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Showing posts from January, 2008

Thankful for Compassion

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"When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.” ~ Mark 6:34 (ESV)

I give thanksgiving today, Lord, that You continue to speak to our hearts. Even though the cannon of Scripture is complete and full, You gently whisper to the quiet places in our souls, always speaking something new and fresh. Your Word is living, breathing and moving - alive in me.

Jesus, I praise you for Your tender heart of compassion. You care about our needs more than we could ever imagine. You see the bewildered looks on our faces and the piercing confusion in our souls and You come to guide us out of these dark lost places into the safety of Your arms.

Thank You Lord, for reaching down to this simple woman, condescending to share Your vision with me, inviting me into this partnership with You in the ministry of reconciliation. All out of Your compassion.




Iris at Sting My Heart hosts Thankf…

Hello Siberia

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School is closed. Not because we got a bucketload of snow or because of an ice storm. But because it is so cold you could freeze your nose off just standing outside waiting for the bus to come.

-38

Now that's cold, people (even if it is a wind chill factor).


So, I don't know whether to whoop and holler - I mean, it is an excuse to stay home in our pjs all day watching movies, reading books, coloring, etc. - or to moan and groan. Because it is not a snow day, everyone, and the kids will not be playing in the snow making snow men and snow angels (because personally, I prefer that my kids keep their noses and all). They'll be cooped up inside all day long and my house will become a Barbie haven.

Or a popcorn pit (complete with candy stuck all over the floor).

Or a fun house complete with tunnels, wacky mirrors and bouncing walls. And the running and screaming, jumping and tackling will not end until the ride is over. I might need my Pepto today and my Advil and well, u…

The Inner Sanctuary

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“But remember, for all your adult life you’ll be a woman. And how you live your life as a woman, all by yourself before God, is what makes the real you. Nothing on the exterior can touch or change that precious inner sanctuary—your heart, his dwelling place—unless you let it. And God, who loves you very much, has tailor made all your outer life—your circumstances, your relationships—to pressure you into becoming that beautiful woman he’s planned for you to be.”

~ Anne Ortlund ~

During our morning Bible study, I stood behind Barbie, her long thin legs nicely packaged in designer jeans and her flowing blond hair bouncing to the middle of her back. I attempted worship but my heart was elsewhere. I couldn't concentrate on the words to the songs because I was so distracted by the external beauty of this woman in front of me. In my heart, I secretly harbored jealousy and wondered, "God, why didn't you give me long legs or flowing hair?"


In my prayer time, the Lord nudged my…

Moved

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My six year old Cutie Bug sat on the chair while daddy's hands moved through her hair in a comforting, gentle manner. When he stopped to get back to reading his book, she piped up, "Dad, don't stop - I like it when you play with my hair." Seeing that dad was busy, 3 year old Little Man picked up where his dad left off. He reached up and put his hands through his sister's hair, showing his love for her.

Earlier that day, the baby's cries filled the room as I cleaned up the kitchen. He had hurt himself and sweet four year old Missy ran to his comfort. She found his nuk and put it in his mouth while uttering calming words. The baby quieted instantly at her caring touch.

A girl at school was being treated poorly by her classmates, so Cutie Bug worried about this hurtful behavior. She decided to befriend the girl and stay away from those conversations of unkindness.



In each instance, my children have displayed the treasure that is within. Glittering in the light of …

Tag Me-me

I have been enjoying reading Lysa TerKeurst's blog lately and through a writing contest she held last week, I've met a few new friends. Amy Brooke is one of them and she tagged me with this meme today. So, don't expect any great spiritual truths in today's post. It's all about me-me.

The rules for this meme are: (1) Link to the person that tagged you. (2) Post the rules on your blog. (3) Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself. (4) Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs. (5) Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

1. I had a pedicure once - and it was a terrible experience. I don't plan on repeating it. I was anxious to begin with, because I wasn't sure I wanted someone inspecting my feet so thoroughly. I mean, really, feet are gross, covered in callouses and warts, hair on toes, and for me personally, some strange bumps near my ankle (which I tried t…

Encouragement

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I'm the kind of person who needs regular encouragement to keep on going. And, I'm so grateful for friends who keep encouraging me often. My husband is my greatest source of encouragement - praying for me and constantly lifting me up with his words.

My real life friends have listened to me pour out my heart and have prayed over me, releasing the power of the Holy Spirit to encourage and lift up my soul.

My bloggy friends find ways to remind me that this blog matters, that who I am and what I do and say glorify God, which is what it's really all about. You ladies can't imagine how much these things lift my spirits! Blogging has become more than just a writing outlet, but a place to make friendships. For each of you, I am very thankful!

Thank you friends - thank you for ministering to me with encouragement! The following awards are from Denise and Robin and Susan.



I'd like to pass on these awards to some new ladies I've met through Proverbs 31 ministries:

Lysa TerKe…

Radical Christianity

The word “radical” carries a connotation of a young man with piercing all over his body, black clothes….things that sound scary or crazy. There are lots of people labled "radical" but not many that we admire. If God asks us to be radical Christians, does that fill our hearts with fear?

We have thoughts like, “If I say yes to whatever God asks, He might ask something really impossible.” I don’t know very many radical Christians – my friend Ann comes to mind. She and I met in college – we were both math majors but she actually graduated when I was a freshman. We hung out together all the time, sharing life and praying for each other often. She's the kind of girl who would stop in the middle of a conversation to pray for me.

Ann would share the gospel with whoever she met – at a coffee shop, with a car repair man, anywhere! She ended up taking a teaching job in Hawaii and she shared the gospel regularly with her students, inviting them to Christian concerts, prayin…

Streetcar Named Desire

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Longing,
wanting,
desire...
words that evoke images of passionate love, words that we associate with romance novels, not God. Our problem is that we are so satiated with the lusts of this world, we have drowned out the hunger for what will truly satisfy. We long for shiny new cars; we want chocolate caramel brownies; we desire that head over heels in love feeling all the time.

The average Christian attends church on Sunday in a haze, the words of the songs going no deeper than the vocal chords and the words from the pulpit grazing their heads. With smiles all around, handshakes and appropriate attire, the church looks healthy enough, but where is the DESIRE?

I want deliberately to encourage this mighty longing after God. The lack of it has brought us to our present low estate. The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of…

Some Frozen Cheer

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This fall, I received a packet from Renee Swope with a fun Scriptural teaching activity she created. It's all about digging for gold in our kids. I won't steal her thunder, but the idea has been taking hold around here as the kids are rewarded with a golden chocolate coin if I see "golden" attributes displayed in their lives. This week we focused on cheerfulness - not just the personality trait of being upbeat, but the conscious choice to be cheerful even when others aren't or the situation isn't your idea of fun.

The first coins were handed out when Cutie Bug wiped down the table happily and the second went to her sister Missy for saying the silliest things and cracking me up. Little man is almost always cheerful, so it wasn't long before he had a coin too.

Just thinking about their attitudes changed my own. I wondered if I could award myself a gold coin (too bad it's not really gold)?

The sun shone this weekend (miracle of miracles) and I sat in my fa…

Mothers Trapped in a Dark Prison

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Imagine This
The mother of three straightens out the bouquet of flowers on the table as she sets down plates for dinner, while listening to her daughter practice spelling words and stirring the soup with a smile on her face. As her husband enters the home and reaches over to kiss his wife, he not only smells a lovely dinner, but more importantly, he sees his in wife a radiant joy and exuberant happiness.

Or maybe, it looks more like this:

The dirty dishes are piling up in the sink, as the kids chase each other around the dinner table, the scent of burning soup fills the air, and Mom has collapsed on the couch in fatigue and tears. The tears flow unbidden and rush like a torrent without warning and this mother feels overwhelmed, irritated, hopeless and worthless. She no longer enjoys her weekly dance class or playing her guitar and it has become difficult to get out of bed each morning, never mind trying to get through the day with all of its demands and daily decisions.

If this mo…

Grateful for Grace

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Father,

Thank You for reminding me that apart from You, I can do nothing, but by Your power, I can do anything You ask. Thank You that every challenge I face reminds me that must not rely on myself but on You. Thank You that You alone can make me competent to minister for Your name sake. Thank You for using my weaknesses for Your glory.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

Thank You that all the trials and struggles of this life are temporary and there is hope for a brilliant future.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly, we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

And thank You God, that it is all by Your limitless, amazing grace! Without grace, where w…

My Weakness for His strength

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The door opens and a powerful voice beckons you to enter the board room. In your black high heels, hose, and power suit, you are prepared for the ensuing questions. "Why would you be the best choice for this position ma'am?"
"What qualifies you for the job?"

Inevitably, the discussion will turn to this question: "What do you consider to be your top three strengths?" And as a follow-up inquiry, "What are your weaknesses?"

Most of us are well aware of our weaknesses for they have been tripping us up for quite a while. In addition, many people can pinpoint at least one personal strength. What are your top three in each category?

I am a good leader who uses vision and delegation to complete tasks. I have always been a student, picking up new concepts quickly and with eagerness. My greatest strength is teaching, because somehow I can take a complicated topic and break it down into manageable pieces for the learner.

Do I have to limit my weaknesses…

Live the Word

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"A family without a commitment to the God of the Bible has no hope of stemming the tide of cultural onslaught. If we mix a little biblical truth, a little secular psychology, a little romance novel ideology, and a little eastern mysticism, we will get a deadly mixture of lies. Unfortunately, this is what many Christian families do . . . If we are to experience multi-generational faithfulness we must come to a place where we throw off the shackles of our culture and live in the fullness that is found only in Christ. We must be people who live the Word in our homes."

~By Voddie T. Baucham, Jr~

What are our goals for our families? What spiritual goals do you have? My greatest desire is that my children would come to know Christ personally - that He would not just be Mommy's Jesus or Daddy's God, but that they would have their own unique experience with God and claim His as their own.

They hear the message at church, through children's worship, through Sunday School an…

Jesus Has Lots of Hands

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We were driving to pre-school this morning when my four year old daughter mentioned to me that Jesus had lots of hands.

Me: Really? Why is that?

Missy: Because all the stars are His hands.

Me: Oh! How did you know that?

Missy: "The stars are His hands work too," she sings.

Me: Our God is so Big! So Strong and So Mighty, There's nothing my God cannot do! (I sing loudly as the whole van joins in chorus).
But, I think that means Jesus made the stars with His hands honey, not that the stars ARE His hands!

The van ride continued with some more great songs like "This little light of mine" and then the B-I-B-I-B.

Never heard of that one? What does it spell? Bible! (Just a little lesson in pre-school spelling for you today!)

To complete my joy for the morning, 3 year old little man explains to the librarian that a Q is like an O but with a cross. He says, "Jesus died on the cross, you know." Amen, my little 3 year old evangelist preacher!

Chill Out Josey!

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Can I tell you about a fun book I recently read? I haven’t been reading much fiction lately, but when I heard about these stories, I thought they were written just for me. Susan May Warren, the author, lives in my neck of the woods and spent eight years as a missionary in Russia.

Did I mention that I was a missionary in that part of the world too? I’m beginning to think Susan is a soulmate. (If only I were a fiction writer….)

So, I picked up the first book, Everything’s Coming up Josey, with interest. The typical elements of a romance novel were there, but there was something more. Josey’s personality jumped off the pages – she is not the pristine and perfect heroine we often envy. Instead, her inner dialogue reveals a real girl with honest worries and struggles in her faith. I related to Josie as if she were a flesh and blood girlfriend.

After Josey marries her sweetheart, Chase, she imagines that she will live a normal, three bedroom, picket-fence kind of life. But God had o…

Rest

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This has been a week of re-prioritizing and prayerfully considering what new things God wants to do in my life right now. I've been feeling weary and burdened, struggling with my attitude and finding myself down in the dumps more often than normal. I began the year by pouring out my heart to God and asking for healing and for hope.

And He spoke to me - instead of adding more to my life, I need to subtract what is burdening me and focus in on what fills me. He fills, He restores, He heals, He inspires and this world only drains.

He commanded us to take one day out of seven for rest, and I wonder how many mothers know how to take that much needed rest every week. I might find the ability to sit on the couch in front of the TV for a few hours, but have I actually laid down my burdens?

So, it's time for me to rest. And this weekend I have the great opportunity to drink deeply from His cup quenching my thirst. My family has gone on an ice fishing trip and I have stayed home. …

A Light Burden

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When I think of surrender, images of grass huts in Africa or high rise apartments in the inner city flood my mind. If I take that dangerous step and tell God I'll be completely His, will He ask me to do something scary for Him? I once was afraid God would call me to be a single missionary; now, I'm afraid He'll ask me to live in anonymity scrubbing floors for the rest of my life. Do these types of fears hold you back too? Reckless trust (as Brennan Manning calls it) or Radical Obedience (Lysa Terkeurst): these words convey the adventure and abandon that come with surrender. We stand back on the edge of the wide open, hovering near the precipice of that leap of faith, fear of the unknown gripping us and pulling us back.

Don't worry. I WILL get to the thankful part. Bear with me.

The phone rings with some new opportunity for service and because I want to do everything for Jesus (though I haven't actually asked Him about it), I immediately say "yes." Before I …

Hopefully Devoted to Him

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Holiness.

Is it a word that makes you cringe? Does it make you feel overwhelmed or intimidated? If you are anything like me, then thinking of holiness brings out the perfectionist mentality in my personality.

But does holiness really equate to perfectionism? A word study of the root meanings of "holy" led me down an altogether different path.

"It is a snare to imagine that God wants to make us perfect specimens of what He can do; God's purpose is to make us one with Himself." Oswald Chambers

What is God's purpose for our lives?

To be holy - set apart, consecrated, devoted, completely HIS. It's not so much about behavior, but belonging.

In Deuteronomy 14:2, God called the Israelites to be consecrated because they were His treasured possession. The church has a similar calling, as described by Peter: we are a chosen people...and as such we ought to be holy. Remember though that holy does not mean perfect; holiness is being set apart for God's purposes.

Th…

No Fear

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"In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet."

~Proverbs 31: 19 - 21~

Industrious, generous and conscientious describe the woman of Proverbs 31.
She can bring home the bacon and fry it up in pan... And my first inclination is to compare myself to her and find myself wanting. I don't even know what a distaff looks like and my only experience with a spindle is when Aurora pricks it and goes into a deep sleep.

So, as I listen to God's voice, I hear Him giving me a personal version of this chapter.

She puts all of her effort and all of her heart into everything she does to provide for her family, whether it be teaching, cleaning, cooking, shopping, writing, working at the corner store or changing dirty diapers. She is focused on her tasks and does them with love in her heart.

She sees e…

Don’t Be a Nincompoop

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“I’ve got a golden ticket! I’ve got a golden ticket!” shouted the five children allowed to enter the secretive chocolate factory. But one by one their privileges were taken away when their behavior turned sour. As each child exits the scene, the little men working in the factory usher them out with a song.

When we first meet the Oompa Loompa’s, Willie explains that they came from Loompaland where they ate green slimy disgusting caterpillars (which my daughter can demonstrate with spaghetti noodles). Because their diet was so unpleasant, they worshiped the cocoa bean. Literally. A giant cocoa bean mascot danced around while they bowed down to it.

My eldest daughter stopped at this point in the movie and turned to me to say, “Mom, that’s very bad. We’re only supposed to worship God.” Hmmm, I think she might have a point here. Idolatry takes many forms, doesn’t it?


Is longing for chocolate all day long, slurping it down as if I might never see it again, hoarding it away in my p…

Celtic Woman - You Raise Me Up

I can do nothing in my own strength, but resting in God, relying upon Christ, I can do all things. I am sitting on His shoulders like a child along for the ride. To enjoy this song, you may want to stop my music in the sidebar.)

A Heroic Woman

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In my small group Bible study, we were discussing fairy tales and how they related to our own lives (thanks to John Eldredge). We spent an entire week talking about our favorite movies and how we related to the main character and why. I was struggling with finding a female heroine that I really admired. I enjoy a good chic flick, but I can’t say I really admire the women characters in such films. I wanted to think of women who were truly heroic – who saved others by their selfless acts.

As I recollected favorite stories, fiction and nonfiction, my thoughts turned to Corrie Ten Boom whose powerfully moving story can be found in The Hiding Place. This true story of a woman’s faith surpassing the most tragic of circumstances stood out above any other tale of female heroism and so Corrie Ten Boom became my role model. Corrie’s family sheltered Jews during the German Nazi occupation of Holland, her homeland. The Ten Boom home was a hiding place and a refuge for many people suffering great …

Overwhelming Love and Forgiveness

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I have a little personality quirk - I don't know where it came from, but it's wearing me down. No matter what I do, I don't think it's good enough. No matter how hard I try, I don't believe I've tried hard enough. No matter how much approval I receive, it's never enough. I have an overreactive guilt complex.

When a beloved professor encouraged me to pray that God would overwhelm me with His love and forgiveness, I began to pray. I thought I knew about God's forgiveness. He sent His Son to die on the cross for my sins...I would recite monotonously. I thought I knew about God's love - John 3:16 said it all, didn't it?

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But as I began to pray, love poured out, not little drips of love sparinginly sent down from above, but splashes from a waterfall refreshing my soul. He loves me! He loves me when I fail, He loves me in my imperfections, He loves me at the deepest part of my soul

The never-good-enough part of me still lingers around here …

Chocolate and Jesus

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On Monday mornings, my dearest friends gather at my home for spiritual discussions, unloading of personal burdens and fun fellowship. The coffee is brewing but this morning we'll be talking about chocolate. Who among us doesn't love chocolate?

We had been reading John Eldredge's book, Waking the Dead, and we were discussing how epic movies and fairy tales mirror our lives. We each had a turn explaining which well known story best described our lives - Cinderella, the Ugly Duckling, and Lord of the Rings were each mentioned. The protagonist of each story mimicking our struggles against flesh, the world and the enemy with a climax of redemption, hope and transformation. (Do you see it? We all relate to Cinderella because we are poor in spirit and longing for Someone to rescue us from this life. He is better than any fairy godmother could ever be and His transformation does not end with the clanging of midnight. We've been changed from rags to riches!)


Charlene said she rel…

Welcome New Year

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Welcome 2008, we open the door on this new year with gladness and anticipation. What do you bring for us? What trials? What blessings? You are full of unanswered questions.

I love the fresh feeling of a new calendar - empty, with no scribbles, no engagements, no appointments. Just open space - it is full of hope and wonder.


But I am reminded that every day is new and fresh just like this one. For His mercies are new each morning and when I wake, my soul is cleansed from the sin of yesterday and the day ahead lies in my Master's hands. I am eternally grateful for His mercies which rest upon me each night and greet me each morning.

So, instead of greeting the new year with lists of things I ought to do, or dreams I want to accomplish, I will greet it with open arms. I do not know what God has planned, so I will simply take this year one mercy filled day at a time.

Yes, I'd like to be a "better" person at the end of 2008 and I'd like to see personal growth, but …