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Friday, October 31, 2008

Guest Post/Lynn Mosher The Secret Hiding Place



Please Join us in Welcoming Lynn Mosher back to the Cafe!


When the bank is overdrawn and bills pile up…

When kids are sick and doctors’ visits are out of the question…

When relationships fall apart and bring heartache…

…know where I run to hide when all these trials and hurts enter my life with a vengeance? As a child running to the security of its father’s lap, I run right into the shelter of God’s presence, His secret hiding place.

David knew this hiding place so well and wrote of it many times. In the Psalms, he said to God,
“Hide me under the shadow of Your wings,” (Ps. 17:8 NKJV). “I shall live forever in Your tabernacle; oh, to be safe beneath the shelter of Your wings!” (Ps. 61:4 TLB)

This reminds me of a story I heard someone tell. It happened years ago when a massive fire overwhelmed the Grand Canyon. Afterwards, as several men walked through the ashes, one man saw a charred bird and gently moved it with his foot, only to find, beneath the mother, three living baby birds, all of which immediately hopped off. The mother had protected her precious ones under her wings, bringing them deliverance from the fire, for she gave up her life that they might live to take flight.

God’s overshadowing Presence is the same for us, covering us with His wings of protection and rescuing us from the fires of hell through the exchange of Jesus’ death that we might live to have eternal life.

His secret shelter is like a feathered retreat, a nested refuge. In the first part of Psalm 91:4, David wrote, “With His feathers He will cover you, and under His wings you shall seek refuge.” When defined, the meaning of this verse is much richer.

If we reworded it according to its definitions, it might read like this, “Like a mother hen, He will lay the feathers of His wings over you, and cover you with His mantle of protection when you flee to Him for refuge in hope and trust; He will overshadow you, defend you, hedge you in, and stop the approach of the enemy.” How great is that!

As David so aptly put it,

“And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by.” (Ps. 57:1 NKJV)

When trials overwhelm you, in what do you take refuge? Where do you hide?

Prayer:

Lord, when the waves of life’s circumstances attempt to overwhelm me, I know I can run to You and You will welcome me with open arms, covering me with Your mantle of protection and care. I pray that all those who need to feel Your feathered retreat will do so today.
Amen.

In Him,

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I'd love for you to visit me at my blog



After being diagnosed with fibromyalgia eight years ago, Lynn Mosher felt the Lord speaking to her heart to write for Him. Since then, she has continued to hone her ability and to use her gift for the glory of the Lord and the benefit of others. She lives with her husband in their empty nest in Kentucky, and occasionally, the three offspring who have flown the coop drop by to visit, accompanied by a lovable son-in-law, and a precocious granddaughter, who constantly tells Lynn she needs a pet.





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Thursday, October 30, 2008

My Kayak is Pretty Beat Up

There are the big ones, you know? The ones that we can all point to and say, That one. That one right there made the difference in my life.

Imagine yourself in a kayak. Now, imagine that everyone who influences your life nudges your kayak in one direction or another.

For example, eight years ago I was floating down my Life River when I "bumped" Becky Tirabassi at her conference. I was floating down the Haphazard River of Meeting with Jesus when she floated up to me (and about 400 others) and said, "Make and appointment with the King and keep it." Then, off she floated.

That bump right there was a turning point in my River. I took a turn down a new River of Commitment and it changed my life forever.

She was a Slammer.


Kayakers like her have bumped my Kayak completely off course and set me straight more than once. Others would be Beth Moore, John Piper, and Andrew Murray. They are the ones that become anchors of lifechange moments. They are the ones that leave a mark on you Kayak of Life.

There are also the Bumpers.


These Kayakers are the ones that you have around you all the time. Friends that are consistent in what they pour into you. They are the ones that can point out that you're headed the wrong way and give you a "bump" reminding you of who you are. They also give you the bump you need for encouragement, laughter, or someone to cry with. They are with you through every kind of rapid in your life to the smooth waters of peace. One of my Bumpers is my husband. Others are close friends and family.

There are the Adjusters.

These are people we bump into that straighten our boat up a bit or add a new line of thought to who we are. Things like a passing comment on a blog, or a one-liner in a sermon on the radio. An underline in a book. It could be the passing conversation you have with someone about their marriage that makes you go home and make a small adjustment.

Slammers and Bumpers can be these kind of people too, but an Adjuster is something usually simple and makes you nod your head a bit. For instance, a friend of mine in passing said that she cooks for her husband, not her kids. Meaning, she cooks with him in mind. Not earth shattering. Not something that will send me into the throws of confession or worship, but something I can put in my Thought River and adjust to that. She bumped an adjustment in my life.

Oh, but there are the Rammers. Those people or circumstances that would ram us off course. When you have a Rammer in your life, you better be lookin' to your Slammers and Bumpers. They will help you hold fast against the Rammer. Don't fight with them. Don't throw your paddle at them. Just get close to those who uplift you and pray for you.

All of the above people have shaped my River's Ride. Looking back I see twists and turns through Level 5 rapids. I see long stretches of peace and serenity. I see forks in my River that have been avoided and I'm the better for it. I see tight spots that I barely squeezed through and wide open rides of laughter and joy.

Yes, my River is most certainly shaped by those I have been riding with. Of course, the Greatest Slammer is the One who created my River. There is no one else I'd take this ride for. He's the reason I keep paddling, fighting, surrendering, and living. He is the best joy ride on the planet.

Who's bumped your Kayak?
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all m prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel...
Philippians 1:3

In the River with you,



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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Waiting Room

I’ve been reading the Bible for a long time now. My particular version of choice has typically been the New International Version (NIV). And in reading this version for most of my adult life, I’ve never come across the word longsuffering. Oh, it’s all over the King James Version (KJV), but not the NIV. Why? My guess is that it just doesn’t sound good. I mean it’s basically saying that you are going to suffer and that your suffering is going to last a long time. Who wants to hear that? Not me.

In order to understand the Bible more clearly, I often search for the original text meanings. Even though our Bibles are translated in English, they were not written it in originally (Old Testament in Hebrew; New Testament in Greek). So, I went to my trusty website to find what the word longsuffering meant. I found the following definition:

1) patience, endurance, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance, forbearance, longsuffering, slowness in avenging wrongs

After being married about 18 months, my husband and I decided that we wanted to have a child. Once we no longer prevented a baby’s conception, we figured that we’d be pregnant in no time. That was in 1994.

Our first son was not born until 1999.

Talk about longsuffering. Those years of waiting, negative pregnancy tests, watching my girlfriends having their 1st, 2nd and 3rd children when I could not even get pregnant with one child were excruciating. It was a great desire in my heart to be a mom. Why did God make me wait so long? Better yet, why don’t some women ever get to become a mom?

During those arduous years, I didn’t know why I had to wait. However, since his arrival nearly 9 years ago, God has revealed to me over and over again that He is sovereign and I am not. Nuff said.

I believe that God developed some character traits in me during that season of life that otherwise might not have been developed. My intimacy with God is deeper than ever because He truly became everything to me. He knew every thought and feeling I had during this painful time. I wasn’t afraid to be real with Him and cast all of the hurts I had onto him. After all, the Bible says in 1 Peter 5 to “cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” I did just that. You can, too.

Exercising patience is not a lot of fun. I am fairly certain that I have never heard anyone say, “Man, I am so excited about what God is going to show me and how I’m going to change during this time of waiting. Woo hoo!” No, not so much. But, as I’ve talked with countless people over the years after their seasons of waiting, every single person has said that he/she wouldn’t trade the life lessons learned for the comfortable life they had before. You see, it’s in those days, months and years of waiting where we start to look a lot more like Christ.

A good friend of mine wrote one time “His lessons always contain a lasting sweetness when they are properly learned.”

King David wrote in Psalm 139, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” It’s quite a bold prayer to take before God. But trust me when I say that He will deliver. He will perform the most successful heart surgery, or even a transplant, that’s ever been accomplished. Trust His steady hand.

Are you in a waiting room?

What is it that God wants to teach you?

Are there areas of your life that God wants to make new?

In Him,



Join Cindy daily at her website CindyBeall.com

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

FROG

Kicking and screaming–that’s how I would describe myself on the brink of obedience.

Oh, sure. I want to obey. I encourage others to do that very thing. But when an action is required on my part for something I feel so UNQUALIFIED for...I start balking. Backing up. Not on God’s word though. In myself.

Haven’t I already told many—He will equip you when He calls you?

Did I tell you that? How many of my own words do I need to eat? " But—Lord— You KNOW ME! I can’t do that!" I am whining. I know it and He knows it. Can’t seem to stop myself though. He leans over and whispers... "I’m not asking YOU to do it. I will do it. All I want from you is an open heart and mouth."

I am humbled. Tears swell and fall. "Okay Lord." I should have known.

See, the thing is—I love LOVE writing. I told Him I’d do it everyday—all the time—spreading His life and love through the tap-tapping of my keyboard...through the scratching of my pen on cards and letters. And that may very well be where He keeps me...but I think, every now and again, He may pull me out of my comfort zone, the place where I think to myself—"hey I can do this"...almost in a fashion of not needing Him...but, you know as well as I do—I can’t put two words together to make a sentence without His guidance. But when He takes me OUT of the "zone of comfort"–the security of my abilities come to a screeching halt...and I rely solely on HIM.

Total insecurity in me...and fully relying on Him.

Isn’t that where He wants us all to be? Fully—Relying—On—God. F.R.O.G.

I think of that every time I see a frog. Can’t help myself. I feel like a hopping toad at times. He causes me to realize where all my strength lies. At the foot of the cross. Without the cross...I wouldn’t be here today.

What are you balking at today where He wants you to submit?

Are you backing up a bit–thinking you can’t? When He says, through Me, You can do all things.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Philippians 4:13


Listen for His voice in the quiet. Listen in the noise of life. He speaks continually.




I'd love a visit from you to my personal blogs: Knightly News and/or Sisters of Faith!

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Monday, October 27, 2008

The Bible Through the Eyes of a Child


A couple of months ago my three-year-old was obsessed with the biblical story of Daniel trapped in a den full of hungry lions. Our night time routine was not complete until we read this particular story. Many times it included some lion roaring thrown in for fun.

My husband and I read the story so frequently that we nearly had each word from the children's Bible memorized.

Before my son's recent obsession, I read this story countless times throughout my life. I heard it in church as a child. Somehow its familiarity over the years had not given me a reason to pause and reflect on such a magnificent story! Think about the lions, the den, and the fear Daniel must have had that night he spent down there.

The more I read the story, the more amazed I became. How could my heart have become so dull to such a testimony of God's mighty power?

Since then, I started to view the familiar Bible stories that I read to my boys differently. I don't read it to them as any other storybook and turn my heart and mind off to their message. Instead, I see God at work in magnificent ways that I had missed before simply because I wasn't looking. God's Word is always fresh when we allow it to be.

There are all kind of stories that will absolutely blow you away when you start to look at them from a fresh, child-like perspective.

Did you realize Jesus actually walked on the water? (See Matt. 14:22-33) You may have read that story many times but have you stopped to visualize what this event must have looked like? Put yourself in that boat. Feel the waves hitting your little boat and watch a Savior approach you as if you were sitting on dry land. Wow!

Have you ever been hungry but felt like there was noting in the house to eat? Put yourself in the sandals of the disciples when they realized Jesus wanted to feed over 5,000 people. (See John 6:1-14) The only food there was five loaves of bread and two fish. Talk about feeling like you need to go to the grocery store!

Yet, Jesus was not limited by a lack of food. When it was all over, everyone ate until their bellies were full and there were leftovers! (Who can't say a hearty "amen" for leftovers!) As I struggle to cook enough food for my family of four, I am affected by this event on an even deeper level.

As a parent, I want to help my children hide God's Word and principles in their hearts. Reading His Word and watching their little minds comprehend its magnificance is inspiring as a parent.

So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.Isaiah 55:11

Not only does God teach my children something about Himself each time we study it together, He teaches me something, as well.

If you have young children or grandchildren, spend time in God's Word with them. You will be amazed as you watch them grasp the incredible stories that you read. Don't be surprised, however, if God opens up His Word in a new and inspiring way to you like never before.





I would love for you to visit me at my personal blog, "Overflowing Grace."






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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Finding your Way

I am a slightly directionally challenged, which is just a fancy way of saying I get lost – a lot.

I’ve been known to get lost in my own neighborhood – and it’s not that big. I was thrilled when Mapquest finally seem to work in rural America, since I live in rural America. I usually do okay finding a place with Mapquest, it’s the return trip that gets me every time.

I mentioned that I got lost coming home from speaking at church and I was on a mission to get a GPS. My friend, Kim graciously offered me the use of her GPS (global positioning system) to see if I liked using one. “Try it out,” she said. So after a short lesson on the ins and outs of this model GPS, I was ready to go. I typed in my home address and away we went.

I love this little talking, screen flashing device! I put in the address and it tells me how many miles we have to travel and what time we are due to arrive. About half a mile from a turn, G (that’s my nickname for her) announces “turn left in one half mile.” She continues this announcing until we’ve made our turn. And if I miss a turn, G tells me how to get back on track. Best of all, there’s a moving map of where we’re headed. I can pan out and get a big picture look at where I’m going – it’s just lines and a path, but I can tell that’s the way we’ll travel.

I think I have found the perfect solution for my Christian walk!

Lord, what about a GPS for my life?

That would be so helpful. I could get those step by step directions on which path to take, which way to travel. I would know immediately when I made a wrong turn and I would get directions back on the path. Lord, just think how much more effective I will be if I stay on the right path and in your will all the time.

Just imagine when you pick up the phone to accept that job offer and your FPS (Faith Positioning System) announces “uncharted turn, please hang up phone and wait for call from XYZ company.” Wouldn’t that be wonderful? No more wrong steps or bad decisions. It’s all right there for you in the FPS – every step you need to take.

And then God just spoke to my spirit, I’ve given you this FPS it’s called the Holy Spirit. John 14:26 came to mind:

"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."

There it is – my FPS who will teach me all things and remind me of everything Jesus said.
The Holy Spirit is there to keep my feet on the path and to remind me when I step outside God’s will.

So if I have a Faith Position System, why does it seem like there are days I don’t know whether to go right or left? I don’t know whether I should speed up or slow down? Is my FPS broken? Maybe I need to upgrade.

I thought about the GPS I have on loan. It only works when I turn it on. If I don't turn it on, it's dark and silent. It has to have a source of power to work. When I turn it off, I cut off its’ power source. Like the GPS in my car, if I don’t turn on my FPS it doesn’t do me much good.


To turn on my FPS, I have to trust in the Lord and look to Him for my direction and guidance. He is my power source. He gives me the strength to walk this path He’s prepared for me. I don't know what's ahead, but He does. I don't know if the next turn is a right, a left or a U-turn, but He does. I've got an idea of where I'm going because my Lord is showing me the way He will have me go. I’m not walking this path alone – He is with me.


So, I’ll keep the GPS in my car and the FPS in my heart. One will keep me from driving in circles through strange neighborhoods and the other will keep me from wandering around in life. I don’t want to wander; I want to get right to the heart of serving the Lord.

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

Where is your FPS today?

Are you tapped into your power source?

Do you trust God to take you around the next corner and into the next adventure? If not, now is the time to start trusting Him, he has a path for each of us and you don’t want to miss a minute of what He has in store for you.

Trust Him!

In Him,

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Serving up a Giveaway!




It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas,
not really, not yet, but the season will SOON be upon us!

The Internet Cafe would like to help you start your shopping early this year with a gift for that special "girl" on your list!

Author Leah Eads constructs a vivid look into the life of some amazing young ladies who are serving God. From Girl’s Club meetings to constructing a shelter in the woods; there is never a dull moment! Young readers will walk with them through struggle and fear, into freedom and trust in God.

"Girls of Grace, Faith Vs. Fear" would make a great gift for that Girl of Grace on your list this year!

The Internet Cafe is thrilled to have 2 autographed copies of "Girls of Grace" to giveaway and help you get a jump start on your Christmas shopping!

All you have to do leave a comment telling us why a "special girl" on your list would love this book, and you'll be entered to win. Be sure to leave an email so that we can contact the winners! Winners will be chosen in a random. The contest will end November 2nd, at midnight, CST and the winner will be announced on November 3rd.





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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Café Chat October 25th



Tell about an experience when you sensed God’s super natural power working through you.

Give details! :)







Blessings,
Kim





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Socks & My Savior

I've got cold feet. And I'm not talking about getting married, I took that plunge joyfully.

No, I literally have cold feet. Our kitten, Roloff, has stolen all of my socks. Unless his little body managed to pull a boa constrictor move and swallow my socks whole; I've no idea where they could be.

I've searched high and low. Behind couches and under cabinets. In closets and out on the patio. The laundry room and the living room.

My socks are gone.

The interesting thing is that each morning when I wake up, there in the middle of the living room floor is ONE pair of socks.

Little Roloff seems to know ahead of time what I am going to need for the day. And willingly offers what I will need to keep my feet warm.

The Lord has really been speaking to me through the actions of my feline friend.

Sometimes it seems my need outweighs my have.

In those moments I search high and low looking for what I know I will need tomorrow and am always humbled to find the Lord knows.

He knows.

And each morning, in plain sight, is His provision for what I will need today.


"And my God will supply all your needs

according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus."

Philippians 4:19



What I need will be here. Waiting. Warming me through and calling me on to further pursuit of the One who is able to supply all of my needs in Christ Jesus.

It will be there for you too.


Roloff laughing at my cold feet!




You are welcome to visit Kristen at her blog Exemplify.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Happily Ever After - THE END


Predictable happy endings, walking off into the sunset, happily ever after etc., etc. That's what I like. Not so much the mushy emotional stuff (I'm a little left-brained) just the predictable, every-situation-gets-solved, no loose ends, explanations-all-around kind of scenario - ta da! THE END.

When I was introduced to Jesus and the "Christian Walk", I naturally believed that, "This, now, finally, will be the beginning of eternal bliss, predictability, no problems, sunsets, and happily ever afters - batteries included!" (Who knows that I needed just a little discipling?)
Yes, into every new believer's life some rain must fall, and all of the silver linings come equipped with dark clouds, and (quoting my friend Jeff,) "What don't kill ya, makes ya stronger!"

I remember, after trying to walk with Christ for a few months, I kind of started wishing I'd never heard about Him, salvation OR eternity. It was just hard. All these "trials" (as they were now called) popping up everywhere. . . "letting go and letting God" . . . trusting someone you can't see . . . putting your life in the hands of another. Giving up control of your life is NOT easy - especially if you're not yet certain about the motives of the Person to whom you are relinquishing control. And then, the icing on the cake - learn to be happy about the "trials!"

Consider it all joy my brethren, when you encounter various trials. (James 1:2)


Joy. Really.

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials. (1 Peter 1:6)


If necessary?

The sufferings of this present time. . . (Romans 8:18)


OK, OK, I get it! Suffering, trials, loose ends, and sometimes, not-so-happy endings with no explanations. Got it.


But, as with all things concerning our Creator, it is all for a purpose, as I finally discovered. Nothing is done without perfect wisdom, absolute justice, and unconditional love on His part. Not one situation, large or small, escapes Him. Every bit of the 'heat' He allows in our lives is for a purpose, and as His children, we're wise to learn to trust that. And though no ONE explanation can adequately "explain" the ways of the Lord of the Universe, today I read something that I think comes close. It's from the book, The Fire of God by Joy Dawson - she quotes an anonymous poet:



He sits by a furnace of sevenfold heat
As He watches by the precious ore.
Closer He bends with a searching gaze
As He heats it more and more.
For He knows He has ore that can stand the test
To mold as a crown for the King to wear
So He lays our gold in the burning fire,
Tho' we fain would say to Him "Nay"
And He watches the dross that we could not see,
As it melts and passes away.
The gold grows brighter and brighter it grows,
And our eyes grow dim with tears,
We see but the fire . . . not the Master's hand,
And question with anxious fears.
Yet our gold shines out with a richer glow
As it mirrors a form from above
That bends over the fire tho' unseen by us,
With a look of ineffable love.
Can we think it pleases His loving heart
To cause us a moment's pain?
Ah, no! but He sees through the present cross
The bliss of eternal gain.
So He waits there with a watchful eye,
With a love that is strong and sure,
And His gold did not suffer a bit more heat
Than was needed to make it pure.


Yep, we can be quite whiny and complaining until we 'get it'. We can become completely absorbed in our own little world - trials AND treasures - until we grasp the fact that the God of all eternity has His ever watchful eye on us - always - and that " God
(actually) causes ALL things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28) Everything He allows, every bit of heat, is meant to purify us, to cleanse us from what we cannot see, to prepare us for an eternity that we can scarcely comprehend, to form us into the image of His Son, Jesus.

Everything.

And then He gives the best promise of all:

"The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in us!" (Romans 8:18)


Incredible! When the time comes, the sunset will never dim, every loose-end will be tied, every explanation given and every tear will be wiped away. Now that is a "happily ever after!"

THE END BEGINNING



Father, Your ways are high above our ways, and Your thoughts are higher than our thoughts. I ask you Lord to pour out Your grace and wisdom. Teach us to trust Your ways, Your timing, Your justice. Keep watch at the door of our lips and fill our mouths with Your praise. Give us strength to worship when we are afraid, and courage to trust You in all things. Above all else, fill our hearts with the reality of eternity in Your presence.

In Him,




Visit Darnelle at her personal blog:

All Things Work Together


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What's Your Story?

But the only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves! Your lives are a letter written in our hearts, and everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you.Clearly, you are a letter from Christ prepared by us. It is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on stone, but on human hearts.
2 Corinthians 3:2-3
We have an amazing opportunity, ladies. An opportunity to share the gospel of Christ as it is reflected off of our hearts.

Have you looked in the mirror lately? Have you realized that no matter what mirror you look into, where you are, or how you try to alter it, you always see an exact reflection of the what is in front of it? Now, you can stand in front of a mirror putting on your lipstick- or lip creme if you prefer - and say to your girlfriends (because we all know that we go in groups)  that you have blonde hair and blue eyes but if you are a brunette with green yes they are just going to laugh it off. They know you are not speaking the truth. Why? They can see the reflection... sometimes better than you can.

What is reflecting off our your heart? Is it insecurity or fear? Are you still denying that God can use you because of your past? (Honey, we all have a past) Do you still think you aren't capable of doing what He has called you to do? Do you hide from everyone in the hopes of escaping from yourself?

Stop!

YOU are chosen by Him. YOU are loved by Him. It is written in His word. We have to write His word on our hearts. We have to sing His praise from our mouths. We have to proclaim victory for His children. We, His chosen daughters, must be reflecting His story. Have no other God's before Him. Love you neighbor as yourself. Die to self each day and reflect more of Him. We are more than conquerors and we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. He loves YOU! If you don't reflect His love then how will anyone else see it and come to know Him?

Let that mirror be constant reminder that your heart reflects your King's story. What does it say about Him?


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, October 23, 2008

Family


It just happened today that I was thinking of our family and the many different nationalities that are represented in it. That got me thinking of how many different scriptures can be found in the bible about what family really is according to our Savior Jesus Christ.


In Luke 8:19-21 It says the following,

"Then His mother and brothers came to Him, and could not approach Him because of the crowd. And it was told Him, "Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see You.: But He answered and said to them, "My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it."

It is startling to see that response from our Savior, Jesus Christ. I think of how many denominations are out there representing the Christian Church and how confusing it must be to those who don't know Jesus Christ. Denominations have their own set of traditions, laws, sessions, beliefs but in God's Word and through out His Word He says:

John 17:20-21 "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one as You, Father are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that you sent Me."

How is the world going to know that Christians are united in Spirit and in truth if they observe separation of those who say they belong to Christ? How is it that we so freely put other believers under the law when in Galatians God speaks against that?

Listen to what Titus 2:11- 15 says,

"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purity for Himself His own special people zealous for good works. Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.”

My sisters and brothers in Christ I hope that each one of us will search our own hearts and trust His Word alone. The Holy Spirit lives inside each one of us as believers. He, the Holy Spirit is our guide and teacher and He does go to our Father for us.

In 1 Corinthians 2: 12 it says,

"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. vs.16 says For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?”

But we have the mind of Christ. Each one of us who know Him!

All of this leads to this conclusion. Since we have the Holy Spirit and if you are in God's Word He will convict us as His children to live righteously before Him. Listen to Him and obey Him for He loves you more than family or those who set themselves in authority over you as a Christian.

There is so much more my heart wants to say but I will trust Him above everything else and I will trust that those who are "stuck" in traditions for pleasing men rather than God; that you will search His beautiful Word and begin living in freedom instead of bondage which doesn't come from our beautiful Savior Jesus Christ!

Close and Personal:

1. Have you given the thought of who your real family is?

2. Has the Holy Spirit convicted you of how we can be so entrenched in tradition that we don't reach out to other believers that are not in our own Sunday service?

3. Have you ever thought of after leaving your building on Sunday morning going to another church down the street and just saying hello to another fellow believer?

"Dear Heavenly Father we love you! You love us and we thank you for that! You are so long suffering and I often wonder what you must think of us sometimes when we don't pay attention to those who are not in our own buildings on Sunday mornings. Help us to be loving and kind to all who are your children and are believers in Jesus Christ so the outsiders may not have any malign thing to say to us! Thank you again my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for who you are and for dying for us! In Your precious Son's name, Amen!"

In Him,

Join Elaine daily at her personal site.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Grace Was Here!

Then the One seated on the throne said “Look! I AM making everything new!” 
Revelation 21:5

Think back to when you were little. Remember the smell of early summer mornings flowing through the screen door?

I can remember being at a friend’s home one such day.

Just beyond their home was a field of lovely wild flowers. I still remember their mixed fragrances whisking through the open windows. I can still see the soft white sheer panels billowing in their living room. Their home was always so tidy. I can smell the Pine-Sol her mother used on her kitchen floors and the smell of freshly folded towels. Their home was so welcoming. They were always ready to receive visitors.

Is your home like that?

Let me clarify. I am not talking about the place with the address by the door and a mailbox out front. I am talking about your heart’s home of many rooms.

Are visitors welcome at anytime?

Or do you prefer to keep your unexpected guests waiting outside because you did not take the time to clean? Is there a room you have altogether forgotten? Are you ashamed of the condition of most of your inner rooms?

Well, you are certainly not alone. Many of us choose to keep others at arms length because we are afraid for them to see what is lurking behind closed doors.

FEAR NOT, faithful followers! There is Heavenly Hope for a new home!

The messes we have made, however, can only be cleansed with an "All-Purpose-Out-Of-This-World scum remover."

What is it called?

One word...Grace. And when the cleansing Grace of our Redeemer Jesus Christ has swept through the rooms of our hearts, we are the most amazed at the differences He has made.

However, in order for Him to make new all that we are ashamed of, we need to first unlock all those creaky doors...then hand over the key. After He has begun this new work, shame will no longer plague you. Rather than anxiously trembling at the thought of someone finding that disgraceful room and peering inside, you eagerly wait for company with open arms and doors!

‘Come in! See my new home! Look at the rooms all in order! Go ahead, make yourself at home!’, you will excitedly proclaim.

And when He does bring guests by your way, make sure they leave knowing what the ‘before pictures’ looked like. And with that, you will have instilled HOPE into their hearts that the same GRACE you received is available for their abodes.

All they need to do is make an appointment with this solid, co-owned and operated cleaning Company called Thy Kingdom Come! Slogan: WE make all things new!

Did I mention that the services are free having already been paid for (with blood) long ago?

However, in order to ensure abiding tidiness, be careful to bring nothing back in that He carried out.

Oh, HE has a list of what those are, too (Colossians 3:5-10; Galatians 5:19-21).

Holy Father, thank You for making us new creations. Thank You, LORD, for giving us Your Spirit Who reveals to us the true condition of our inner selves. Thank You for delivering us from shame, filth and disgrace. Instill the hope of Your new works in Your daughters today. Blessed be Your Name!


Visit Carmen at: Women of the Word for more encouraging truths for your day!

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Power of Praise

I've been reading, "The Shack," by William P. Young. I have heard people talk about this book and how good it is. I thought it would be an "easy" read. I was wrong. I had to look more than once at the back cover to make sure it is fiction. It is. Mr. Young is right on target with some of the feelings and emotions surrounding tragedy with your child. I have found that after a few pages I have to close the book, put it down and wait until later to read more.

One thing that I thought was pretty interesting was an interaction with God and Jesus in the shack. It was a few sentences just telling God how wonderful He is. I realize this is not real and there are many more examples of praise in the bible which is so real, but this personal side by side relationship got me thinking.

After reading that chapter I listened to a speaker talk about the importance of praise and our purpose during praise and worship. We are praising God. It doesn't have to be at church, with a leader or a praise team... I can praise God anywhere with words, with song, with my heart, with actions. I can praise God with my obedience.



When I'm at home there are a couple of songs that I listen to to create an atmosphere of praise. Lord, You're Holy by Karen Wheaton is such an awesome praise song. I know we all have our favorites that we sing at church that seem to stick with us all week long.


I guess I had never considered praise to be such a powerful spiritual weapon before. Praise is more than an uplifting song, or words spoken to lift God up in praise. Praise does something. It releases the very presence of God Himself. And when the presence of God enters, your enemies are turned away!
For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be sung to the tune "Death of the Son." I will thank you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High. My enemies turn away in retreat; they are overthrown and destroyed before you. Psalms 9:1-3 NLT


The next time the devil tries to stifle your effectiveness, or to drain you of the strength and victory that's yours in Jesus, turn him back with the powerful weapon of PRAISE.


What is your favorite praise song?

Do you have other ways to offer up praise to God?







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Monday, October 20, 2008

Do Not Disturb

Moses got a burning bush.(Exodus 3:2)

God speaks to Jacob from the top of the ladder. (Genesis 28:13)

In the New Testament God spoke to Peter while he was on the roof waiting for lunch.
(Acts 10:15)

Mary heard God in the voice of an angel. (Luke 1:28)



I have never "heard" the voice of God, but
God often speaks to me through images...

As I was recently preparing another article, I was looking for the perfect image to go along with the words, I came upon the image to the left. It struck me, and as I began to think about it, it was as if God himself had delivered me a very personal message.

How often do I hang out a "Do Not Disturb" sign?

It was put on my heart that I often, without realizing, hang that sign on the door of my life.
I hang out the sign as a message to God to let me "handle it all."

I want control.

I can take care of it.

I would never TELL God that I can handle it myself, but how often to I subtly hang that sign on my heart?

When I don't begin my day with prayer I'm putting out the "Do Not Disturb" sign.

When I move through my day not committing to "Thy will" but "my will," I'm putting out the "Do Not Disturb" sign.

When I neglect to see the nudges that God gives me, by interrupting my daily activities with the needs of others, I am again putting out the "Do Not Disturb" sign.

There should never be a "Do Not Disturb" sign hanging on my life when God comes seeking my heart. The door to my spirit should be flung wide open, ready to accept any and all that God wants in my life. It's in learning that God will often use the delays, the interruptions and inconveniences to open the way to amazing opportunities. How sad that in my own need to control my life I hang out the sign and miss so much.

I want an "OPEN 24 HOURS" sign instead!
"How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog, it's here a little while and then it's gone. What you ought to say is, "If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that." Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and such boasting is evil."
James 4:14-16
I need to humble myself before God and submit to HIS will. I pray that I learn to allow HIM to enter into my spirit, fill me with His Spirit, allow Him to disturb and interrupt my day as He see's necessary. Submission means leaving the door open at all times. Committing to His Will means that I take down the "Do Not Disturb" sign and allow God to enter freely.

Questions to ponder:

Do you ever hand a "Do Not Disturb" sign on your heart?

How can you humble yourself and give up the control of this life to and commit to God's will in all areas of your life?

Prayer~


Denis Duncan penned a perfect prayer for my heart today.....

"Give me, O Lord unlimited patience, unlimited understanding, unlimited love. Then I will be able to forgive as I have been forgiven; To bless as I have been blessed."

Father, I know that in my humanness I sometimes hang a "Do Not Disturb" sign on my heart. Forgive me, I never want to shut you out. Help me to live by the words of your Son, "Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." Help me rid my life of selfish pride and replace it with humility and submission. Father, help me to submit as your Son, Jesus submitted each and every day that he lived on earth. Help me replace the "Do Not Disturb" sign with an "Open 24 hours" sign on my life. Thank you for the grace and mercy that you continuously show me, by revealing yourself in so many ways and in so many images.
It is in this grace and mercy that I grow closer to you.
Amen








Join Lori daily at her personal blogspot, where she can be found seeking God's will, resisting the temptation to hang out the "Do Not Disturb" sign.





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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Heart To Heart




In a few days from now my son Jordan and I will board a plane headed to Memphis. We're going up to St. Jude for his regular 6-month check up. In case any of you reading this don't know, my son was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of 16. .

As we prepare for our trip, I begin to recall the many times I've sat in some waiting room while Jordan was having an MRI and CT. I continue to pray each time, “Lord, please don't let them discover any new spots, or change to his tumor.” Just thinking about how closely they exam every structure of his brain and spine causes butterflies and sweaty palms each time.

Examinations...

Gosh, I was never one that liked to take a test. Just the thought of missing an answer or forgetting something brought on anxiety. It would be nice if we didn't have to be tested!

Yet, in each moment of our lives God exams of our hearts. Although we don't make appointments, or have to climb into some strange machine, God is able to look past what man sees and probes deeply into our hearts.

The prophet Jeremiah wrote:

"I the Lord search the heart; I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings." (Jeremiah 17:10)

In the Old Testament the Hebrew word for heart means:

The seat of the senses, affections, and emotions of the mind, the mode of thinking and acting; the seat of the will.

Did you know that the word heart is used over 830 times in the bible? God has much to say on that subject. Today I'd like to look at a few conditions that might afflict our hearts, and understand what God has promised if we turn our lives over to Him.

In the book of Hebrews we are warned about a very serious heart condition:


1. A Hardened heart:
"Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts" (Hebrews 4:7)
Have you ever felt like your heart has become cold and hard? I sure have. Often because of disappointment, betrayal, or sin our spiritual hearts can lose their sensitivity and ability to function as God intended for them to. But Praise God, He is our Wonderful Physician who is able to repair every heart that has become hard.

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart…, and I will give you a heart of flesh”. (Ezekiel 36:26)

Another condition we must carefully watch for is a heart that has become:


2. An Unclean heart

Jesus said:

‘‘What comes out of a man is what makes him unclean. For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly”. (Mark 7:20-23)

We must continually stand watch for these kinds of afflictions that can plague our hearts and corrupt our lives. Satan is lurking and waiting for the chance to draw us back into our old ways. Be diligent and watchful so that your heart will always be pure before Him.

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." (Proverbs 4:23)

And finally, one last problem of the heart is:


3. An Anxious heart


David offered up this pray to God:

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”(Psalm 139: 23-24)

It’s so easy to allow our mind, will, and emotions to take over. Anxiety can not only cause havoc to our physical bodies, but to our spiritual hearts as well. How it must break the heart of God when He sees us struggle in our own strength rather than allowing His Spirit to rule in our hearts.

Ladies, Jesus is that great and wonderful Physician that can heal every disease and all of the wounds that afflict our hearts. May He touch your heart today...

Some things to ponder:

When is the last time God revealed a heart condition that you were not aware of?

When others around you are struggling do you see it as an opportunity to encourage them?


"Lord, I pray for that we would learn to trust you with our whole heart. Please show us any area that needs cleansing and healing. Give us a heart that follows hard after you. Thank you for being faithful to reach deep within to heal and restore our hearts. In Jesus name, Amen."


Join Susan daily at her personal blog,




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Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Lying Truth

About a year ago, I had gone to my dr. for a checkup on my thyroid. I was so excited to get on the scale (for once), because all that working out and healthy eating was SURELY going to reap for me the joy of good numbers. You can imagine the huge load of disappointment as I saw that my load had not lightened at all—there was actually a gain. I ranted emotionally to my doc about how hard I had been working and how healthy I had been eating as she looked at me with pure skepticism.

She didn’t believe me!

A few days later, I found the humility to mention this scenario to my close, no-nonsense friend, who also happens to be a nurse. She always has a way of getting me to look at myself honestly without hurting my feelings. (It’s a gift!) She suggested that I try an online fitness diary to track what I was eating and what activity I was doing. That way, I would have something to take to the Dr. and show her so that we could get to the bottom of it. I mulled it over for a few weeks, then decided to try it. After just a few days of tracking, I realized that I had not been doing as well on my calorie intake OR burning as I had previously thought.

Was I mistaken before, or had I just convinced myself that I was doing it all right?

OUCH! The truth hurts sometimes, doesn’t it? It hurts, but it can help as well. The Lord took this one scenario and reminded me to apply it spiritually.

Psalm 119:29a (NLT) says: “Keep me from lying to myself.”

What wisdom this Psalm writer was given to pray for this! Many lies told outwardly start with believing them in the first place, don’t they? It may be to cope, or to hold on to pride, or to stay comfortable with our routine. Regardless, the Lord wants us to examine this regularly. Every time I do, He shows me the little extra calories of falsehood I’ve put into my mouth, and I’m so thankful He loves me enough to do so.

Here’s the challenge:

Let’s take some time today and ask if we have been honest with ourselves about where we are with the Lord. Do we think we are closer to the Savior than we actually are? Do we think we are living by the Word, when in fact, we've hardly been meditating upon it? Are we open to examine suggestions from others and align it with God’s Truth?

Or in the opposite case, have you allowed someone who loves you to make you believe untruths about yourself? Do you repeat over and over that you're nothing, when in fact, in Jesus you are a capital "S" Something?

When we allow lies to become truth to us, then we begin to tell lies to others, and maybe even to God. When the lying truth becomes comfortable to us, life itself can begin to weigh us down… Check out in Psalm 119 how many times truth is mentioned. A LOT! Notice as you read your Bible, how often the subject comes up as well. A TON!!!! Jesus is the Way, the TRUTH, and the Life, right? The TRUE truth matters, so let’s read it, think it and live by it as His Spirit has the ability to do through us. Let’s weigh ourselves in the light of His truth today.

Jeremiah 17:9b-10 (The Message)

"But I, God, search the heart
and examine the mind.
I get to the heart of the human.
I get to the root of things.
I treat them as they really are,
not as they pretend to be."


Father God, All-Knowing, All-Seeing Mighty One, I am in awe of Your awesomeness. The fact that You know how pitiful I am, yet You love me anyway. I can fool others. I can even fool myself. But I can never ever never fool You. Thank You. Thank You for loving me in spite of myself. Thank You for knowing just how to handle this fleshly daughter. Thank You for setting me free from so many things. Lord, please help me to live and walk in Your Truth, to know how much You desire it from me. Strengthen me, I pray, in the name of Jesus, my Redeemer, Amen.


In the Key of HE,

Please visit LauraLee at her ministry blog,


or sign up to receive her edevos at her ministry website:

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Cafe Chat - October 18, 2008


 1 Corinthians 10:23 (NIV) "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is constructive.
Today’s question is inspired by the verse above.   There are definite things that we know scripturally in life that are bad for us (sins), but what about those things in life that are so called “good”.  Things that are not a sin, but things that we as a society label as good things.   Today’s question asks you to probe into your life and find an situation where the verse above became real to you. 
 What is something in your life that was a “good” thing, but as in the verse in 1 Corinthians states was something that although good, was not beneficial or constructive for you?

Blessings,
Kim





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Friday, October 17, 2008

He Keeps Me Singing

When the grass is long and the weeds are overtaking the sidewalk, my husband slips on his iPod, and heads for the garage. The music in his ears makes the workload easier and the time go by a little faster. Before long, the lawn looks great again and the weeds are history.

Good music soothes the soul. A great song can put some pep in your step or heal a break in your heart.

But, sometimes we don’t feel like singing.

During a news broadcast, I read a viewer’s comment in the running ticker at the bottom of the screen. The comment was in reference to the recent economic crisis and the viewer’s login name was “LostHope.”

Every morning, the news wakes us with more reasons to give up. The future is uncertain. The stock market will rise and fall. Gas prices will go up and down. But we can put our trust in the One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Jesus is our rock, our foundation. When the world seems to be sinking, we can stand firm on the Solid Rock. As the familiar hymn says, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”

When we don’t feel like singing he will give us a new song.

“He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.
He has put a new song in my mouth— Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the LORD.”
Psalm 40:2-3

God is our song. When we are wondering how we will pay the mortgage or if our retirement fund will survive, worrying over bills or a wind-torn home destroyed by a hurricane, God gives us a new song. His Song. A song of Hope in Jesus.

There is another old hymn, one that gets my toe tapping each and every time. It reminds me of God’s love and provision.

“Feasting on the riches of His grace,
Resting ‘neath His sheltering wing,
Always looking on His smiling face,
That is why I shout and sing.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
Sweetest name I know,
Fills my every longing,
Keeps me singing as I go”.

- He Keeps Me Singing, Luther B.Bridgers


Jesus is my rock, my strong foundation, my constant hope in uncertain times.

He's music to my ears.

Something to ponder:

How have you seen God's provision for your family during difficult times?




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




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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sweet or Sour




More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Psalm 19:10

A man invited his skeptical neighbor over to his orchard to try some of his prized apples. But his friend did not come. He contacted his friend and said, "I suppose you think my apples good for nothing." His neighbor replied, "Well, yes I have tried your apples and I think they are the sourest things I have ever tasted." "Oh," said the first, "I thought so. You see, I planted the sourest trees I could find around the outside of the orchard, for the benefit of the boys who would steal them. But if you come into the center of the orchard you will find some quality fruit, sweet as honey."

I read this story recently and it reminded me of the sweetness of being in the center of God’s will. It seems that when we drift from the place God calls us, we find things “sour” in every area of our lives. We loose our joy, our perspective, and our spiritual stamina.

However, when we are in the center of His will, we enjoy the intimate fellowship with Him that is “sweeter than honey”. Even when life is hard and we are faced with sorrow and hardship, we still find the sweetness of His presence invading our life. It is only here, in the center of His will, that the fruit of fellowship with Him overflows into every aspect of our life and affects the lives of others.

God’s plan for us is amazing really! He calls us to personal intimacy with Himself above all else, and when we are inhaling all that He has to offer to us personally, we find ourselves consumed with Him. We find ourselves ministering in the unexpected places and we see supernatural fruit flourishing in and through us.

What about you? Are you too busy to notice? Have you taken the time to stop long enough and examine what you are “feasting on”? When you survey your life over the past month, are things “sour” because you are choosing to venture into territory just on the outskirts of His will for your life? Are you choosing to eat of the fruit that leaves a bitter taste in your “spiritual mouth”? Or, are you enjoying the sweetness that comes from walking in intimate fellowship and obedience with Him? Do you taste and see the goodness of the Lord in YOUR life?

Take some time today to examine that which you are feasting on and either rejoice in the sweetness of our Savior and His nearness to you, or repent and take the steps back to the precious arms of the Savior who has never moved from where you drifted from. No matter where you find yourself today, you can find comfort in the reality that our glorious God, even as He produces fruit in and through each of us, both for our own benefit and the benefit of others, is always waiting for us to “taste and see that He alone is good”.

Lord, enable me today to put my own agenda aside long enough to evaluate the fruit I am bearing, as well as, the things I am “feasting” on. Help me to take the steps necessary to be in the center of Your will for my life, knowing that it is only there that I can taste the sweet fellowship with you and that others can taste and see Your goodness clearly in my life.



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

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