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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Internet Cafe


Sophie from BooMama

"To Know This Love That Surpasses Knowledge"

A few months ago my little boy Alex and I were in the grocery store, and completely out of the blue he asked me if he will go to heaven one day. Because I was a little distracted by the fact that at some point pot roasts have started to cost about the same as a cute pair of shoes from Target, I sort of off-handedly replied, "Well, yes, buddy, if you have asked Jesus into your heart, then yes, you will go to heaven."

And then Alex got very quiet, and after about a full minute of Deep Soul Searching, he screamed "JEEEEEEEEEEEE-SUS! COME INTO MY HEART!" right there next to the pot roasts, only he said it not like he recognized his fallen heart's need for a Savior but more like he was aggravated with Jesus for not sharing His toys.

So while I wasn't completely sure that the little man was clear on some of the more fundamental doctrinal issues, I was entirely certain that Jesus had good reason to take issue with his tone.

But then, about five minutes later, when I was seized by TOE CRAMPS, of all things, I told the little man that I had to stop for a second before THE PAIN MADE MY KNEES BUCKLE, and he responded by saying, "Mama, I would like to tell a prayer for you."

I said that would be wonderful, so we bowed our heads right there in front of the dairy case and he put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Dear God. Please help Mama's toes to feel better in Publix so that she can wear her shoe. In Jesus' Name. Amen." And he was so deeply sincere about the whole thing that I wondered for a split second if his profession of faith over in the meat department wasn't the real deal after all.

Before Alex was born, I imagined that this child whose face I had not yet seen would sit with me at a desk while I carefully read passages of Scripture aloud. Everything would be Perfectly Orderly; I would Teach With Care while my child Listened Attentively. Then we would clasp our hands together and begin the walk toward faith with lockstep precision, only stopping long enough for him to surrender to whatever calling God might have on his life.

Because I wasn't idealistic or anything.

But the reality, as anybody with a little one knows, is absolutely nothing like that. The daily process of teaching and leading a precious little heart is about as methodical as herding a room full of cats. And you know what else? It is hard. On every single level. So much of parenting uncovers our own imperfections, and we are constantly being humbled, broken and refined in our own lives while we try to nurture the little lives that have been entrusted to us.

But the rewards of parenting? They're immeasurable. They're eternal. And the longer I'm a mama, the more I find that the most teachable moments in terms of faith don't require much organization or planning on my part. They don't necessarily happen while we're sitting in a church service or when we're Reviewing Memory Verses With Great Intention, though certainly I believe that God uses those things.

For me the most breathtaking moments - the times when my husband and I are both able to share our faith with the most sincerity and transparency - are when Alex picks up a maple leaf from the ground and then says, with wonder, "GOD MADE THIS!" Or when he runs into the house after being outside and says, "Mama! I missed you! And I talked to Jesus while I played!" Or when he's sick with a stomach virus and says, through his tears, "Mama? Will you always take care of me? Will God always take care of me?"

Or even when he puts his hand on my shoulder in the middle of a crowded grocery store and prays for my toe cramps while we stand next to six different brands of sour cream.

In many ways motherhood is absolutely nothing like I imagined but so much more than I expected. And for me, right now, the greatest joy is sharing the Greatest Joy with a four year-old who may get a little cloudy on the theological details - but whose heart is wide open.

I cannot imagine any greater privilege.

"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
Ephesians 3:16-19

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I Said Yes!

There are days when giving up even five minutes of our time seems impossible. In fact, some of us would rather give up five bucks rather than give up five minutes. Time is our most precious asset. That, I believe, is why God wants it.

"You shall have no other gods before me.
Deuteronomy 5:7
God will ask for that which is most dear to us. Just ask Abraham. He knew all too well the consequences of putting anything, or in his case, anyone (Isaac), before God. Thankfully, he chose to say yes to God and not to his flesh. I was asked to do the same thing.

There is one day every year that I deem "mine." I can choose what I want to do that day and I can choose what to purchase with the money that is given to me for this particular occasion. This year God wanted it.

"What?" is what I remember thinking when I heard Him speak to my heart, "Offer to care for her kids tonight so she can get some rest."

"But, God! It is my birthday tomorrow!" I argued.

"Would you want someone to do the same for you?" He asked.


So I offered to babysit for a friend... on my birthday. No, I am not saint and I don't want any accolades. I can think of many other things that I could have done on my birthday but watching my friend's four children was not one of them. But I'm glad that I did it. She deserved it. She needed it. I thank God for asking me. And it doesn't stop there.

A few days later I received a monetary gift to celebrate my birthday. My first thoughts were that God was blessing me for giving up the day and so now I was going to be able to buy the scrapbook supplies that I have been wanting. Then we got to church.

God told me to put the money in the offering basket as it came around. I dismissed the thoughts as not being God because I was certain that He had given me this money as a blessing. However, I wanted to be sure and so I said to God that if the offering basket were to come back around that I would put the money in. I was thrilled when I saw them take the baskets to the back. Okay relieved is more like it.

Next, they showed us some video clips of children in an orphanage in India that we had given nearly 85,000 dollars to. I looked at their little faces and saw the joy and the peace of God radiating in them. Then I heard them say, "I hope you love God the way we do."

Can you say conviction? I all but begged God to bring that offering back around. Guess what? He did. They announced a second offering would be taken and this time I didn't hesitate to put my birthday money in. I knew what God wanted at that point. He wanted me to sow this year of my life to Him. I wrote that down in my notebook as I pondered what He might ask of me this year. Then, as our pastor started to preach, I wrote down the title of his message: Extreme Generosity. Coincidence? I don't think so.

He wants me to generously give of my time this year to serve Him. I said yes!

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, April 27, 2008

I keep a file of quotes, actually several files. They inspire me and I'm amazed how the right ones surface at just the right time. God IS Good!!
This week, this one surfaced....again.

"We are not built for the mountains and the dawns and aesthetic affinities, those are for moments of inspiration, that is all. We are built for the valley, for the ordinary stuff we are in, and that is where we
have to prove our mettle."
~Oswald Chamber
It's intriguing, so I went 'digging' a little deeper...and found that the sentence that precedes this one in the text by Chamber makes it all VERY clear to me....
he says,
"The test of our spiritual life is the power to descend; if we have the power to rise only, something is wrong. It is a great thing to be on the mount with God, but a man only gets there in order that afterwards he may get down among the devil-possessed and lift them up."

The proof of my 'mettle,' (or as Miriam Webster defines 'vigor and strength of spirit,') is going BACK down off of the mountain where I caught a 'glimpse' of heaven and the glory of God.... I am challenged to go BACK down and use what I have seen to lift others on their walk...I think of my own journey with infertility and when our first was born we were on the top of that mountain, to stay there would have been wrong...we NEEDED to descend and spread the word of what had been done for us...a testimony!

I think of the apostle Paul and his conversion, to stay on the mountain would have been complacent, he NEEDED to get out there and DO! He was inspired by what had occurred, now it was time to get off of that mountain and use it!!

Those times on the mountain are where God 'refuels' us! Refreshes our souls and invigorates our spirits! Peter, James and John could not stay on the mountain where the Transfiguration occurred, (LUKE 9:28 ~36) they had to descend to the valley, where the lowly were living and teach them and inspire them with what they saw and knew...we are called to do the same...come down!

The mountain is a lovely place, what a view...but we were not meant to climb to the top and pitch a tent and stay there, ...oh maybe for a bit, to take it all in, but our spirits should want to descend to those valleys of the mundane and the trials of life....WE are the disciples!

We are the ones who are now called to come down and 'share' what we saw...encourage others to climb to the top and experience that 'glimpse.'

I believe that we are disciples sharing what we have learned on our journeys, sharing so that others can begin the ascent...
If we continue to encourage each other, descend from the mountain, passing those on their way up...
we will be involved in a beautiful cycle that God himself ordained...

If you close your eyes, you can almost imagine it, disciples on their way up, and those making the descent...and it continues on until the end of time.....

That mountain top view is lovely, I have seen it, sat in my lawn chair at the top....but I was not meant to LIVE there, that is for eternity...I was meant to live in that valley, walking and encouraging others with what I have witnessed 'up there!' So, I fold my chair and begin to walk down, grateful and praising HIM, for another view from 'up there,' now ready, with sleeves rolled up to do some real work!! The work I was born to do! You know, 'proving my mettle!' Knowing always, that HE has another 'view from the top' waiting for encourage and refuel me on my way....

He is FAITHFUL like that!

You can find me and my lawn chair over here most days....

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Friday, April 25, 2008


The Internet Cafe


Melanie from This Ain't New York

I think I might be addicted to Febreze.

Seriously, since the little blue bottles came out, I have loved the stuff. Maybe addicted is taking it a bit too far, but let's just say that I am strongly drawn to the Febreze logo displayed at Target.

Now they've added Febreze to so many cleaning products, my entire cleaning supply is labeled "Now with Febreze."

The truth is that I love anything that smells good, but I really adore anything that smells clean. The more I push the Swiffer button and release the scent of freshly cleaned floors, the more I want to clean my floor, and then my bathroom, and my sinks and so on.

Everyone has their own favorite scent, whether it is a flower, a perfume, or a brand new cleaning product. It reminds me that God has His own favorite aromas, too.

Revelations 5 refers to “the prayers of the saints” as “golden bowls of incense.” In fact, our prayers are like the sacrifices of the faithful in the Old Testament, as a sweet savour to The Lord.

Notice that God’s Word refers to all of the prayers of the saints as fragrant unto God. That’s right. He is pleased to hear all of our prayers- those of praise and thanksgiving, and those of sadness, doubt and worry. God is eager to listen to them all.

And when we are so distraught or confused that we cannot even think of the words to say, The Holy Spirit will pray on our behalf...

"And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." Romans 8: 26

This has always been amazing to me. I picture myself kneeling, tears streaming down my face, wanting to talk to My Lord, yet the words will not come. Then the Mighty Hand of the Holy Spirit rests gently on my shoulder and He speaks aloud to God on my behalf, as if to say, “Be comforted, dear one. I am here for you and I know your need. I will talk to the Father for you.”

What touches my weary heart is that God is always there, always listening to my prayers. It doesn’t matter how insignificant I think something is , it is always important to Him.

He tells us that He wants us to tell Him everything, the same way we tell our own children. Just like a child running in from school with something to tell her mom, I can run to Him with anything from my day and He is standing there waiting and listening.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4: 6-7

And to think that my prayers are not only accepted, but that they could be fragrant to Almighty God, like “golden bowls of incense,” well, that helps me rest in His Peace and Love so much more.

In Christ,


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Giving birth

I'm about a week away from giving birth to our second child, and it's gotten me thinking a lot about spiritual birth and growth.

You see, as a child of God, when your life is surrendered to Jesus and his way, the Holy Spirit is actively working with you to bring about new life in you--all the time. As you grow in him, he is calling you to give birth to new ways of being Christ's: submitting more to the will of God, growing in the virtues, testing new spiritual muscles, reaching out to people with God's love. We don't become "holy " overnight, even though in God's eyes, washed by the blood of Jesus, we stand justified. It takes time, practice, faithfulness, and plain ol' obedience.

The Christian life is, as Eugene Peterson once ably put it, "a long obedience in the same direction." (Actually Peterson was quoting, of all people, Frederick Nietzsche, who wrote: "The essential thing 'in heaven and earth' is. . . that there should be a long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living." Well said, Fred!)

So what does this have to do with giving birth? Well, just as we can "give birth to sin" as the book of James describes it (James 1:15), we can also give birth to the work that the Holy Spirit has done in us.

What is the Holy Spirit birthing from within you? What new challenge, what new test of faith, what new level of commitment or character is he calling out of you?

It may involve pain, but the pain of labor always fades and pales compared to the new life that comes after delivery.

Is there an area in your life in which you are resisting him? Are you trying to ignore the new thing that he is doing within you? That tactic makes just as much sense as a pregnant woman ignoring her expanding belly, or ignoring the signs of labor and going about her life as if this impending miracle weren't real. We would question her sanity, for sure. It's the same with a believer who resists the labor pains that the Holy Spirit stirs within her.

Spiritual growth, like the labor pains of pregnancy, can involve real suffering and pain, but it's always pain with a purpose. Our Lord does not abandon us even as he calls us forward; our holiness in Him is what he's all about. He is more concerned about our holiness than our happiness, more concerned about our character than our comfort:
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Romans 5:1-5)
Let him produce these traits in you. Give birth to what he has planted within you. Nurture the life that stirs within you with regular feeding on the word of God and regular check-ups with fellow believers. The Christian life is not static; it is ever about giving birth and growing.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What Needs to be New in Your Life?!

I love spring!
The buds on the trees, flowers bursting through the hardened ground and everything feels new. I love new.
A new baby. A new house. New clothes, new SHOES! New is good.

I think that God made us to love NEW things. Ok, maybe new shoes are not meant to be a spiritual encounter, but overall He gave us a desire for new-ness!

Who doesn’t love starting a New Year?
What about the New Testament and the new birth?
New is good.

Jesus gave us a new command:
John 13:34-35
34 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

Lately I’ve been thinking about another “new.”
Eph 4:22-24
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life,

to put off your old self,
which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;
23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God

in true righteousness and holiness.

I have been walking with the Lord for over 20 years now. And yet, He still continues to call me to put off the past and have a new attitude. He reminds me again what I was created for.
To live for and love Him while representing Him with my actions.

Did you know that you don’t have to live like you used to, you can start new even today.

Are you tired of the way you’ve been acting/living??? With the help of God, re-invent yourself.

Put off the old attitudes and behaviors and be made new!

What area do you want newness?
In your marriage?
As a mother?
In your family relationships?
In your friendships?
In your physical body?

God does not give us limits, He says to put the old off and put on the new!

One of my favorite verses on newness is:
Isaiah 43:19
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.

I love that. It SPRINGS up.
He brings refreshing to dry and weary lands.

He brings newness to the old dead things in our life.

What has God been wanting to do NEW in your life?
Let spring be a constant reminder to us to start over again, re-invent and be made NEW in the Lord!

Lord, I thank you for calling us to new-ness. You are so good to not leave us the way we are! Help us Lord to see Your hand and recognize Your calling.

Don't you just love Him!!!!


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Tuesday, April 22, 2008


The Internet Cafe


Christine from Fruit in Season


I admit it. I've always been a "grass is greener" kinda gal. There's always something out there somewhere that will make my home/homeschool/marriage/parenting better. To some degree this is sheer and innocent optimism:

  • The new organizing book will be that extra "oomph" I need to make me what I'm not.

  • This discipline technique will finally remove whining from our home dialogue (yea, right...).

  • This new-fangled gadget will help me want to get up and have my quiet times like I should.

See what I mean?

My rose-colored glasses (as my hubby calls them) are endearing in some ways, eye-rolling-ly frustrating in others. As I age I am seeing that my "habits" are not so easy to break. I am the way I am, and nothing short of a miracle will change me for the good. This is not to say I haven't changed, I have, and I'm sure more change is in my future, however painful it may be. My life with Christ over the past 14 years has given me many mountaintop experiences and time of drawing from those experiences when down in the valley. But the daily grind wears away at optimism a bit, as wind wears down stone, and I find that if I'm not careful I will pine too much for that greenery "over there".

While driving in the car the other day I heard a part of a sermon that stuck with me all through this week. The pastor (I never got to hear who it was!) spoke of the "devil's culdesacs" in our lives.

"The devil doesn't try to steer us on the wrong path," he said, "but instead keeps us in a culdesac for a while..."

Stalled. Not traveling where we should be, yet not quite involved in something we shouldn't. Maybe enjoying something "good" while something "great" waits for us elsewhere.

Yes! That's it!

How many little side jaunts in a lovely tree-lined culdesac have I taken, wasting away precious hours thinking of how things could be "better if..."? Oh, I so want to enjoy the moment and yet sometimes (even often!) I simply lose focus and drift off the main road in pursuit of that elusive something. Contentedness is just beyond my grasp.

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation... Phil. 4:12b

My life is similar to yours, I'm sure. I slug it out, day after day, trying to bring Christ with me everywhere I go. Sometimes I rush ahead of Him, certain this next thing is "it", wanting to show Him when He gets there! Sometimes He's ahead of me, chiding me to keep up as I glance down this side road or that, wondering what's around the bend. He's patient. He waits. I come back from whichever "good" thing I've found to realize that the one thing that's important is to draw from Jesus, the Living Water, the source of all good, and be content in the pasture of my life.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss says that the "green pastures" in Psalm 23 are different for all of us, and different at each stage of our lives. The green is all around us, no need to long for what's in someone else's. Yes, there may be something wonderful to find, to bring healing and change to a part of our lives. But if it's not on our main road- if we have to turn off to find it- then it's not the time.

So what about you? What culdesacs are you tempted by? Walk past; speed up a bit. Find contentment on the path He's set for you.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sweet Inner Peace..

"And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest, for you shall go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; by which the Dayspring from on high has visited us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace." Luke 1:76-79

Our Savior has promises each who loves Him, His peace according to the verses found in John 14:27. This peace is the kind of peace allows for our quietly sleeping even through life's fierce storms.

"Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, 'Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.' And they launched out. But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, "Master, Master , we are perishing!' Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. But He said to them, 'Where is your faith?' And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, 'Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!'"

Without His peace, our daily lives as women would be like riding in a sinking boat in the midst of a raging tempest? We would be like those disciples - feeling helpless and afraid. But, with His sweet inner peace, we experience unexplainable calmness in the midst of life's storms and turmoil.

To have access to that sweet inner peace, we must know Him as Lord and Savior. When we receive His forgiveness according to His instructions found in Romans 5:10, we obtain peace with Him. By being "born again" by His Spirit, we become members of His family!

"But God commends His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the reconciliation." Romans 5:9-11

Jesus Christ is our peace! I remember during the events of "9-11", I observed many of Miami's local residents screaming, running to get their children out of class, panicking and totally lacking peace. Why? Because they had fears of death - believing it was the end of the world as they knew it. As followers of Jesus Christ, we ourselves, pass from death to life in Him. This is our peace. Without His salvation, the glorious and amazing truth that becomes our eternal hope, quickly fades and is replaced by fear.

God's sovereignty is another reason we possess a tranquil and peaceful heart. How important this becomes when we remember that the world in which we live is a very troubled and wicked place. This world we live in is a troubled world.

Knowing God is sovereign, even in my dealings with abused children in ministry, remains a critical part of His peace. This one subject tugs at my heart daily because of what I see, hear, and read about the plight of abused children in general and my own "adopted" children's life stories specifically. Dealings with the ramifications of abuse suffered at the hands of wicked people in the lives of our "adopted" children compels me to remember that God's sovereignty says He is and always has been in control of every situation. Knowing and believing these things protects my mind and spirit from the anxieties constantly birthed by this wicked world. He grants me His peace. This becomes the truth I pass along to my own loved family members.

"And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

We must understand that God knows our needs and has promised to fulfill each need according to His glory and good pleasure. He delights in doing so for He is our Father! We may not receive all we want, but He'll give us everything that's necessary to fulfill His purpose for us. The result? His peace that surpasses all earthly understanding.

“In the Waiting” ~ FFH (Far From Home)

I’ve seen the Red Sea part, I’ve seen the mountains move,

But now it seems so dark I can’t even feel you.

If you choose to be silent, then I’ll be silent too.

I will worship in the waiting quiet before you

‘Til your vice like manna from the sky falls.

I will worship in the waiting; I will walk this sand beneath my feet.

Though the winter wind is blowing, the ground is not frozen underneath.

And I will worship and not grow bitter ‘cuz I know you see the end of it all.

With the spring will come the rain, and I’ll see what was gained in the waiting.

I’ve seen the blooms of spring, their life in everything.

But now it seems so grey, bright colors fade away.

The winter seems much longer and colder than before,

But I will worship in the waiting, expecting something more

Until the sun shines warm upon my face again.


He leadeth me, He leadeth me,

By His own hand He leadeth me.

*His faithful follower I would be

**For by His hand He leadeth me.

*I will worship in the waiting

**I will worship in the waiting

"My dear Heavenly Father may we know that you give us that peace that surpasses all understanding. May we trust you always knowing that you are in control in our every day situations. We love you my dear sweet Savior!"

In Him,

Elaine Bateman

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Love Letters

      I love a good love story.  Nathaniel pursues Cora in “The Last of the Mohicans”.  Lancelot saves Guinevere, riding off in the sunset on horseback.  Adam and Eve alone in the garden walking with God in the cool of the day, aware only of each other and their God.   There’s something about a good love story that stirs my heart.

      We are living in the greatest love story ever told.  So much of life around us distracts us away from the realization of how deeply we are pursued and loved, but that does not lessen the facts.  The bride price has been paid, we have been chosen, we are loved with an everlasting love.  Do you see Papa’s pursuit of your heart each day?  

      When I met my husband he was in the Coast Guard stationed on board a ship in Virginia  while I was in a small town in Tennessee.  It was before the time of e-mail, and free long distance.  There was not much access to the phone so our main communication was through letters.

      Letters became the lifeline of our relationship.  At first they were filled with basic information, sharing our hopes and dreams, but as time progressed we began to speak more tenderly of our affection and love.  Eventually, each letter became a sacred, cherished declaration of love.  I couldn’t wait to get home from work to check the mailbox.   Sometimes the wait would get the best of me so I would leave at lunch in hopes of finding one waiting.  

     Getting a letter was like hitting the jackpot.  I couldn’t wait to break into the envelope and see what my David had spoken to me.   My heart, like a dry sponge soaked up each word, memorizing and savoring them like a fine delicacy.  Line upon line told me of how greatly I was wanted and pursued.  I read each one over and over again, wearing natural creases into the pages.

      The letters continued to come until my beloved came to take me as his bride.  At the wedding, joining our hearts as one, we declared our love in the presence of friends and family.  My bridegroom had come, taken his bride and now the wedding feast would begin.

     What would have happened, I wonder had I read the letters out of obligation or responsibility.  What if I spent time perusing them because my love expected me to.  Wouldn’t it have taken something out of it?  And what if I had been told that if I want to know my love I needed to read his letters of instruction, wouldn’t that have left them dry and empty?

     When I was a young believer I was told that God’s word was my instruction manual.  Just as I wouldn’t drive a car without reading the manual I shouldn’t be a Christian without reading the Word.  Every good soldier reads their instruction manual, right?  So, I did.  And Papa in His mercy blessed my attempts.

      I remember when Papa began to whisper to me about His word being a love letter.  He reminded me of my letters of love from my David.   With that picture in mind, the precious Words left by my Papa began to take on a different meaning to me.  Now I could see that it was a book full of kisses from his mouth to my heart not an instruction manual.  Love is hidden in each page.  With each revelation of affection hidden in Papa’s Word a love letter is delivered to my heart’s mailbox.  

    Leviticus is a difficult read in my opinion, but in his whispers He tells me that I would be living Leviticus had He not come and rescued me, fulfilling the requirements for the law on my behalf once and for all.  

     In the story of Elijah by the brook being fed by ravens, Papa shows me that He will provide for me, sometimes through extraordinary means.  In Hosea, Papa reveals His relentless pursuit in the story of Gomer.  In John, the verses of the lost sheep tell me that He will hunt me down until He finds me.  The story of Gideon tells me that He sees me in the way He created me, not in the way I see myself.  The chronicle of Joseph reveals to me that He prepares me and calls me out at just the right time.  And Revelations tells me of my future wedding.

     Line upon line, story upon story, verse after verse, the declarations of Papa’s everlasting love pour out.  My Papa loves me so profoundly that He has written to me to tell me.   Page after page He declares to me how desperately He loves me.  How could I not draw away to a quiet place to read and remember?

     His Word is a kiss from His mouth to your heart.  Read and remember how greatly He loves you.  He’s left a love letter in your mailbox today.  Let Him love you through His Word.

   “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth for your love is more delightful than wine.” Song of Solomon 1:2

You can find Julie at her blog:  Jewelz Sightings

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Where are you?

Where are you?

On any given day, in any given city, there is no shortage of answers to this question.

"Where am I?" - I am between jobs, I am struggling financially, I am sitting in the hospital with a very sick child, I am being served divorce papers, I am in prison, I am experiencing infertility, I am barely clinging to my faith, I am thinking that God has forgotten about me, I am depressed, I am confused . . .

Most of us have been to some of these places or have watched someone go there. Situations like these seem defining. When we look in the mirror - there we are - in that "place" we never dreamed we'd be. And the worst part? When we arrive at that "place" - always unexpectedly - it's easy to become convinced that we no longer qualify to function in our place in the Body of Christ. We believe the lie that because our situations are not small and insignificant but instead seem to have consumed all of 'life' as we know it, that we - by default - must forfeit walking in our kingdom purpose.

We attempt to grasp at scriptures that say our trials will refine us, and mold us into the image of Jesus, yet when we assess our situation, we feel less like Christ than before we first believed. Then we open up and swallow one of our enemy's favorite lies:

"You are in this "place" because you have failed, and God just can't use you now."

The problem with this lie, the reason it is so easy to swallow is because it is accompanied by tons of stinkin' evidence and facts that are difficult to dispute. In light of this, allow me to offer something that I think God would applaud:

"WHERE you are . . . is not WHO you are!"

Where we are, today, is simply where we are in the journey. And the journey is being micromanaged by the Lover of our soul.

Where was Moses for 40 years? In the desert. Who was Moses for those 40 years? He was Israel's deliverer. (Moses saw a shepherd in the mirror. God still saw a deliverer.)

Where were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? On death row. Who were Shadrac, Meshac and Abednego? God's offering of salvation to an unbelieving King.

Where were the people as Pharoah chased them? Trapped and doomed at the edge of the Red Sea. Who were the people as Pharoah chased them? The nation from whom God's Son would still come.

And what about Joseph? Where was he? In prison - though he was not a criminal. Who was Joseph - while he was in prison? A deliverer . . . in the fullness of time.

God is not a man that He should lie. . . hath He said and shall He not do it? Hath He spoken and shall He not make it good? (Numbers 23:19)

For I know the plans that I have for you . . . plans for good and NOT destruction; to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11)

I have loved you, with an EVERLASTING love . . . (Jeremiah 31:3)

WHERE you are is not WHO you are. It's simply . . . where you are . . . until God moves.

AND THEN . . .

Whose wayward child will meet Jesus because of you? What broken person will experience wholeness, because of you? What incredible move of God might you be a part of, if you faithfully endure "where" you are - so that He can mold you into "who" you are? Who will be delivered, because of you?

"Where are you?" Someplace great? Maybe not.

"Who are you?" A most beloved Child of the King of Kings! One whose name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life! An eternal being - bought with a price! More than a conquerer! Delivered, washed, redeemed, forgiven, powerful, anointed, full of peace. Free!

Daughter . . . WHERE YOU ARE is most definitely not WHO YOU ARE.

In Him . . .

Visit Darnelle at her personal blog:
All Things Work Together

(Many thanks to Dan O. for sharing his insights from an HPC staff mtg.)

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Craving His Presence

Lately, I've had a distinct craving simply to be in God's presence. Honestly, I don't regularly "feel" that longing. When it comes, I savor it immensely.

I've read and re-read Psalm 84 nearly every night before I go to sleep for the past few weeks, because it encapsulates so fully what my soul longs for:

"How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.

"Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise.

"For a day in your courts is like a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked" (Psalm 84:1-2, 4, 10).

I have found myself periodically humming the fourth movement of Brahms' German Requiem ("How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place") as I lay in bed at night, watching the sun set behind the trees outside my window. Their slender, just-budding branches reach like arms into the chilly nighttime air; the cluster of trees appear like worshipers yearning to live into that longing for their Lord.

Like these bare and reaching trees, we hunger for our creating, redeeming, and sustaining God. We were made for him, and our hearts are truly restless until they find their rest in the One who alone can satisfy them.

Still, it is so easy for me to approach the Lord with my laundry list of wishes. I pray prayers full of good intentions, but also full of busyness and business. These are good and right prayers. They have a place before the throne of our Lord who attends to the details of the frailest of his creatures.

But they are also prayers that scratch the surface of my need. I come to God full of restlessness that I assume will be calmed by the Lord's action on my behalf. I want him to fix stuff for me, but I don't necessarily want (or have the time for!) HIM. "Oh Lord, help me in this... please do that for me... I know that all will be well once this issue gets resolved." It's a common pattern of relating for a creature to get stuck in. As a creature, I have a limited imagination of my place and His place in the grand narrative that he is writing.

But there are moments in our lives, perhaps less frequent than we care to admit, that we find our loving Lord prompting us to reach deeper and further. He beckons us to feel the restlessness of our hearts in a more piercing way. We are led to feel and know truths about our need for him, and to push into his very presence. When we begin to truly feel the restlessness of our hearts that is deeper and far more real than our messy house or our busy lives, we are finally able to discover his utter sufficiency to satisfy and fill us with Himself.

You may feel dry and brittle in your heart. You are in need of a soaking rain of God himself. You may not even feel longing for him. But I can assure you, you do. It's easy to confuse our thirst for our good and gracious God, triune in being, with a host of other things, people, ideas, and beliefs. It's also easy for the cares of this world, and of our crooked little hearts, to stifle the holy longings that a heart made for God has for God.

Press in deeper, gentle reader. Press in deeper. Meditate on the names of God. Savor them like honey in your mouth. Whether you feel it or not, it is his presence that you desperately crave.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I Need Thee Every Hour

“The Holy can be either a Hiding Place or a Boulder blocking your way.”
Isaiah 8:13

One day as a young wife and mother of 37 years of age, Annie Hawkins was busy with her regular household tasks. Suddenly, she became so filled with the sense of nearness to the Master that, wondering how one could live without Him, either in joy or pain, she wrote the words to the famous hymn, “I Need Thee Every Hour”.

As I read this verse in Isaiah chapter eight, I was reminded of this incredible hymn. Oh, how we desperately need Him every hour! We need Him so much more than we could ever comprehend. This verse revealed to me just a few of the ways we need Him.
I have always heard, and often times claimed, God as my Rock, my Shelter, my Hiding Place, but I was reminded through this verse that God can also be a Boulder. He is a Hiding Place and a Rock in whom I take refuge, but He is also a Boulder blocking my way. Many times we find ourselves facing difficulties or trials and discover Him to be our Rock in whom we take refuge, but have you ever considered that he is a Boulder blocking your way? Blocking your way from what, you may ask. I found comfort as I was reminded in this verse that, as I am seeking God and finding refuge in Him as my Hiding Place, He will also become the Boulder that keeps me from wickedness. He can prevent me from “presumptuous sins” and foolishness. He can also be the Boulder that prevents evil and harm from getting to me. He will allow trials to befall me, and will be my Hiding Place during such times, but there are even more times that I believe He is, in fact, a Boulder blocking my way. He is my Protector on all fronts. He hides me in the Shadow of His wing when I am hurting or afraid, and He protects me from myself and my own wicked heart, as well as, from that which could bring harm to me.

He is able to move the boulders in my life that I cannot deal with on my own, but He graciously makes Himself a Boulder in my life to prevent me from falling and to protect me from harm. The more I read His Word and uncover all that He reveals of Himself through it, I find He is so much more than we could ever imagine. He is more to us that we can comprehend. He is ever present and all knowing. Even when I do not see what He is doing, I can rest assured that He has my best interest at heart and He is everything that I need. I echo Annie Hawkins and sing,

I need Thee ev'ry hour,
Most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine
Can peace afford.

I need thee every hour,
in joy or pain;
come quickly and abide,
or life is vain.

I need thee every hour,
teach me thy will;
and thy rich promises
in me fulfill.

I need Thee, O I need Thee!
Ev'ry hour I need Thee;
O bless me now, my Saviour!
I come to Thee.

Lord, thank you for all that you are to me, both that which I recognize and the many things that I don’t even see. Thank you that, whether in joy or pain, You are sufficient. I come to You with all my heart, recognizing my desperate need for you.

You can read more from Tammy by visiting her at Steps In Our Journey

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Don't Say That!!

"Hey, girl! How are you?" she asked with a soft, concerned voice.

Choking back tears, I replied to her, "I'm great! Life is wonderful! How about you?"

Then she just looked at me as though she had seen a ghost. She said, "You don't have to pretend. I understand what you're going through. I want to be here for you."

Her words cut like a knife. She was the first one to call my bluff. I thought I had hidden it so well. Instantly I began to feel guilt; guilt for lying, guilt for not hiding it well enough, and guilt for not letting a friend in when I needed one most.

It was after all the worst year of my life. My marriage was ending, my brother was in Iraq, the ministry I worked for was closing its doors and I had no idea where to go or what to do. But no one would have ever known because I wouldn't say anything. You see, I was taught not to. She knew because she knew me and I thank God that she did.

For years I was taught from the pulpit to watch what I say in regards to the current condition of my life. For example, when my middle son was spending most of his first year of life in and out of hospitals, I was taught to tell people that he was healed and was doing fine... even if he really wasn't. I was taught that this was a mandate from Romans 4:17.

"(as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;"
What is typically quoted is, "Call those things that be not, as though they were." As you can see, this is only a fraction of the scripture and only a small part of a complete thought. It has not been used in context concerning this teaching.

I was taught that when I was having a rough day that I should put a smile on my face and a bounce in my step and tell everyone that I was wonderful. Why? Because then it would come to pass. This is not what that scripture means nor is this method biblical.

For starters, we are lying if we do this. The bible clearly states this in Exodus 23:1, Deuteronomy 19:18, Psalm 27:12, Proverbs 6:19, Proverbs 12:17, and many more that we are not to bear false witness or give false testimonies. If you don't acknowledge facts then you can't be delivered. If you convince yourself that they never existed then you can't believe God intervened to make it better. If you don't tell the truth about your situation then God can never get the GLORY for its end result!

When you acknowledge facts about your current situation it does not mean that you have no faith.... it means that you do! How much faith does it take to believe God changed something that you believe never existed? That's denial.

Think about that for a second and let it sink in.

"But what about speaking positively, Amy? Shouldn't we be practicing the message of speaking 'life'?"

I'm so glad that you asked! God tells us about choosing life over death and blessings over curses in Deuteronomy 30:19.

"This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live."
We should acknowledge fact but speak "life." That way God gets the glory. Consider what happened in John 11. Jesus specifically told Mary and Martha that the death of their brother Lazurus was to bring glory to Him. Think of how differently it would have been if they had just buried him, put a smile on their face, and pretended everything was grand.

Look at how my conversation from 4 years ago could have gone better:

"Hey, girl! How are you?" she asked with a soft, concerned voice.

I replied to her, "I'm not as good as I could be and I need your prayers. I know that I could be encouraged if we could talk and have coffee one day soon. I just have many things going on right now but I know God's hand is in the midst of it and He will use it all for good. He always comes through for us. How about you?"

In that scenario I would have acknowledged that God's hand was required to bring peace to my life. I didn't put on a show, pretending everything was hunky dorey, and then just dismiss my friend as though she didn't know any better. I gave her an opportunity to serve as Jesus would have and I gave God the opportunity to be glorified through my situation. Now if only it had actually happened that way. Thank God for mercy and forgiveness. I'm glad He is faithful to us even when we aren't faithful to Him.

I can't think of one instance in the bible where someone claimed to be fine, but really wasn't, all in the name of Jesus. Why should we?

Talk about being tested when God gives us revelation and we begin to write about it and share it with others. I wrote this post on Sunday in preparation for today. Well, I found out on Monday that my son's vision (20/800) cannot be restored to his left eye (his vision has slowly deteriorated since birth). He also has developed learning problems as a result of the condition. He will have to wear protective glasses for the rest of his life to protect his good eye from accidents. I am acknowledging the fact that my son cannot see in that eye and that he has learning difficulties but I am also thanking God for the miracle that he is going to give to our family. He restored vision to many others in the bible and he is no respecter of persons. My God is a BIG God. I know He will do this and more for Gevan but I seek your prayer and I ask you to agree with me that Gevan will be healed for the glory of God in the name of His precious son, Jesus.

Thank 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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Monday, April 14, 2008

I Need To Be Rescued!

Recently my daughter and I went to return two articles of clothing we had purchased at a department store that did not fit. I happen to notice a table near the checkout stand covered with jeans on sale. I quickly picked out a pair that I hoped would fit and proceeded to the counter. I provided a receipt for my return and waited for the clerk to complete my purchase.

She scanned the receipt and price tags quickly, stapled my old receipt with the new and blurted out the amount of my credit. As she handed me a bag with the jeans in it, I thought to myself, “The amount of the credit she just blurted out was the amount of my return and should have been reduced by my purchase?”

My daughter and I turned and began to walk out the store and through the mall to pick up another item. Once out of the store, I pulled out my wallet and looked at the receipt. The clerk had indeed given me credit for my return but had not charged me for the jeans. I mumbled something to my daughter as we entered the next store. We knew exactly what we needed, made our purchase and headed back through the mall.

I realized that at this moment I had a choice. I was tempted to just continue on, out the doors, to our car, and head home. I had just received a free pair of jeans because of someone’s mistake. As we headed to the escalator I knew what I was supposed to do, but again I also knew what I was tempted to do. I was not proud of myself at all. I was ashamed. All of these thoughts had swirled through my mind in a matter of seconds. I told my daughter that the clerk had not charged me for the jeans and that we were heading back into the store to pay for them.

I went to the counter where I had made my purchase hoping that the clerk was still there. She was and I quietly whispered to her that she had not charged me for the jeans. She abruptly said, “Yes I did” and proceeded to grab the receipts from my hand. Her face appeared startled. I am sure in her teenage mind she was thinking, “Lady, what are you doing coming back? You could have left with a free pair of jeans.”

Somehow I knew in those seconds while riding down the escalator I was being confronted with a test. No one knew but me of this mistake. My young daughter had not been really paying attention before I said something. Who would be harmed by me walking right through the store and going home with a twenty-five dollar pair of jeans? The large department store would never feel this loss. But in a matter of seconds I knew in my heart I wanted to pass this test.

She scanned the jeans, I paid for them, and we left the store. Although I knew I had been a person of integrity in that moment, I also knew how deeply I needed to be rescued. If I had been left on my own, I would have sunk quickly. I would have walked out of the store with a pair of jeans I had not paid for.

Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.
All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of his covenant. For the sake of your name, O LORD, forgive my iniquity, though it is great. Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD ? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him. He will spend his days in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land.
The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish. Look upon my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins. See how my enemies have increased and how fiercely they hate me! Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.

Psalm 25:8-21

In Him...Chris

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

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Mediocre Life

After a prompting from the Lord, I am re-posting one from my own blog. I had something else for our Saturday together, but I think the Lord is not through with me on this. So, here you are...if you've already read it at my site, sorry. But maybe, just maybe the Lord has another message in it for you as well.....hmmmm.

The Mediocre Life.....

What kind of life is that? Sometimes---many times it is what we settle for instead of persevering before the throne---or pushing ahead and believing God for what He wants for us in the first place! He does NOT want the mediocre for His blessed children!

Jeremiah 29:11 says "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future". (NIV)

Last Thursday morning at 2:34---well, probably just a few minutes before that, the Lord woke me from a deep sleep. I woke, rolled over and snuggled deeper, only to hear Him in my heart/head beckon me from that nestled position. Well, old flesh immediately says, "I hate it when You do that...wake me up from sleep...YOU know how much I love sleep...."

I was instantly rebuked, "No, Lord, I'm sorry, I don't hate it.... You know I love YOU more than sleep."

So, I rolled over on my back, as if to ready myself to "listen".

His instructions are clear. "Get up-go to your prayer room, lay before me in prayer." I try just for 2 seconds, to reason with Him, that I can pray here....but no I can't. I pray out loud when He instructs me like this...and I KNOW already that this will be an out loud prayer. Not a whispered or silent type.

As I roll the covers back, my thoughts begins to "wander" down the corridor of my mind, filled with pictures of family. Is someone in distress? The brink of disaster? A fire? A tornado? (There was that one time of the tornado---an old post...don't remember which one--you'd have to hunt back to last year sometime...)

I go to the bathroom, then on through the dining room, where the Bibles, books and computer are arranged, just as I'd left them hours before...walk into the kitchen and look at the clock, thinking surely it must be almost "getting up time" anyway.--- Not so. ---Only 2:34. Good sleep being missed. Girls you have no clue how much this youngin loves to sleep!

I walk into the prayer room/library. Small room. Only big enough for the "granddaddy chair", two book cases and a desk. Just enough floor space that I can lie down and meet the Master of the house. So I take my place. Same place every time. As I began, I told Him, "I don't know what You've called me here for ....but that's okay. I don't have to know." My prayer began slow, as He blew the sleep from my heart, I began to weep before Him with the urgency of NEEDING Him to hear my plea. Not knowing who or what I was praying for, I left it up to Him. Many of you were prayed for. Many of you that I converse with on a daily basis via e-mail or a visit to your blog were on my heart. So, your name was called. The Lord prompted my spirit...."it's not about the numbers, Angie. It's about the message." I asked for the message. For the anointing. For His Spirit to rest upon me and pour into me what needs to be said. To the hurting. To the damaged. To the brokenhearted. To you and, yes, to me. He pours it in....I pour it out.

I can't tell you how many times a day I think about what the Lord wants to use my life for. What He's up to. But girls, it is all up to Him. Whatever He wants to do with me, use me for I am His. Totally. I love my precious family. My sweet darling man. My girls, their husbands, their children, my parents, my siblings...but I belong to the Lord. For His work....I don't know what it's to be. It may only be to get up at 2:34 a.m. and pray for someone I don't know. Someone I've never had the pleasure of a neck hug. But that's okay too. If the Lord crosses our paths here....then it is for a reason. I question Him not.

Dear sweet sister-in-Christ, it is not about the number of visitors I have or you have. Nor about the comments or who they come from. It is about the message of Christ....and getting it out to the lost and dying. It's about Him. All about Him. I had prayed. Then off to bed again. Thought I had completed the task set before me. Thought I had fulfilled His desire. I had laid back down but couldn't get you off my heart and mind.

That's where the word "mediocre" came in. It came in and would not leave! Like a rolling tape...just the word~~over and over and over and over~~yes! You get the picture? I promise I don't lay around or sit around with "words" just coming to my head, but that particular morning....the word mediocre came in and would not leave no matter what else I tried to replace it with! I was like, "mediocre what!" For goodness sake! I knew I would not go back to sleep until I had been fully obedient! So I got BACK up and went to the computer. I needed to tell you that we don't have to live a mediocre life. That He has a plan and purpose for EACH ONE OF US! YOU and me! All we need to do is be obedient.

So girls...if He calls you in the night to pray for me....please pray. If He calls you in the middle of a busy day to pray for your pastor, your neighbor, the girl at the checkout, the guy that delivers your pizza, the dude that cuts your lawn, pause and pray. If He prompts you further to go to another room, lay before Him, kneel before Him, or sit before Him, be obedient. Listen for His voice....He is calling us from a mediocre life into His glorious one!

Angie welcomes your visit at her personal blog, "The Knightly News".

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Friday, April 11, 2008

The Catcher

I think it all started with reading Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilych, followed by a very close friend’s potentially serious cancer diagnosis. Then, there was word of a high school acquaintance being shot to death in his home under mysterious circumstances. The funeral was yesterday.

Next, I visited my elderly parents, and the sight of their ever-weakening and inexplicably shrinking bodies made me sad. Last night, I watched a highly anticipated Dateline story about two students of Taylor University (a nearby Indiana Christian college) whose identities were accidentally switched at the scene of a horrendous accident two years ago, and how the mistake was not revealed until 5 weeks later, leaving one family elated and one family devastated. Finally, we’re right at the three-year anniversary of an event that made part of my heart die away forever, the death of Terri Schiavo.

Yes, I've been thinking about death a lot this week.

Actually, I think about my own death at some point every day, not in a morbid way, but just in an “Are you ready? Is there unfinished business? How do you want to be remembered?” way. That is constructive, to a point.

What is not constructive is allowing myself to be tortured by the fear of losing my children and husband. As a believer, I have to draw the line of rumination there. I cannot give in to hand-wringing, although I’m prone to.

Henri Nouwen once spoke to the unique relationship of a trapeze team. When the flyer lets go of his bar and hangs in mid-air for a split second, there is no security. He cannot see his catcher nor manipulate the catcher’s speed or method of catching. But at the right moment, his savior arrives and takes him to their base.

Most of us believe death will be like that frightening moment of suspension. But 2 Corinthians 5:8 tells us, “We should be cheerful, because we would rather leave these bodies and be at home with the Lord.”

In other words, we will not be left hanging for one moment because to let go here makes us present there.

Sometimes when I sit down to write, I face the blank screen and feel uncertain and anxious—the term is “writer’s block.” After this sad, question-filled week, I’m comforted by the thought that although life is uncertain, it is not unwritten. That is to say, God is the author of life, and he has never suffered writer’s block. He is not uneasy about the future at all.

That’s why Christians shouldn’t despair. Death is simply another part of each of our stories.

Paul says, “When you sow a seed, it must die in the ground before it can live and grow. And when you sow it, it does not have the same body it will have later. What you sow is only a bare seed, maybe wheat or something else. But God gives it a body that he has planned for it” (Corinthians 15:35-38).

The key word phrase is “that he has planned for it.” We who trust in Christ for forgiveness of our sins can know that as the story of our life unfolds, we are in his thoughts, never out of sight or mind, and that we are always safe in the strong grip of our loving savior and "catcher."

Q ~ When was the last time you felt suspended in air like the trapeze flyer?
Q ~ Think about a time you felt the sure grip of the "catcher" in your life.


Thursday, April 10, 2008


I opened my front door this week to a devastating sight. A young couple that my husband and I had ministered to on many occasions was standing there completely distraught. I could see it immediately. Their faces were heavy with pain and it scared me. I just said, “what?!...what?!”

Then she fell into my arms and told me that she had lost her baby at 22 weeks in her pregnancy. They came in and we spent some time talking and praying.

The first question we all ask at times like this is “why?” I truly don’t know “why.” Aside from the fact that we live in a fallen world with pain and heartache, I can’t answer this question. We may never know why.

I told them not to hold back the tears though, I told them to let themselves grieve, they had lost a son. Grieving is a necessary and healthy part of life and death.

1 Peter 1:6-7
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while

you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
7 These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold,

which perishes even though refined by fire-
may be proved genuine and may result in praise,
glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

But, I encouraged them to grieve with hope.
The Greek word in the New Testament for hope is the “expectation of good.”

It does not mean that we are feeling good at the time, but that we have the expectation that God will bring about good in our lives.

In the Old Testament in means words like safety, trust, security and refuge.
We don’t understand all the trials and heartache, but the Lord promises to walk with us through every one.

I can say with surety that every trial and every bit of grief I have felt has drawn me closer to His heart. I desperately need Him in times of pain and He has never failed to bring me comfort.

As she fell sobbing into my arms for comfort, I know that the Lord also had His arms wrapped around her. He is the one who will heal this pain. They will never forget this, but the sting of pain will subside.

I don’t patronize anyone by saying that I know how it feels to lose a child. I can’t even imagine. But I have known pain, and I know that our God is the one that promises to heal our broken hearts. Time may help, but only God can heal.

Ps 34:18
18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
He rescues those who are crushed in spirit.

I know that many of you have lost dear children and I pray that you walk in healing and hope.

Lord, I pray that you would hold close every mother and father that has lost a child. Let them sense Your loving arms wrapped around them. Let them be at peace throughout their day and as they lie down in the evening to rest. Oh Father, bring hope to the hurting arms of the mother who longs for a child. For the ones they have lost and the ones they have hoped to hold.
In the precious Name of Jesus,


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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Bless my Interruptions

At 2:30 this morning, I was asleep. Blissfully asleep. Until my little boy Shepherd came running and crying into my bedroom, anyway. “Ingram’s crying, Mommy! He won’t stop! I can’t sleeeeeep!” I turned up the monitor to verify that my one year old son was indeed hysterical.

How I wish I were the type of mom who popped up smiling in the middle of the night, sweetness and light wrapped in a frilly nightgown, never bothered by the intrusion.
Well, I am not that mommy.
I'm more of a crab in a ratty old tanktop.

Since first becoming pregnant I have suffered from insomnia, so I view sleep as a very precious commodity. Often when I am awakened in the middle of the night, I cannot fall back asleep. So wake me up and you will encounter Grouchy with a capital Grrrrr.

I stomped upstairs to assess the situation, frustrated at Shepherd, frustrated at my sleeping husband, and yes, frustrated even at the baby. Frustrated at insomnia. Frustrated at myself for being frustrated, because Hello, I am a mom, this is what I signed up for. Grrrrr.

A bottle and a diaper change later, I climbed back into bed and I said a quick prayer for sleep to return. Suddenly a prayer I read years ago popped into my mind: “Dear God, please bless my interruptions today.”

And then I realized that God and I needed to have one of those Get Over Yourself conversations. Ack, we have so many of them.

The thing is, I get on a mission. I have certain things that I want to accomplish in a given day. Or night, in which Blissful Uninterrupted Slumber is the number one item on my agenda. My happiness, my peace, is so often reliant on checking things off my to-do list. So when Someone – and usually Someone is less than four feet tall – interrupts me, I might get a wee bit bent out of shape.

What if I prayed that prayer, to view my interruptions as blessings, or as opportunities to bless another?

I wonder what impact that would have on my days?

God is the God of order, yet when he walked among us on this earth, Jesus’s days probably looked a lot more like my own - noisy chaos. He got interrupted all the time. Hands forever reaching out for more, throngs of voices constantly demanding service. (If Jesus had had a cell phone, it would have rung nonstop!) The Bible tells us several times that he had to go far away, all by himself, so he could pray. I so get that! Every time Jesus tried to go someplace, he was interrupted. Did he view the Centurion’s servant as an imposition? Or Jairus’ daughter? Did he snap at the hemorrhaging woman because she slowed him down? When the blind man asked to be healed, did he check to see if it was on his to-do list first?

No, Jesus blessed his interruptions. Grace and mercy flowed down on those who got in his way. Oh, that it would be the same for those who get in my way.

Oh, Lord, give me the humility and the grace to seek your to-do list today, and not my own. Remind me to bless my interruptions -
for your glory.

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