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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I'll Stay in the Light, Thanks

Halloween. I’ve never been a big fan of the dark, or of the dark side. For instance, while other kids in my neighborhood hurried home from school in 1967 and gathered together to watch the Gothic TV serial “Dark Shadows,” I occupied myself elsewhere. Even so, I heard and saw enough to know what the show was all about: badness, really scary badness, with a capital “B.” Once, when I was about five years old, I tried to get a message to the show’s main vampire, Barnabas Collins, through writing to another famous person, teen idol Bobby Sherman, who had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the show. I guess in my childish head, they both lived somewhere in "Famous People World," so surely they hung out together at Famous People barbecues or something. Was it that unreasonable to ask Bobby for this one favor?

Anyway, I asked Bobby to please tell Barnabas that I did not like him. As fearful as I was of Barnabas, I could be strong through the perceived protection of Bobby-of-the-pink-pants. Yes, I was an offbeat child.

I’ve never been a big fan of Halloween, either, but I’m not as vocal about it anymore. A well-known pastor has suggested that Christians who spend a lot of time protesting what they deem offensive or dangerous might be more productive if they would simply shine their lights in the middle of the darkness. I’m all for shining the Light.

Many of my favorite Bible verses deal with light. One is John 3:19-21:

"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

Another is John 12:46 “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”

You’re reading one girl who wants to stay in the Light. Where the Light goes, I want to go. Fortunately, the Light has said he will remain in me, so I never have to face the dark alone. I just feel for certain that the Light of the World is a lot more powerful than Bobby Sherman.

In some circles, darkness is puffing itself up today, but I am not dismayed because light disperses darkness. I think I’d like to celebrate that. Will you magnify the Lord with me today?

Psalm 34:3-8
Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

Finally, as I go about my business today, I’ll be singing the old DC Talk song, “In the Light,”

I want to be in the light, as You are in the light.
I want to shine like the stars in the heavens.
Oh Lord, be my light, and be my salvation
All I want is to be in the light!

Please visit me at my personal blog: 2nd up of coffee

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pleasant Places

Let not our longing slay our appetite for living. -Jim Elliot, in a letter to Elisabeth, his future fiancee.

I could stand in one place and pivot, setting my foot first in the bathroom, then the master bedroom, the kitchen, the living room, and the boy's room. It was tiny, our first home. Noises carried easily, the 1948 hardwood floors creaked and popped incessantly. The kitchen found me pivoting again, as I could turn from the oven to the countertop directly behind me without lifting my feet.

And yet, we hosted many people in our home! I could cook meals and clean up afterwards while friends sat at the little dining table directly across the counter; happily, I could still participate in conver- sation while I sudsed and rinsed. I found nooks for corner shelves to display my tea sets, accented by the cherry wallpaper I lovingly chose.

The steeply pitched roof was graced with icicle lights in winter, casting a cozy glow on the front door that we had stained dark walnut, a berry wreath adorning its' center. The back yard and aged trees were a delight to my husband, who often spent his time off mowing and pruning and feeding his special space. My boys learned to walk on that uneven lawn, Corban running from one end to the other when Daddy returned from his four-month semester in Texas. My husband will never forget the sight of his little arms pumping, feet pumping faster, as he raced across the grass shouting, "Daddy! Hi! Daddy! Hi!"

As I write this, I sit in an apartment that is larger than our first home. There is an actual hallway that defies my pivot test - I can no longer be in five places nearly at once! The kitchen is small, but I do have to lift my feet as I pull a steaming casserole from the oven and place it on the countertop behind me.

I can stack dishes neatly in an automatic dishwasher and be back to the conversation taking place in our spacious dining room before anyone notices I am missing.

But still, I have grieved and mourned lost time. Time for my husband to unwind from the ministry of a shepherd by ministering to the earth with his hands, planting trees and breathing deep the fresh air. Time for my boys to break from school and run wild outside, giving Mama a chance to breathe deep the quiet. But in my heart, I am reminded...

LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
you have made my lot secure.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.

I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me. (Psalm 16:5-7)
It is a pleasant place, yes. Our history timeline graces the dining room wall for all to see, for learning continues even during meals. The same lantern that has followed us from house to house since the very first sits atop our table still, and lights my early mornings. This home is quickly cleaned, easily maintained, and keeps us close and cozy, just the way we like it.

And, even better, it has been assigned by the One who knows best. It is safety, security, and will always be so if I stay within the boundary lines. I may stretch and resist, but in my heart, He continues to instruct me... Feed, love, lead... It is a gentle reminder of the gravity of my role, as well as the simplicity of these lovely days.

Within the measure of His perfect portion.

You are always welcome at my little place - A Path Made Straight


Monday, October 29, 2007

It is well....

Taken at 3:00 p.m. outside my home in Southern California

As I am preparing this post, the fires in Southern California are burning out of control. It is Tuesday, October 21, 2007 and outside my home about 12 miles away, a new fire has begun to burn. It is on the high side of the mountain which boarders our town. The flames are moving our way. I feel anxious about the implication.

I have watched this mountain burn twice in the last eight years since moving to California. I never felt afraid during those fires. Today is different; there is no one to help. Every firefighter in the state mobilized yesterday and is combating the terrible fires in San Diego. The frightful winds continue to blow with a fury. I continue to fret and to worry.

Today, I sit at my computer listening to the howling outside. Somehow through the noise, I hear God calling softly to me in this moment. I answer Him.

Lord, this is a moment of truth. Father, I am grappling with the real possibility of leaving my home knowing it may burn to the ground. I hear You asking me some serious questions. Am I holding too tightly to the things of this world? Have possessions become a God to me?

Lord, I have not faced this particular trial. I know others have and under far worse circumstances, but for me today, it is very real. You have brought front-and-center fears and insecurities that I hide from everyone, even from myself.

Today Lord, I surrender my earthly possessions. They will not be a God in my heart. If I leave today with only my family and my Bible, it is well with my soul.

2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
Isaiah 43:2


When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blessed assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

- Words by Horatio G. Spafford, 1873
- Music by Philip P. Bliss, 1876

The words to this hymn was written after two major traumas in Spafford's life. The first was the Great Chicago Fire of October 1871, which ruined him financially. Shortly after, while crossing the Atlantic, all four of Spafford's daughters died in a collision with another ship. Spafford's wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram: "SAVED ALONE." Several weeks later, as Spafford's own ship passed near the spot where his daughters died, he was inspired to write these words.

I would love to visit with you over at my place: Spiritually Unequal Marriage.

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Satan Unmasked

'I (Satan) will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High'."

But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit. Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate: Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble, the man who made the world a desert, who overthrew its cities and would not let his captives go home? All the kings of the nations lie in state, each in his own tomb. But you are cast out of your tomb like a rejected branch; you are covered with the slain, with those pierced by the sword, those who descend to the stones of the pit." Isaiah 14:15-19

The imagery in this passage of Satan's demise has always captured my thoughts. Certainly he knows these verses by heart - letter by letter, line by humiliating line. However, pride keeps him from accepting his fate. He knows his destruction, yet he also knows the longsuffering of God. Satan can not steal God's authority but He can break His heart through stealing away His creation. He works feverishly with every moment remaining to continue the deception that began in the Garden, "God does not want what is best for you. He does not love you. He enjoys lording over you. Would you like to be equal with Him, wiser than Him, or better yet, ascend above Him...?" And many, perhaps with a whisper at first, reply with a chilling 'Yes'.

And so begins the descent into the abyss. Satan knows he is going, but he is determined to not go alone. I love the KJV rendering of verse 16, "They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee". It is the stunned look of bewilderment, the face of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz when the wizard is revealed to be a weak man masquerading with magnified voice, smoke, and mirrors. Such is Satan and on the day of his revealing, many will weep and wail and gnash their teeth because in some way, for whatever comfort can be found in hell, their minds may have been eased in knowing he was more powerful than they. That they had no choice. That no one on whom his eye had settled could resist. However, there will be no peace when the curtain is thrown back to betray his true being - pathetic and powerless with maggots for a bed and worms for a blanket.

Where our Savior Jesus Christ is the Branch of the Lord in Isaiah and the Righteous Branch in Jeremiah, Satan will find himself the Rejected Branch even by the grave which opens wide to receive him. There will be no pomp for the return of this king. Satan is forever trying to convince mankind the second death belongs to us and I have often wondered, does he somehow believe he can exchange his end with ours? Did he believe Jesus' death would, in a somewhat different way, save him too on that dark day at Golgotha? Who can fathom the madness of one bent on stealing, killing, and destroying?

Praise God in Heaven, we know the wages of sin and the end thereof is destruction. But for those who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the end is peace, love and light. Satan was cast in shame from the tomb but our Savior stood and triumphantly walked away. No one took His life - He laid it down, He picked it up, He lives it in us by His Spirit today. All because of a Cross and Death which held no power over him.

Evil did its best, indeed, but its best was not enough. There is but One who IS enough, the ever-present, ever-living I AM. Raise your hands and voices to Him this Lord's Day!

Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!

In Him,


Please visit me at my personal blog, The Preacher's Wife.

p.s. (Since I am happily on vacation this week, this writing was adapted from an earlier posting from my personal blog. :)


Saturday, October 27, 2007

I'm Tell You It Really Is That Easy...

For the past 7 months my husband and I have been trying to sell our house. I have learned many things in the process of selling our first home. I have learned that I can stuff I mean clean items in no time flat. I have learned what cleaners do the best job the fastest. And God has taught me patience and perseverance.

I have to admit, through this stressful process any man and wife find it challenging not to fight or bicker. I had a light bulb moment this week, in the past I have been upset about my husband not cleaning like I was. I felt he was not helping out, but in reality we had different definitions. You would think after 14 years of marriage we could get on the same page, but that is what makes life challenging fun.

When I say we need to clean because we have a house showing I think of Clorox, mopping, vacuuming, Windexing, etc..

What he hears is, “honey get out some big power tools and screw something in or get the hammer and hammer things in. Oh and be sure to leave dust where you were.”

When I say, “Ok everyone pitch in and we can get this house clean.”

What he hears is, “Ok I will go spend quality time with the boys and get them out of your hair.”

When I say, “honey are you going to help with the cleaning?”

What he hears is, “Ok I will go clean off my dresser.”

I say this all tongue in cheek (um..kind of). But how many times are we like that with the Lord.

Lord: Come to me.
Me: Ok Lord let me get this one area figured out and I will be ready to come to you.
Lord: No, just come to me.
Me: Father I need the latest books and sermons to learn more about you.
Lord: No, just come.
Me: Father, what are you trying to tell me I am confused?

Me: Lord here I am.

Sometimes we don’t understand the simplest things. We try to make God more complicated than he is. Have you every asked Christ into your heart? Do you fear that life will be more difficult or more complicated? As humans we make it more complicated when in reality it is very easy. Admit we are sinners, ask Christ to forgive us of our sins, and believe that Christ died on the cross for you…YOU. That’s it. Life won’t be easy, but now you will have a place to dump all the ugliness of the world and tell him, “Father you take control of it, because I can’t.”

Wherever you find your self….Just come as you are, lumps and all. There is not one thing you need to take care of, JUST COME.

Heavenly Father, thank you for speaking to my simple brain. I tend to make things more complicated than they really are, but you have made loving you so easy. Please don’t let our pride get in the way of continually accepting your grace and mercy, for no mater how many times we fall or sin; you are right there to accept our forgiveness. And Lord I pray if anyone reading this does not know you as Lord and Savior that the Holy Spirit will show them how easy it is to love and believe in you. Thank you Jesus.

I would love for you to visit me at Book Buzz here on CWO or my personal blog: Laurel Wreath

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Gone In Seconds...

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
~ Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV)

Many of my California friends are affected by the raging wild-fires (although we don't know if they are truly 'wild'). Listing to the morning radio show on KFLR on my way to work this morning, the hosts posed the following question to their audience:

“With all of the coverage of the California fires, you have to wonder what you’d do if the situation were on your own front porch. You get a knock on the door at five in the morning from the fire department telling you to get out. You got the family out, the house is on fire, you have time to go grab one more thing: what do you grab?”

The question bounced around my head all day. I don't know how I would have answered it if I would have called in. How would you have answered it if you knew everything would be gone in seconds? One thing that kept running through my mind was God's word of Matthew 6. Jesus is telling His listeners on the mount not to store up treasures here on earth, but to lay up treasures in Heaven.

I think the same is true for us over 2,000 years later. Although I don't think (personal belief) that God frowns upon our earthly possessions itself, but I think we should not get too attached to them. All we have here on earth is a gift from Him – on a temporary basis. Our biggest Treasure is in Heaven waiting for us to welcome us home...

Back to the question from the morning show...I know I would be very sad if I would lose all the things we have accumulated over the years. Many have great memories attached to them. My Bible(s) and Bible study workbooks – they have my spiritual growth recorded. My books – I laughed and cried with the heroes and heroins. My pictures – childhood memories, my family, my friends. My CD collection – worship music that I enjoy listening and truly is hard to choose, isn't it? I still don't have an answer what I would grab. One good thing though; my valuable jewelry I wear every single day—don't even take it off at night *smile*.

Although my earthly possessions are valuable in some shape or form, I won't let them break my heart if I no longer have them. It would break my heart if I would loose sight of my Savior though...

“Lord of Heaven and Earth. Thank you for all the wonderful 'treasures' You have granted me this side of Heaven. Lord, help me to keep my eyes focused on the valuable Treasure I have in Heaven. Help me not to lose sight what truly is important. Grant me to share the Treasure of Heaven with all the ones that don't know Him yet. In the precious name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen.”

My sweet sisters (brothers?), please keep all people in California in your prayers that they might all stay safe and that their homes will not be destroyed.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

When a Blog Comes Together...

When I got to my parents place, it was a nice feeling to see that they both had my blog up on their computer screens.

It's odd at times to see two seniors--who avoided 'new fangled' banks cards until recently--sitting in front of a PC. Make that 'each their own PC'! When did they master the calculator and move on to a PC? They're growing up too fast, before I know it, they'll be moving out in search of a care home. Seems like just yesterday they were changing my diapers...

I wanted a pie. It's been too long since I had a coconut cream pie. This reality was triggered by a question that my children asked me on Friday morning. "Mom, what's your favorite pie?" Maddy asked.

"Is it berry pie?" Nathaniel wanted to know. "Do you like raisen pie?"

"No, I don't like raisen pie," I shivered thinking about the abundance of sugar that oozed from that pie. I was just about to answer 'blueberry pie', but then I remembered my ultimate favorites, which are Lemon Merangue and Coconut Cream. "I love coconut cream," I answered, as a plan started unfolding in my head.

So there I was, standing in my parents livingroom still trying to figure out how this plan to get a pie was going to unfold. I decided to start with mom, but after she explained to me that Dad is the one who makes all the pies, I took it up with him. "Dad, you haven't made pies for a long time, and I'm dying for a coconut cream pie."

"That's right it's been a while," he said, trying to figure out why my sidebar wasn't showing up on his computer screen.

He was close, but not committed, so I figured it was time to pull out the sympathy card, "I bet Bonnie would love a pie," I said. Lucky for me, Bonnie's back was so bad she couldn't even get out of bed--it wasn't so lucky for her--unless she had a hankerin' for pie too--then it was lucky for both of us.

After Dad got Blogger to load my page, we went back into the livingroom to sit with Mom where they argued about whether real whipped cream or artificial whipped cream would be best for the pies. I sat around adding in my two cents, sipping a diet Coke, and rubbing the belly of a pup whose leg shook in the air.

"The sooner you leave, the sooner you'll get your pie," Dad said.

I left.

At 6pm, the doorbell rang, and Dad was standing outside with a fresh coconut cream pie topped with real whipped cream. He didn't have time to stay because he had another pie waiting in the drivers seat to be delivered to Bonnie's kitchen.

When I sit down to write, I usually start with a single thought, and sometime the tapping of my fingers on the keys make a story come to life, while other times they don't. I'm never quite sure what that story will be.

This week I discovered that my thoughts were on grace. After writing this story about coconut cream pie, the first verse that came to mind was "by love serve one another." I had no idea what context that verse was in, but after reading the context of the verse, I have no doubt that it was placed in my heart for a reason, and that reason is to sum up grace.

"It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don't use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that's how freedom grows. For everything we know about God's Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That's an act of true freedom." Galatians 5:13-14

I love it when a blog comes together. Thanks for the pie Dad, and thanks for your service of love!

In Him... Darlene

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Give us this day, our daily bread

The kitchen is really the heart of our home.....I spend a lot of time in there, preparing and cleaning up meals. Several years ago, I read Max Lucado's, Great House of God and there is a chapter where as he moves through the House of God....he eventually ends up in my favorite of all of the rooms....the kitchen.

As Max Lucado makes his way through the Lord's Prayer in The Great House of God, it is in the kitchen where we reach the part in the prayer,

"give us this day our daily bread."

Since I am the primary preparer of our 'earthly' meals, I am drawn to this room and to this part of the prayer. I plan and prepare the meals for my family which are our 'physical daily bread,' but our 'real daily bread', the bread of life, is continually provided by the Father. When we pray for "Our Daily Bread" we are asking HIM to provide for us what we need that day....what we need, not necessarily what we 'want.'

I make my kiddos eat their vegetables and they will tell you they'd much rather eat ice cream! And, honestly, a diet of Ghiradelli milk chocolate chips and cheesecake sounds much better to me than a diet full of 12 grain bread and beans...BUT there are days....days where my daily bread is chocolate and cake and other days when it is, well, liver and onions. I have days where what is provided by the Father is not what I would have chosen, and yet I am learning to eat what is served! And graciously say THANK YOU for the perfect provision.

I often explain to my children that what I have prepared is 'good for them.' What kind of mom would I be if I only allowed cake and ice cream? And my Father (the heavenly caterer) lovingly and faithfully prepares a plate that is 'good for me.' What kind of Father would HE be if he only served me chocolate and cheesecake. Just as my kiddos sit and stare, and even at times, try and 'hide' the broccoli in their milk (we don't have a dog, and they have to try and put it SOMEWHERE), I too, at times have tried to avoid the 'meal that is being provided.' Or, perhaps worse yet, not appreciated what was being provided to me..."MY DAILY BREAD."

In faith we ask God for "our daily bread," confident that HE will supply what we need. I need to understand that there are banquet days, diner days, and bread and water days, days where breakfast is served for dinner and YES, days when chocolate and cheesecake are on the menu all day. As too are the days where liver and onions are served, sometimes for WEEKS at a time...and EACH is provided by me 'my daily bread.'

The kitchen is my favorite room in the house, it is where we gather as a family to 'break bread' and come together. Just as I provide food for them, serving sometimes the food they desire and LOVE, and other times giving them 'what they need,' I am reminded that my Heavenly Father is providing daily bread...each and everyday. What a wonderful room that kitchen is, and what lessons from the Father we can learn there.

Father, As I pray daily, 'give me my daily bread,' help me to be ever grateful for your provision in any form. Father, as you lovingly prepare and provide for me, help me to graciously receive what you give. Help me Father to understand beyond a doubt that YOU know what I need, not I, and through my daily bread you provide 'exactly what I need...all the time.' Help me to accept delays and burdens as 'food that is GOOD for me' and to rejoice with praise to YOUR NAME when the banquet is set before me. Father, I beg you to make me ever mindful that YOU are God and all my hope and trust is in you.
"You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you."
Isaiah 26:3


In Him,

I would love if you came and visited at my personal blogspot...

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Flag Football of Life

Traveling through the country, passing from one gathering to another, he gave constant encouragement, lifting their spirits and charging them with fresh hope.
Acts 20:1

Have you been to a little kid’s flag football game? Have you seen, or heard, the moms on the sidelines? I’m referring to the particular mom with her face painted in support of her son’s team, loosing her mind as she cheers for them. Whether he’s playing like a pro or making fumbles and loosing flags, she is shouting encouragement at the top of her lungs for her “baby” and the boys on his team. Well, minus the face painting, although that may be just around the corner, that crazy hollering Mom is me. One of my favorite responsibilities as a mother is being a cheerleader, if you will, for each of my children. This year my son started playing flag football. On Saturdays during the season, we would load up the family, the cooler, and the chairs to go and cheer our hearts out for the little Rams. Win or loose, I was there cheering them on!

I’ve never been to a game and heard a mom scolding or tearing down her son when he lost a flag or fumbled the ball. This is probably a good thing, because I would loose my mind over that! It isn’t the norm to hear a parent yelling at their son things like, “What are you thinking” or “Good job, you looser”. On the contrary, moms are usually throwing encouragement onto the field the entire game with comments like, “Great try”, “You can do it”, or “You’ll get the next one, buddy”.

Life can sometimes be like a flag football game. We can often times be running down the field, in the middle of a great play, only to have Satan snatch our flag. It could be many different flags, like that of joy, peace, or purpose. We can feel discouraged and defeated and have the tendency to throw in the towel. We’ve all had those times and the most encouraging thing we can hear from the sidelines is the cheers from other believers. Just that little "verbal nudge" to get up and try again can be all that’s needed to keep us from throwing in the towel and giving up.

There are always people around us on the field of life who have lost a flag. It isn’t our job as a fellow follower of Christ, to say things like, “What were you thinking” or “I cannot believe you just did that”. We are called to “encourage one another and build each other up”. (1 Thess. 5:11) We need to be the cheerleaders in the lives of those around us.

This verse in Acts says, “Traveling through the country, passing from one gathering to another, Paul gave constant encouragement, lifting their spirits and charging them with fresh hope”. This is the kind of “teammate” I desire to be. As I am traveling through this journey of life, I want to give constant encouragement to others, lifting their spirits and charging them with fresh hope. No matter what they do or how hard they fall, I want to be a person that takes the time to lift them up and invigorates them to “get back in the game”!

I am confident that you have this same desire. Let’s be intentional this week as we are in this, sometimes hard, game of life, to uplift those that are down and encourage those that have had a flag snatched by the enemy. Let’s run down the field of life together, remembering we are on the same team and the score is already been determined. Oh, and just for the record, we win!

Lord, help me this week to be a person that builds others up. Help me to be used by you to instill fresh hope in those that are down. Help me to be a cheerleader for those running alongside me for Your glory and help my voice to be louder than the jeers that may be coming from those that are trying to discourage and tear us down.

In Him~

You can read more from Tammy at Steps in Our Journey

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pray? I Don't Have Time To Eat!

Have you ever found yourself in condemnation over a less than perfect prayer life? Have you often committed yourself to so many minutes or even hours per day in prayer yet fallen short? Do you then become discouraged and give up trying for a period of time only to find the vicious cycle starting over again? If so, I want to encourage you today and prayerfully give you a new perspective on your prayer life. Are you willing to read on? Good!

Most of us are engaged in a preconceived set of thoughts when it comes to prayer. These thoughts are often woven into our lives at a very young age by parents, family, teachers and church. We specifically see prayer as a time of meditation and sacrifice. God however, sees prayer differently.

Prayer is defined by Webster's as: to address God or a god with adoration, confession, supplication, or thanksgiving.

We know that these four parts of prayer come from the example the Lord gave in Luke 11:2-4. Jesus gave us these words as a guide. We can learn how simple they are to use by reading throughout the bible.

According to the bible there are many different types of prayer. Prayer was not distinctly defined as setting time aside, entering into meditation, intercession, tongues and/or crying out intensely and petitioning God. These are all forms of prayer with Him but there is one that is so often overlooked, the one God desires most, the one most often written about in His Word. It is simply this… to always be aware of and acknowledge His presence. It is walking with Him as we would our husband, sister, or friend.

"Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him" Hosea 6:3

"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven."
Matthew 10:32

When I wake up in the morning, before I even brush my teeth, I say good morning to Him. When I see a beautiful landscape while driving I make sure I praise Him for it. When I need to make a decision I ask Him to help me. When I realize I need money for a bill I ask Him to supply it and then thank Him for it. When I realize I messed up, I ask for His forgiveness. I ask Him to keep me away from tempting situations, to grant us safe trips, to keep Satan and his cohorts away and when I am studying His Word I ask Him to explain to me what I don’t yet understand. I do set aside times for other forms of prayer but I don’t need to do it as often as I had previously because now I realize that I am truly always in prayer with Him.

I have had people look at me funny because I stopped in the middle of a conversation with them to say, “Alright God. I get it!” Or in the midst of waiting for my turn to vote today I said, “God help me out here because I am not sure about a couple of these.”

>> By the way God... THANK YOU so much for our new governor Bobby Jindal!<<

That was a form of praying. See, I acknowledge and talk to Him whenever I desire to. I don’t bother myself with what others think because I am talking to my Father, my friend. He always answers with revelation, a touch, joy, peace or an overwhelming sense of His love for me.

"Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them." Malachi 3:16

Even when we talk to our friends, God hears. Why? He is always there beside us. He is your best friend. The two of you are inseparable. He is just waiting for you to realize it. Walk with Him the way Adam, David, Noah, Jesus and Paul did. This form of prayer allows us to succeed at what we once thought to be impossible:

"Pray without ceasing."
1 Thessalonians 5:17

Walk with God today. He is missing you!

I'd love for you to visit me at my personal blog: In Pursuit of Proverbs 31

In Pursuit of Proverbs 31

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

I Am His!

But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “ Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; Isaiah 43:1-3
This ancient promise from the book of Isaiah has carried me through some difficult seasons. I have literally hung on every word. Let's look at it together:
the Lord...who created you...who formed you...He knows you intricately. Every part of you!
Fear not... I do not need to fear! No matter what I am facing, no matter how difficult the trial or circumstance, no matter how painful, His word says, Fear not!
I have redeemed you...When I redeem a gift certificate it is with great joy! I have been given something that I do not deserve and have received something that I did not pay for.
I have called you by name; you are mine...At times of great loneliness and despair, I have held onto to the truth that He has called me by name and that I AM HIS!
I will be with you...they shall not overflow shall not be burned...not even scorched... He never promised that his children would never suffer in this life. We will pass through difficult waters of broken relationships and betrayal. We will pass through the rivers of financial hardships and overwhelming circumstances that are beyond our control. We even will walk through the fire which is painful and refining but it will not leave any residue because...
I am the Lord your God...Think of it! The One who engineered this incredible universe - this God is my Lord. Can we imagine that God, who is concerned with so many stupendous things, can possibly be concerned about us? We do imagine it. That is why we turn to him in desperation and cry out, as I do, "O, Lord!" Where else can we possibly turn when we have come to the end of our resources?
He has created, formed, and called you by name. You are His! No matter what you are facing, He has promised to be with you. You will not be swept away or burned up. For He is the Lord your God! Karl Barth, a great theologian, was once asked if he could condense all the theology he had ever written into one simple sentence.
"Yes, " he said, "I can. 'Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.' "

I am praying for you today!

In Him...Chris

Chris can also be found at her personal blog Come to the Table

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Taking the Field

Last night my husband and I watched "We Are Marshall," a wonderful movie about the courage of a town and university to move forward with courage after a devastating plane crash claimed the lives of the Marshall University football in 1970. I was struck my one scene where the new coach brought in to rebuild the team talked about sometimes it's not about winning, but just about taking the field--even when difficult and hard.

I reflected how many times in life, we can allow ourselves to be overcome by despair when we face suffering or struggles. Satan wants to use fear of pain and failure to rob us of the joy and victory that we have in Christ. We are overcomers in Him who conquered death, and Satan has no dominion over us--unless we give it to him.

While life is not always easy--God never promised it would be. He did promise that He would be with us. We have no reason to fear! So when you face challenges and feel like sitting out of the game, take the field--I promise you will not be alone!

Blessings on your weekend!

In Him,

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Trading Death and Decay for Life

I have had two wisdom teeth extracted. Because the experience was a bit unpleasant, I decided to wait a while before having the remaining two pulled.

“A while” turned into 21 years, and my dentist now says these wise old-timers must go.

In spite of regular brushing, flossing, taking calcium and even whitening my front teeth, they must go. There is nothing I could have done to avoid this; my doctor says the very nature of these inconspicuous, nonessential, inexplicably corrupted teeth demands that they go. (Can you tell I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around the whole wisdom tooth concept?)

As I stopped on my way out to make the fateful appointment, the office worker said, “It’s your lucky day. We have an opening Friday morning at 8:30. You want it?”

I didn’t feel lucky. It all felt so sudden. I mean, I had only known this day was coming for 21 years.

Driving home, I kept hearing the doctor say, “It’s the nature of the tooth, its anatomy, its physiology. It’s malformed.”

Something being naturally bad made me think of sin.

I remembered a time when I had sin in my life similar to these teeth. I kept my secrets tucked so far back into the recesses of who I was that no one knew they were there. I practiced all of the spiritual disciplines that we are encouraged to, such as reading scripture, attending church and serving others, but still, I held that corrupted piece of me back, thinking, “I’ll take care of this at the right time, just not yet.”

Eventually I realized that as long as I held back one unconfessed, unrepented sin, all the “whitening” in the world (the aforementioned disciplines) were either just for show, or half-hearted, prideful attempt to fix to a serious problem, or attempts to carry on as usual, denying the state of my heart. It was painful to uncover some hidden things and let go of long-held anger, but it was necessary. And in the end, it was the best thing for me.

Anyway, tomorrow--out they go.

I know I’m going to experience some discomfort. But I do trust this surgeon. He doesn’t appear to have a sadistic bone in his body; in fact, he seems to genuinely care about me as a person. He listened to all my fears and reassured me. I think I’m in good hands.

Likewise, I know that when I release my grip on some ancient unpleasant memory or grudge, at first, it won’t feel good. I might feel like I’ve “lost” somehow. But that’s just not the truth. The truth is, I need to be set free of the decaying force in my life.

And I do trust in my God. He is 100% for me. He wants to excise that which harms me and drives a wedge between the two of us. When I’m scared to turn over my hang-ups and grudges to him, he listens to my fears and reassures me. The truth is, He is the only one who can set me free; I cannot help myself. I will always need a Savior.

And so I’m reminded of two scriptures as I process this ordeal. The first is Matthew 23:27, “You Pharisees and teachers are in for trouble! You're nothing but show-offs. You're like tombs that have been whitewashed. On the outside they are beautiful, but inside they are full of bones and filth.” The second is Isaiah 1:18: “I, the LORD, invite you to come and talk it over. Your sins are scarlet red, but they will be whiter than snow.”

Lord, I know that I was born with a natural inclination toward sin, even though I hate its many-faceted destructive consequences. I know that you will always show me what needs to be cleansed in my life if I will open my eyes to your guidance. When I’m afraid to change, help me to remember and trust in your goodness and unfailing kindness toward me. Extract the things that hold me prisoner and rot my inner being. I want to be pure from the inside out. No man can purify or save himself, and I look to you as my only saving grace. I give you all my secrets, shame and sorrow, and I receive the forgiveness and cleansing you offer. Thank you for taking my decay and giving me life; thank you for taking my sorrow and giving me joy.

Please visit me (and feel free to bring milkshakes!) at 2nd cup of coffee.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007


A yoke is a burden itself, a burden in addition to all the other burdens; and yet it has a peculiar way of making the other burdens easier...We are well acquainted with the yoke of the draft animals. The yoke alone enables them to pull the heavy burden without feeling pain or torment in the process, and without getting sore skin from pulling it.
"Opeeze, Mama!"

Her dimpled fingers open and close as she stands by my side, and she alternates between patting my leg and pulling on my apron strings.

A helpless glance at the table reveals that the schoolbooks scattered about are still there, the workbook pages remain blank. The sink is full of dirty dishes for the second time today, and an equal number of laundry loads have been run, though they lie in piles on the unmade bed. As a chicken boils in a pot on the stove and the casserole dish lies waiting to be filled, I reach down and grasp Eliana's hand, determined to hold off her request until I finish one more thing.

But now I can't remember what it was.

I turn my back to the dirty, covered counter and slide down the cabinets to the floor, pulling her on to my lap. She tucks her thumb into her mouth and slips into a "huggle" in my arms - our name for a hug and a snuggle. When my to-do list catches my eye from where it flaps over the edge of the table, I chuckle wryly and tip my head back.

"Up, please, Father."

Eliana tips her head back, a smile lighting her tired eyes. "Opeeze!" We rub noses, and settle in deeper for a few moments of respite. It is 9:15 a.m.

Oh, how high my hopes were for this day! Busy, yes, I knew this, but arising earlier than usual and attacking it with a vigor was supposed to be more effective. How quickly the minutes flew by, how vast the list grew, and how effortlessly the plan flew out my window, on the wings of the sparrow, perhaps, who lights daily on the edge of our deck.

I'm supposed to be able to do this - be a Mama - it's all I ever wanted! My older ones are such a help, too, I have no excuses. What is wrong with me? And before I can remind Him that the question is rhetorical, he draws near...

Beloved, it is my yoke. I close my eyes and breathe deep.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 28:11-30)
If the yoke is easy, why do I resist putting it on first, before my toes even uncurl from the warmth of my bed and reach to the floor? It is the burden that overwhelms me, but it is not noticeable until I've pulled it, alone, for much of the day. It rubs my flesh raw, tormenting me until I cry out, "Up, please!"

Jesus wants to put us...under such a yoke so that our burden does not become too heavy for us. He calls it "my yoke." It is the yoke under which he learned to carry His burden. His burden is a thousand times heavier than all our burdens precisely because He carries all of our burdens.
-A Testament to Freedom (emphasis mine)
I sigh contentedly and huggle deeper into His chest, the pleasant weight and warmth of my little one reminding me of the joys of this role.

"Up, please," I had whispered. And He did not attempt to accomplish anything more before pulling me into His arms, and slipping the yoke, His yoke, over my head, its pleasant weight reminding me of the joys of sharing in this role of being yoked. With Him.

You are the rest, you are gentle peace, you are the longing and the one who stills it. -Friedrich Ruckert

You are always welcome at my little place - A Path Made Straight

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Angie Knight

Angie comes from all things Southern. Southern cooking, Southern speaking, and Southern heat--just to name a few! She was born in South Alabama, and raised in Northwest Florida. Over 25 years ago the Lord blessed her with the love of one sweet man--who can make the best cakes---and remodel a house at the same time! Their lives and home was later blessed with two delightful daughters who are now, "grown and gone", as she frequently says. The added blessing of a passel of grandsons has sent this southern chick into a whirl wind of playing trucks, trains, puzzles, Ninja's on Saturdays, and the spontaneous picnic of peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches!

Angie's blog, "The Knightly News" began quite by accident (or maybe not), and she will tell you about it if you give her half a chance! Her family has made a lasting impact on her life. The experience of growing up in a (mostly) single parent home, has taught her faith in God. As she learned of Jesus from her mother's heart, she soon realized that is exactly where real life and strength lies--in Jesus Christ.

As she pours her heart into writing devotions to encourage women of all ages, she is blessed beyond measure by the paths the Lord has enabled her to cross! The deepest desire of her life is to live pleasing to the Lord and lead others to a relationship with Him.

"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." 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

E-mail Angie

What others are saying about Angie:

"Angie blesses me with her warmth, encouragement, and obvious total devotion to her Saviour."

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An Unlikely Friendship

Sunday, October 14, 2007, an email arrived with a comment from my blog:

I have been fighting a spiritual battle continually since I was twelve. I watched this video and it restores me but I keep falling backwards from Christ. Thank You so much. Please pray that I will overcome this. –Fighting Teenager

My eyes blurred. I could feel the pain in this young life. I was also confused. How did this teenager land on a blog about unequally yoked marriages.

Several months ago I began posting a series on spiritual warfare. It was a verse study of Ephesians 6 with application to marriage. Early in the study my writing partner sent me a link to a video. The video is a dramatization of Jesus in the battle for our lives. It fit perfectly with the series on spiritual warfare. I posted it on my blog and titled it, Real Warfare. That was the third week in August.

I didn’t think much more about the post, however, I remember sending an email to a few friends with the link. This is where God took over. The email started to circulate. One friend sent it to another and so on and so forth. Today, it still is floating around in cyber space, going in and out of mailboxes, especially among our teens. They relate closely to the struggles depicted.

I am certain this is how Fighting Teenager landed on a mismatched marriage blog. I also know this child arrived here by God’s direction. I am compelled to pray for this kid and support his/her deliverance in any way possible.

What God has taught me through this encounter is what we post on our blog matters. What does NOT matter are the numbers of visitors or the number of comments. Sitemeter statistics are inconsequential. A post may be destined for only one person. God can and will use our posts, perhaps months or years later to bring hope and healing to a hurting life.

Don’t become discouraged in doing good. Keep on typing. Keep on praying. Keep on trusting. The following scripture has become a living treasure to me this week.

Galatians 6: 9-10 (The Message)
So let's not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don't give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.

While reading the email from Fighting Teen on Sunday, I knew God wanted my blog partner and me to come along side this child. This is an unlikely friendship, two older women who struggle in unequally yoked marriages and teenager who is alone and hurting. However, it is just like our God to place people together in such a manner. My blog partner and I do not have much experience with teens in crisis. We don’t know exactly how to help today. However God does and He will help all of us in the months ahead.

I wrote back to Fighting Teenager to ask how I could pray and to also inquire about his/her support system.

I was broken hearted to learn this teenager’s parents are unapproachable. In Fighting Teen’s words, “…..Now I find myself in secrecy. Please keep praying that God will deliver me.”

We are praying my friend and God is listening!

Please pray for Firghting Teenager today and thank you for any Godly advice. Be blessed!

I would love to visit with you over at my place: Spiritually Unequal Marriage.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

When God Says 'No'

Do you ever have those times when God sends you a particular verse that will not let you go? That resonates so deeply you think of it every single day? He gave me one of those a few weeks back and I knew I had to share it with you:

"God's strong hand is on you; He'll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you." 1 Peter 5:6-7 The Message

As I read your blogs, so many of them are filled with hopes and dreams for life and ministry. So many are filled with praises for healed loved ones, opportunities the Lord has presented to bring Him Fame, anticipation of a new job, thanksgiving for a redeemed soul. And then there are the others. Chronicles of loss, heartache, and confusion as to why God said 'no' to the requests of your hearts.

I find myself in a similar season. Nothing so devastating as what many of you are experiencing, but a time of waiting and wondering nonetheless. God has orchestrated a potentially exciting opportunity for ministry; however, I have no concrete answers about whether it will come to pass or the details of what my life will look like if it does. Don't you despise waiting for the 'yes' or the 'no', no matter what the circumstance may be?

As I've prayed this thing through, God gave me this most assured word I just quoted to you from 1 Peter and it has comforted me in such a deep place. God is most careful with me. My soul sighs at the thought. The God of the Universe is so very careful about the 'yes' and 'no' He allows into my life. He knows the effect of both and whether they will serve for my good and His Glory. He comprehends if I can handle new pressures, if what I think I desire will actually be to my families' detriment, and if the end would not be the good thing He promised. He grieves when the 'no' results in great pain - when the healing doesn't come (except ultimately of course), when dreams are unrealized, when the child just doesn't get it. But in all of it, He is most careful, gentle, and wise in which path He sets our feet upon.

My prayer for you today is that you would accept this care. That you would cease striving and allow God to exercise His own due diligence on your behalf. Whatever the answer is you are seeking, it will be the best one. Even if the answer isn't what you wanted, you can live carefree knowing God's strong hand is on you - guiding, comforting, and lifting you up in due time.

All of this because He loves you so very much.

Please visit my personal blog, The Preacher's Wife.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

God's Silence

It was our first date, I spent half the afternoon getting ready and making sure my outfit was just right. I was a little nervous because we were friends first before we decided to move to “dating” so this new area was new for both of us. He arrived at my dorm and buzzed my room to let me know he was downstairs waiting. I had no idea where he was taking me, I hope I dressed appropriately and I sure wish my hair would stay still. Flying downstairs and then all of sudden walking gracefully when he saw me, he had a big smile on his face. We piled into his car and off to Red Robin Restaurant. I don't know what I talked about during the ride, during dinner, or even as we walked the mall afterwards. But when I arrived back home I realized I talked the whole evening and he was a gracious listener. When I am nervous I can talk non-stop about anything and everything. Despite this fact he still asked me out again.

Fast forward 14 years later, we arrived home after a long day of football and he asked me out to dinner, just the two of us. I was excited about the fact I did not have to cook. I got myself ready and we walked out the door to go to Outback Steak House, a favorite for both of us. He did not need to ask where for dinner, he knew. While driving we did not talk, we sat in the intimacy of the silence. We held hands and just enjoyed the comfort of being together. We got our table, ordered our food chatted a little but just enjoyed being out. When I returned home I knew we did not spend much time talking but it was a great night of enjoying the intimacy of silence.

As a young girl if our dates went like the later I would think he was mad at me, or I did something to upset him. But as we grew and matured and spent more time together, silence was a new level of intimacy. We both could be quiet and know everything is ok.

Is God trusting you with an intimacy of silence? As a new believer we want the “feelings” knowing God is hearing us. We need that reassurance, just like I did when first dating my husband. We look for visible answers or responses. The more time I spent with him, the deeper our relationship became. There comes a time when God says “you know me enough” that I can share with you the intimacy of my silence. In the stillness and silence of God, your relationship grows deeper and you become more confident in your faith believing, “I know God heard me.” (despite what your feelings are saying) This silence can make even the most mature Christian become uneasy sometimes, but realize God is bring your into a deeper understanding of who He is. If you are in the midst of God's silence be encouraged he is there, and he is developing a deeper intimacy between you and Him.

I would love for you to visit me at Book Buzz here on CWO or my personal blog: Laurel Wreath

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Are You Running?

Sometimes we feel like we are at the bottom. Instead of running to God when we slip away from Him, we try to hide from Him--we try to escape. We are afraid that He might not love us because we have messed up again. Let me share an excerpt from Darlene's book "The Mom Complex" (used with permission):
"My sin-spotted life is in contrast to the white robe that He's given me. The robe of righteousness is a symbol of my Father's love. When I go astray, He calls me back, and when I'm silent for a moment, He calls me again..."

Darlene is right. Our sin-spotted life is in contrast, but there is nothing, absolutely nothing that ever can separate us from the love of our Heavenly Father.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 8:37-39 (ESV)

Like the stepping stones in the above picture, so is God's hand guiding you through this life. Even though your might slip here and there, don't run from Him. He will pick you up--no matter what happens. Trust in Him today and always.

Lord of Heaven and Earth. Thank You for your unconditional love for us. Thank you for picking us when we have slipped. The sacrifice of Your son, our Lord, Jesus Christ is incredible and sometimes hard to grasp. Help us to stay close to You until we have finished the race here on earth. We pray in the precious name of Jesus ~ Amen.

Are you running from Him today? What is burdening you today? May we pray for you?

You can also find me at my personal blog Sting My Heart

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Friday, October 12, 2007


When Michael and I built our deck this summer, we picked up a pergola to sit on top of it. If you don’t know what a pergola is, basically it is four pillars that hold up a row of beams, and acts as a type of roof. It doesn’t keep out the rain or the sun, but it’s a great system for growing vines that will eventually hang over our heads. I love it.

It’s been standing all summer without a problem, so I figured that all was good—until last Saturday that is. When I walked in the kitchen, I heard an unrecognizable sound booming from the back yard.

“The per—pergola!!!” I screamed to Michael, who I’m so thankful was sitting in the living room, rather than putting in a day at work. “The pergola!” It was all I could think to say as I saw this enormous structure leaning outside on our dining table.

Within seconds, Michael, our neighbor, and I were hoisting the pillars all back in place. It was windy, but we had seen far worse winds over the summer. I have no idea why the pergola decided to come down on this particular day, and then threaten to come down over and over again as I witnessed it sway in the wind.

Immediately Michael shot out the door en route to the lumberyard. He had put off fastening it to the deck since he didn’t have the required screws, but now we had no choice. It had to be fastened. My nine-year-old daughter, Maddy and I were left to hold the pillars, just to ensure it didn’t come down again.

It’s been a very long time since I felt my heart beating as fast as it was. Every time a gust of wind shook the structure I feared it would come down once again. My legs were shaking as were my arms, but I stood there holding the pillar as best that I could. Then I did what I always do in situations like this—I called my dad. One of the kids brought the cordless phone to the pillar, and with shaky hands I dialed his number.

It’s nice that my parents live close by, especially when toilets are overflowing, ovens catch on fire, or pergolas are swaying in the wind. Dad was there within ten minutes, sitting on a chair propped up against a pillar while I leaned on a table propped up against another. Dad is always calm in a storm. Always. There’s just something about that man that doesn’t sway him when tragedy hits, even in those moments when it hits real hard. I can always rely on him to calm my nerves and to guide Michael and I through difficult times. It’s a gift I suppose, that not only reminds me that I’m safe because he’s there, but also the fact that most of all that I’m safe in this world because I have a heavenly Father who I can find refuge in through every storm of my life.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.” ~ Psalm 46:1-3

In time, those vines with grow, adding shade to our yard, and protection from the sun. I look forward to those days--abiding in the vine, as I fellowship in the cool of the day, with my Lord.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

God's Site Meter

If the Bible were a blog, would you be on God's site meter today?

  • Would His site meter show that you were reading in the morning? (before you read other things?)
  • Would it show multiple page loads?
  • How many minutes of reading would it show?
  • Do you read the posts, or just the comments? (His Word vs. books about His Word.)
  • Are others who show up on His site meter showing you as the referring site? (In other words, are you linking others to His Word?)
  • Would His site meter show just one brief check each day, or would it show that you refer to His Word multiple times throughout the day?
  • Do you just lurk or actively comment (pray) as you read?
  • Do the amount of times you show up on His site meter reflect a hunger for His Word?

God doesn't need a site meter, of course. He knows. And He doesn't need to know I've been reading His Word as some sort of "ego boost" for Himself. I need what He has to say more than anyone needs what I have to say. And although His Word is complete and unchanging, His Word is very much alive, active, and applicable to my ever-changing circumstances. In that sense there are "new posts" daily, and they are a lifeline like no other. He is the Ultimate Blogger.

Let's spike God's site meter today!

Cyndi blogs at One Day More and Mater Magistra.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A fragrance pleasing to whom??

I think I may be an aroma-holic....
I love certain smells...cut grass, lavender, rosemary, basil, bread baking, Christmas trees, baby powder, coffee brewing...I just love smells!!

As God often does, He gets my attention in the details...This past week there was a 'strange' smell in the closet downstairs in the room where we have school...a smell that was NOT pleasing...It got my attention!! YUCK..that smell...

It was placed on my heart the idea of fragrance....and what do I smell like to HIM??

A few years ago at our Home school Co-Op I did a Bible Study with a wonderful group of girls. One week we discussed something that I had read on fragrance and what fragrances would please God. Some smells are irresistible, like those chocolate chip cookies baking...and perhaps God feels the same, of course it's not the smell of cookies baking, wafting heavenward, but in other fragrances....the smell of "ME."

He delights in the fragrance of :

Prayer: Psalms 141:2 ~ "Accept my Prayer as incense offered to you, and my upraised hands as an evening offering."

Praise: Malachi 1:11 ~ "But my name is honored by people of other nations from morning till night. All around the world they offer sweet incense and pure offerings in honor of my name. For MY name is great among the nations," says the Lord of Heaven's Armies.

Obedience: John 14:24 ~ "Anyone who doesn't love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me."

Service: 2 Chronicles 29:11 ~ "My sons, do not neglect your duties any longer! The Lord has chosen you to stand in his presence, to minister to him and to lead the place in worship and present offerings to him."

Sacrifice: Philippians 4:18 ~ "At the moment I have all I need ~and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are sweet smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God.

I thought as I sat there about how I want my 'fragrance' to be pleasing to God.

2 Corinthians 2:15 sums it up so beautifully:

"Our lives are a Christ ~like fragrance rising up to God. "

I want to be a modern Proverbs 31 Woman, as I try daily to live that, I need to focus on those fragrances that waft upwards to heaven, from me...


So as I sit and bask in the smell of this wonderful autumn candle scent that fills the room, I am reminded in the details once again...and I inhale, enjoying the fragrance....and reminding myself to think about the fragrance that lingers on from me....


..."It is a sweet aroma, an the Lord." Exodus 29:18

I'd love for you to visit me over here:

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Monday, October 8, 2007

Climbing to Companionship

Matthew 5:1
When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions.

Do you ever wonder why the activity of God can draw a crowd, but the call from Him to be committed, draws only a few? People are ready to get in on the blessings, the buzz that often surrounds His activity, but only a few follow Him on the uphill climb to companionship.
Companionship is defined as the state of being with someone. This communicates more than simply a mental knowledge or even fond feeling toward. One is not considered a companion if there is no consistent fellowship and time spent together. It is during this time of intimate fellowship that companions share their heart with one another.
It takes work to follow Christ. It is often times a steep hill and can feel like a hard and strenuous journey, but only those that make the climb with Him, are blessed with the quiet place where He sits with you, teaches you, and becomes your dearest companion. God desires to share His heart with us, but it takes commitment and work on our part to follow Him to that quiet place that is conducive for Him to do so.
Are you taking the time each day to climb to that quiet spot? Are you putting forth the effort and energy to get up early enough to sit with Him and hear what is on His heart? Are you a part of the crowd that is watching from the lower plains of life? If so, what is it that is keeping you from making the journey up the hillside to be with Him? Is it the lack of discipline to make the time? Or perhaps it is simply being unwilling to give up a little sleep and rise early enough to meet with Him before the rush of your day begins.
Whatever it takes, start today with that first uphill step towards that quiet place with Jesus. Find renewed strength through His companionship and enjoy the new perspective and joy that comes from being up on the hillside with the Lord.

Lord, give me the discipline necessary to make the climb today to meet with you. Draw me to the quiet place where you are waiting to share your heart with me. Give me ears to hear and the will to climb as high as you lead me today, no matter what the journey requires of me.


You can read more from Tammy by visiting Steps in our Journey

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It's Not About Me

I have gone through a thing or two in my life and have stood in awe at the fact that I am still sane. I have heard so many times from other people “You are such a strong woman.” This has always made me feel somewhat guilty and unworthy. I felt like I was taking credit for something I did not do and I never knew why until today.

This morning I once again heard the words that make me feel shameful. I began to meditate on this and asked God why I feel this way. I could hear myself thinking out loud, “God, I am not strong. Why do people think I am strong? By the world’s standards I should be labeled as a strong woman but I DON'T FEEL THAT WAY! Why?”

Then I felt that oh so gentle nudge tell me ever so sweetly, “You are right to feel that way. You aren’t as strong as others believe and you must tell them so.”

What? OK that little spirit of pride started to rise up and I began to sense some queasiness coming on. Then thoughts started to roll around and around my head, “What does He mean I am not strong?” “I went through this and this and survived.” “I should be crazy but I’m not.” “I don’t understand.” “What do they see then God?” “What do they see?!”

Then, God interrupts my thoughts. You know how he speaks to you over your own thoughts? Well that is what He did, somewhere between “I don’t understand.” and “What do they see then God?” He said, “They see me.”


My eyes widened, my heart started racing, I felt joy swell up in the pit of my stomach and I began to laugh! I knew He was right, after all He is God, but still I always ask Him to show me in His word. And show me He did. Right there in 2nd Corinthians.

And he said unto me, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made
perfect in weakness."
Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
I had felt this way because I am not strong. In fact, I am weak! God has many opportunities to show how strong He is because I have had so many weaknesses! It means I truly am dying to self and allowing myself to become more like Him. Wow! What a revelation! I do feel as though a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders and I certainly have a new perspective about things that I have gone through.

So, if you don't like hearing people talk about how strong you are, from now on you can accept those words with a wink and a smile and say, "Thanks, I'll tell God He is doing a wonderful job!"

Just know they see Christ in you. You are reflecting Him! We are being molded and shaped. We are on the potters wheel having our infirmities removed. God is so good! Now, we can gladly glory in our weaknesses so that Christ can be seen. Can I get an Amen?!

I'd love for you to visit me at my personal blog: In Pursuit of Proverbs 31

In Pursuit of Proverbs 31

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Sunday, October 7, 2007


Cindy Beall is a Christ follower, husband lover and children raiser who lives smack dab in the middle of Oklahoma. Her passion is writing, her calling is mentoring women and her primary gifting is exhortation. She uses her past experiences, including the near death of her marriage, to encourage people that God truly does redeem. Her mission is to help women make Jesus more than just a part of their life but to help make Him their life. (Col. 3:4)

For further information check out Cindy's blog: Cindy Beall
or email her at

Natalie Witcher believes that next to having food and water everyday, people should have a good belly laugh! Using wit and truth, Natalie teaches the Word of God with passion. She has a love for His Word and a greater love for the relationship He has with His people. If you’re looking for a mid-thirties speaker who folds laundry like you and might have time for a shower, then you’ve found your girl!

Feel free to check out her blogs at I AM (not) and Stiletto Army to contact her. Also, you may contact her directly at

Natalie lives in Edmond, OK with her husband, JT and their three girls.

Amy Bayliss knows life isn't always a piece of chocolate cake although she does have that standing prayer with God! She has been through a thing or two in her life but has learned to always look for the hand of her Father and to celebrate the welcomed and unwelcomed experiences alike. She has a gift for helping women to understand themselves and their Savior. She is robust and real; compassionate and energetic; and it is her joy to encourage women through every season of life.

Amy resides in the heart of Cajun Country with her husband and their three boys.

For more information check out Amy's blog: and her ministry website: In Pursuit of Proverbs 31 or email her at:

Elaine Bateman’s journey thus far, has been a remarkable survey in God’s continual grace and sufficiency.
The youngest daughter of Cuban-Venezuelan parents, she migrated from her family’s homeland to America when her father retired from active service within a branch of the United States Central Intelligence Agency.

During those early years living in south America at a U.S. sponsored residential base - Elaine came to know Jesus Christ as her Lord and her Savior.

Like most of us, Elaine could not have known that in just a few short years - her faith would be shaken to its foundations by a series of personal family tragedies. It would become her reliance on the promises of God’s Word that would keep her steady in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

From the murder of her beloved father at the hands of an angry young man to the loss of a “Christian” marriage to remarriage and mothering a very large blended family of 18 - Elaine has seen the hand of God gently leading her home to His grace, mercy and truths.

40 years since her profession of faith in Jesus Christ - Elaine remains a vibrant example to many young women; living the example of Godly maturity as a wife, mother and mentor to younger women all over the southeastern United States.

Today, Elaine is a featured writer on “Internet Cafe Devotions“; a Christian online women’s news magazine and a sought out speaker at women’s conferences.

For more information check out: Elaine's Blog or email her at:

Tracy Berta’s passion for the Lord is contagious! Her heart’s cry is to lead women to a more intimate relationship with the Lord through prayer, reading His Word, and walking as free women in His glorious Light.

Through honest, warm, and Biblical teaching, Tracy encourages and inspires women to pursue an authentic, passionate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Her desire is that women are not satisfied with a life of mediocrity, becoming comfortable in the “world,” but that they live abundant, transformed, joy-filled lives. Tracy shares her personal story of childhood tragedy and adult failures through examples that have audiences laughing and crying.

Tracy leaves in Iowa with her husband and five children.

For more information and a list of speaking topics, visit