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Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Simplicity of Christ

In a day and age of entertainment, it’s easy to get caught up making “perfect” presentations in everything from children’s birthday parties to the flowers on our lawns. Did everyone like the way I decorated for the missions’ banquet or the dessert I brought for potluck?

Not me. I can’t pull it off. I’m just not very good at making things look perfect because just as soon as I plan the best birthday party ever, it rains or if I’ve got a beautiful dessert planned for company, I burn it. Whenever I aim for a perfect presentation, I end up wanting to poke my eyes out in the process. Or pull out all my hair. Or scream, or end up in a puddle of tears.

As I recently coordinated an event for children at church, I became frazzled and harried over the details of presentation. Painting sets, gathering fun supplies and finding volunteers began to overtake the true purpose of the event: telling kids about Jesus.

Jesus was quick to remind me that He is not a pomp and circumstance kind of guy. He walked on dirty roads and wore a simple robe. He didn’t even have a yard to show off to the neighbors, so why was I worrying about all these things?

When Jesus went to Mary and Martha’s house that memorable day in Bethany, He came to share His life with them. Martha got caught up in trying to please her Lord with perfect presentation, but Mary was content just being in His presence.

When Martha finally built up to the point of poking-her-eyes-out frustration, she blurted out “this isn’t fair!” Jesus gently reminded her of His simplicity that day too.

You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken from her.
Luke 10:41-42

Jesus is simple: He doesn’t care about presentation, He cares about the heart. He just wants ONE thing from us. We get all caught up in the million things we have to do for God each day. We’re trying to check them all off our list so we can be sure to be a good Christian, but He told us only ONE thing is necessary.

He wants our attention and how can He get it if we are focused on making a great presentation to the neighbors? He just wants one thing from me: me. Now that’s simple. It’s so easy to forget that Christianity boils down to a simple loving relationship between us and our savior.

Points for Action:
1. Sit down at Jesus’ feet today, just like Mary did, and soak up His presence. Don’t say a word, but listen to His loving voice.

2. Are there too many things on your plate that are taking the focus off of Jesus’ simplicity? Is there anything God might ask you to pare back so you can focus on Him more fully?

Come visit me...


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

When Bonne Bell Doesn't Cut It

I've tried many different make-up doo-dads. From Mary Kay to Maybelline. From Bonne Bell to Arbonne. Usually, I find something in everything that I like. Right now I'm hooked on the Bare Minerals gig and I love it! But, I love Mary Kay mascara, Jane lipstick, Jane Bronzer and Arbonne wash. I'm a bit of an eclectic face keeper.

I jokingly say that I'm pretty Irish (which I am), but have a tiny amount of Cherokee blood. Not to mention I'm Scottish...and French. Needless to say, the European blood tends to outweigh the Cherokee by a buffalo! So, being Irish, I'm pretty fair with natural pink cheeks that look kinda like I've been slapped instead of kissed by a ray of sunshine. So, I like to find make-up that can blend my skin into one pretty palette and then I can say where the pink will go. Which brings me to Bare Minerals. Did I say I love them!

With a swish and a puff, I can cover my blemishes pretty darn good, (or is it well?) Anyway, I can look like a new woman in a matter of minutes. I thought about doing a before and after shot, but you see, I'm already dolled up for the day and I don't want to go re-do. So, maybe another time.

My make-up. Ahh, just the sound of it makes me smile. I've often thought if I ever landed on a deserted island, I would definitely need mascara and lipstick...and the bible...and food...and shoes…and a phone. But, seeing as how I'm not on an island, we'll keep it in real time on a real continent with no water around me, save for the puddle in my garden.

I need my make-up. I need to cover those things I find odd, dominant, and ugly. I need my forehead to actually sport eyebrows. I need mascara to make my eyes at least look like they are bigger than peas.


Make-up can cover a host of blemishes. Problem is they're still there at the end of the day when I take the make-up off. That's why it's called make. up. We make up our face to be something that it isn't naturally all by its onesie.

Sometimes my toiletry bag of life can be just inches from my mind. I have the amazing ability to go from nearly popping my kids heads clean off their darling shoulders to answering the phone in the voice of an angel. I just stuck my hand in my imaginary make-up bag and slapped on "I'm Perfect Powder"!!

"Girls! I said stop yelling at each other!"

"Girls! Please turn off your lights!"

"Girls! How many times do I have to say it? Hang your swim suits up for cryin' out loud!"


"Ahem, Hello? This is Mrs. Perfect. How can I make your day wonderful?"

What is that? Why do I do that? Why do I make-up some false front?

I know, I know, we want to look good and come off like we have it all together. We don't want to have Mrs. Grump answer the phone. No one likes her.

Sometimes I have a hard time in public. I'll throw on an "In control face" when I leave the house and struggle to keep it on when my Irish roots are banging at my door to "let me at 'em!"

Let me just say right here, I'm not an angry woman, I can just get a little touchy if I'm not fed regularly. You understand. Still, I was talking to God about those Irish roots and how my quick temper can get the best of me. It's my "blemish" on my good Godly woman/wife/mom face. I actually told Him that it's just my make-up, it's in my blood. There's nothing we can do about it.

The Lord said gently said to me, "May I remind you, I bought you with mine. You have my blood running through your veins now."


My "natural" blemished Irish face just got washed in the blood of the Lamb. He reminded me that who I am is now a person filled with the SUPERnatural Spirit who kills my natural self. As long as I let Him operate, it's His face I wear.

You...are controlled not by the sinful nature, but by the Spirit... Romans 8:9

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 6:11

With God, we don't have to pretend we're something we're not. We can go to Him with every blemish and wart and zit and He will give us new, SUPERnatural things. We can dump our toiletry bag of "Happy Face Zit Cream," and "I'm Fine! False Eye Lashes." Give Him the "I'm In Control Cover-up stick," and "Super Christian Lip Gloss."

Let Him replace all those weaknesses, all those insecurities, all those excuses with His Son and all His Son has to offer you!

For those God foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son. Romans 8:29
I want to be the same person at home that I am when I'm at the grocery store, the library, church, or parties. I don't want to be one way with my kids at home and another way in public. I want to honor my husband at home they way I do in public. If I give out compliments to perfect strangers, I better be drowning my family in them.

I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Jesus will take every ugly blemish and every false cover-up I have and replace them with beauty and truth. Bonne Bell won't cut it when I need to have my soul made over. Only Jesus can come in and give me a real, life make-over. Now, that's one I'll take any day!

Let me leave you with one of my most favorite verses in the entire B-I-B-L-E:
Now, the Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:17,18

  • Are there any false faces you put on that need to be washed off by the Spirit of Jesus?

Now, where did I put my lipstick?

Natalie @
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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Belly-Button Hindrances

I have a good friend that is totally "hip". Really "with-it". All the things I am not.

Well, I have hips...substantial ones. And my "with-it"...sounds more like something I'd say after I had been to the dentist and returned with my mouth numb...

I asked her permission to share this story with you. When it happened...hmmm, let's just say---the LORD spoke to me through it.

Lisa was having trouble with her back. Her neck. Her shoulder. This was tough---especially since she is a faithful gym-goer. She had been having trouble with "strength" ---lifting the weights. So she made an appointment to see her Chiropractor.

As he began to examine her, and question her, he maneuvered her for a response to her reflexes, testing her resistance, and he noticed the weakness on one side. "Lisa", he said with a questioning tone, "do you have a belly-button ring?"

"Yes, as a matter of fact, I do". She replied--she was, after all very "hip and with-it", and loved her belly-button ring.

"Do you mind taking it out?" Dr. Carnes needed to prove what he felt was the problem.

After she removed the metal, he began his testing all over. This time, her body reacted differently to each maneuver. She had strength. It was almost like you had removed the cryptonite from Superman's space and his strength returned.

With a puzzled expression, she wanted to know why it made a difference. His explanation made perfect sense. The metal, or foreign object was interrupting the energy flow of her body. Something was blocking her physical strength. But once the hindrance was removed...strength returned.

Do you see what I saw? The instant parallel of our strength in Christ vs. the hindrances of the world came racing to my mind.

"Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is." Romans 12:2 NLT

To her, and many others, the belly-button ring was attractive. A symbol. But to her body, it was a hindrance. Might not have been noticed before. May not have even "felt" the resistance before. But at this time in her life...the change of the energy flow was noticed. She is only a few years younger than I am, but in excellent physical condition. I on the other hand, well, if you know know. I am a bookoholic instead of a gymoholic. It shows.

After she told me this, I immediately told her, "you know this will have to be a blog". I smiled, already hearing the Lord speaking to my heart. Because He knows me. He knows the things I have been neglecting so long they are now "hindrances" in my walk.

"Examine your life Angie. What is blocking your "energy flow". Are you full of My strength? You know from your past experience what happens when you try to conform to the world. In order to fit in you allow things to come between what I desire for you."

Well, you could have knocked me out of my rolling chair with a feather! In my past I know there have been many times that I wanted to be a part of the world that seemed to be fun---so much so, that my decisions were warped. Poor decisions made an impact in my life that was NOT pleasant. But I was thinking...surely not now. Why, surely I am right on track...But after thinking this over....I can find things that need to be removed from my heart and life to increase my energy flow.

I took a phone survey and even polled some random ladies with a simple question: What are some things that we allow to hinder our relationship with Christ:

  • TV (too much of it, and the type of programming---we are what we feed our minds);
  • Busyness and/or obsessive housework (as in the Martha Syndrome);
  • Excessive secular reading (neglecting the Bible);
  • Unforgiveness (self-explanatory);
  • Anger (self-explanatory);
  • Greed (desirous of worldly things); and
  • Envy (wanting what everyone else has). Another late entry of the survey came in after I came home from work. It seemed the opposite of one, but when she explained, I instantly saw how it could quickly become a hindrance. Having a clutter filled house and life.

The first one listed was mentioned by more than one person. It deserved top ranking. The next ones listed fell as suggested by those I polled. They all fall in the category of being a "belly-button ring". So-to-speak. A strength zapper. If not attended, I think it could even cripple.

I have embarked on an "examination" of my life. I am on the table. The Lord is probing my heart and life for the unnecessary. I don't have any piercings other than my ears, but there are MANY things that need to be dealt with in my life. Things that left unattended in my life will drain every ounce of spiritual strength I have. Whatever it is, I can say with certainty, it has lost it's attractiveness---due to the consequences it is causing in my life. Time to remove my belly-button ring hindrances.

Father in heaven, reveal to me--to each one of us--the hindrances in our lives. I need to know. I want to see it for what it is and deal with it once and for all. Forgive me for waiting so long. Some of the issues may have been here so long they are deeply embedded. Remove them from my life. Pour in the peroxide to boil out the wound. I ask with all sincerity of heart that the anointing of the Holy Spirit flow through my life as a river that I never before experienced! Help us to reach new heights in serving You. I am Yours. Wholly and completely. In the awesome name of Jesus I pray. Believing in You~Amen.
Your turn.

  • Are you as close as you can be to Jesus?
  • Think about what might be hindering your walk with Christ. Resolve to take control of it and remove it from your life.
  • Make a list of hindrances. Share them with others. Shine the spotlight on the issues so that they are exposed. Exposure can bring about closure.

I'd love your visit at Knightly News!

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Fear and Impatience

The Cafe is thrilled to welcome Carmen Schroeder of Women of the Word
Be sure to check out the Bible Study that Carmen is going to be doing beginning August 4th!
The Way of Cain, based on the life of Cain and Ezekiel 16:49

Today Carmen shares with us this devotional;
Bid the older women similarly to be reverent and devout in their deportment as becomes those engaged in sacred service, not slanderers or slaves to drink. They are to give good counsel and be teachers of what is right and noble, So that they will wisely train the young women to be sane and sober of mind (temperate, disciplined) and to love their husbands and their children, To be self-controlled, chaste, homemakers, good-natured (kindhearted), adapting and subordinating themselves to their husbands, that the word of God may not be exposed to reproach (blasphemed or discredited). ~ Titus 2:3-5 AMP

FEAR and IMPATIENCE are the two main inhibitors that keep us from a fulfilled life. FEAR holds us down while IMPATIENCE kicks us forward...FEAR causes the Believer to fall far behind while IMPATIENCE causes the same Believer to run ahead and out of the position and favor of God. These two are the antithesis of DISCIPLINE and DEVOTION in our lives. Does that bring back memories of 2 Timothy 1:7?

Both words hail from the combined root word sozo - ‘to heal, deliver and make whole’ and phren - ‘the mind, feelings and understanding’.

2 Timothy 1:7 declares that our LORD has not given us a spirit of fear, but rather the Spirit of Power and Love which ‘MAKES a sound and whole mind’! Powerful wisdom for living!

Now, with that, comes the great responsibility and privilege of TEACHING and TRAINING the younger women of the church ‘making them of a sound mind’ through teaching them to love. Did you notice that the Teacher is a ‘teacher of good things’ both in word and deed? That is where we really learn, isn’t it - through both a woman’s LIPS as well as her LIVING? Here are FIVE beautiful ways to G.R.A.C.E. one another so that the Word of God is not blasphemed, our lives are fruitful, we are completely satisfied, and a lost and perishing world can’t help but notice the difference!

G - GROW in the grace and knowledge of the LORD Jesus Christ - 2 Peter 3:18

R - REMOVE THE OLD - Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 4:20-23;Colossians 3:8-9

A - ACCEPT THE NEW - Galatians 5:22-23

C- CONTINUE IN STEADFAST PRAYER for one another - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17; Philippians 1:18b-19; Acts 2:42

E - ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER to persevere and grow in the grace and knowledge of the LORD - Hebrews 10:24

Father God, You are the One Who is able to bring ORDER and LIGHT from the chaos and darkness in our lives. I thank You that You are faithful to do so and even now, Your Spirit is regenerating our lives
from the inside out. Baruch

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

My Hope

I hope I get that job. I hope we win. I hope this is right. I hope … hope.

This morning I sat down with my coffee in one hand and my Bible in the other and opened to the book of John. It’s been a whirlwind of a week. I had a book deadline on Friday and I was scrambling to make some last minute changes. I just wasn’t happy with how the book was working. Something was just off. At 3:47pm an email pops into my box from my editor titled Manuscript. I was terrified to open it. Oh, no she wants it right now. What do I do? I can’t send this to her – it’s awful. It’s drivel, it’s worse than drivel, it’s really icky drivel. Lord help…..

So I did what any good writer would do – I ignored the email. That lasted about three minutes and then curiosity got the best of me. If she says send it NOW, I will and I’ll tell her the truth. I’m not going to blow this.

I open the email – it reads:

Heading out of town and won’t be back until Monday. So if you want to take
the weekend to look over the manuscript, feel free. I won’t look at it
until next week.
I couldn’t even respond. I was so grateful that the Lord had heard me and He knew just what I needed – a break. He knew that I was over-thinking this whole thing I was forgetting where it all came from. I was so caught up in the process of writing, that I forgot why I was writing. After doing the happy dance around the room and flopping onto the couch for a moment of rest. I emailed my thanks – all professional like. I really just wanted to write some ooey- gooey, groveling email telling her how she saved my very life and my writing career .. . I decided that was probably not a great idea and I'd just stick with the simple for now.

This morning I flipped to the book of Romans:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that
you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
This is what is missing – hope. I was so intent on getting this book finished that I’d forgotten why I was doing it. I wasn’t writing it to see my name on the cover or to call myself an author. I wasn’t writing to get rich (which is really good, because I’m not), I write because He called me to it. I wrote this book because He put it in my heart. I write for His glory, not mine. I needed to remember that – I needed to remember that He is my hope – my expectation of good. That in this hope I will find the joy and peace that have been missing these last few weeks.

I don’t know what the Lord has called you to at this time in your life. Maybe he’s call you to be an at-home Mom – I was blessed with that calling for a season. Maybe He’s called you to be a working Mom or He’s called you into full time ministry. He calls each of us to a different walk – an individual walk that starts with a relationship with Him.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will guide your path. Proverbs 3:5-6

  • Are you trusting God? Not just with your words, but with your heart?
  • Are you trusting Him in lead you or are you making your own way?
  • Are you walking in Hope -- in an expectation of good?
I challenge you to examine your walk with the Lord. Ask Him to show you the way. Follow Him -- He will take you to amazing places.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

July 26th - Cafe Chat

What would be the title of a book about your life?

I love this question because one simple phrase really can give you great insight into a person’s life. When I agreed to host the weekly meme at the Café I had to write a quick bio for the site. I began the bio with what I would name a book about my life. See below…

If you asked her what would be a good title for a book about her life, she would quickly reply, “Former Pharisee…A different kind of testimony”. Kim made a decision for Christ when she was nine years old in a Small Baptist Church, but honestly, she would tell you she didn’t have a clue about a relationship with Christ until her late 20’s.

Kim could so relate to the Pharisees in the Bible. She had a lot of head knowledge about God, and she could easily rattle off her top ten lists of the things she never would do, but she was spiritually blind and dead to the life changing love of Christ. A sinful nature and a heart full of pride would lead her toward a road she never planned for her life. After several bad choices and wrong roads traveled down, Kim hit her spiritual rock bottom, and that was the best thing that could have ever happened to her. It was at the bottom that she finally started to look up, and there she found her Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus began a work in Kim’s heart that has led her to where she is today…(to read the rest of the bio click on link above about the writers at the Café).

I can’t wait to read your titles this week...Blessings to all!


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$1.17 Love

Less than 18 hours before my wedding, as the clock was in serious countdown mode, my fiancé (now husband) Eric and I had to drop off a rental car at the airport and pick up our getaway car and a few other things from my grandparent’s house.

Rushing, rushing, rushing (because getting married is no joke in terms of a timeline) my Aunt offered to pick us up from the airport and bring us to my grandparent’s house for the things we needed to pick up.

With my Aunt was her darling daughter, my cousin. Rachel was the flowergirl in my wedding. Rachel has a rare love for me. As her oldest cousin, she is very taken with all things pertaining to me. As I write, her hand drawn artwork decorates my computer station.

Climbing into my Aunt’s car, I nestled next to my little flowergirl and smiled big. I asked her if she was excited about my wedding in the morning and she squealed, “YES.YES.YES!” She was undoubtedly thrilled.

That was when she extended her hand and told me she had a present for me. I was instructed to close my eyes and place my hands out in front of her.

Following her lead, I did as I was told and opened my eyes to find $1.17 in my hands.

One dollar and seventeen cents, in case you missed that.

I couldn’t contain my laughter as I looked at her sweet face. Rachel had just given me all she had been saving up.

I told her I loved her gift to me but thought with the busyness of the wedding, it might be safer for her to take it and buy something for herself. “That,” I said, “would make me even happier!”

What she said next still has me laughing.

“Thank you, Kristen,” her little five year old voice giggled out, “because I’ve been saving this to buy a car.”

Can you get any more precious?

What astounds me more is that her little heart handed me, in her eyes, the car she had been saving up for. To her $1.17 was more than enough to buy whatever she wanted. And she gave it to me.

I wonder today if we are as willing to part with all “we’ve been saving up”? I’m not talking about money here; I’m talking about our time, our talents, our areas of surplus.

Are we willing to hand all we have over to the King of Creation even when it is something we may not necessarily want to part with? How about when it doesn’t even seem like much?

I love the story in John 6 – the one with the bread and fish. We find Jesus here teaching to a hungry crowd. He turns to his disciples and asks them where they can buy bread for the hungry people and he is met with Philip answering, “We don’t have enough money to feed all of these people.”

Andrew notices a little boy has five loaves of bread and two fish but says aloud, “that’s a drop in a bucket for a crowd like this.”

Jesus takes the five and two and FEEDS THE CROWD. He takes all the little boy has, even though to many it didn’t seem like much, and feeds an entire field filled with people.

It is verses 12 and 13 that speak to my heart tonight,

“When the people had eaten their fill, Jesus said to his disciples, "Gather the leftovers so nothing is wasted." They went to work and filled twelve large baskets with leftovers from the five barley loaves.”
Jesus takes five loaves of bread and two fish, feeds the multitude and has food to spare. He has twelve large baskets of leftovers!

Whether we have much or only a handful, Christ is more than capable of taking our offering and feeding the crowds with it. Let us willingly hand over all we have to Him.

Take your $1.17 today and place it in His hands. Let Him bless our “haves” to the point of overflow in the lives of those around us.

I want to be like Rachel giving what I have with joy simply because I love.

I love Him. He can have all my hands can hold.

You can read more of Kristen's writing at her devotional blog Exemplify.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Do You REALLY Trust God?

I have struggled and struggled recently with the ability to fully trust God. I never truly realized the extent to which I wrestled with Him over even the simplest of things.

"Amy. I will protect the boys. Trust me."

I hear that and immediately begin to think, "Yeah but God you don't know how they are. I mean, one minute they are reading classic literature and the next they are trying to do a "kick flip" and a "lolly" on a skateboard. I don' t know about you God but I don't even know what a "lolly" is but it just doesn't sound good! I mean..."

"Amy," He says, "Trust me."

As I'm thinking this my son runs in to tell me he just did an "ollie" but that he won't try it again for a while because he almost hurt himself but he was quick to tell me, "I didn't though 'cause God loves me and takes care of me, huh mom?'

"And a little child shall lead." eh? All I could do is throw up my hands and say, "Okay God. You have my attention."

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”
Matthew 17:20

As I meditated over scripture and asked for revelation of what God wanted to show me I began to pace the floor and pray. Then I heard Him tell me to sit down.

"What? You want me to sit down, God? Ooookaaaaay."

So I sat down in the nearest chair and started to initiate a dialogue between God and I about why He had a need for me to sit down in the chair and that is when He dropped it into my spirit.

I had more faith in the chair's ability to sustain me than I did in God's ability to sustain me. I never questioned whether or not the chair would hold me, or if it had a flaw in it somewhere, or whether or not it had secure footing. I certainly didn't question whether or not it loved me enough to hold me up. I just sat. I simply trusted. I didn't walk around and test all of the chairs to see which was the strongest or which seemed better for the job. I had more faith in a random inanimate object than I did in my loving and eternal, living God. How big is that mustard seed?

God also showed me that another root of not trusting or having no faith is pride. Pride in my ability to make what I perceive to be better decisions than God, faster response time than God, and more love for my children than God. Yes, I truly thought, and said it often, nobody loves them like I do. I didn't mean to include God in this but obviously in my heart I had.

I wish I could tell you that I immediately repented but I didn't. In fact, this happened a couple of years ago and I just recalled it recently while I was once again struggling with my ability to trust Him. I repented. I am moving forward. And now just to make Him laugh I shake and push on my chairs almost every time before I sit in them. *BIG smile* He loves me!

"You shall have no other gods before me."
Deuteronomy 5:7

You see, the funny part about my chair shaking escapades is that I knew clearly that I didn't worship a chair or put more trust in it than in God. What I had begun to realize was that my faith was in me. My trust was in me. I knew the chair would hold me because I had sat in it before. I trusted me and that is why I now had a problem trusting God. The false God? It was myself.

{now weeping and face down on the carpet}

God, forgive me for putting more faith and trust in myself than in you. You are my father, my creator, the love of my life. Forgive me for thinking that I am the only one who had my best interests at heart. I will wholeheartedly try to die to self each and every day and grow in you. Please help me to do that. Thank you for being such an awesome and loving example. In Jesus' name. Amen.

  • Have you put more faith in yourself than in God in certain areas? Write down what God shows you and repent for it.
  • In what areas of your life could you stand to gain more faith?
  • Read Hebrews 11:1. What does this scripture speak to your heart?

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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Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Blood of Jesus Christ

This past Sunday my family of eleven decided to visit a most wonderful Fellowship in a little town of Townsend, Georgia. This is one of our missionary support churches. They not only support our ministry, they are a family to us.

Our dear friend and Pastor spoke on the "Blood of Jesus Christ." This so impacted me and reminded me that without the power of the Blood of Jesus we have don't have life!

Exodus 14:13 says, "And Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever."

This passage of scripture was when the Israelites were delivered from Egyptian bondage. The Lord parted the Red Sea and allowed their salvation!

It reminds us of when He shed His blood on Calvary for us.

It is only through the blood of Jesus Christ that we have salvation. His blood gives life! We can also find that the Lord required that the Israelites put blood on the doorposts so that the first born would not be killed. That is also an example of the significance of His blood later on.

The blood of Jesus Christ sustains us in our lives. Even after Calvary, repenting and walking with the Lord, Satan tries to get our attention away from our Savior. It is the example of the Red Sea when Pharaoh is on one side with the Egyptians ready to come after the Israelites.

Satan has no home in the believer's life for what does light have to do with darkness?

The Blood of Jesus Christ will also preserve us. Our Savior will never carry us where He can't keep you. If we are in a place in our life that we know that Jesus got us there we have the confidence that He will preserve us and walk us through the condition or state we are in!

Just as He did with the Israelites in that day at the Red Sea He did for us at Calvary. He made a way of deliverance to move forward as He did with us!

Revelation 12:11 it says, "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death."

Satan loves to come to us and bring those things that we have given up as Christians. He tries to entice us with our past, but the blood of Christ gave a way for us!

Sometimes Satan, goes after us because we don't completely give it to God. We try to do it on our own. Sometimes we keep one foot in the world and another one in Christ! There is Power in the Blood for even addictions, lust, gossip, and anything that so easily entices us as Christians!

We are saved, preserved, delivered, and redeemed by His Blood!

Read these words from "Power in the Blood," by FFH

I lie awake hoping that I will hear
Your voice inside my ear
Telling me You're near
But I know I'll find my precious peace of mind
When You speak to me just in time
Let me know You still care.
There's power in His blood
Forgiveness in His hands
A peace in His love that we can't understand
There's joy in His spirit
Sufficient and full
There's power in His blood
His love is all we need
There's joy in the spirit of the Lord
You are the One
Who has made me complete
Now I'm kneeling at Your feet
Knowing only You can lead me home
I'll stand through it all
Waiting on Your call
Knowing that You'll hear my every prayer
And I know there's strength in His everlasting word
And I know I'll find all the love I need in His arms

Questions for Reflection

1. Is the Blood of Christ on the doorposts of your heart?

2. When was the last time we claimed the power of His blood in our lives?

3. He parted the Red Sea for His people; do you believe He can do the same for you?

Dear Father and Friend,

Thank you for the Blood of your Son Jesus Christ! May we forever remember that you loved us so much and never take that for granted in our lives! May we also remember to claim your blood when Satan tries to come against us, and tempt us or throw our past to us! We love you, Lord Jesus!

In Him,


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Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Dr. Phil coined the term "Get Real!" when he did a series of shows on Oprah a number of years ago. I admit, I watched a few of them. Well, maybe more than a few! In each show he would dramatize someone's need to look at themselves clearly, see their own flaws, and take strides toward fixing them. It would be all wrapped up neatly within the hour with the assurance that the guest would seek the help they needed and set their sights on a better life. Dr. Phil, of course, was the hero.

During the last 15 years, since I became a follower of Jesus, and especially in the years I've spent in music ministry, I have realized the many ways we Christians are not at all "real". We wear finely crafted masks to cover true feelings; we veil gossip ever so subtly behind statements like, "We need to pray for her!"; we say one thing and yet do another. In reality, we have many of the same flaws within the walls of the church, as parts of the body of Christ, as those outside. And I put myself at the top of the list. It is a daily struggle for me to "Get Real" with fellow believers.

"The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7b

For the most part, I think we work with the assumption that people don't want to see us as we really are. It's much more comfortable to hide our failings, our inner thoughts, and put on the face we think is more attractive. "How are you?" really doesn't mean that, does it? It usually means, "Say you're fine so I can pass by and do what I was heading to do in the first place." Am I right?

When we hide ourselves in the fellowship of believers we begin and perpetuate a cycle of dishonesty which eventually leads to isolation and loneliness. I'm sure we've all felt alone in the midst of a crowd. That feeling is magnified when it's among brothers and sisters in Christ, with whom we should be able to be open and transparent. If it is true that in Christ we are new creations, yet we still have to struggle daily with this thing we call "humanness" and the sins of our nature, then realizing that we are all in the same boat brings such freedom! There is no need for masks if we accept (and expect) one another's failings and allow others full view of our own.

The biggest obstacle to authenticity in the Christian life is perfectionism. I was a perfectionist long before I was a Christian and I find it very difficult to shed the "old" (perfectionism) even in the presence of the "new" (Jesus). Do you remember that bumper sticker, "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven"? That should be plastered on the front of every church! That phrase is not just for the unchurched, to make them see us Christians in a more positive light. It is for those of us in the church who think that we must put our best face on everytime we walk in the building! We are all "cracked pots", yet, miraculously, we hold the water of life. We shouldn't hide the fact that we are merely clay, but instead shout, "I am not perfect, but my God is!"

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
2 Cor. 4:7

  • Do you find that you struggle to be authentic?
  • What steps have you taken to overcome this battle?
  • Find three scriptures that you can profess daily to become more in line with the "Real" you that God designed you to be.

Christine can be found daily at her personal blog:

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Teen Drama

I planned to write something about a study I've been doing. I read some scriptures and commentary about the Law. And then life happened. My focus changed.

We just finished a week of teen vacation Bible School this week at church. It started out so great! I had the best time. I'm one of those people who get caught up in the whole thing, I act like one of the kids and have a blast. I got to know a lot of them better and really had a great time. I even learned a thing or two.

The first night a great dynamic speaker talked about not having a father growing up and how he came to the realization that God was with him all through his life, guiding him and protecting him. His message really touched those kids. There were a lot of tears, and repentance.

I watched the kids that week, especially a group of girls who are in my bible class. These girls come from troubled homes, they are brought to church. They actually call to find a ride to church. They have such a desire to overcome, but there are so many odds against them.

The end of the week some details of bad things happening in the youth group came out. To me. More than I would ever want to know. Too much to hear. My own kids heard some of it. It was a low end to a really high week.
Why does the devil attack so ferociously?
I have spent a huge amount of time in prayer and deep conversation with my kids. I want to put them under my wings and protect them from all the hurt in the world. Keep the evil influences away from them.
For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. Psalm 27:5
After a day of reflecting and prayer about the situation (and a lot of listening to repentant girls)... I feel so strongly that this fight of faith is such a battle.

Fight the good fight for what we believe. Hold tightly to the eternal life that God has given you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses. I Timothy 6:12

Questions for reflection:

How do you deal with viscous attacks from the enemy?

What are some ways you fight the fight of faith?


Monday, July 21, 2008

Rain Down

It was a PERFECT plan. A minor league baseball game, and afterwards....fireworks, and since we were with the "Grands" there was certain to be all the peanuts and "Cracker Jack" that our hearts desired.

We arrived for the "perfect Fourth of July" evening and sat down in our seats. Overhead a dark cloud loomed, but since the state of South Carolina has been BONE dry for sometime now, we had no thoughts of concern. The welcome thundershower sent us to the bleachers above where the overhang protected us.

THUNDERSHOWER over, and we returned to our seats.

The next cloud blew in and again we sought refuge under the cover....again.

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
Psalm 5:11

This time however there was a SHIFT in the wind current and the rain began to come into the bleachers from the SIDES and no one under the cover was safe from the storm......We huddled together, and did the only thing we could do...laugh, but by the time that 10 minute storm had passed over the stadium, we looked as if we'd spent the time under the shower head....

Top to bottom, inside~ out, we were SOAKED! Completely drenched!

We regularly sing a song during worship at church, and my mind IMMEDIATELY went to the words of that song....
Rain down, rain down,
rain down your love on your people.
Rain down, rain down,
rain down your love, God of life.

Faithful and true is the word of our God;
all of God's works are so worthy of trust.
God's mercy falls on the just and the right;
full of God's love is the earth.

God POURS out His love....that night He literally "rained down" His love.

Into each life we are certain that "showers" and "storms" will unexpectedly "pop~up," even when the sky ahead looks clear, as it did that night. I was reminded as I stood there literally dripping, of the words of Peter.

"Be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary to endure many trials for a while. These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure."
1 Peter 1:6 (nlt)

What I perceived as the "perfect" plan for that night, was Not HIS plan for our family! We laughed, and tried to drip dry. We literally "wrung out" our clothes in order to sit down and watch some of the game....I have to tell you, it was a bit uncomfortable...much like our Faith Walks at times...a little messy and uncomfortable.

Was all that "uncomfortableness" worth it....Ask any of my family members and I can with certainty guarantee they would say "YES!" How in the world could standing in the midst of a storm and then having to wring out your clothing constitute a "worthwhile" time at the ball park? WE MADE MEMORIES; we laughed and laughed until tears ran down our faces! We will talk about that night long after my parents are gone....It's one of those childhood stories that my kids will fondly tell their kids. You see, God's plans for that evening were much further reaching than my own "perfect plan."

God works the same way in each of our lives. The parallels were just so amazing to me. God allows the storms and interruptions to the "perfect" plans that we have concocted, and in His infinite wisdom He gives us so much more than we ever could have planned on our own.

I'd have never dreamed that a "soaking storm" could allow us to have a fabulously memorable night....but then again, "I'm not GOD!"

The next time one of those unexpected pop~up thunderstorms blows into my life, I pray that I recall this real life 'storm' and rest in the peace that God has it all under control....ready to reveal the "perfect plan," in His time.

Questions for Reflection;

Storms in life are inevitable. What storms are you in the middle of today?

Are you at peace that God's perfect plan is at work in the middle of these storm?

How can we "prepare" our heart for those unexpected "pop~up" showers?

As I stand here today, I know that storms can blow into my life at anytime, often without warning. Help me to always seek you in the storm. As the storm winds blow help me to know that You have plans for my life that are for good, and not to destroy. Help me to patiently ride out the storm with you at my side. Father, the storm is never comfortable but I know at times it is necessary, gently remind me of that when I find myself facing the rain.
Jesus bring the rain as it is necessary to renew and refine me.


join Lori daily at her personal blogspot, where she welcomes the rain....

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Facing the Giants


As I was recently sitting at our local dental school, waiting for my son who was having some work done, I noticed the newspaper sitting on a chair across from me. Since I had lots of time to spare, I walked over, picked it up, and began to read.

It seemed like each article I read was more dreary then the one before. Before I knew it I was meditating on the terrible condition and plight of our world.

· Gas prices continue to rise
· The war in Iraq and Afghanistan
· The failing economy
· College tuition's rising
· The upcoming election
· And of course all the hideous crime stories sandwiched in-between.

OK, I suddenly began to feel like the Israelites might have felt as they stood on the edge of the promise land. I was not seeing the blessings God, but only the GIANTS that were everywhere! I began to sympathize with the Israelites because I could see how all the bad things they were facing, and the things they saw must have overwhelmed their faith to possess the land.

Now if the world conditions all around me were not bad enough, I thought about my own personal giants. For me it’s the giant of fear and unbelief. God instructed the Israelites to simply explore the land. He already knew what was out there and what they would be facing. However, He wanted them to pass the test of “trust and believe”. Simple enough you would think, BUT…

In James 1:2 the Bible says:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

One thing I learned early on in my Christian walk was that when God is up to something really great in our lives it usually begins with difficulties. Somewhere in the midst of impossibilities and problems God is there waiting for us to take those first steps of faith. He will guide us through these times of testing, but it takes courage to make that first step.

James Buckham wrote:

“Trials, temptations, disappointments — all these are helps instead of hindrances, if one uses them rightly. They not only test the fiber of a character, but strengthen it.”

I don’t think any of us wants to take 40 years of wandering around in circles of unbelief and fear. I want to experience God’s greatness and His ultimate purpose for my life. I find whenever I measure the obstacles and challenges against God’s awesome provision, the scale always tips in His direction. Once my focus is back on the greatness of God, I begin seeing those giants just as they really are – grasshoppers.

God is always calling us out of our comfort zone and challenging us to go further and deeper than we would in the natural. So today I want to ask you, “Who do you want to be like, one of the two spies who saw how GIANT their God was, or like the other ten who only saw the giants?”

As I finished reading the paper I asked myself, “Whose report will you believe?” I determined that I would put my trust in God’s promises in spite of the obstacles. And like James the apostle wrote, I set my goal to become “mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Joshua and Caleb took a risk that day as they proclaimed before all the people that they should go over and possess the land. If they could see the victory, so can we! Let’s take our stand, forget the naysayers, and set out to cross that Jordan River. It is a good land, flowing with milk and honey.

Thoughts to ponder:

Have you ever faced a time when you felt the odds were against you and hope was hard to find?

Have you came along side of someone and helped them find something positive in the difficulties they were facing?

Lord I pray for my sisters reading this now. If anyone is in a tough place, where hope seems so unattainable that you would allow them to see how much bigger you are then the circumstances they are facing. Remind them of your faithfulness and your great love for them. Give them eyes to see beyond the giants they face today and courage to keep believing. In Jesus name, amen.

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Cafe Chat July, 19, 2008

Name what you think should be your first 5 priorities in life? Then order those priorities the way they actually are at present in your own life. Do they match up? Why or why not? If needed, what is one thing that you can do today that will help your two lists match up?

I am back from vacation, and so I can think a little more about the questions I ask each week. I am finding a pattern here; a lot of my questions seem to come from situations in my life where I was in sin. UGH, but actually I am very thankful because I have learned so much from God because of my past sins and struggles.

About four years ago, my husband and I were having one of those in-depth conversations that couples sometimes have. If I remember correctly, this conversation was a calm one, and not one of those heat of the moment conversations that spur from a difference of opinion (that makes it sound so much nicer, huh?). We were talking about priorities, and I asked my husband what he thought my priorities were. Boy, did I open up a can of worms. He replied that he felt like he was about number 7 on my list of priorities. WHAT? I don’t even have 7 things on my priority list. I could go on and give you more of the story, but I will just end here by saying that my husband’s answer was a wake up call for me, and very soon God would change our circumstances so that this priority problem would undergo massive reconstruction. Simply put, God helped me work on and get my priorities in order. I still struggle at times with keeping my priorities in the right order, but I would not feel as afraid to ask my husband that same question again today.

Blessings all, and I hope that today’s question may be used as a wake-up call for you if you need it, or if you are doing well with your priorities at present, I encourage you to keep pressing on in your journey.



Content in ANY Circumstance??

The Cafe is THRILLED to welcome Cindy Beall
Stop over to her site to welcome her!

Content in ANY Circumstance??

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

Philippians 4:11-12 (NIV)

So what’s the secret that Paul learned that would allow him to be content in any circumstance? For me, being content…STAYING content is a daily battle. Some days I can barely stand to look in the mirror at the body that no longer looks like the woman my husband married. Other days I find myself wishing I had more money to buy things for my home. Will this fluctuation in the feelings I experience ever go away? I don’t know for sure if it will leave me forever but I think I’ve found an antidote that will surely bring some relief from this disease.


Yep, I believe it’s that simple. Oh, it may not be what Paul was thinking when he wrote what he wrote, but for me? It’s the very mindset that is the catalyst to contentment in my life.

On days when I wish I could buy something new for my home, I stop and realize that I have a home. There is devastation all over our world everyday and many would love to have the “little” that I have. On days when I wish I could drop an extra 10 pounds, I stop and remember that there are probably plenty of people who’ve had a lifelong struggle with obesity who wouldn’t mind residing in my body for a while. On days when I wish my kids would leave me alone, I remember that these days are fleeting and one day I’ll wish they were little again.

What area of your life do you need contentment? Are you single and think that marriage will bring you contentment? Do you think that having more material possessions will do the trick? You know the areas of your life where you are not content. Spend time in honest, open dialogue with God about these areas. He can handle it. Your lack of contentment and gratitude is no secret to Him.

Today, you have a decision to make. I do, too. We can choose either to be content and grateful or we can choose not to. And we must choose before we are placed in a situation where we are comparing or complaining or wanting. During temptation is not the time to decide whether or not we are content.

In Him,

Cindy can be found at her website

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Friday, July 18, 2008

The Characteristics of Innocence

Please welcome Lily Ratliff to the Cafe!

The Characteristics of Innocence

Have you ever observed the interactions of a baby or even a toddler during the first few months of his/her life? It would be a pure joy if you took the time, as he/she does, just to stop and see what their little minds find so peculiar and interesting in a world we so much take for granted.

During the first stages of a baby’s life, when she is finally taking those first steps into independence, you find her so eager to leave her parents’ grasp to pick up a leaf or small insect on the ground. To your surprise, they run over to her just in time before they take the pleasure of what she’s found towards her mouth. But as soon as one thing is taken from her, she has managed to find something else that sparks her desire even more than the first.

We find babies like her to be adorable and innocent.

Innocent by American Heritage dictionary is defined as “not experienced or worldly; naive and unaware.” Or another definition that stands out is “uncorrupted by evil, malice, or wrongdoing; sinless.” Babies can’t help what they do because they have not been exposed to the maliciousness of the world yet. When little ones do things that would otherwise be out of the norm for us as adults like knock something over, or even hit someone, we as parents lovingly run towards them, smile and say, “Oh, it’s ok, you didn’t know any better.” Why? Because as babies, they explore the world around them to see how to test limits and boundaries, all the while-toothless, they laugh and snicker because they’ve learned something new.

So what is this thing called innocence as it relates to the word of God? God calls for all of us to liken to Him as babes. What does that mean, you may ask? He wants each of us to humble ourselves as children of God just the way a child would to his mother or father. Remember when you were a child. There was something you really wanted for your birthday or for Christmas that made your eyes twinkle every time you saw it on a commercial or on the store shelves. You had to have it. But in order for the request to be made known, you had to go to your parents and ask. You wouldn’t do it haphazardly, and with an attitude as if “You must do this for me.” You would creep up ever so gently, humble yourself, and even throw a little smile their way before asking the all important question, May I have “so and so” for my birthday this year? And more than likely, if it was in the budget and you played your cards right, your birthday would come around, and there would be the gift that made all the difference.

That’s the way our Father in heaven wants us to come to Him. “Abba Father.” And because we, as Christians, can now come boldly before His throne of grace, God desires to give us all the desires of our hearts, according to His will (Psalms 37:4 KJV). Romans 8:16 says,

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”

We are an heir, and joint-heir with Him!

So when it is time to go to your Father in heaven for whatever you may ask of Him, remember the faces of our children. If we just took the time out of this busy microwavable world as we know today and just give unto Him as a child, even to the people we meet with daily and humble ourselves, we too could have the characteristics of innocence as we daily strive to be more like Jesus!

· Have you always asked, believing that God will supply all of your needs? If not, what has held you back from accepting God’s promises? Doubt, fear, bitterness?

· Do you feel God wanting you to come to him in every area of your life?

· In what ways could you totally submit to God, as a child submits to his/her parents, and trusting that God will do what He’s said He will do in your life?


Lord, thank you for claiming us as your own. Knowing that we were bought with a price, we humbly submit to you this day and want to be more like you. Lord as we go about our daily lives, let us always remember that we as your children can come boldly before your throne of grace, and lay upon your bosom as children, asking anything, knowing that within Your will, it will be granted. Let us not forget to thank you, praise you in the midst of good times and bad, and that all things work together for the good of us that are called according to Your purpose. As long as we fully seek you, we shall always have what we need! Thanks be to God!


Lily L. Ratliff is a writer, educator, entrepreneur and speaker. Lily is the debut author of the Christian autobiography, The Life of a Lily. Lily has taught elementary through high school English and Reading for eleven years. She also owns and operates "Everything That's Lily, LLC,” an online book and inspirational jewelry business. Lily is also a dynamic inspirational speaker who has been sought after by churches, writing circles, schools, and community organizations to motivate, encourage, and inspire today's youth & young adults. Lily resides in Lithonia, Georgia, with her daughter, Asia Denise.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008



Metamorphosis- “a transformation; a marked change in appearance, character, condition or function.” (American Heritage)

Last summer my daughter and I were given a tiny treasure. The little girls who live next door found a caterpillar and, knowing that my daughter loves all kinds of insects, they brought it over for official identification.

We knew it was special from its black and yellow markings- a black swallowtail caterpillar. We purchased a screened butterfly habitat, along with some fennel and we waited.

We watched as the tiny caterpillar began to change. He ate and grew. He inched his way onto a twig we had tucked inside and he soon formed a chrysalis.

One morning we awoke to a beautiful surprise. The caterpillar had emerged from his chrysalis as a gorgeous Black Swallowtail butterfly.

Once his wings were ready, we released him into our backyard. Without hesitation, he flew into the summer breeze and off into a wonderful world.

When we accept Christ, we are saved in that instant. The Holy Spirit enters our lives and our transformation begins. Unlike caterpillars, our complete transformation into mature Christians does not happen overnight. Our old nature still tries to emerge, even as our new nature struggles to break free.

The Apostle Paul writes about this in Romans.

“And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.” Romans 7: 18-19

Paul goes on to say that he understands that he is not able to do what is right in his own strength. It is only with Jesus Christ that he can truly change.

It is often so easy to give up, to slip into a feeling of hopelessness and bondage, and allow our old nature to overcome us. God wants us to break free, to become the new creature He has purposed us to be.

Our transformation begins within (through Christ alone) and becomes an outward expression of God's faithfulness, a living testimony to the world.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2

As for our old nature, there will be a continuous struggle. It is only through Jesus that we can discover real freedom from our sinful nature and live as free, transformed creatures for His Glory.

What are you waiting for, fellow believer? God wants you to emerge anew. It’s time to spread your wings and fly!

Questions for Reflection

Is there an area in your life that is always a struggle?

It may be an addiction, anger, fear, or something else in your life.

Whatever it is, pray and give it over to God right now. He wants you to live free in Christ today.

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, ,and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galations 5:1

Join Melanie at her personal blogspot, "This Ain't New York."

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Glory of God

The Glory of God

“When they hear what you have to say, God, all earth’s kings will say ‘Thank you.’ They’ll sing of what you’ve done: ‘How great is the glory of God!’ And here’s why: God, high above, sees far below; no matter the distance, he knows everything about us.”
Psalm 138:4-6

Who could even begin to touch on such a vast topic as the glory of God? It goes so far beyond what our human minds can comprehend. The Bible tells us that the “heavens and the earth declare His glory”. His glory is shouted in a sunrise. It is whispered in a sunset and roared in the ocean’s waves. His glory is clearly seen in every part of His creation. From the minute ladybug to the grand Mt. Everest, His creation definitely sings of His glory, but as I read Psalm 138, His glory is spoken softly to my heart.

God has done great things and He, Himself, is great. Our hearts sing his praises and we shout “Hallelujah”, but why? Do we praise Him because He created all things. Does the sunset itself make us want to shout? Do the oceans’ waves or the splendor of the sea make us want to praise Him? Yes, it most definitely does, but what stirs our heart to praise Him with our lives is not merely the glory we see through His creation, but what we clearly see through His intimate interaction with His creation, with us.

Psalm 138 says, “How great is the glory of God! And here’s why; God, high above, sees far below; no matter the distance, He knows everything about us.” He knows everything about us, and yet He loves us. He sustains us. He desires intimate fellowship with us. He has saved all those that put their faith and trust in Him.

I praise Him that He created the heavens and the earth. I praise Him for the beauty of creation. I praise Him that He is the creator of all things and He is ruling all things from His throne high in the heavens. But, oh, how I praise Him because He sees me from where He is. He knows everything about me, and yet He loves me and gave His life for me. He talks with me and reveals Himself personally to me.

Yes, He is Creator, my Creator! He is God, my God! He is Savior, my Savior! He is Redeemer, my Redeemer! I sing of the glory of God because He is my own, intimate God and has chosen to reveal His glory to me! I praise Him for the glory I see in His majestic creation and glorious works, but my heart shouts because I see the glory He reveals through His love and intimate fellowship with me.

Thank you for the awesome wonder of your creation and the works of your hand, but oh, how I praise you that you see me from where you are and you have made a way for me to have fellowship with you. Thank you for your glory that is revealed in the still quiet moments that I spend alone with you.

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

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It's ALL in the DETAILS

Long, long ago . . . in a galaxy far, far away . . . when gas cost about 68 cents/gallon . . . as I was driving home from work, I noticed that the gas gauge in my car was desperately trying to inform me that I was seriously way past "empty" - so empty, in fact, that I wasn't even sure I'd make it home. Thankfully, I was approaching a gas station and pulled right in. A quick 'purse dive' later, and I had gathered a whopping $6.00! Definitely not enough to 'fill 'er up' but it would get me home.

A few minutes later, I was pumping the gas and glancing around at all of the folks milling in and out of the gas station/convenience store. Immediately, a certain gentleman caught my attention. He was a giant, slightly angry-looking man about 6.5 feet tall. He was carrying the biggest bottle of whiskey I'd ever seen - in his bare hands (no bag) and a stack of adult magazines.

I had a sudden urge to pray.

I asked God to intervene in his life - quickly. I prayed for any woman or children he might be going home to. I prayed for God to shed light on his twisted, distorted view of life and break any spiritual bondage. I asked God to begin healing his deep wounds and to undo what the devil had begun. I prayed for this man to receive a life-changing visitation from his Maker. I prayed for the whiskey to spill all over the magazines. ('Cause I'm deep like that.) I prayed for him to meet Jesus in a powerful way. And, before I could pray one more thing, I heard the sound of the gas pump shut off. (Ahhhhhhhhhhh!)

I had been so absorbed in praying for the scary man, I completely forgot that I was putting gas in my car! Before I could force myself look at the price on the pump, I began to try to figure out how in the world I was going to be able to leave that gas station without paying for all of my gas. Scary man was on his own.

Eventually, of course, I looked at the pump. Much to my complete shock, the price was only $6.37. Hope was alive! Surely, the attendant wouldn't hold me there and call the police for 37 cents! I quickly grabbed my purse to find the $6.00 cash and as I did, I heard coins clanking around somewhere in the unknown recesses of my bag. You can probably guess that there was exactly 37 cents in loose change waiting for me there. Hallelujah! No big-house for me!
That little incident happened over 20 years ago, but God reminds me of it from time to time. It helps me remember that His eyes are always on me. His eyes are always on my details.

On that particular day, my 'job' was to intercede for someone who probably would not pray for himself. I have no way of knowing what went on before or after that day in that man's life. What I do know, is that when I submitted to what God placed before me - intercession - without concern for my own situation (more accurately - I zoned out for a minute), God covered me. I didn't know that there was 37 cents in the bottom of my purse, but God did. In my fervor, I stopped paying attention to the gas pump for a few moments, but God didn't. I did not know the circumstances surrounding the scary man's life. God did. And when I stepped out to do the only thing I knew to do, He moved in and handled my details.

God didn't have to stop the gas pump for me. He didn't have to. He chose to. Most people (myself included) might call that a 'small thing'. Yet I'm forced to realize that the God who chose to create the universe, dry up the Red Sea, deliver millions of Hebrew slaves, raise the dead, and give His life for a people so very undeserving - that same God - chose to stop a gas pump exactly where I needed it. He stepped out of the endless vastness of eternity, into time, to do a 'small thing'. A detail.

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.(Luke 12:6-7)

The God Who has numbered the hairs on our heads and Who knows the whereabouts of every sparrow - that God - knows our details. Our details: the fear, the uncertainty, the loss, the tears, the "what-ifs", . . . He KNOWS ! And, despite what we secretly believe in the back of our minds, He is Oh so willing to get involved in our details - our 'small things'.

Let's shake off the idea that we shouldn't "bother" God unless we've got a mountain to move. He's not kidding about knowing the number of hairs on your head! Doesn't that sound like Someone Who might possibly be interested your details today?

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Questions for Reflection:
~ What are some reasons that we don't go to God with our daily details?

~ Name a specific "detail" in which you'd like for Him to intervene.

~ Give one good reason why you can't tell Him now ;)

In Him . . .

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All Things Work Together. . .

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