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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My Old Dealbreaker


"You take one of my babies and the deal's off!"

A few years ago I stood in my shower and through my weeping, I threatened God, or at least I thought I did, that if anything happened to one of my kids I would walk away. Done. Over.

I literally thought that if the worst of my fears actually came true, I would blame Him and never talk to Him again. I was that afraid. I lived in fear; fear that He would take one of my children and if He did, so help me God... because no one else would be able to.

I had the same experience with Him a few years earlier when it came to my husband. I figured that one way for me to be "forced" into getting closer to God and having the "real me" exposed would be if I faced my worst fears. I cried and cried (again in the shower, I figure it's safe there) and said that I didn't want to get any closer to Him if it meant I would lose someone. The results I heard that come from suffering were not ones I was willing to suffer for.

All in all, it was a twisted pattern that stemmed from my grandparents being ripped from our family in a deadly plane crash when I was thirteen. Somehow, those emotions were capitalized on and the Enemy had a hay day with my thought life. Fear set in like cement and put a rock solid belief system in me that took the sledge hammer of truth to set me free.

However, just recently I was on the porch. I had my head leaned back and I was looking up at the clouds rolling by. It was a moment, just between me and Him. That day in the shower came back to mind and I realized at that moment, I didn't think that way anymore. I smiled and realized that I could actually play out my worst fear without being gripped by it. Now, He is my first thought. I think of Him as a refuge and know now that He is the one who would see me through such a terrible thing.

I'll have it no other way.

I've been set free from fear. I can now say that if the worst happened, I believe, in the end, He would still be my God and I would still be His beloved. There is no fear in love. There may be pain, but there is no fear.


There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear. James 4:18



Natalie.



Join Natalie at her personal blog:

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and her online Bible Study:

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Home

Charles Spurgeon wrote, "When home is ruled according to God's Word, angels might be asked to stay with us, and they would not find themselves out of their element."



Recently, I spent a week back home. The house where I did most of my "growing-up" is about an hour's drive from here. Give or take. Depending on who's driving...and the traffic. Which, the closer you are to home, the more you might find your way slowed by a tractor or two.

Housesitting is a splendid way to get a mini-vacation--with the exception of going to work. My mother and stepdad (Grandbuddy), were on a week long missions trip to Central Florida to work on an orphanage with several folks from my home church. Normally, I would not have to housesit, but they recently aquired a very large dog and he won't let just anyone into the yard--but he has to be fed--so the neighbors can't do it. And, since he happens to like me--then I get the job! So this was really more dog-sitting than housesitting.

Okay, I am rambling. Sorry.

It felt so good to be home. It was quiet, and the feeling of family was like a warm blanket. There were memories on every wall, in every picture, even the scent seemed so familiar. It was the scent of prayer.

I've smelled it before. At my grandmother's house. It is the scent of offerings of thanksgiving, petitions of mercy for family members, and much praise that has washed the walls of the house. Permeating every room with the feeling that you are welcome, you are loved and that God reigns in that home.

I remember giving some clothes to a friend several years ago, she grabbed them up in her arms to carry them to her car and as she did, she exclaimed, "oh these smell good! They smell like your house!"

I hope my house today smells like an altar before the LORD.

Many years ago, I realized I had allowed the world to enter in my home. It slipped in innocently enough, so quietly I hardly recognized it for what it was. But when I did, I pulled out the garbage can!

When secular books out numbered the godly--uplifting ones, something had to change! Music was next. I had begun to listen to (almost constantly) a country radio station. I had even purchased a few CD's.

Now, don't get all twisted up---I am not saying country music is wrong---but for me it was. I needed to feed my soul Christ, not Tammy and George. Or in this case, Tim and Faith.

I was not feeding my soul the proper nourishment. My home suffered. My heart suffered. I was ill equipped to face the battles that were looming ahead. But the LORD stirred my soul and my senses. I began a spiritual house cleaning, as well as a physical house cleaning.

While in this house cleaning, both of the heart and the home, I began to reflect on my "time". How much I spent with Him, verses how much I spent involved in other things. The other things seemed to win out. Changes had to be made there as well.

This time at mother's gave me the opportunity to once again, slow down and reflect. At my heart-home. I had my morning devotions in the very spot where mother has hers each day. The LORD met me there each morning and bathed my day in His presence as I went before the throne in offerings of praise. It made a difference.

Titus 2:11-14 NIV

"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good."

What does your heart-home look like?

Is it cluttered?

Is God reigning? Or is He squeezed out? Is there a mismatch of desires?

Seek His desire for your life---He will help you with the "housecleaning".





© Angie Knight 2009. All rights reserved.

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Sunrise After The Storm




Have you ever gone outside right after a tornado has passed? Living in Tornado Alley most of my life has allowed me to. While I’ve yet to actually be in a tornado, they have skirted passed me on many occasions.


After a tornado has cleared it’s path, there is much devastation left behind. Shredded homes, shattered windows, murdered livestock, and even asphalt being torn from the ground, if the severity of the storm is an F-5, are some of the results. But, another effect of such a tumultuous storm is the beauty you’ll see afterward.


The skies of blue. The gentle breeze. The dry air.


It’s absolutely some of the most beautiful weather you’ll ever find. And it comes right after the storm.


Isn't that the way life is sometimes? We get knocked down and torn to shreds and wonder how we'll ever survive such a situation.


But then God.


He comes in and can make a horrific situation absolutely breathtaking.


Don't give up hope...the hope we have in the One, True God…the Great I Am…the Creator of the universe.


He is for you.



Visit Cindy daily at her personal site, CindyBeall.com

Image from http://www.sxc.hu/home

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Uprooted

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17

The gladiolus plants stood tall and proud in my neighbors’ garden just waiting to burst forth into bloom with their beautiful pink, purple, red, white and orange flowers. But my neighbor decided she was tired of her gladiolus garden so she uprooted them - flowers, stems, bulbs and all.

Tossed into a pile, they were destined to be thrown away.

As any good neighbor would do, I walked over to see what was going on and arrived just in the nick of time. I gathered an armful of the long, green stems with the bulbs still attached and rescued those plants.

Preparing a new home for those orphaned gladiolus plants; I dug little round holes into the rich soil of my flower garden and dropped the bulbs in. As I worked transplanting those brown, onion-looking bulbs, I suddenly realized they were actually, well...ugly. Had I not known the potential inside those bulbs, I certainly wouldn't have put forth the effort to transplant them. But I knew inside the bulb, which at this time appeared to be all dried-up, lived everything needed to once again grow strong, tall stems and produce beautiful flowers. The bulbs just needed someone who cared to replant them in just the right soil.

Sometimes we, too, may be uprooted. Major moves, divorce and loss of loved ones can all leave us feeling uprooted in life. We may feel that we’ve been tossed into a pile and thrown away by those we love and maybe, even by God. We may even feel that our heart has withered down to just an ugly, brown bulb.

But just like that gladiolus bulb, inside we still have everything we need to grow back strong and tall. We just need someone who cares. That Someone is the Lord our God. When we cry out to the Lord, He hears our prayers and sees our tears and will heal our broken hearts.

Just as the flowers from those transplanted gladiolus plants bring beauty and joy to others, the Lord can use us to do the same. Because we’ve been there and survived being “uprooted,” we can reach out and minister to others. And with our mended hearts planted in His love, we’ll survive any uprooting life may bring our way.
  • Have you ever been uprooted in life?
  • Have you ever felt like you were thrown away by those you love?
  • Have you ever felt abandoned by God?
Even when we’re uprooted in life, the Lord our God is always with us. He will quiet us with his love when we cry out to him.
Father, thank you that we are eternally secure in You and that You will never let us go.





I'd love to have you visit at http://www.inspirationfrommayberry.com/.

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Looking for the "Cafe Chat"?



Just a reminder... If you are looking for the "Cafe Chat" meme, we have moved it to Thursdays. Feel free to go back to this past Thursday's post and participate.
Blessings and see you Thursday. Kim

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Friday, June 26, 2009

All Aboard!

Luxurious 40 foot cruiser complete with a large, comfortable deck for lounging in the sun, well –appointed living quarters, and all the comforts of home from satellite television to hot showers. This was just one of the boats we saw on a recent family vacation to the coast.

Instead of a house or condo on the beach, we opted for a house on the river that flows into the bay. The scenery was much different – green, lush and almost tropical as opposed to wide open beaches and crashing waves. We explored the river and came face to face with boats that ranged from canoes to yachts. There was something for everyone – my husband loved the bass boats but I fell for the lavish cruisers.

I could just see myself on the deck of those big boats --big, floppy hat, iced down Diet Coke at my side and a good book in my hand. When I shared my love of the cruiser with my husband he glanced at it and said “too fancy, you can’t fish from that.” Fishing? Who said anything about fishing? My dream consisted of lots of lounging, reading and resting.

There were other boats on the waterways – the snazzy bass boats with their rumbling outboard motors that enticed my hubby, high speed ski boats, pontoon boats and then there are the ones I call the working boats. These working boats were as big as or bigger than the fancy cruisers, but that’s where the similarities ended. These boats were made for work. The decks were filled with all manner of equipment, most didn’t make any sense to me, but I understood the nets and they had big nets for dragging in lots of something. I didn’t daydream myself on the deck of these boats. I didn’t want to think about working that hard and getting my hands that dirty.



I want to live the Christian life of the luxury cruiser. I want to rest on my deck and sip my drink; I don’t want to get my hands dirty. I don’t want to sling the nets out or pull them back in. I’m afraid to face the storms that will surely come. I don’t want to work for hours on top of hours only to come up empty handed. Give me the luxury boat with satellite and I’ll just relax in the cabin when the weather is bad or the sun gets too hot.

Oh Lord, forgive me for wanting the comfortable life. I wasn’t called to that. I was called to get my hands dirty. God called me to serve Him. I’m just to say yes, He’ll provide the details.

As Paul said to the church at Thessalonica:
“ we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.” 1 Thess 2:12


Walk worthy of God. That will stop you right in your tracks. How do I walk worthy of the Holy God? The God who created the heavens and the earth – how do I walk worthy of Him?

We walk worthy of Him through the power of Jesus Christ. It’s in Christ that we each find our strength to do the work that He has called us to do. It’s in Christ that I stand. It’s in His grace I find my strength. It’s in His Word I find my direction.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Phil 1:6


God calls all of His children to His service and there will be storms, but He will provide. There will be work, but He will equip. There will be hard times, but He provides all of our needs.

God may be calling you to serve on the luxury cruiser or He may be calling you to serve on the working ship, but know this, He is calling you to serve His Kingdom.

Where is God calling you today?


In Him,





Come by and visit my blog, Joy Filled Living

Mary Snyder was a featured speaker at A Woman Inspired Ministry Online Conference!! Join us at A Woman Inspired to purchase the entire Ministry Online Conference in an mp3 collection!

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cafe Chat



Welcome to the Cafe Chat meme! Our interactive meme for our "Internet Cafe" community. My name is Kim Uden and I am the weekly host of the "Cafe Chat". Amy Bayliss and I decided to move the "Cafe Chat" to Thursdays instead of our regular Saturday time slot. I know that we have over one thousand regular subscribers to this site, and I am hoping for more of our community here to join the regular participators of the "Chat". Participating in this meme will be one way we can get to know each other a bit better, and as always I hope the questions posed weekly will challenge you in your walk with Christ.



(Reminder... We no longer use Mr. Linky, so please make sure to leave your answers to the questions in the comment section of this post. Also feel free to post your answers to the questions at your personal blog site, and then leave a comment on this post directing us to your answers. Don't forget to visit each other)



John 20:17 (NIV)

Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' "


I love the scene in the Bible where Mary Magdalene meets Jesus after He has risen from the tomb and death. What happened in real life with Jesus that day is a moment I am sure stayed with Mary until her dying breath. Can you imagine? (If you don't know the story, please read it in John)


I also love what Jesus tells Mary after He revealed Himself to her. Take a moment to reread the verse above in John. What sticks out to you? For today's question I am going to focus in on the last part of John 20:17. Jesus tells Mary that He is returning to His Father, but then he adds the words "your Father". What Jesus accomplished through his life, death and resurrection enabled us, humans created by God, to now be able to call God our Father. AMAZING (and that is an understatement).


So today, I ask you what does it mean that you are able to call God your Father? Really think about this one, and then just let your words flow from your heart...


Blessings and I hope to see my old "Cafe Chatters" participate today, and gain some new ones :)

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Longing for Freedom

What do you long for?

I wonder this as I watch people walk down the street, drive in their cars, eat ice cream –what is their longing deep inside? For what do they hope? Desire? Wish?

I’ve come to learn most longing and wishing has to do with freedom.

We long for more money because then we will not be slaves to work.

We wish for vacations because then we can escape the mundane.

It seems every area of longing is in response to our need to feel free.

I have never heard anyone wish or admit they long for more rules or laws. That is until I met David one spring day a long time ago.

This David? You know him too. He was the man after God’s own heart.

Check out his longing in Psalm 119:20.

“My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times.”


Is it possible for us to be consumed with longing for the Lord’s law at all times? Totally intoxicated with his statues? Completely abandoned to his word and will for our lives? I want this.

I want this to be our longing.

Strange thing about this David. He wished for more of God’s law upon his heart and just a few verses later in Psalm 119:45 he says, “I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.”

Freedom. David longed to be told how to live because like most wishes it brought him the freedom he deeply desired. Except this freedom is the real deal.

Money runs out; our time here will end; vacations come and go, all of our earthly wishes will never be enough to satisfy our desire for true freedom.

Only following the lead of Christ does that. It is for freedom’s sake that Christ has set us free.

If that sounds like a bit of a mind bender think it through.

We have been set free to live free! Never again do we have to be harnessed to the grips of sin. Free to walk and long for His laws at all times.

While praying this last spring I saw a few of those white weeds that kids ‘wish’ with. You pick the little white puff of a thing up and blow, watching your wish run with the wind.

I recently read in my journal an entry about those ‘wishers’ (as I like to call them). My desire for that journaled day was to “upon every wisher wish for more of Christ and His precepts.”

Freedom to chase more freedom.

Living life wide open and carefree before the throne of grace.

David.

I believe he was a man after God’s own heart because his longing was rooted in chasing after the heart of God. He was free to pursue Freedom.

And wouldn’t you say Freedom set him free?

Ladies, let Freedom ring.




Kristen writes daily at {dancing} in the margins and also at Exemplify Online. She welcomes you to stop by!

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

There Is A Ministry Inside Of You


I remember being highly offended during two different church services because of what was spoken over me by the visiting evangelist. One said that I would be a missionary to the world. That was enough to get my blood boiling. God knew I liked the coziness of my hometown and He certainly knew I would never step foot on an airplane. Oh no, ma'am. Not me.

I hear you laughing.

The second person who spoke something over my life that, to me at the time, was even more offensive. She said, in the kindest and most sincere way, that God was showing her all the creativity and ideas that surrounded me. She said it was beautiful and that God's instructions to me were to write them down.

*gasp*

I went back to my chair and nearly cried knowing she couldn't have possibly heard from God. The most creative thing I had ever done was assign names to my Barbie dolls and semi-coordinate clothing according to pictures I had found in magazines. Huh! "God said," my foot. Who was this lady anyway?

I still hear you laughing.


Less than two years after my near nervous breakdown over prophetic words I realized that I could hear from God myself. It was a beautiful thing. At times He even allowed me to see things through His eyes. I saw the confused and hurt state of the women in our area and I felt burdened to help them; to minister to them. So, I prayed. He took me to some scriptures in Habakkuk.

This is the message that the prophet Habakkuk received from the LORD in a vision. How long, O LORD, must I call for help? But you do not listen! "Violence!" I cry, but you do not come to save. Must I forever see this sin and misery all around me? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight. The law has become paralyzed and useless, and there is no justice given in the courts. The wicked far outnumber the righteous, and justice is perverted with bribes and trickery. The LORD replied, "Look at the nations and be amazed! Watch and be astounded at what I will do! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn't believe even if someone told you about it.
Habakkuk 1:1-5
I have no idea what began to happen from that point on but life as I knew it had changed. No matter what I went through, or how much other women hurt me, I still continued to fight for them; to pray for them; to hope for them. God had answered my prayer and birthed a ministry into my spirit. The more I did unto Him and for them, the more He blessed me with ideas and creative ways to accomplish them. I began to write them down so that I would always know which direction to walk towards.

I will climb up into my watchtower now and wait to see what the LORD will say to me and how he will answer my complaint. Then the LORD said to me, "Write my answer in large, clear letters on a tablet, so that a runner can read it and tell everyone else. But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.
Habakkuk 2:1-3
It has been a process that has lasted and will continue to last for many years. I know I have to be patient and wait on Him to reveal things to me in His time and I just walk in it for His glory. And just to prove Himself mightier than I, He made sure I got on a plane, not once, not twice, but many times since then and He showed me just how small my thinking was and He proved to me that His ways are not my ways. I am a missionary to the world. The runner of my message is the internet and it reaches across the boundaries of every country's border. Can you believe that? Yeah, He must have gotten a good laugh at me. That's okay though. I laugh with Him now.

You see, I think I got offended because I knew that God knew it wasn't in me to accomplish the things that were prophesied to me way back when. It made me feel like either God didn't really know me or that these people weren't really hearing from Him. But, you see, He did know me. It was I who didn't know Him. And something else I didn't know at the time was that it wasn't me who would bring these things forth and make it happen, it was Him. I simply had to walk in obedience toward the vision and on the path He laid out for me. I simply had to follow Him.

If you have loved and welcomed Christ as your savior then yes, there is a ministry inside of you. The more you get to know Him and wait on Him, the more He will reveal it to you. Just keep walking.



I'd love for you to visit me at my personal blog: Amy Bayliss.com

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bearing one another's burdens...

Romans 15:1-6 We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, "The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me. For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, That you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.


We the church and disciples of Jesus Christ are encouraged in His Word a life of self-denial and considerations of others above ourselves! This does not come natural, does it? It is specifically referred to the stronger believer toward the weaker brother. Ouch! How often in my Christian walk I have thought only of myself knowing that if it is okay for me to do it the "others" need to get over it! Again, ouch!



The word "bear" is the same word used of Christ bearing His cross in John 19:17. Bearing with one another exemplifies Jesus' sacrificial love towards us. How often do we lose our cool with each other in an attempt to being selfless and putting ourselves on the back burner? Using my home as an example, I run into situations like these it seems every day. Considering we have thirteen in our home, it is bound to happen that one of us will be self centered at one time or another. I have the six girls on one side and the five boys on another! Just imagine!



Noticing that I have been put in this position by Jesus I have to ask for strength in my walk as I deal with all these different aliens in my home including myself! Creating an atmosphere of thankfulness is one of the first things I have realized that is very important in my own walk even when there is no end to "mom" from about 11 different voices and that is without mentioning my wonderful husband!



Literally, one day I sat down at my large farmer's table with my hands on my face and smiled and never responded to the never ending questions coming my way. At one time in my heart I thought, "Calgon take me away!" Right then, I came under conviction and began thanking the Lord for each one of their lives!



A genuine consideration for the concerns and needs of others promotes harmony and unity within the family of Christ. It brings glory to Him! As women we get confronted with putting ourselves last and making sure everyone else has everything they need. One of the strengths in our lives as Godly women is the evidence we show in the willingness to focus on the needs ofothers and our desire to foster a spirit of genuine harmony among God's family!



Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.



Galatians 6:2 Bear one anothers burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Vs. 10 Therefore as we have opportunity let us do good to all especially to those who are of the household of faith.


Close and Personal:


  • Have you created an atmosphere of gratitude in your home and your family in Christ?
  • What do you consider to be to carry someone's burdens?

Dear Father, I just want to tell you thank you for your sweet reminders on how you bore that cross on our behalf! You laid down your life willingly for us, heavenly Father, and I just want to tell you thank you again! Help me to live a life of caring for others and putting their weaknesses before my wants! I love you, Father!

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Our Tracks are Covered

The Cafe is thrilled to welcome Jennifer Tomasevic today!


I'm not sure if this is actually my mom's memory of me or mine. You know how those go. After you have heard the story about yourself so many times-it becomes your memory.

My mom decided to make bunny paw prints for me when I woke up one Easter morning. She thought it would be neat to use baby powder and (some sort of template?) through the house to lead me to my Easter basket.

Only thing was...I was 2, saw the "mess," so began to clean it up! I had no idea those were paw prints! She tried to get me to follow them, but I just kept trying to wipe them away!

I honestly don't remember if I tried to clean the tracks up because I was afraid or I was trying to be helpful to my mom-I lean towards the latter. But, it made me think about how often I try to clean things up in my life either because of my own insecurities or "helpfulness."

It's much easier for me to see the splinter in someone else's eye when I am focused on them. Especially since I learned to look over the plank in my own eye! (Aha! My dirty paw prints made visible!) Sometimes I clean them up enough because I am afraid of what my God thinks about them. Sometimes I clean them up to try to actually help others. Both of my efforts at cleaning fail until I come to the one who made me and died for me-WOW. What a concept!

The book of John, chapter 1, says this about Jesus.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men...He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (Verses 1-4, 10-14)

I have been reading Genesis the last few days, and I am again awed that this Jesus created all these things on earth for us. This Jesus whose birth we celebrate at Christmas is the same one whose death we celebrate at Easter. If he did not die for me, I would not be clean. Those pesky paw prints would be all over me and I could not approach God.

BUT, thanks be to God for Jesus' death on the cross. He was covered in his own blood, sweat and dirt from carrying his cross to Golgotha. He allowed himself to be killed like a criminal and with criminals to give many life. (See Romans 5:18-19)

Thankfully, that was not the end. After three days, all Hell literally broke loose, and Jesus was set free! The great good news is that he rose from the grave. He's alive today! HE has RISEN!

Maybe you are trying to clean up a mess that's out of control due to your own fears or even desires to help-Ask God to cleanse you, then you can better help others. Only Jesus' blood can clean and purify us so that we can be saved and made whole as we learn to follow in his footsteps. (Then, our tracks are covered!)

In Him,
Jennifer

Visit Jennifer at her blogspot,
http://chosenprecioustreasured.blogspot.com/

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The Heavens Declare His Glory!

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands. Day after day they pour out speech; night after night they communicate knowledge. There is no speech; there are no words; their voice is not heard. Their message has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the inhabited world. In the heavens He has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a groom coming from the bridal chamber; it rejoices like an athlete running a course. It rises from one end of the heavens and circles to their other end; nothing is hidden from its heat. - Psalm 19:1-6 (HCSB)


When I was little child, I would look up at the great big sky and pick from the multitude a special star to wish upon. I distinctly remember the exhilarating hope I had as I looked to that wee star in the distance, fully expecting him to grant this little girl her every wish.


It would be quite some time before I would accept the Creator of those stars as my Savior. But even then, I only believed that He was. I did not follow Jesus our Messiah for quite some time. I didn’t follow Him because I didn’t trust Him. And I couldn’t trust Him because I didn’t know Him.


As I have grown to know my Abba YHWH (Father God) thru His Son Yeshua, and have studied His Love Letter to me (The Holy Scriptures), I have come to understand that the little star I prayed to was indeed speaking to me. But friends, he was declaring the Sole Sovereign, Creator of the Universe!


You see, that wee star in the distance was crying out with a reliable hope as our spirits within us still do today. Romans 8:18-23 reads:


I don't think the sufferings we are going through now are even worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us in the future. The creation waits eagerly for the sons of God to be revealed; for the creation was made subject to frustration - not willingly, but because of the one who subjected it. But it was given a reliable hope that it too would be set free from its bondage to decay and would enjoy the freedom accompanying the glory that God's children will have. We know that until now, the whole creation has been groaning as with the pains of childbirth; and not only it, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we continue waiting eagerly to be made sons - that is, to have our whole bodies redeemed and set free.


That wee star had a sure message to deliver! It was to proclaim the only One Who was willing and able to fill the deep crevices of my soul.


What do you hear when you look up at the night sky?


A little star never could fill us with divine purpose, forgive us our desperate perversities, and infuse us with divine passion. And yet, that wee part of the creation - held high in the sky by the Messiah’s Hand (Colossians 1:17) - cannot help but tell us about the One Who can!


Father God, You are able! We praise You for Your lovingkindness and patience toward us! We thank You for declaring the message of deliverance in Jesus Christ from Your very creation that waits on You! We love You, ADONAI and bless Your Name. May You make us bold proclaimers as well, of the Light of Salvation thru Yeshua (Jesus) our LORD and Redeemer. Amen.

Come feast with me upon Lechem Ha-Chaim (Bread of Life) at Women of the Word...

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

All the Things I Cannot Do


“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Phil 4:13 NIV

I have scoliosis. Defined, this simply means curvature of the spine. For most, it is easily treated with no long term effects. For some, it has major repercussions.



I was diagnosed with this disorder in the sixth grade and had to wear a brace 23-hours a day for two and a half years. During a time when I wanted to wear the latest fashions, I dressed to conceal the brace. Instead of playing sports with my friends, I cheered them on from the stands. Instead of being a go-getter, I hid to avoid ridicule.



At the end of the two years, it was determined that the curvature of my spine was still progressing and I underwent spinal fusion surgery. This brought another onslaught of preteen issues as I spent the first half of my eighth grade year in a hospital bed in the front room of our house taking classes from a state paid tutor.



The years ticked by and I hid this disability beneath the appearance of a normal body. With no outward expression of the metal fused to my bone, no one need know that I was limited; including me.


I lived as if the problem did not exist. Despite the pain, despite the physical limitations, despite the second fusion 14 years after the first, I lived as if there was not nor had been a disability.



My cloak of denial was dismantled when my disability took on an outward appearance. Now, at times, I walk with a cane. Not only did my limitations become visible to those around me, they were now visible to me.


I was angry. I cried out to God, “Why can’t I do the things everyone else can do? Why can’t I be normal?”



These cries were followed by a laundry list of everything I wanted to do, but am not able too. I cried on the shoulder of my God until he moved upon my heart.



“Sweetheart,” he whispered, “I know.”



Peace swallowed me as I realized what I was doing. My God, the one who knew me in my mother’s womb, knows the circumstances of my life. I was spending countless hours telling God what He already knows. But, if I will get quiet before Him, lay my circumstances down at His feet, fall at the foot of the throne and listen; then I will be primed to find out what He wants me to know.



Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (NIV) My God purposed me for a destiny created just for me. He knew my limitations before I did and that did not change His mind about the things He created me to do. When I let go of my predisposed beliefs about my purpose and I take on the purposes of God then I realize that “I CAN do everything through Him who gives me strength.” Phil 4:13



Now, I spend time listening to the heart of God. Using my gifts, strengths and abilities in alignment with Him allows me to overcome my disability and further the kingdom of God in a way I never could on my own.



Is there a circumstance in your life that has limited to you? Is there something you need to lay at the cross? Let’s take time today to get in touch with the one who created us and find out the purpose He has for each of our lives. In doing so, we can overcome our circumstances and become that which God created us to be.



Dear Lord, forgive me for telling you what you already know and neglecting that which you would like me to know. Help me receive the purposes you have for my life and the strength you provide for me to complete that purpose. In Jesus’ Name,


Amen


In Him,


Spring Fricks



Spring M. Fricks is a freelance writer, co-founder with her husband of Harvest Care Point ministry and a speaker. She lives in Jacksonville, Fl and can be reached via her website at www.princessandtheking.blogspot.com.


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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Mothering through the Sand Dunes of Life

The Internet Cafe welcomes Melissa Steckann!

"and they will do well from the treasures hidden in the sand on the shore." Deuteronomy
33:19
Out in the middle of no where, among the Rocky Mountains are acres of sand. Great Sand Dunes National Park is a fascinating place to visit; it is like being at the ocean except the ocean is missing. Leading up to beautiful soft yellow mountains of sand is a vast, expanse of smooth, flat, sandy ground. Some of the flat ground leading up to the dunes is easy to walk through as the sand is compressed; other places the sand is soft making walking more difficult.


The National Park Service is unable to create a map of trails, because the sand dunes are constantly shifting.During our visit to the park, the thought occurred to me that the adventure of motherhood is like exploring sand dunes.



Some days mothering is easy, like walking on firm sand. Other days are tough, no major obstacles, just harder and physically exhausting, like walking through soft sand. While other days are like climbing a mountain of sand.


Difficult!





We've all had difficult days. You wake up two hours late; the baby slept through her 6am feeding. Even though you enjoyed the extra sleep, you've missed that small window of time you had to take a shower. The day doesn't get better. The toddler and the baby both wake up cranky, with stuffy noses and sore throats. After an hour wait the doctor tells you they have a virus and it just will need to run its course. Back at home you remember there isn't anything for lunch, because today was supposed to be grocery shopping day. After feeding the kids cereal you begin the process of getting everyone down for a nap. With nap time under way, you quickly clean up the breakfast dishes, begin a load of laundry, take out the trash and pick up the Duplos the toddler scattered all over the living room and kitchen. Feeling exhausted you decide to lay down for a 10 minute power nap; as you head touches the pillow, crying is heard from the bedroom.


You feel like you have been climbing a mountain of sand,never gaining more them a few steps forward before sliding back to where you started, and your day is only half over.


In Deuteronomy 33:19
Moses pronounces a blessing over the tribe of Zebulun. He declares that they will feast on "treasures hidden in the sand."


Our children are treasures, but on very difficult days we need to remember to bend down and dig. Digging in the sand isn't hard and often we don't have to dig deep before we find an unexpected treasure or uncover a blessing.


Maybe you had a few extra minutes of cuddling time with your preschooler, maybe your toddler said something that brought a smile to your face, or maybe Visitors to Great Sand Dunes National Park are encouraged to enjoy, explore, and learn during their visit. We need to do the same as mothers; we need to enjoy the mundane days for their quietness, learn from the difficult days, and explore on the sunny days. We need to discover anew the treasures of our children. Motherhood is a fascinating journey, one in which we can grow and change like the shifting sand of the National Park.


In Him,
Melissa Steckann

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Cafe Chat

(Cafe Chat will be moving to Thursdays from now on...please make sure to now visit on Thursdays)

(Last reminder: We are not using Mr. Linky anymore, please use the comment section to either answer the Cafe Chat questions, or leave a link to your website where you have answered the questions. Also, we will be moving the Cafe Chat to a weekday very soon)

First, I want to thank all of you that participated last week. So many of you were so honest and vulnerable with our community by letting us know about some of the deep hurts of your life. I was so encouraged to read about how so many of you, although hurt were turning to God for comfort and healing. May God continue to do the work of healing in all of our lives.

I have a confession. This week's question is going to be a real easy one to answer. I had the wonderful privilege of having my best friend come to stay with me for the last four days. I had not seen her in about a year, and my husband bought her a ticket to come see me as a Mother's Day gift. We had a wonderful time and she left today. So all this to say, I haven't really been thinking too much about my question for this week. Forgive me please :) But as usual, my real life inspires me when it comes to figuring out what questions I will ask for the "Chat". So here is this week's question.

Name 3 qualities or characteristics of a good/close friend. Explain why the qualities or characteristics you listed are important to you in your
friendships.

Blessings to you this week, and I look forward to seeing your answers about what qualities make someone a good friend.

Kim

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Friday, June 19, 2009

I am so NOT Qualified

Let me think out loud for a minute.

I am defined by who I am and what I do. That IS how the world sees me.

The world tries to "qualify me" through what it sees I am "qualified" to do. The funny thing is that the list of things that I am unqualified to do is far longer than the " what I'm qualified to do" list.

I am not brilliant, (even my kids have figured that out), I am not a theologian or hold a P.H.D. I will likely not ever qualify for a Nobel Prize being that I don't have a "field."

I am, by the world's standards, not all that qualified.

BUT.....the beautiful news is that my God makes it HIS practice to not "CALL the qualified, but rather QUALIFY those HE calls."

That is really, really good news for a gal like me. A gal who has been known to be all the things HE is not. I have been CALLED, and all I have to do is allow HIM to qualify me.

I have been called to be a servant.

I have been called to be approachable.

I have been called to be full of grace.

I have been called to be peaceful.

I have been called to humility.

I have been called to be forgiving.

I have been called to be understanding.

I have been called to serve.

Let me be clear, on my own I am NOT qualified. On my own, I'm a mess. Just the other day I forgot my own debit card PIN number. I'm a broken daughter, and the funny thing is, THAT is exactly what HE is looking for. My willing heart is what HE is looking for, along with a submissive spirit and a servant's attitude. He promises me that He'll take care of the rest.



"With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of His calling, and that by His power He may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."
2 Thessalonians 1: 11-12


I admit it. I often am focused on how "unqualified" I am that I miss the "call." Perhaps it's the
fact that I'm genetically predisposed to being a woman, I don't know, but I know I miss it and it has nothing to do with Him.

The way it stands, we are ALL QUALIFIED. Each of us was created with those set of "qualifications" that make us unique and purposed by God. That's it, HE qualifies you.

The world does tend to send us the opposite message.



The fact is that YOU and I are qualified and we are called. All HE asks is that we LISTEN to what HE is calling us into. For each of us that will be something different. Take some time, truly listen to what HE is calling YOU to do. You likely will find yourself as I often do, tilting my head and saying, "HUH GOD." It's in that we TRUST that if HE calls, HE qualifies. You and I have been so called to do amazing things, beyond our wildest imaginations, if only we'll surrender and release HIM to qualify us.

Ponder This:

Do you EVER feel unqualified?

Do you share those intimate feelings with God?

How can you see God "calling" you the way He can "call" no other?

Prayer for today:

Father God,
I am unqualified. I know it. I know that alone, I will fail and fall and remain unqualified. I ALSO know that with your mercy and grace, I can do unimaginable things for your Kingdom. Help me to hear your voice calling my name. Help me Father, to not allow the world's standards of qualifications trample my spirit. Your Spirit lives in me and in You, I can do all things. Remind me that I am "worthy of Your calling, and that by Your power You may fulfill every good purpose of mine and every act prompted by my faith."

In Jesus' name,
Amen


If you still don't believe that God calls the UNQUALIFIED, take a look at this. He's never been in the business of only choosing the "QUALIFIED" people. Why would HE start now? I think I'll get in line, because in Him, I am QUALIFIED.










Join Lori daily at her personal blogspot, where she is happy to get in line with the UNQUALIFIED and allow God to show her just how QUALIFIED she is in Him.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bearing with one another...

Romans 15:1-6 We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.  For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, "The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.  For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.  Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, That you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We the church 100_2029and disciples of Jesus Christ are encouraged in His Word a life of self-denial and considerations of others above ourselves!  This does not come natural, does it?  It is specifically referred to the stronger believer toward the weaker brother. Ouch! How often in my Christian walk I have thought only of myself knowing that if it is okay for me to do it the "others" need to get over it! Again, ouch! 

The word "bear" is the same word used of Christ bearing His cross in John 19:17. Bearing with one another exemplify's Jesus' sacrificial love towards us.  How often do we lose our cool with each other in an attempt to being selfless and putting ourselves on the back burner?  Using my home as an example, I run into situations like these it seems every day.  Considering we have thirteen in our home, it is bound to happen that one of us will be self centered at one time or another.  I have the six girls on one side and the five boys on another! Just imagine!

Noticing that I have been put in this position by Jesus I have to ask for strength in my walk as I deal with all these different aliens in my home including myself!  Creating an atmosphere of thankfulness is one of the first things I have realized that is very important in my own walk even when there is no end to "mom" from about 11 different voices and that is without mentioning my wonderful husband!

Literally, one day I sat down at my large farmer's table with my hands on my face and smiled and never responded to the never ending questions coming my way. At one time in my heart I thought, "Calgon take me away!" Right then, I came under conviction and began thanking the Lord for each one of their lives!

A genuine consideration for the concerns and needs of others promotes harmony and unity within the family of Christ.  It brings glory to Him!  As women we get confronted with putting ourselves last and making sure everyone else has everything they need.  One of the strengths in our lives as Godly women is the evidence we show in the willingness to focus on the needs of others and our desire to foster a spirit of genuine harmony among God's family!

Psalm 19:1  The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. 

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Vs. 10  Therefore as we have opportunity let us do good to all especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Close and Personal:

1.  Have you created an atmosphere of gratitude in your home and your family in Christ?

2.  What do you consider to be to carry someone's burdens?

Dear Father, I just want to tell you thank you for your sweet reminders on how you bore that cross on our behalf!  You laid down your life willingly for us, heavenly Father, and I just want to tell you thank you again!  Help me to live a life of caring for others and putting their weaknesses before my wants! I love you, Father!

I Will Not Be Moved




After many years of dealing with the aches and pains associated with back problems, I finally decided it was time do something about my many limitations. It seemed like whenever I would attempt to start exercising to strengthen my back, it always resulted in a set back where I was in more pain.

The feeling of frustration quickly lead to defeat, and then this brutal cycle would start over. I wondered how could I ever get back in shape if I couldn't’t even do some basic exercises? I wanted more then anything to be able to enjoy all the things I used to do before I injured those lower discs. I was determined to find a solution.

Then a few weeks ago I made the decision to try once again. Only this time, I would have to make some very bold moves behind my declaration.

I joined the local YMCA.

Now, this may not sound too difficult of a decision for those of you reading my story right now, but what I was about to embark on represented a major step forward against years of being pushed back.

I joined a swim class.

Not having stepped in a bathing suit for many years and going to the department store to purchase one was a cause for panic.

While trying them on, well, let's just say I was unpleasantly surprised by what the mirror revealed. We won't go there... However, it just was more motivation for even a greater determination to win this battle!

In the 15th chapter of Corinthians, verse 58 Paul also made a bold statement:

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."
Each day as I prepared to leave for my class I thought about this powerful exhortation, and to think Paul was a man who endured more pain and suffering for the cause of Christ then any of us could ever imagine.

Then it became clear to me that the decision I made to get back in shape physically, was not unlike my walk with Jesus.

If I was going to succeed in my bold declaration to get my physically strength back, I knew I had to be steadfast.

That would mean no turning back, no making excuses, no quitting the race. I would have to remain committed and confident that no matter how difficult the task would be, I would be unmoved and unshaken.

It seems like we are faced with this decision daily as we walk with the Lord. It’s so easy to let the events of our lives and the cares of this world dictate our direction. However, Paul didn’t believe that was true. He encouraged us to remember that no matter how tough things may get, our decision to be unmovable would not be in vain.

Joining the YMCA was only the beginning.

Keeping to the commitment would ultimately determine the outcome I desperately desired. So day after day I go. Has it been hard? You bet! Have I complained? You bet!

But just like the Kingdom work God has called us to do, we must stand firm with our eyes focused on the prize, and never getting off the task He has put before us.

I don't know about you, but I not only want to remain steady in my faith, yes even more, I want it to abound. I want to live a life that brings glory and honor to God.

Ask God to show you what areas in your life He is challenging you to step out in. Be faithful, face the giant, and do whatever is necessary to reach that goal.

It may often mean that you will have to launch out of your comfort zone, and press on to win that personal race. Never forget that it will not be vain. Taking care of our physical bodies is only illustration of the much higher calling we have to take care of the things of Christ.

Oh, by the way, since I’ve joined I’m already feeling a lot stronger. I’ve also had the bonus of meeting some wonderful ladies in my class!

Some things to ponder:
  • When is the last time you launched out into the deep and did something that was difficult for you?
  • Is it your desire to abound in the work of the Lord?


Lord I know pray for each lady that is reading this post. Give them the desire to press into the call of God in their lives daily. I pray that they would remain steadfast and unmovable in face of all the many difficulties they encounter in their walk with you. May they receive the victor's crown one day as they stand before you. In Jesus' Name, Amen.


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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What's In A Wave?



“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.”

Lamentations 3:21-22
I spent some time on the beach in South Florida last spring. As I stood in the middle of the crashing waves on a windy day, I was all-consumed with a mixture of sensations. Force, power, stinging salt up my nose while pelting my skin and eyes. My two feet were swept off the bottom of the sandy floor in random sequence--first by the wave on top, then by the one in the under-current.

In the beginning of my venture out into the big time, I was strong—it seemed manageable. Ten minutes later, I could hardly breathe, open my eyes, and my whole body was weak, numb and shaking. I wished I had something to float on and pull me into the shore. (I also wished I were in better physical shape—how do those surfers do it?)

Now that I reflect back at this, I can’t help but relate it to a three-year season of loss, pain and trials in my own life. When I entered the struggling season, I didn’t even know I was in the middle of an ocean that would push me around with pounding force for a great while to come. I started out strong and full of hope, with positive prayers and promises to keep me on my feet.

But another wave of tribulation came, followed by a strong undercurrent of doubt and negativity—then I held my breath as I allowed my own quick-fixes and self-helps to push me further under water. My spirit became weak and numb, and my emotions were shaking and rolling with each wave. 
I knew that if I just cried out to the Lord, His strong arm would hold me afloat and eventually land me on solid ground, but it took way too long for me to actually give it all over to Him. I felt like the man in Mark 9:24 who exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"
I whole-heartedly long for steadfast faith no matter which breaker I’m on or beneath. It’s difficult to admit that sometimes I allow my circumstances to interrupt my faith. How many times have I read the passage about Peter walking on water until he took his eyes off of Jesus? I find myself wishing I were in better spiritual shape, but even His disciples struggled.

Thankfully, as I look even deeper into the analogy, I can see God-waves throughout my life as a believer. Waves of hope and protection. Waves of grace and mercy. His love pours over me, flows through me, preserves me. If I am willing to “taste and see that the Lord is good,” His saltiness will rub off on me and then on to others.

Can you relate this experience to your own life? While the troubling surges of life can overwhelm us, only His love will consume us. If we take our eyes off of Him and doubt Him for a time, it’s not long before the Holy Spirit convicts and reminds us where our true hope is found.

So what’s in a wave anyway? The better question is “WHO’s in your wave?” HE IS! When our eyes are on Him, we will have everything we need to surf the waves that would otherwise break us down. From little ripples to huge surges, He longs for us to stay focused on Him, believing and not doubting, trusting that soon we will see it all from Heaven’s shore.



Lord Jesus, help us to be steadfast when the wind and the waves come to knock us off our feet. Help us, show us how to keep our eyes on You no matter what. Our hope is in You, Jesus. We are so small, and YOU are so big. Keep us ever mindful of your largeness in every sense of the word. Thank you for Your all-consuming love, compassion and faithfulness.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.





Selah~ Pause. Ponder. Praise.

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