Monday, December 6, 2010

What We Leave Behind

Last year I bought a pair of "funeral clothes". Just some black pants and shoes with a nice shirt. I hoped that I wouldn't have to wear that outfit too often. But Jeremy and I are beginning to realize that the older we get, the more loss we will experience personally and through those we love. A friend of mine with a terminal illness recently stated that "We are all terminal". How true that is.

As I was standing in the 2-hour line for calling hours of a family friend yesterday, I was reminded that only two things matter at a funeral: 1)where that person is spending eternity, and 2)who they left behind. Yesterday was a cause for celebration as the deceased is now in heaven with Jesus. There was a sadness present for those left behind, but also great hope and peace in knowing God was present and in control. As the line progressed through different rooms I did not learn where Bob lived, what kind of car he drove, what awards he had received, or how much "stuff" he had. What I saw was how much he loved and was loved in return. Pictures with his wife of 43 years and the journey they had traveled together....children, grandkids, tons of memories. Plus the mere presence of so many people waiting to show their respects to Bob's family testify to the type of man that he was. I want to leave behind that type of legacy too.

With Christmas quickly approaching I am reminded that it is relationships, not gifts, that are important. What matters is our relationship with the Lord, and the time spent and memories made with others. That is what we leave behind. Thanks, Bob & Gina, for your beautiful witness.

"How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty. I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God...How happy are those who can live in your house, always singing your praises"
~ Psalm 84: 1,2,4

Friday, November 5, 2010

Divine Appointments

Tonight did not go as I had planned. It is date night. Only problem is that I didn't have a date! My husband is in Columbus getting ready to coach a boy in the state cross country meet tomorrow. Because of our co-op I already had a sitter and the boys wanted to play with their friends, so I began looking forward to an evening of quiet alone...a date with Jesus. Little did I know that a divine appointment had already been set in its place.

I came into my quiet house, made a cup of French Vanilla Cappachino, and got ready to relax. Then I got the text..."Are you busy?" Sigh. I wanted to say yes, but then thought better of it. "Can we talk?" Sure...come on over. It was no coincidence that she texted me one of the few times EVER that I have an empty house. To be able to have a conversation and listen without interruptions was a rare opportunity. And while I'm not sure my words had any effect on the heart of this woman who is so far from the Lord, I hold onto this hope that God will use me to open her eyes to His presence.

I have since picked up the boys and tucked them safely in their beds. I have spoken with my husband and said good-night. And now I have the quiet time I had been anticipating, with much more to pray about. I am thankful that God opened my eyes to his divine appointment tonight. I would have regretted letting it pass by.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Question Answered

The following is a post I don't want to write. It's a lesson I'd rather keep to myself because I know there will be people who won't agree. But the more I see and hear, the more I realize it's a subject that needs to be brought up and talked about.

Ever since becoming a Christian I've had a question that never had a clear answer. "Is it ok for a married person to be friends with someone of the opposite sex?" (By "friend", I mean more than business-related or small talk). A few years ago I would have said yes. I thought as long as there was not an obvious problem with lust or something inappropriate physically that it was ok. Today I would answer differently. Here's a few reasons why...

Marriages are falling apart all around me, both non-believers and Christians. Sometimes a physical affair is involved. But even if it isn't, there is usually an "understanding" member of the opposite sex who has befriended one or both individuals. Things start out very innocent, but once that person starts to listen and meet emotional needs that the spouse is not, there is trouble. My eyes have been opened to this pattern that is being repeated over and over in various forms.

I believe that opposite-sex friendships give Satan a foothold in our lives. There is even more to consider than the obvious temptation of emotional or physical affairs. Let's say the relationship is 100% there any harm? One thing to consider is the spouse. There is potential for jealousy and feelings of insecurity to arise in them, which could put distance in any relationship. And then there is the potential for rumors to spread. It doesn't matter if they are true or not...rumors could do damage to our witness for Christ. Satan wants us turning to members of the opposite sex rather than to God or same-sex friendships because there is so much destruction for him to put into motion. Marriages destroyed...friendships strained...Christians losing their power to influence others...

Being someone who grew up with mostly male friendships I can tell you that this part of married life has been a struggle for me at times. I have had to give up a good friendship. It wasn't easy...but it was right. I figure I'm already in a battle with the enemy, and I certainly don't need to be providing him with more ammunition. Decide today what your boundaries will be. Pray that your eyes will be opened to Satan's schemes. And please feel free to comment any thoughts you have on the subject.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


The past few weeks my devotions have been in the book of Deuteronomy. This book is a written account of what Moses said to the Israelites just before they were about to enter the Promised Land. He began by reminding them of God's goodness and He rescued them from slavery in Egypt and provided for them in the wilderness. Next he lays out God's expectations and commandments, urging the people to obey. Moses tells them if they are obedient they would experience abundant blessing, but if they chose to disobey or worship idols then the consequences would be ugly. Ultimately it all came down to a choice. "Today I have given you a choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live! Choose to love the Lord and to obey Him and commit yourself to him, for he is your life" - Deut. 30:19-20

We also have choices to make every day that can result in blessing or consequences (curses). We choose whether or not to listen to God's voice, believe Him, and obey. We choose how we react to circumstances that are a result of the choices of others or a result of living in a fallen world. We choose whether or not to love, to forgive, or to put the needs of others above our own. Our choices can lead us to abundant life or to a miserable existence. Let it be said of us that we chose life.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Change in the Making

"From the dawn of history You make new and you redeem

From a broken world to a broken heart You finish what you start in everything

Like a river rolls into the sea we're not who we're going to be

But things are going to change. "

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I Am Second

I love testimonies. No one can dispute a person's experience. There is no confusion over the source, whether it was translated correctly, or taken out of context. It is simply what one person has found to be true. For me, nothing is more encouraging than hearing stories of how God has radically changed a person's life. So I was very excited to come across the site Well-known people sharing why God is now first and they are second. I hope the stories impact you as they have impacted me.

Monday, July 26, 2010

How to Recover From a Snake Bite

I can thankfully say that I've never been bitten by a snake (at least not by one that looks like this picture). But reading about the Israelites this morning has me thinking a lot about snakes, sin, and remedies...

It all started with Numbers 21:4-9 ...But the people grew impatient along the way, and they began to murmur against God and Moses. "Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?" they complained. "There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this wretched manna!" So the Lord sent poisonous snakes among them, and many of them were bitten and died. Then the people came to Moses and cried out, "We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take away the snakes." So Moses prayed for the people. Then the Lord told him "Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to the top of a pole. Those who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!" So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to the top of a pole. Whenever those who were bitten looked at the bronze snake, they recovered!

The people sinned and there was a consequence. And of course the consequence wasn't pleasant so the people repented and asked for it to be removed. (I'm pretty sure a bunch of poisonous snakes would have caused me to beg for mercy too!) But what stands out to me is how God works. He doesn't remove the consequence of sin, but instead provides a remedy. The snakes were still there...someone may still get bit...but if he looked to the snake on the pole, he would live.

Jump ahead to John 3:14-17 and we see the same thing played out. Jesus says "And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so I, the Son of Man, must be lifted up on a pole, so that everyone who believes in me will have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it."

Sin was brought into the world and caused separation between us and God. We live with the consequence, but God provided a remedy. The enemy is still there...we may still get attacked...but look to Jesus and believe in him, and we shall live. Sometimes I would rather that God take out the enemy and remove all the consequenes of sin from my life. But if He removed the snakes, would I still be as desperate to catch a glimpse of the image on top of the pole?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Back in the Game

When I lived in Columbus I loved grocery shopping. Clipping coupons and finding good deals was fun. But since moving to this small town where I have to drive 20 miles to a large grocery store (and having babies to cart around), I gave it up. Grocery shopping has become more of a chore. Would the drive be worth it? Would it be worth the time? All I can say is YES!

This week was my first week back in the game (after nearly 9 years). I bought a copy of the Dispatch and did some research on couponing sites my friends use. Here's what I got...

Got this stuff for $6 after rebates at CVS. The Extra Care Bucks at CVS blows me away. If you work it right you can get free products all the time. It seems too good to be true. For example, the contact solution I bought was $7.99, but I got $7.99 Extra Care Bucks that I can use as cash on my next essentially it was free! And if I use that money to buy other "Free" items on my next visit, no money will be leaving my pockets. And you can use coupons for the item too, which actually makes you a profit! LOL

This is the result of my trip to Kroger. Spent only $15...saved $44. Part of it was matching up sales with coupons. I also took advantage of a pharmacy promotion they are running through the middle of August. Transfer a prescription to Kroger Pharmacy and get $25 free groceries! (You can transfer up to 8, for a potential profit of $200).

I still plan to support my small town grocery store and pharmacy when the prices are competitive, but a weekly trip out of town to hunt down deals has now been added to my schedule :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Giving Life

I don't like needles. Just knowing a shot is coming or that I'll have to give blood could tie my stomach in knots for hours. One of my worst pregnancy experiences was the IV. Once I finished having babies I was resolved not to be stuck again. That was, until God convicted me...

My husband has been a blood donor for a while now. I was content encouraging him to do it, but there was no way I would. Recently I saw a postcard advertising a blood drive coming up in which you could get $15 in gift cards and a chance to win a car. Since I love free stuff that was almost enough to get me to consider donating, but still fell short. Then something spoke to my heart through Leviticus of all places. God says "It is the blood, representing life, that brings you atonement...the life of every creature is in the blood" (Lev 17: 11,14) I have life running through my veins that I can easily give in order to sustain the life of someone else. Could I ever look at another person and say "Sorry I can't help you, I don't like the discomfort of having a needle in my arm for 15 minutes"?

So I mustered my courage and went. It took about an hour of my time and was not as horrible as my imagination had told me. After donating, a good friend reminded me that she had needed 20 pints of blood after her car accident. I'm thankful there was a supply available for her. And I pray the sacrifice of myself and the others donors will be used to give life to many others.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


It's been quite a while since I've taken the time to read a book, but thanks to my vacation I got to finish a really good one. I knew I had some issues, but I never realized before that they mainly stem from the same source...insecurity. In Beth Moore's book, So Long Insecurity, there were some struggles described that I've never had, and others that described me so well it was scary. If you are a woman, put this book on your must-read list.

I thought I would share a bit of insight that has been helpful to me. Beth writes "Any time insecurity hits, you can be sure that you are afraid of something. The question is, what?...You have to look beyond the obvious to see the wind driving the wave." What are we afraid of? Failure? Rejection? Being abandoned? I've been asking myself "If what I'm afraid of DOES happen, will it really matter?" Sometimes the answer is no. This happened to me just yesterday. I put in my Called to Belong CD hoping to do some practicing for the choir and I couldn't hear my part. We had just had practice the night before, but without a voice singing in my ear I was lost. Back comes the insecurity, making me want to drop the whole thing. I'm surrounded by members of our worship team who sing beautifully. I fear embarrassment. What if I am off pitch and no one says anything? What if I don't have the talent required? What if...? But then I thought, does it really matter? Will God be any less pleased? No. Will my friends think less of me? Not if they're my friends. If picking out harmony never comes easily to me, I will be ok. If I sing so badly that I get kicked off the choir, I will still be ok. I refuse to let my insecurity and fears keep me from giving this a try. Hebrews 10: 35-36 states "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".

Sometimes our insecurities and fears are much more serious, such as losing a loved one. I've envisioned many more "What if..." scenarios than I can count. What Beth points out is that the real issue is in trusting God. Do we trust Him no matter what? If our worst fears are realized, do we still trust Him to walk with us through the valley and work all things together for our good? May it be said of you and I: [She] will have no fear of bad news; [her] heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. [Her] heart is secure, [she] will have no fear; in the end [she] will look in triumph on [her] foes - Psalm 112:7-8

Monday, June 7, 2010

Lessons Learned from My Flowerbed

Our front landscaping is nearly complete. It feels good to step back and see the result of all our hard work. We have depended on the knowledge and advice of many friends and were even given some starter plants. And this would not have been possible without the dedication and labor of my wonderful husband. Many thanks to everyone who has helped.

I have learned a few things during this process of creating our flowerbeds.

1. Plants look much smaller once you plant them than they do at the greenhouse.

2. Do not order plants bareroot unless you are prepared to wait a while to see something that resembles what you ordered.

3. The beauty of the flowerbed is not only what you see initially, but what you imagine it will look like. I know the potential each plant has to grow and bloom. I have planted in faith of what will come. So now I need to nurture them to maturity and watch what will happen. It's kind of like raising kids. My joy comes from the present, but also hope for the future and what it will bring.

4. All things of beauty take effort to maintain. It didn't take long for weeds to rear their ugly heads. Now I will need to learn to recognize the plants from the weeds, especially in the spring when I hear they can look very similar.

5. Working outside and rainfall must be connected somehow...

6. Solar landscaping lights and children are not very compatible! Super glue and duct tape are good to have on hand.

7. Landscaping is addicting. We already have future projects in mind. I never knew I would enjoy it so much!

So now we wait, and water, and weed. Waiting on things to grow and blossom and spread. Appreciating all the beautiful variations of plants and flowers that God has created.

Monday, May 10, 2010

In a Hurry?

In a recent Chip Ingrim podcast he said that one of the best ways to avoid stress is to eliminate hurry from your life. He was so determined to make this change in his life that for 2 years he chose to drive only in the slow lane and to stand in the longest line at the grocery store. That's one way to teach yourself patience!

The more I thought about it, I realized that many of the times I'm rushing around it's to accomplish a to-do list that I've created, but which isn't really necessary. Maybe it's time to lower my expectations a little in order to enjoy life more.

Here are some of Chip's observations...

When I'm in a hurry I don't notice the flowers blooming alongside the road.

When I'm in a hurry there seems to be more irritating drivers on the road than normal.

When I'm in a hurry I don't strike up friendly conversations with those around me.

When I'm in a hurry I avoid people, places, and things that take time, energy, and effort.

When I'm in a hurry I pretend not to see the person behind me in line who only has a few items while I have a cart full of groceries.

When I'm in a hurry I rush through the day and I rush by people.

When I'm in a hurry I don't ask people how they really are. Or if I do, I don't stick around to hear the answer.

When I'm in a hurry my devotional life is a task to get done instead of a time to treasure.

When I'm in a hurry I'm abrupt with people.

When I'm in a hurry it feels like life is a race to be run.

When I'm in a hurry I get angry more easily and more often.

When I'm NOT in a hurry I enjoy my food more.

When I'm not in a hurry I smile more and just feel calmer.

When I'm not in a hurry life seems to be more enjoyable and less stressful.

When I'm not in a hurry I'll ask about others, about themselves, how they're doing, and I actually like hearing what they have to say.

When I'm not in a hurry my times in prayer are more meaningful.

When I'm not in a hurry things don't bother me as much. I'm more patient, loving, understanding, and tolerant.

To which I will add...When I'm not in a hurry I more accurately reflect the character of Jesus.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New Adventures

A while ago I committed myself to blogging once a week, and now I'm feeling guilty for not doing it! But it's not a good kind of I'm releasing myself from that. If God gives me something to write I will most certainly do it. Until then I will be enjoying some new adventures in this season of my life...

Jacob is now in baseball. Just adding practice two nights a week seems to fill up our schedule. I can't imagine what it will be like when all 3 boys are playing sports! I am thankful for now that there is a playground next to the ball field, so Brady and Isaac have a fun place to burn off some of their energy :)

(Isaac will be 5 years old tomorrow!)

I recently began a Women's Bible Study called Anointed, Transformed, and Redeemed: A Study of David. This is the first time I've done a study that includes a workbook with daily homework. I like this added component, but it takes time if I really want to benefit from it.

With the help of a friend I am working on landscaping the front of our house. We have not done a thing with landscaping since we moved in 9 years ago, so it's about time. I've put it off because I know very little about gardening and haven't wanted to take the time to learn. There is no turning back now though...we've already ripped out all our bushes. And as Isaac would say there are large "bones" sticking out of the ground. Time to add some beauty...

And finally I will be preparing to be part of the worship event "Called to Belong" in August. The thought of being up on a stage in any capacity makes me uncomfortable, so this will be a stretch. However, I love music, I love my husband and those involved, and I have every reason in the world to praise my heavenly Father, so why not? I have not been in a choir since junior high! Hoping that my voice will be pleasant to His ears and to those around me LOL

So that's what is happening in my life amidst the daily routines and trying to balance work and rest. My days are full, but not too busy that I don't have room to breathe or be available to others. And that's just how I want them to be.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Naming of Sarah

Her name wasn't always used to be Sarai. Her story is one that has intrigued me this week as if I'm reading it with new eyes.

It begins with her marriage to Abram. I wonder if she knew how much that one event would change her life. God instructs Abram to gather his family and move to a new land. So Sarai obediently leaves behind everything and everyone she has ever known. After traveling a great distance to this promised land there is a famine, requiring them to go to Egypt temporarily. Here is where her knight in shining armor lets her down. Because Abram feared for his own life, he partially lied about his relationship with Sarai, resulting in her being taken into the king's harem. I wonder how special she felt surrounded by the other women, knowing that her husband had decided not to fight for her. Thankfully God came to her rescue by making the truth known to the pharaoh so that she was returned to her rightful place.

So they left Egypt and made a life for themselves in Canaan. God had promised Abram descendants as numerous as the stars, yet after 10 years Sarai was still barren. I can hear her asking herself "What is wrong with me? Am I not worthy?" In a moment of weakness she suggested to Abram that he bear children with her servant Hagar instead. I wonder if she was hoping he would say "No Sarai, you are my wife and the only one I want. We will wait on God who will fulfill His promise". But instead Abram agreed. Hagar became pregnant, Sarai became bitter, and the drama began.

Thirteen years later, God once again declares his promise to make Abram the father of many nations. This time He changes Abram's name to Abraham and they form a covenant. God says his covenant will be fulfilled through a son born to Sarai. And He gives Sarai a new name as well. Maybe because He could see her heart, her hurts, her questions. He knew she needed affirmation of her worth... so He says "From now on you shall call her Sarah", which means princess.

Sarah's story doesn't end there. Even with a new name and a fresh promise, Abraham once again decides not to claim Sarah as his wife and allows her to be taken into another king's palace. This man may be a great patriarch, but he sure is a slow learner! Once again, God comes to her rescue. He then fulfills His promise by blessing her with a son and bringing her laughter.

Abraham was a good man, and therefore I assume a good husband, but he had some stumbles at his wife's expense. I see the Lord as the real hero in Sarah's story. He is the one who rescues her (twice) and affirms her with a new name. And we too can look to that same hero to rescue us and name us "princess". After all, we are daughters of the King!

Monday, April 5, 2010

My Princess Heart

It's no secret that women love fairy tales and romance. In Nicole Johnson's book, Keeping a Princess Heart, she identifies three elements that these tales stir up in a woman's soul...the desire to be known, the longing to be loved, and the yearning to see that all will be well. But the problem we run into, myself included, is when we expect these desires to be fully satisfied by men.

"Women put men under enormous pressure to be the prince. Most of the time we aren't even aware of how much we do it. Somewhere along the journey we stopped hoping that the prince would come and started hoping that the prince would come through. The hope of his physical presence changed into a demand for his emotional presence. Some of those expectations are normal and right. But if a woman doesn't yet know her own name, or if she thinks that the love she has (or doesn't have) is all the love there is, she might end up clutching the prince by the throat. Every woman seeks to get the love she needs from an earthly prince, but at some level it will not satisfy her - ever. The thirst for love in a woman's heart must be met first by a higher love, from a well that won't run dry. Unfortunately, an earthly prince just doesn't have enough water... So the princess must first look into the face of God's Son. She must trust her love from the Prince of heaven above the love of any earthly prince. Whether she is single, married, divorced with three children, or a young teenager entering the world of love, she must turn her gaze to meet his eyes before looking into the eyes of anyone else." - Nicole Johnson

I have a great husband, but he can't fulfill all my needs. I benefit from reminders, like this one, to keep my eyes focused on the only prince who can satisfy my princess heart.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Three Years Ago

Three years ago I got an awesome gift which I named Brady. This gift takes a lot of effort to take care of and maintain, but the rewards are worth it. Brady has a certain power over me...his smile and affection can cheer me up even on my worst days. His expressions and mannerisms are priceless, especially his dancing. He loves making people laugh.

So today I give thanks for my little boy who fills me with so much joy. May we have many more years together ~

Monday, March 22, 2010

Lessons From the Bus Line

Sending my kids to school is a wonderful thing, but also a bit scary. I've been warned about all the things they will pick up from other children...bad language, bad habits, and hearing information not intended for young ears. Sometimes I feel guilty for putting my kids in that environment, yet I'm pretty sure homeschooling is not for me.

So I was thrilled that the first thing Jacob learned "from the bus line" was on the other end of the spectrum. We were visiting Jeremy's grandpa and Jacob asked him to test his math skills in "times". He was asked, "What's 8x8?", and Jacob replied 64! Jeremy and I just looked at each other as if to say "Where did he learn that?!" I knew they were only doing simple addition and subtraction in first grade. After exploring Jacob's new skills we asked him where he learned to multiply.... "A 3rd grader taught me in the bus line." Needless to say he has one proud daddy :)

I know a day will come when peer pressure will have the opposite effect, but for now I'm encouraged that not everything our children learn from their peers will be a bad influence. I pray that God continues to surround my little boys with friends who will build them up and lead them in the right direction.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


When I took my last final exam in college I was relieved to be done with tests. No more stress wondering if I had studied the right things and if I could recall it at the right time. No more letter grades defining my success. And while I have never taken another test on paper, I have been learning that testing in life never ends.

"A test is usually given to find out what we know. From a biblical perspective, a test is given to find out what we believe. Tests in school are often stressful, and so it is in life. Trials, tests, and temptations are difficult but necessary tools in the hands of God to strengthen and prove our faith" - Cynthia Heald

Peter writes "Dear friends, don't be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you...These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold - and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world" 1 Peter 4:12, 1:7

I still don't like tests, but my hope is the same as Job's - that "when he has tested me, I will come forth like gold."

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Money Manager

After listening to Chip Ingrim podcasts for a few months, I am a huge fan. He recently told a story about money management that painted a really cool picture. Here is the abridged version:

When Chip was a young pastor, he was approached by a board member named John who had a heart for the poor and hurting. He told Chip "You have opportunity, and I have money. Here is a checkbook with $5000 in it. I want you to be my money manager. When you see someone with a need, use this money to take care of it. Then I'd like to have lunch with you 3-4 times a year and have you tell me what's been done." This relationship went on for 7 years. When they would meet for lunch, Chip would go through the entries and tell John how his money had been spent, to which John would reply "Praise the Lord!" Chip says that no matter how much he gave away, more money kept being put into the account. What were the results of this relationship? John and Chip became close friends. Chip was able to bring joy to John's heart and he was able to help people in ways he had only dreamed. Chip knew he would give an account for the money he spent, so he spent wisely...after all, it wasn't his money! Chip was simply John's steward.

My first thought was "I wish someone would give me a checkbook so I could bless more people!" But then I began to see the picture before me. I am God's steward. He has given me resources and has appointed me his money manager. When I use God's money wisely it can deepen our relationship, bring joy to God's heart, and give me the satisfaction of helping others. I should be careful how I spend my money, because it's not really mine to begin with and I will one day give an account of my decisions.

I knew this already, but I like having the picture to go along with it :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Power of the Pen

I have been trained well to take notes. I took notes in high school, in college, at a job, during ministry events, and when given directions or instructions I needed to remember. So why is it that I have never taken notes before during my devotions? I have kept a journal of milestones and such, but never a daily account of the things I was learning through God's word. I have been getting up daily to read it, but not taking notes because I assumed that would take too much time. I failed to recognize the power of the pen.

Due to a challenge from a book that I'm reading, these past few weeks I have taken a few minutes after my Bible reading to jot down a scripture that stood out to me and my thoughts on its meaning and application. Whatever God is impressing on my heart. It really only takes a few minutes, and the results are surprising me. By writing down my thoughts on paper I can remember them much better! And it makes it easy to review the things I've been learning.

Listen to this instruction given to new kings in Deuteronomy 17:18-19 "When he sits on the throne as king, he must copy these laws on a scroll for himself in the presence of the Levitical priests. He must always keep a copy of the law with him and read it daily as long as he lives. That way he will learn to fear the Lord his God by obeying all the terms of this law." Someone could have just given the king a copy of the laws and let him concentrate on his other responsibilities. But God gave the instruction for the king to copy the laws himself, maybe because he knew that by writing the law by hand it would also be written on the kings heart. And what greater way for a king, and us, to have success than by knowing and following the word of God.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Haiti Update

In December I blogged about a ministry we support called A Voice in the Wilderness which served the children in Port au Prince, Haiti. Today was the first newsletter I had received from them since the earthquake. From what I gathered the pastor and staff all survived, but their homes were destroyed. The ministry now has to change its focus. They have no buildings or access to supplies in order to continue their programs for the children. But instead of being overcome with despair, the 15 Haitian staff have taken this as an opportunity to become missionaries to the hurting people. Their plans got changed drastically...yet they go on serving in whatever ways God allows. I think that's so inspiring. Here is a short excerpt from the March newsletter:

"I wish I could tell you the situation has improved but I cannot. If anything the situation deteriorates each day. A large majority of the dead have been buried, but there are many who still remain under the rubble of buildings. There are many who are sick and have no medical help, many who had medical help but now with no follow-up lie on a sheet on the street under the broiling sun of the day and the rains that are now coming during the night. There are many surviving on mud cakes because they have no money and no food. There are many who are still wearing the clothes they had on when the earthquake hit January 12, so the on-the-ground situation has not improved. BUT the incredible good news is Haitians by the thousands are accepting Jesus. And in the overall picture of life and death, that is the greatest news of all!"

Our circumstances in the United States are so much better than that of Haiti, yet their faith outshines ours by a mile. They must believe Jesus when he said "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33 In the midst of the suffering happening all around them, they know where their hope lies...or shall I say, lives.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Believing God

I have been enjoying Beth Moore's book Believing God. Lots of good stuff. Do you not only believe IN God, but believe what He says? (Or maybe the question is, do you even know what He says?) One issue that I've spent a lot of time pondering this year is miracles, especially healings. Why don't we see the amount of healings that were recorded in biblical times? Does God still work that way? If my prayers aren't answered, does that mean I didn't have enough faith? Chapters 5 and 6 is this book do a great job exploring these questions. Here are a few quotes that were helpful to me...

"A believer will see miracles, all right. Sometimes the greater miracle may be abundant life, redemption, ministry, and the exceeding harvest after a NO we felt we wouldn't survive. If you dare to believe and don't get your miracle, God has a greater one planned. Stay tuned. If what you desperately need or deeply desire is founded in the Word of God, don't let anyone tell you that God can't...or that He undoubtedly won't."

"We must cease to accept the visible as the possible and start believing what God says over what man sees"

"Sometimes God may prioritize performing a miracle on our hearts and minds over a miracle concerning our circumstances."

"I'm freed from what scares me, and many of you, most about getting out there and believing God. We're scared half to death that He won't come through for us, dignify us with a yes, and prove faithful. Or that we'll prove to be failures at having enough belief for Him to bless with a miracle. If I'm convinced that God really loves me and has certain priorities for me that may take precedence at times, then I am "safe" to walk by faith. I am freed to know that my God is huge and my God is able and that if I don't get what I asked, if I'll cooperate, I'll get something bigger. I'm going to believe Him to do anything His Word says He can. Then if He chooses not to, I don't have to assume: He doesn't like me, He doesn't answer my prayers like He does others', He hardly knows I'm alive, He can't do it, He's never willing to do it, I didn't have enough faith, I wavered for a split second, I have that sin in my past, I'm a failure, I've made a fool of myself. Instead, I get to know that a greater YES is in progress, and I can count on the bigger miracle."

May our prayer be that of the prophet Habakkuk, "Lord, I have heard of your fame. I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known." (3:2)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What are you wearing?

I have never been much into fashion. (This picture is supposedly "what's hot" in the year 2010. Are they serious?) I wouldn't know the name of a designer from the guy down the street. And even if I did know what was in style, I wouldn't have the money to buy it, so why bother? Give me clothes that fit and are comfortable and I'm happy. So for as little as I care about clothing, God has been showing me a lot...

For instance, did you know who made the first pair of clothes? God did. We all know the story of Adam and Eve. They ate of the forbidden fruit, which opened their eyes to the fact that they were naked and needed to hide their shame. (I doubt the fig leaves did a good job.) So in walks the Almighty God. He calls them out and sets consequences for their sin. But then in Genesis 3:21 "The Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife." Sure, he was disappointed, yet he showed his great love by creating a covering for them with his own hands.

Adam and Eve aren't the only ones God has clothed. The prophet Isaiah declared "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness" Isaiah 61:10 And Paul confirms in Galatians 3:27 that through faith in Jesus "all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ." We are clothed in righteousness.

How do you feel when you have on a set of new clothes? Do you feel better about yourself, maybe a bit more confident? Do you take great care to make sure your new clothes don't get dirty or stained? I know I do. I bought a new pair of shoes recently and I still haven't worn them outside in this yucky winter weather. I wonder how our actions would be affected if we truly saw ourselves as being clothed with Christ...with righteousness...pure, unstained, unblemished. Maybe we would be a little more reluctant to go play in the mud.

I love this vision given in Zechariah 3:1-5. As you will see, I have made a few personalizations...Then the angel showed me Jeanette, standing before the angel of the Lord. Satan was there at the angel's right hand, accusing Jeanette of many things. And the Lord said to Satan "I, the Lord, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the Lord, who has chosen her, rebukes you. This woman is like a burning stick that has been snatched from a fire." Jeanette's clothing was filthy as she stood there before the angel. So the angel said to the others standing there, "Take off her filthy clothes," and turning to Jeanette he said, "See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes". Then I said "Please, could she also have a clean turban on her head?" So they put a clean priestly turban on her head and dressed her in new clothes while the angel of the Lord stood by.

So we first need to believe that God did what he said. We, as Christians, are clothed in righteousness. But there is other clothing we can choose to put on. In Colossians 3:12 Paul instructs us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. And in Ephesians 6:10-17 he urges us to put on the full armor of God so we can stand firm against Satan's schemes. Now that is clothing worth investing in.

Since I started out talking about the first pair of clothes, I will end by sharing a vision of the last. God showed me this passage around the time he took Betty, Jeremy's grandma, home. I pray it will be an encouragement to you. "For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down - when we die and leave these bodies - we will have a home in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long for the day when we will put on our new heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will not be spirits without bodies, but we will put on new heavenly bodies. Our dying bodies make us groan and sigh, but it's not that we want to die and have no bodies at all. We want to slip into our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by everlasting life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit - 2 Corinthians 5:1-5

Now comes the live it out.

Monday, February 22, 2010


It's been a little over a year since I started this blog. Looking back over my entries it's obvious that they have become fewer as time goes on. So I wondered, why is that? Which leads me to my confession...I have been swayed by that little voice that whispers "That isn't worth writing about. Don't even bother. No one would find that interesting. That wouldn't make sense. What do you know?" And on and on. Do you know that little voice? It seems no matter how much encouragement I get, it is still there. I post an entry and wonder "Should I just delete this?" I have thought about getting rid of the blog all together. But today I am choosing to listen to other voices. The voices of encouragement I have received. And the voice of my Father telling me to quit worrying about pleasing others and to remember why I started this in the first bring honor to Him. I am choosing to face my insecurities and continue to share whatever is on my heart, along with passing on some of the wisdom I'm learning from others. I am committing to post at least once a week. And I am telling that little voice to Shut Up.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tribute to Betty

Today Jeremy's grandma, Betty Bobo, went home to be with the Lord. She lived for 82 years, and has left quite a legacy behind.

When I first married into this family I was blown away. The Bobos have 5 children, all of whom know the Lord. They have been blessed with 13 grandchildren (if I counted correctly) and numerous great-grandkids. What makes this so amazing is that the family actually gets along and reunites twice a year on Labor Day and near Christmas. Never once have I seen an argument take place at one of these gatherings. Pictured above is a photo taken Labor Day 2009. This is what can happen after 63 years of Christian marriage. This is my dream. Thank you, Betty, for showing me that it is possible.

She was loved and will be missed by many. I will miss her contagious little laugh. I picture her now in the Lord's presence in her new heavenly body, experiencing a joy beyond description, about to receive her reward. She may not be able to read my blog posts anymore, but one day I will see her again and be able to fill her in on the rest of my story...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Birthday Boy!

What is today? Since I have been reminded every day for the past few weeks, I am certain that today Jacob turns 7 years old! My baby is growing up. This year he is in 1st grade and has been doing great...especially in math and spelling. That boy has a fantastic memory! The only time he gets in trouble in school is for not being a "quiet worker" :) Jacob has taken an interest in sports this year. Played his first year of summer ball, and now also likes basketball since Jeremy got him playing it on Playstation. The boys ask constantly to play PIG on the little hoop they have upstairs.

Some highlights of the year have been taking his first trip to the ocean, receiving his Nintendo DS for Christmas from Papa D (which he plays frequently), moving into his "own" room, getting his first pair of "tie" shoes, singing his first solo at church, and of course losing a bunch of teeth! Today he wanted to be a "packer" and bring a PB&J sandwich. Then later we are off to Acres of Fun. Thankfully the snow has stopped so we can go!

One more year that I'm amazed at watching my son grow and learn. One more year that I am humbled and challenged through my role as a mother. And one more year that I am thankful for the love and grace shown to me along the way. Praying for many more...

Sunday, January 31, 2010

No Guarantees

This morning at church Kenny reminded us that we are not guaranteed to see tomorrow. Tonight that truth became a reality for me.

We met Mike this past summer when he worked with Jeremy to replace our roof. Slowly we became friends with him and his wife. Just recently Mike decided he wanted to straighten up his life and start going to church. He decided to try out New Hope because once when he needed $5 for gas he stopped into the office and they gave it to him! So he called up Jeremy and asked if he could pick him up the next Sunday. He's been twice. He was going to go this morning, but slept in too late. I have no doubt in my mind that it was the enemy at work. This evening Mike was killed in a car accident. It doesn't seem real to me yet. I believe he was around 31 years old. Left behind a wife, Mandy, and a one year old son, Michael. Please be in prayer for them. He is also the son of Les Hughes, who goes to New Hope.

There is no guarantee of tomorrow. Don't put off making a decision about Jesus. Don't put off reconciling your relationships. Live today as if it were your last, because you never can be sure when that will be...

Life's Two Teachers

In his book, The Divine Mentor, Wayne Cordeiro writes about life's two teachers...wisdom and consequences. He says "Wisdom teaches you the lesson before you make the mistake. On the other hand, consequences demand that you make the mistake first. Only then will it teach you the lesson. Wisdom puts up the fence at the top of the cliff; Consequences visits you in the hospital when you're in traction...after they've scraped you up from the cliff's bottom." I would rather learn from wisdom.

There are so many books out there, and so many of them sound good! But there are also only so many hours in a day. So I ask you...which books have given YOU the most wisdom so far on your journey? (The Bible is a given). Please comment with the title, author, and general topic.

Here's my list...although it was very hard to pick just a few!

1. "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman - marriage/loving others

2. "Captivating" by John & Stasi Eldredge - a woman's heart

3. "A Woman After God's Own Heart" by Elizabeth George - overall Christian living

4. "Every Woman's Battle" by Shannon Ethridge -purity

May you seek after wisdom and be spared from learning the painful lessons of consequences.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

If I Lost it All

In my life right now it is pretty easy to have faith. I have a husband who loves me and loves God. My kids are healthy. We have more than enough resources to provide for our needs. We are surrounded by people who love and support us. Life is good.

But sometimes I wonder..."What if, like Job, it was all taken away? What would happen to my faith? Would I be still be able to trust in God's promises and praise His name?"

I just heard this song, which echoes my thoughts, and it gave me "God bumps". I hope that if I lost it all I would still be able to lift my hands and worship the One who gives and takes away. But honestly, I hope I never find out the answer to that question...

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Last month Jeremy and I began watching the first season of Heroes. We got hooked quickly and are now on season 3! The show is about ordinary people who discover they have supernatural abilities such as being able to fly, time travel, regenerate, read minds, generate electricity, walk through walls, etc... Each character goes through a process of discovering what their ability is and how to use it. Some like their new powers, some despise them, and some crave the powers of others. Then comes the decision: to use the power for good or evil. To become a hero or a villain.

While it would be cool to have some of these abilities, God gifts us in different ways. We are each gifted and shaped through our natural talents and our experiences to perform a unique function in the body of Christ. But similar to the characters on the show, we sometimes need to go through a process of discovery and developing our gifts before we can be used effectively. Do you know what you have been gifted to do? I believe Satan tries to make us believe that we aren't special and don't have a valuable part to play in His-story. And if we do discover our gifts, he tries to distract us with busyness or divert us toward worldly pursuits. What defines us is less about what we've been given and more about what we choose to do with it. Will our gifts and abilities remain undiscovered and unused? Will they fall into the hands of the enemy? Or will we use them to bring glory to God and become heroes to our families, our children, and our community? That is a choice we all have to make.

"The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him. In this way we are like various parts of the human body...each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body...let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't"
- Romans 12:3-6 (The Message)

Friday, January 8, 2010

A New Year

What do I hope the year 2010 brings? Growth. I want to grow in many ways: spiritually, physically, and emotionally. I want to be able to say at the end of the year that I am a more godly woman than I am today. Here are a few things happening this year to move me in that direction:

Beginning next month I plan to join a women's bible study. Although the meetings are only once a week, the studies involve daily homework and time in the Word. I've never done anything so in-depth and look forward to learning through the study and the women in the group.

After years of praying for a mentor I finally have one! I had been waiting on God to bring someone into my life, but now I see that he already had. The key was realizing that I had to ASK if she wanted to enter into that type of relationship. All this time I had been waiting on God, when really it turns out He was waiting on me. I look forward to the wisdom, insight, and encouragement the relationship will offer and am grateful for her giving her valuable time to invest in me.

Physically speaking, I plan to continue being consistent with my treadmill workouts. I have an added incentive to get in shape by husband and I are going away for a week for our 10-year anniversary! That I've been married for nearly 10 years is hard to believe, and is also worth celebrating!

I also want to focus my time on relationships this year. Spending daily quiet time with God to refresh and fill me up, going on dates with my husband, playing with my kids, and staying connected to friends and family. I suppose I'll have to find the time for all my other responsibilities too, such as the cooking and cleaning, but I will not let those tasks become more important. I want to become a woman after God's own heart.

Melt me, Mold me, Fill me, Use me. Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me. This is my prayer.