know the verses before that one were related to this one. Looking at those verses helps reveal more insight into what imitating God looks like.

Put on the new man which was created according to God in true righteousness and holiness.  Ephesians 4:24

This verse is power packed with punch.   We are NOT our old selves.  Do you see that?!!! We were created in true righteousness and holiness!  We are a new creation in Christ, but we have to be convinced of it by the renewing of our mind in God's Word (2 Cor 5:17). If you believe you are your old self, you will act like your old self.

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you. 
Ephesians 4:29-32.

Yikes!  I don't know about you, maybe you always do well with this and only speak everything positive and always forgive perfectly and immediately.  I am becoming more like Jesus, but I am still working on it!  These verses speak to me and penetrate my heart.  It says these things grieve the Holy Spirit. I don't want to grieve Him. 

If we ever want to be secure, we have to forgive.  Many times when we are offended, it is out of insecurity.  Maybe someone looks at you wrong or says something that rubs you the wrong way.  They may not have even meant anything by it, but it is our insecurity that causes us to be offended by it.  When we are secure, we let things go and we do not let ourselves get offended.

Everything comes back to love.

When we know we are loved, we love. When we know we are loved, we forgive.  When we know we have been graced by God, we give grace to others.

You can look at it as you have the power to forgive.  It is in your hands, it is in your control.  The other person may not even know they need forgiveness.  If we ever want to be secure, WE HAVE TO FORGIVE.

I want to leave you with this one question posed by Beth the other night....

How different would we be if we went into every situation knowing we are the one loved by God?  Would we act differently?  Would we stand up a little taller?  Would we let offenses role off our backs?

So, today I tell you as you walk out your door, "Remember who you are, you are the one He loves.  You are His child."




 

Friday, November 4, 2011

By His Spirit and Grace

I am excited to announce that today I am guest poster on my dear friend, Becky Crenshaw's blog.  Please go to this link The Word of God and a Cup of Joe to see today's post, By His Spirit and Grace.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

So Long Insecurity, Week 5, Clothed in Strength and Dignity

I have to say I am loving this Bible study.  I love the ladies coming, the material, everything.  I am so glad you decided to join us here today.  This week we are talking about our clothing, but not your average clothing.

Clothes are fun!  As women, we love to go shopping and get new clothes. The way we are dressed can definitely impact our outlook.  It can also affect our inlook, meaning how we view ourselves. 

(I know inlook is not a real word...but maybe it should be one.) ; ) 

What we wear can determine how we act, how we walk, or talk.  We just feel a little better about ourselves when we have the right clothing on and our countenance reflects it. 

There is nothing worse for triggering insecurity than when we go somewhere and realize we are under dressed.   Likewise, the same is true if we go to a party and everyone is in jeans while we are wearing an evening gown.  The right clothing helps us feel secure. 

The Bible talks a lot about our clothing, but not our material clothing.  God says we are clothed in salvation, we are clothed with a robe of righteousness (Is 61: 10).  He says to "put on" (as clothes) kindness, humility, patience (Col 3:12).  We learned this week that He also says we are clothed in dignity and strength.

She is clothed with strength and dignity, she can laugh at the days to come.  Proverbs 31:25

When you think of the term "dignified", who comes to your mind?  I think about our Pastor's wife, Nora King.  I also think about Presidents and first ladies.  Do you think of yourself?

God says we are clothed in dignity.  Doesn't that make you stand up a little taller, throw your shoulders back a little more, and make you feel better than when you have a new outfit to show off?  (I know none of you show off, but just saying.)

When we KNOW we are clothed with strength and dignity, it will cause us to act and react differently to situations. 

Psalms 8:5 says:  God has "crowned (humans) with glory and honor."

A crown is a type of clothing.  We are crowned with glory, honor, strength, dignity."  When someone is "crowned", doesn't that immediately say to you that person is worthy of respect and honor?  That is us! 

God has covered us with His strength and His dignity.  It increases our confidence when we know who we are in Christ, and who God has created us to be.  It not only increases our earthly confidence, it increases our confidence with the Lord. 


Hebrews 4:16 says "come boldy [with free and fearless confidence] to the throne of Grace".  In 1 John 5:14-15 says:


This is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.


If we ask ANYTHING according to His will, He will do it.  There are certain things we KNOW are God's will and that is where we can be confident it will be done.  However, we have to "know that He hears us" and believe He will do it. 

You can take this one to the bank--It is God's will for us to be secure.   It is God's will for us to know we are worthy.  It is God's will for us to understand that we are clothed with strength and dignity and to walk in that strength.  If you have been struggling with insecurity, you can begin to pray to ask Him for help.  Ask Him to lead you into security in Him.  He will answer.

He has a brand new outfit waiting for you.  So, stand up a little taller, throw those shoulders back a little more and show off your new outfit from the Lord, the clothing of strength and dignity. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Hope

In today's world, people are hurting.  People need "Hope".

People are hungry, even starving for "hope".

But what is this seemingly intangible feeling everyone is reaching to grasp.

But I will hope continually and will praise You yet more and more.  Psalms 71:14

To understand the full magnitude of David saying this is Psalms, you have to look at the verses leading up to this one.  King Saul and his army were after David, seeking to take his life.  He was hiding in the wilderness and had been for quite awhile.  His situation seemed dire...a king wanted him dead!

Some might have lost "hope".  Not David.  He said, "I hope continually".

Now probably most of us do not have a king seeking to kill us, but we have other foes that seek to destroy our hope.  


Maybe (like many currently) you have lost a job and have been looking for awhile.  Maybe you are in a financial situation that appears hopeless.   Maybe you are going through a relationship crisis.


I don't know what your situation is, maybe things are rosy for you and you are thinking, "I don't need this one."  Great!  Maybe you know someone else who does.

Let's look at the word "hope" for a moment.  Let me define this kind of "hope" David had and the "hope" we should have as well.


The word for "hope"  in the original Hebrew is "yachal" and it means to wait or expect.

This kind of "hope" is not the kind of hope we are use to hearing about.  In my experience, when I have heard someone say, "I hope so",  it usually has not been a statement of expectancy.  It is a mamby-pamby statement of unbelief meaning, "maybe it will happen but.... probably not."

That definition of hope is NOT BIBLICAL! Biblical hope says, "I am waiting and expecting God to do something."

Hope is the expectation of a positive outcome.

We need to move our definition of "hope" to one of expectancy.  We need to expect a positive result because we serve a positive God.  

Don't tune me out here, I know you have heard the next verse before, but I promise I will make it worth another look!

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  Hebrews 11:1

Let's break this down for a moment using the original Greek.

"Faith" is the word "pistis" and look at what it means:  Belief with the predominate idea of trust or confidence.

"Substance"  is the word "hypostasis" and means:  Steadfastness of mind, firmness, courage, confidence, firm trust, assurance.

"Things hoped for" in this verse is the word "elpizo" and it means:  To wait with joy and full confidence.

"Things" is the word "pragma" and means:  That which exisits, that which has been done, an accomplished fact.

Are you getting this?  If you put all that together, you get something like this:

Faith is believing with confidence what we are waiting for with joy, the evidence of that which already exists or that which has already been accomplished that we just cannot see yet. 

The NIV translation says it this way:

Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  Hebrews 11:1

If you look at it with the definition of "hope" in mind, you can say:

Faith is expecting and being sure of a positive outcome and certain of what we do not see.

We don't need mamby-pamby hope, we need biblical "hope".  What is it you are waiting on God to do?  What is it you need?  You can be certain of a positive outcome.  Put your hope in the Lord and then wait in rest, expecting. God is always faithful.  David hoped in the Lord.  God protected and provided for David.  Hope in Him, He will get you out of your wilderness. 



















Wednesday, October 26, 2011

So Long Insecurity, Week 4: Our Roots

Roots....they go down deep, spreading and burrowing down, becoming our life force.  They are an anchor to us.  Sometimes that anchor holds us securely in a desirable place.  Other times, that anchor needs to be dug up and thrown away.  The later is the case if that anchor has held us back from all God has created us to be.


Credit: Free images from acobox.com







Let your roots grow down into [Christ Jesus], and let your lives be built on Him.  Then your faith will grow strong in the truth your were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Colossians 2:7 

If we have insecurity in our lives, we have roots of  insecurity.  Some examples of roots of insecurity are:
1. Instability in the home (for example: verbal, physical, emotional abuse or financial difficulty or mental/physical illness)
2.  Significant loss  (person, home, relationship)
3. Rejection
4. Dramatic Change
5.  Personal limitation (disability, scar, etc.)
6. Personal disposition and temperment
7. Our culture and media
8. Pride
 (Source: "So Long Insecurity" by Beth Moore, Chapters 5 and 6)

Hopefully you are not like me.  I can check "yes" to almost all of the above.   No wonder it has taken a long time to dig out those roots.  I am still digging.

It is difficult to dig deep to get down to the roots of the "why".  It can be painful to go there and sometimes it just seems easier to leave it all alone.

However, God is calling us to higher ground in Him.  He wants to uncover the roots and expose them, dig them out and replant us as a tree planted by rivers of water bearing good fruit in its season (Psalms 1:3).

Don't you know who you are, dear child of God!  You are an Oak of Righteousness, a planting of the Lord, the display of His splendor ( Isaiah 61:3).

Easier to leave it all alone?  Not on your life!  It is not easier to live in fear.  It is not easier to live in bondage.  It is not easier to live held down by the chains of condemnation!  ( I know, I use to be up to my eyeballs in bad roots that held me down!)

No, dear child of God.....the price of leaving it all alone and not forcing yourself to dig down to the roots is a life of bondage.   That price is one too high to pay.

Jesus already paid everything we need to be free.  The only requirement from us is to cooperate with the Lord, and let Him open and heal our hearts.  He won't force Himself in, we have to ask Him and allow Him access to the deepest depths of our brokenness.

Once, I thought I was completely healed of a devastating pain.  The Lord showed me that there were some areas that still needed a deeper touch from Him.  I had closed that wound up.  He revealed to me that He would need to open the wound  to heal it completely and thoroughly.

I pleaded with Him, "Lord, I don't want to go there...it is too painful."   It was painful because I was not completed healed yet.  He needed to re-open the wound to cleanse it with His Blood's healing power. 

Is there an area of your heart you have not allowed God access to because it is too painful?  I encourage you to go to Him in prayer and let Him into the depths of your heart.  He already knows what is in there. It won't surprise Him, I promise.  It may be painful in the moment, but healing and wholeness will follow.  He heals the brokenhearted and brings liberty to the captives ( Isaiah 61:1).

There is a root to all insecurity.  However, we can dig down and with the Lord dig up all those bad roots.  We want our roots to be planted by the Living Water, imbedded deep in the truth of God's Word.

Roots planted deep in the Lord Jesus Christ provide a secure anchor for our soul.

.....You already have everything in you to be secure if Jesus lives in you.


I love this a little further down from the verse above in Colossians 2:10..........

And you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. 

If you went down the list of roots of insecurity and could identify with them like I could....it is comforting and encouraging to know that He says:

YOU. ARE. ENOUGH.  I will never reject you.  Trust Me, let Me in, let Me heal.  I went to the cross for you, to free you.  I love you no matter what.  Nothing, nothing can ever separate you from My love.

How about it?  Will you let him heal?  Will you let him into the deepest parts of your wounds?  Healing awaits. Security follows.




Friday, October 21, 2011

Thoughts are Music

Have you ever had a song in your head that just wouldn't leave?  It just plays over and over again like a broken recordMaybe it is a favorite song, but many times it is one we would rather not have in our head.

My little girl has a Barbie guitar and it plays "Barbie Girl" by Aqua.  Catchy little ditty that easily gets stuck in my head. 

"I'm a Barbie girl in a Barbie world...life in plastic, it's fantastic....."  (I apologize if it is in your head all day now)  : )

Songs stick in our heads easily.  Being careful what we listen to is important.  That applies whether it is music, T.V., what we read, or our thoughts. 

We don't have to listen to every thought that enters our head.  Many times a thought comes into our minds like a bad song we want OUT of our head!

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.  Psalms 19:14

We want the meditations of our hearts to be acceptable in God's sight.

The Hebrew word for "meditation" in the verse above is higgayown

It means resounding music.  (Doesn't it look a little like "boogy-town")  God has such a sense of humor. 

Our meditations are the resounding music that we play over and over again in our head.  Thoughts become meditations when we record them and press replay on a looping cycle.  We determine if the music in our head is a beautiful melody or an harmonic nightmare.  If what we are hearing is predominantly a chaotic critical chord, we need to change our tune and boogie to a different beat!

We need to be sure the seeds we allow to be planted in our minds are going to spring up and produce a beautiful melody that brings life and not destruction.

Life in plastic for Barbie may be fantastic, but life for us with our minds bound up with a bad song replaying over and over again is not so fantastic. 

"Blessed is the man....his delight is in the law of the Lord, 
And in His law he meditates day and night.  
He shall be like a tree planted by rivers of water, 
That brings forth its fruit in its season
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper."  Psalms 1:1-3  (emphasis added)



The song playing in our heads determines the song that comes out of our mouths.  It determines the song that comes out in our lives.  What song are you playing?  What thoughts are you allowing to boogie around in your mind?  Is it time to change the tune? Meditating on the life giving Word of God results in a beautiful prosperous melody.  


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

So Long Insecurity, Week 3

This week the bible study focused on understanding that insecurity touches everyone.  The only one who ever escaped it was Jesus. 



We looked at some heroes of faith in the Bible that dealt with insecurity including Moses, Sarah, and Paul.

We also examined the lives of Leah and Saul.  I would love to discuss Leah.  I feel so sorry for her.  She never felt like she could measure up.  She just kept having babies in vain attempts to win the affections of a man who did not love her.  She knew rejection.  So many of us search for security and approval in our performance. So much to say about that, but maybe another day. 

Today, we will just look at Moses.


Moses wrestled with insecurity.  God spoke to him in a dramatic way through the burning bush. God told Moses that He had chosen him to deliver His people.  God even gave him the exact details of how it would happen. (How many times do we think if God would just give us all the details, then we could trust Him.  Hmmm.  Would we?) 

Moses didn't.  Moses said to the Lord God.

"O my Lord, I am not elequent, neither before nor since You have spoke to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue".  Exodus 4:10 

(Like the Lord didn't know his weaknesses.  : ) We are so funny sometimes.  I'm sure God just cracks up at the things we say and do.)
 
Interpretation:  I cannot do this!  You have the wrong man.  He told the God of the Universe, "Um, I think you made a mistake."  Sue's translation.  : )

Notice that God didn't say in response, "Oh yeah, I forgot about that.  Never mind, what was I thinking?".

No, of course not.  God, in His patience, answered him saying, "Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say."

Do you know what Moses said back to God?  "O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send." 

He pleaded with God to send someone else!  He did not believe he could do what the Lord was asking him to do even when the Lord spoke to him directly.  Now, that is some insecurity we can relate to.   
 
Don't we do the same thing at times?  Don't we say, "Lord, send someone else.  Don't you know I ______." (Fill in whatever weakness or excuse that fits).   Of course He knows our weaknesses.  He calls us anyway.

There is another facet of Moses that is encouraging to me.  Moses had a shady past.  Moses killed a man and then fled from the consequences.  He grew up in a very dysfunctional family. (What is more dysfunctional than the Pharaoh's family?)

God will use anyone no matter their past.  
 
It is easy to see why Moses struggled with insecurity.  He felt inadequate in his abilities.  He knew he had a sinful past.  He lost his entire family, twice The man had issues!
 
One of the verses that was brought up the other night was Psalms 68:6
"God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity." 

God restored Moses and placed him in a family after He had lost everything.  Then, when God called Moses back to Egypt to deliver His people, He reunited him with his long lost biological brother and sister plus about a million of his closest relatives!  
 
God knows how to restore!  He will restore whatever has been stolen from us, including our security. 
 
We need to uncover the roots of our insecurity.  Some questions Beth Moore suggests is to ask yourself.....
 
1.  What am I afraid of?
2.  Who am I afraid of?
3.  What are we afraid of losing?
4.  Why are we afraid of being displaced?

"I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears."  Psalms 34:4

What is it you are afraid of and how do you react when faced with that fear?  In our study the other night, the ladies came up with some good suggestions.

 Stop. Breathe. Pray.

Pull out scripture (such as 2 Corinthians 10:5).   Use your God knowledge:  Know He will defend you. 

Reason can also work at times.  Sometimes thoughts come into our heads that are just plain crazy and we know they are not true.  It is easy to dismiss those thoughts. 

There is so much more I could say.  I cannot go into everything we learned and discussed Monday night; this post would be way too long.  I want to end with two scriptures to encourage you when you feel inadequate as Moses felt.   These are two verses Beth used in the study as well.

"And He (the Lord) said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."   2 Cor 12:9

His never ending grace is sufficient.  When we mess up, when we say the wrong thing, when we do not feel adequate.....His grace is sufficient. 

When we are weak, He is strong.

"Be still and know that I am God." Psalms 46: 10 
 
or as the New American Standard Bible says it:  "Cease striving and know that I am God."

"Ceases striving" and rest in the Lord.  Know that He approves of you. 
 
He knows everything about us.  He knows all our weaknesses, and chooses to use us anyway.  I believe one of the reasons He does use us in spite of ourselves is so we KNOW it is Him accomplishing His work, not us.  It is so we can boast in Him and not get full of ourselves. 

I could go on and on about all we are learning!  I encourage you to get Beth Moore's book "So Long Insecurity" if you have ever felt insecure.  If you have, know that you are in good company with some of the Bible's most popular people used by God in significant ways. 
 
God wants to use you in a significant way.  It doesn't matter what you have done or what your family's history presents.....God sees beyond all that to the person He created you to be.  God sees what we cannot see in ourselves.  When he calls, let's not tell him all the reasons we cannot. We just need to answer "yes" and trust Him with the rest. 
 
 







Monday, October 17, 2011

It All Started With Ketchup

Sitting in a fast food restaurant chain, the five of us in our family chowed down on the typical fast food variety.  Luke, my 6 year old, and I shared a ketchup.

Chris went to get more ketchup and I thought, "I hope he gets us more ketchup as well.  We could use more ketchup."

He came back from the ketchup fetching with no ketchup for us.  "Hmmm. How unthoughtful of him", I thought.

The next day, something else happened that I cannot remember at the moment that caused me to think, "That wasn't very thoughtful.  He isn't being very considerate of me lately."

The day after that, as I was scurrying around to get dinner together, he was in the other room doing work.  Again, I thought, "It would be nice if he would be thoughtful enough to help me."

So, I said to him, "I am tempted to be mad at you right now.  It seems you haven't been very thoughtful of me lately", and I gave him all three examples.

He said, "I didn't realize you needed more ketchup, I looked and it appeared you still had enough." (He had thought to look.)  "I didn't know you needed help with dinner, you know I would help you if you need it."  (He always helps when I ask and he always does the dishes afterwards to help me, it is his thing.)

He really is a very thoughtful man, my mind was just trying to convince me otherwise.  The enemy tries to plant negative seeds in our minds.  Sometimes, we plant negative seeds in our minds.  If we let them stay in our minds, if we give them voice, they start to take root.

Take no thought, saying "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?" or "What shall we wear?"  Matt 6:31

The point here is that when a thought comes to you, you do not have to "take" it.  You can say, "No, thank you" when it is offered to you.  You do not have to let it be planted and take root.

I was tempted to let those thoughts take root.  They could have developed into a nasty tree ripe with bitterness, resentment, and criticism.  That kind of fruit is not good for a marriage or any other relationship.  Those are bad fruits that will destroy a relationship.


Credit: Free images from acobox.com


Thoughts are seeds.  We can decide if will allow negative thoughts to stay and plant bad seeds, and ultimately result in bad fruit.  On the flip side, positve thoughts yield good fruit.

A thought stays by giving it life with our words. 

The heart (mind) and the mouth are closely related.

Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.  Luke 6:45

We need to be cautious to evaluate our thoughts.  Do they line up with God's truth? Does it line up with what I already know?  ( I already knew my husband is thoughtful, he is a wonderful man....the thoughts I was having did not line up with truth about him.)   What kind of fruit will this thought produce if it stays?  Is it positive or negative? 

Now sometimes, our thoughts are valid and we need to address issues.  We just need to be certain to do it in the correct way.  Prayerfully.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.  Psalms 19:14

The words that come out of our mouths start as meditations in our hearts.  We want our thought or meditations to be approved of by God.  We want our thoughts to be good seeds planted that will bear fruit for the Lord. 

We need to be sure the seeds we allow to be planted in our minds are going to spring up and produce a fruit that brings life and not destruction.

I was "tempted" to be mad at Chris because of my thoughts.  It all started with ketchup.  That bad tomato almost got the best of me.  The thoughts were not even based in reality.

Thankfully, those thoughts did not take root. I did not "take" those thoughts and keep them.  It would have been destructive to our relationship to let those thoughts stay.  The fruit produced would have been rotten and corrosive.

What kind of seeds are you allowing to be planted in your mind?  What kind of fruit will those thoughts produce?  Let's take an inventory and throw out the seeds that will produce bad fruit.  Let's throw out those rotten tomatoes!  And let's keep and plant seeds that will produce good, beautiful fruit.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pausing for Peace

Thank you to everyone who left comments, liked on facebook, commented on facebook, or became a follower to enter in the Giveaway this week!  

Drum roll please.......................and the winner of the "So Long Insecurity" Giveaway is.............

Julia Pope! Congratulations! I will contact you.  : )

Last night the sky was illuminated with a double rainbow in the middle of the dark clouds.  Beautiful.  He spoke to my heart to say, This is for you.  I give you my peace, I give you a double portion.  Trust in my promises.  Do you have any dark clouds in your life?  There is a rainbow in the middle of it bursting forth, shining bright.  The clouds will vanish and all that will be left is the rainbow, God's promises always prevail.

Credit: Free images from acobox.com




(This was not the one I saw, I didn't take a picture of it. Still beautiful.)

This has been a CRAZY BUSY week.  Life for me lately has been full.  Can you relate?  Probably many of you can.  We have so much competing for our attention, demanding our time.  I would like to press "Pause" for a moment.



Pause....breathe.....soak in the truth of God's Word.  Soak in the depth of His peace.

I will give you peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none will make you afraid.  Lev 26:6

Does fear of rejection, fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of _____ ever steal your peace? God said He would give us peace and that nothing will make us afraid. 

The Lord will lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.  Numbers 26:6

Great peace have those that love my law and nothing shall offend them.  Psalms 119: 165

You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. 
Isaiah 26:3  


Oh, how we need to keep our eyes and mind on Jesus and trust in Him. 


Lord, You will establish peace for us.  For You have also done all our works in us. Isaiah 26:12

The Lord is completing all He wants to accomplish in us.  He will do it.  We can have peace rather than worry.  Worry is not from the Lord, peace is.


Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubles, neither let it be afraid.  John 14:27

I pray the Lord speaks to you heart as He did mine this morning as I read these verses, these Truths.  I needed this today.  His peace passes all understanding (Phil 4:7).  Praying for a double portion of His peace to fill you and rest on you today.  Love you all!

Dear Heavenly Father,  I thank you for your peace.  Father, I ask for you to fill us with a double portion of your peace and rest today.  Oh, how we need You.  I pray for Your presence to be evident to all of us, that we would see You as we go about our day.  Our day may be busy, but you have promised to give us peace.  I pray that others would see Your peace in us, and want it as well.  I pray we would glorify you in all we say and do.  Thank you for your Holy Spirit and I pray for Him to fill us and rest on us.  We love you.  In Jesus' Holy name, Amen.



 
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