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Monday, August 31, 2009

O Be Careful Little Eyes What You See


We are thrilled to have Jennifer Reeder sharing a devotional with us today!


I always guard my godly reputation closely, but this weekend I failed.

Dressed in my oldest, faded clothes, this Beverly Hillbilly 90210 gal worked her magic clearing up the pool water, in a manner only Moses and his staff could rival, until I noticed garbage had become trapped in the deep end drain.

With no little people around to bribe, I decided to take action, borrow goggles from the kids treasure box of gear, and retrieve the garbage myself. Wedging the goggles over my head, I realized my head is considerably larger than that of a 7 year old, and with more facial fat. In a reverse face-lift, every ounce of fat on my face was pulled down into the goggles, as I struggled to see through the two slits where the cheek fat met my eyes, turning my face bright red from the pressure. I looked like a homeless diver, who had been stung by a bee and was awaiting the Jaws of Life to remove me from my entrapment.


As I slid this massive amount of flesh into the water, and located the drain, I felt like I belonged in a Jacques Cousteau documentary.

" Watch as the massive creature circles her prey, preparing to lunge in for the kill."

Finally ready, I took a deep breath, and pushed too hard against the wall, overshooting the drain. Trying to turn mid glide and swim back, a new problem arose. Every time I moved forward, my loose shorts tried to stay stationary in the water. Using both hands to glide forward, and then grab the shorts, I repeated my new “glide and grab” stroke across the pool.

Back over the drain, exhausted with my new synchronized swimming routine, I managed to grab the handful of leaves. With both arms occupied, I flipped on my back and floated to shore, holding the handful of leaves straight up in the hair like the Liberty Torch, while kicking and splashing my way to the side of the pool where the goggles slid up pulling my hair tightly on top of my head, while the bottom of the goggles caught on the tip of my nose, pulling it straight up in "pig like" appearance.

Unable to fix the goggles, hold the shorts, release my hair, and stay afloat, I bobbed and gagged for a moment to catch my breath.

I then noticed two boots attached to brown pants standing 12 inches from me. I looked up into the very disturbed and shocked face of the UPS man perched by the side of the pool, apparently having witnessed the entire event.

"Hi," I blubbered.

"I...I... have a package for you," he stuttered.

"OK. Just leave it on the porch, " I said in a tone of voice that I hope resembled that of an efficient secretary.

" I will. Are you going to be alright?"

What a loaded question. I have never been "alright." What could I say, that would ease his mind and yet explain my behavior? With a contorted, red face, I replied,

"You know how rodeos have clowns? Sea World is going to try the same concept in the Shamu show. Water clowns. I'm trying out."

Without a moment's hesitation, he replied, "You're ready," with a twinkle in his eye.

I was embarrassed, and yet it was an obvious reminder- you never know who is watching you.

You may work diligently to portray to others exactly what you want them to see and perceive about you, but what you truly are will eventually shine through. Sometimes the only catalyst needed to bring out our hidden nature is a forbidden fruit tree, a bathing maiden on a rooftop, a crowing rooster, or even suffering.

We may be observed in the fiery furnace like the three Hebrew boys, in slavery like Joseph, in power and authority like King Saul, or even in death like Stephen. How will we do? Will the true nature of Christ shine through us?

So many times we want to be used “greatly” in the Kingdom, while overlooking the potential of a single moment that a lost world may be watching us.
Prayerfully consider, what moments have you been watched lately? Don't be caught with garbage in your hand and holding up your britches. A lost world is not drawn in by that image, only UPS drivers.

Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your father which is in Heaven.” KJV


Ever Watchful Heavenly Father, guard my heart, my lips, and my actions. May my life dim, as the glory of Your Son shines through me. May every deed be a reflection of you, every word a testimony of you, and my heart a cistern of Living Water overflowing on those around me. May watching eyes see You clearly, completely, and consistently in me. Amen.

In Him,

Jennifer Reeder

Jennifer is a am 34 year old homeschooling mother of three, yet oddly enough, she's the one learning the most! She is a writer, children's Bible teacher, women's retreat speaker, and singer, at Hopewell Baptist Church. She also owns Triple Cross Farm in Whitley City, Kentucky and care for 30,000 chickens! (I once prayed for God to increase my flock and He answered! Tell me God doesn't have a sense of humor!)

She has a wonderful, hard working husband, Chris. Sometimes she's gathering eggs, sometimes she's gathering manna, and sometimes she's gathering dirty laundry, but she remains constantly thankful to God for the opportunity to do them all. At midnight, when it's finally quiet, God takes the craziness of her day and shows her His eternal truths hidden behind the laughter, tears, and stress.

Join Jennifer at her blogspot, midnightmanna

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cutting Off Ears And Denying The Messiah

If anyone should have been disqualified from ministry, it was Peter. Paul did some pretty awful things to the name of Christ as well, but Peter? He walked with Christ and ate with Christ and followed Christ and left his family for Christ. He told his Lord that he'd be with him til the end.

And he was pretty good right up until the end shortly after seizing the ear from a guard showing his undying loyalty to the King of Kings. That is, until he was asked if he knew this Jesus character. And to that he replied, "I do not know or understand what you are talking about." Not once. Not twice. But three times.

The second crow of the rooster was heard and Peter broke down and wept.

If that scenario had happened today in our Christian circles, we'd have scorned him. We'd have said he was "no longer fit for ministry". We'd have said that he'll never be able to be a witness for Christ again.

Thank God Peter was not living today or we might not be in relationship with the One, True God.

Peter could have forsaken all that he knew and experienced with Jesus. He could have lowered his head and ran away to some secluded desert to spend the rest of his days. He could have disguised himself so that he would not be recognizable as the disciple who denied Christ the Lord.

Instead, he chose to deal with his failure, shake the dust off his very worn sandals and press on the share the amazing love of the Son of God to the world. For this, I am so grateful.

Few unmistakable evidences glorify Him more than powerfully restored lives that humbly and authentically proclaim His faithfulness to the death. - Beth Moore, The Beloved Disciple

Have you screwed up so badly that many are telling you you'll never be a witness for Christ? Have you shamed your family with failure upon failure only to hear that you'll fail again? Have you hidden in a corner hoping that no one will remember what you've done?

Well, my friend, I have good news. For, you see, His mercies, they are new every morning. While there will still be consequences to the sin you once allowed to entangle you, it does not have to keep you strangled from here on out.

Repent of your sin. Receive the forgiveness offered to you. And proclaim God's faithfulness for the rest of your days.



Visit Cindy daily at her personal site, CindyBeall.com

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Are You in a Dry Spell?


I've heard people say concerning their walk with Jesus, that they are in a "dry spell." In other words, they "don't hear the Lord," or "don't feel anything," or "don't get anything out of the word."


I don't meant to be a party-pooper or disqualify what you might be feeling, but let me offer another suggestion:



Maybe the reason you're feel like you're in a dry spell is because of...you.

Remember the Israelites back in the Old Testament? They had to wander around the desert, not because God wasn't speaking, and not because they didn't hear a word from Him, but because of their unbelief and disobedience.

Fast forward to Jesus. He said, "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." The next verse lets us in on the secret to the living water, "By this he meant the Spirit whom those who believed in him were later to receive." John 7:38, 39

When we feel that we are in a dry spell and can describe our walk with Jesus as quiet, dry, uneventful, unproductive, and simply at a time when we neither learn nor desire to learn, this my friend, is not of the Spirit, but of us. It is a red flag, a sign for us to check ourselves.

Here are some tips to staying out of the desert!


1. Humble yourself before the Lord and consider what confession you might need to make. Are you meeting with Him? Are you aware of His presence? Are you walking in habitual sin? Are you reading His word?

2. Begin afresh the discipline of quieting yourself with Christ sometime during the day and making it a point to humble yourself to His Spirit within you. He never stops working. We are the ones who gauge His work based on how we feel.

3. Get your face back in the Word and go to it with expectancy and respect. It will judge your thoughts and minds and motives, but will also teach you, encourage you, and give you insight and discernment that you just don't have all by your onesie.

4. Ask for the filling of the Holy Spirit to come again! Ask Him to bring that water regardless of your situation or circumstance. He is LIFE! He is the living water and He will be faithful!

5. Get others involved. Find a friend that will ask you if you have made your relationship with Christ your number one priority. Those friends are priceless, and are also fun to shop with.

Now, are you in a "dry place"? I challenge you to take a good look at yourself and realize that our God is never far and certainly never with holds good to those who seek His face. Go back to the living water right now!!

Living in the Water,
Natalie!

Enjoy Natalie's other blogs

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Trust In God



True Story-- as it was told to me three long years ago.

The drive was a long one. She was body weary and heart weary. The trials of late had taken a toll on her emotions, and her precious family. The enemy had hounded almost the very life from their first born child. Their son. What they had already been through was monumental. But it was nothing compared to what they yet had to endure.

The young man, not quite a man, no longer an innocent, the drugs had seen to that, sat in almost a constant state of squirm. Talking nonsense for much of the time, distracted by anything that seemed to whirl through his mind, gave his devoted parents a ride they would not soon forget.

The parents, trying to find a place of safety. A place where the drugs could be cleansed from his system, under the watchful eyes of those with the knowledge of how to care for a young man who came close to leaving this life. The miles stretched out as phone calls were made--seeking refuge. All the while the mother sat with her emotions on her face. She bit back the tears that seemed in constant threat, almost as a veritable thunderstorm in the heat of summer.

With a destination in sight, the band of three headed north. After many miles and long hours of riding, the weary family pulled into the site of the rehabilitation center. The extreme price for the period of time he was to stay, seemed of no consequence to have their son healthy and whole. They depleted what they had and then some, to get him from the influence of evil and into the care of professionals.


The mother, not wanting to leave her son in a strange place and so far from home, felt the dam of tears near to bursting as she suggested to her husband to find a motel and leave fresh in the morning. It had been a harrowing few days. She knew she couldn't emotionally handle the ride back home this late in the day. It would be several hours before they could get back home and the strain of the drive north itself had wiped them both out.

As they set out to find a place of rest they stopped at one motel after another, turned away every time. A conference was in town and every available decent motel was booked solid. Finally, about to give up, they arrived at a motel and the desk clerk informed him that although they were full, he would call their "sister motel" down the street and see if they had anything available. By this time, they were willing to take the broom closet. Washing in the janitorial sink. Whatever it took, they needed to get off the highway and sleep a bit. They needed to make some calls back home, let the other family members and church members know they were safe and that their son was in good hands, and they needed to weep in private.

As the father was waiting in the lobby for the call to be made, the mother was in the truck talking to the Lord.

"It's my birthday Lord." She wept as she realized this yet again. Although her son had apologized for her having to spend her birthday in this way, she assured him that she'd rather spend it getting help for him and knowing he was now safe, than still be in the misery of the past few days. Her troubled heart thought back to the joy of when he was born. How, even as a young boy, his heart seemed destined to follow Christ. But then peer pressure seemed to change things, and it simply broke her heart.

The father came out of the motel, a grim look on his face as he opened the door, "They have one room. I don't know what it looks like, and right now, I really don't care."

They pulled back onto the highway, stealing themselves for what they might have to face. They just needed a place for some privacy. A place to pray and weep before the Lord without being disturbed. A place to be alone with the Father and unload the heavy burden of life.

When they arrived at the motel, the room key was issued and they were instructed to pull around to the side, they could enter from the side door. This could be the cleaning crew entrance for all they cared, but to them it was a completely private entrance.

As he inserted the room key and waited for the green light to display on the door handle, they seemed to hold their breath. The door swung wide to reveal an unexpected surprise! A suite! They were in the only room available and it was a room fit for someone with celebrity status! Well, that's what they were! Children of the Most High God!

As the father went to gather the rest of their belongings, the broken hearted mother carried one suitcase over to the sofa, reveling in the fact that the Lord had been gracious enough to supply them with a wonderful place to lay their weary heads. As she dropped the bag down, she noticed something shiny on the floor underneath the edge of the sofa. Kneeling down, she picked up the shiny silver coin that lay heads up. A quarter.

As she rubbed her thumb over the coin, her eyes fell on the words, "IN GOD WE TRUST". The pent up tears began to cascade down her weary face as she turned the coin over and saw that it's year mark was 1987. The year of their marriage.

That's exactly what they had done. For all these years, trust in God. They had suffered many storms in the life of their ministry and marriage, but trusting in God had never been questioned. That was resolute. That was concrete. Immovable. "Trust in God." They did then, they still do today.

The LORD [is] my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, [and] my high tower. Psalm 18:2 KJV

When Aimee called me just after finding that quarter, crying through most of the explanation, I told her this: "Aimee, that was God's love note to you. You are His child, His daughter and everyday, He leaves us little "I Love You's" all around, if we will just look for them". We both praised the LORD for this incredible joyous blessing in the middle of one of life's toughest storms and wept for the returned prodigal, who was still a long way from God.

Would you join us in prayer over this young man? His name is Brad and God has a purpose for his life. A purpose and destiny. He is not as far as he has been, but this sheep hasn't made it back into the fold.

Friend, I don't know what you are going through today. Whether it is an issue with your children, perhaps aging parents, your job, or just an emotional battle that just doesn't seem to have a name. I want to give you the assurance, that as my sister, Aimee trusted in God to deliver her son back to her, you can trust in God for whatever need is in your life. God has a purpose for your life too. He has a destiny that was created just for you. Will you call on Him today?

Father, first I thank You for what You are still doing in Brad's life. For the salvation of his soul. While I cannot see it with my natural eye, my heart believes it is near!

Father, each person that stops off here today and reads this post has a need in their lives. It may be similar, or maybe it's something they've not shared with anyone.

Father, I ask right now that you minister to each heart today, reveal to them the "I Love You" that You have left for them to find. Remind them of the greatest Love Note that hung on the cross for our sins. Enable us to be what you designed and created us for. Give us the wisdom and strength to continue on in the power of Your might!

I give You my life to shape, form and fashion in whatever way would please and bring glory to You. Bless these that stop here. Minister peace to them as only You can. In the most holy name of Your Son, Jesus Christ ~ Amen.




© The Knightly News 2009. All rights reserved.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cafe Chat




I will get right to the question today, and save my thoughts for my blog where I will answer the question.

Is there a situation in your life that you feel ill equipped to handle? If yes, would you be willing to surrender this situation to God, and let Him work through you? If no, why not?

I asked this question this week, because I have a situation that I definitely feel ill equipped for... But as I started to feel this way, I realized that God is fully capable of equipping me to do the work He has purposed in my life. Now that is encouraging!

Blessings, Kim

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Be Still


The Internet Cafe is thrilled to welcome Kris Williams today!!


"Be still, and know that I am God" Psalm 46:10



Some days are just better than others. Today is one of those days.


Today is one of those days when it seems like God chose to stand a little closer to me. Now, maybe He did, and maybe He didn’t. Perhaps I simply chose to take a moment and bask in His embrace before I got started on my day. Perhaps He is always the same closeness to me and I choose not to acknowledge his presence.

After all, I am a busy girl with important things to do. I do not always have time to stop and just “be” in the presence of the creator of the universe.


Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Too busy to be with God? Really? Crazy as it sounds to say it, that is how I live much of my life….running here and running there...caring for the family He gave me, cleaning the house He gave me, working the job He provided....much too busy living the life He provided take time to just “be” with God.

As crazy as it sounds, I cannot imagine that I am alone in this. I would think that you too may go through your days without stopping to just be with God. I imagine that you, like me, often go through your day caring for, interacting with, and reacting to the people in your life without stopping for even the briefest moment to just "be" with your Creator, your Savior, the Lover of your soul. I have spent far too many days running on empty because I have not taken time to pause and just rest in the loving arms of my Heavenly Father. I have spent years weary from carrying heavy burdens when Scripture promises relief to those that come to Him....



"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30



May I be so bold as to challenge you?

Stop, take a deep breath, relax your shoulders, exhale, and just be in His presence. Just for a moment. Picture Him standing by your chair. Relax into Him and feel the warmth of your Creator’s perfect embrace. Rest your head on His chest. No questions, no requests, just be in His presence. Close your eyes and listen for the beating of His heart and embrace the enormity of the fact that the creator of the universe LOVES you…YOU! He loves you with a love so pure and perfect that no human love can duplicate it. He loves you just as you are right now, flawed and imperfect.

He just loves you.

So take a moment and just let Him.


Think about it....

When was the last time you just let God love you?



When during your day can you find time to just relax in God's embrace?



What is your normal response to stressful situations?



How differently will your reaction to stressful situations be if you pause and ask God to draw close to you before you react?



Oh God! I love you! Thank you for promising to always be with me. Draw me to yourself as I rest in your peace now. Fill me with your love so that I may share that love with the people you place in my life today.



In Him,
Kris


Kris is a woman blessed beyone measure! God has entrusted her with the awesome privilege of being the helpmate to her husband Calvin as he serves the Most High as Sr. Pastor, caring for and nurturing a small congregation in Mississippi. Also entrusted to her care are Brian and Izzy, 10 and 4. Kris also spends time as the team leader for the Women’s ministry at their church.

In Kris' words;

"I am living, breathing, walking, talking proof that God is very much in the business of radically changing lives. I spent most of my life looking for “something”. “Something” to make me feel secure, “Something” to fill the emptiness in my heart, “Something” to give my life meaning and purpose… and tried lots of “somethings” before I embraced the One who would finally quiet this restless soul.

While I would never want to go back and relive my “Pre-Christ” life, I am fully aware that each step of that journey led me to where I am today. Once I put my hand in His and accepted His plan for my life, He gave (and continues to give) me more joy than I could have ever imagined possible. It is my greatest burning desire and most humble prayer that my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will use me to encourage and inspire other women to seek a deep and meaningful, all- consuming and passionate relationship with HIM."

Kris can be found at her personal site
and at the FLO Ministry blog.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Waiting Upon The Lord

"They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

- Isaiah 40:31

I don't know about you, but I'm not the most patient person in the world.

I typically need to know everything, right at that moment, in complete detail.

For example, when I first got saved, the very next day, I walked into a church and said to the pastor that greeted me at the door, "So, I got saved last night, I got this Bible, now what".

The look on his face was priceless! I was pretty convinced that there couldn't possibly be that much to know about this "whole being a Christian thing" and that if I was going to do it, I needed to know all the details, right there and then - all at once. I'm like that with anything that I have to "learn" - thus why I always did well in school.

Much to my chagrin, the pastor said, "Whoh, just relax. It's awesome that you got saved, and that's the first step into a real relationship with the Lord. But let's take it one step at a time".

Of course I was ready to run right there and then! What do you mean take it one step at a time! I need to know now!. I didn't have time to just wait it out and see how this whole relationship with Christ thing went, I had to get going with it!


For those of you that are mothers, I was like the child asking, "Why mommy?" questions every four seconds, and the anxious child pulling at your leg saying, "But mommy I need it noooowww!" Or better yet, your toddler that you take into the store and starts making a huge scene when they can't get the thing that they want. I was that child. I wonder how God viewed me at that point.

Was He annoyed by my "needy-ness?"

Did He appreciate my questioning?

Was He laughing at my stubbon I-need-to-know-it-all-right-now attitude?

Thankfully our heavenly Father is much more patient than our earthly parents, and, as His word promises, if we just wait, He'll reveal His truth to us - in His time.



Do you hate waiting?

We always feel like we're waiting for something don't we? Waiting for results of a medical test to come in, waiting for a child to arrive, waiting for our child to call when they've been out late, waiting to find out where our next meal is coming from.

We're always waiting for something.


Right now, I'm waiting to see how my wedding is going to pan out. There have been many bumps along the way and things to deal with, and I hate waiting to see how it is going to turn out! I want to know that everything is perfect and that I can relax. But, that's not reality; I just have to wait.


The Lord wants us to be patient in all things.

His word says, "Love is patient, love is kind". I love this reflection of God's heart because it is saying that love is revealed in a way that is both patient to the recipient and kind (rewarding) to them as well. Match that up with the promise made in Isaiah 40:31, and it sure gives us a lot of hope for being able to cope with the process of waiting for whatever it is that we are, well, waiting for.

Often times the process of waiting is so much harder than receiving the result. It's the not knowing that makes us nuts! Yet God promises that if we just wait in Him - in His timing, in His all-knowing, in His love...He'll come through for us in a way that we can't imagine. That's a pretty awesome promise - one that I pray will help you cope as you wait...and wait...and wait...because eventually, in His timing, all will be revealed, all will be made right by He who is in control. Maybe the results won't be what "we thought" they would be...but they will be exactly He knows is necessary to bring about His glory; and ladies, ultimately, that is what life is about - bringing about God's glory for the greater good.

So, let us take time this week to wait - wait in the promise of knowing that God is in control, that H ewill reveal all things in His time, and that for us, the reward will come in eternity, when all is set right and all is made clear to us. Amen?


Let's pray:


Father God, we know that we aren't always patient with you. We whine, we complain, we worry and beg. We ask that You grant us the patience that only You can provide to wait it out as You unveil Your glory to us. We ask that You continue to guide us through our waters of worry with a gentle but firm hand; helping us to be unafraid as we wait to reach the shoreline. We put our full trust in You Lord, and we ask Your forgiveness for those times when we do not. We believe in Your promise to keep us strong and to reveal and work all things together for Your glory. We say these things in Your Son Jesus's precious name. Amen.

us true happiness. It is in Your name that we pray, Amen.




- Allison is the blog author of Simple Christian Living. Stop by and say "hello"!

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Don't You Want to Know?

If we were to make a list of the things that we all pray about on a regular basis, how long would that list be? Too long to measure, that's how long! I made a list for myself, just to get an idea.

Things I Pray For:

Kids: Safety, healing, attitudes, their futures, their happiness, their future spouses, their house cleaning ineptitude, their academic success, their friendships, their walks with God, their unwillingness to EVER sleep, etc. This list is potentially endless.

Husband/Marriage: Unity, relationship issues, blessings, health, attitudes, his career, his talents, his relationship with God, our calling as a couple, our happiness, etc. Also, . . . an endless list.


Family: Salvation for unbelieving family members, marriage struggles, and all of the various things we hope for, for those we love.


Myself: (This can get crunchy!) The usual things like, impatience, jealousy, unforgiveness, doubts and fears always top the list. However, it seems the longer we walk with God, the more we see areas of our personality that are not so . . . holy - areas that send us to our knees regularly. So, again, very likely, this list (if we are honest seekers) never ends.

ETC.: The catch-all list. Prayer for government, church leadership, poverty, missions, the single mom down the street, the sad, sad things we see on the news. You know . . . etc.


What I have noticed, and maybe you have clued in to this as well, is that, for the most part, my prayers are mostly "reactive" prayers. Prayers that address things and situations that are already broken (or well on their way). Reactive prayers seem to focus on 'fixing' what is already broken. Thank goodness Jesus Himself tells us to pray about these things, because our lives are full of them. We never seem to run out of "prayer fires" that need to be put out or that need to be answered by the Father.

What I'm wondering though, is what would happen if we occasionally changed up the 'prayer-as-usual' habit. What would happen if we regularly put aside our brush-fire prayers and purposefully decided to simply sit quietly with the Lord? What would happen if, instead of always being needy children (I am usually first in that line :), we chose to sit at the Father's feet simply to hear what He has to say to us? What if our conversations/prayers are always so busy and full of needs that we never hear what the God of the Universe has on His omnipotent mind? What if the Alpha and Omega has been waiting for years to whisper some truth into your ears that only YOU will be privy to and only YOU have what it takes to bring to fruition?

Long before the creation of this planet, long before the foundations of the earth were laid, God knew you. The Word says,

"Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you." (Jeremiah 1:5)


"I knew you?" What did He know? What plans were forged in His mind concerning your life on this planet? What specific calling, talent and/or gifting was placed inside of you when God lovingly "knew you" so long ago?

There's really only one way to find out, Friends. We must regularly sit at his feet without personal agendas. We have to learn to nurture and honor the relationship God longs to have with us. And that will come only by spending time in His presence. . . just like every other personal relationship we have.

Don't you r e a l l y want to know what God has on His mind today concerning you? It may just cause our "prayer lists" to pale in comparison. Who's with me?


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Father, thank You for holding a place for each of us at your feet. We are so grateful that You never stop waiting for us. You never stop calling us to Yourself. We wait to hear,"Great and mighty things which we do not know."
Jeremiah 33:3

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In Him . . .


Visit Darnelle at her personal blog: All Things Work Together...



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Monday, August 24, 2009

In Our Father's Arms




Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does
what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 1 John 3:7 (NIV)





The blonde curls bounced as the blue-eyed little girl pranced down the aisle. The pastor had called for all the children to join him at the front of the church for the children’s message. The little blonde-haired girl joined the circle of small boys and girls seated on the carpeted floor.

When the pastor concluded, each child began to find the way back to their seat in the large worship center. As the little girl found her way back to the correct section, she paused as her eyes scanned an endless sea of faces. Not seeing her parents, she bravely proceeded up the aisle with slow, but certain steps, her eyes timidly taking in the faces seated in each row.

As the little girl continued her slow journey, another couple began waving their hands so the little girl would see them and then hopefully notice her parents close by. But as the little girl looked at them, her pretty face frowned with an expression that said, “No, you’re not my mommy and daddy.” And she kept right on walking. As the little girl got closer to her parent’s aisle, her father stood so she could spot him. A smile replaced the frown as the little girl climbed into her daddy’s arms where she felt safe and secure again.

As we go through life, do we let the waving hands of someone else or the distraction of something else take our focus off of following after our Father? Or do we just keep walking with slow, but certain steps until we see Him? We too will feel safe and secure again - in our Father’s arms.

Father, please help us to keep our eyes and hearts focused on You today. Amen








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

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

It's Okay to Laugh

Bad days. We all have them, don’t we? I wish we could mark them on our calendar. I mean, wouldn’t it be nice to see that next Thursday at 10:30 a.m., a bad day would occur? I think I’d like that. A lot. (Well, as much as you can like bad days.)

Because I like to be prepared.

Of course, life doesn’t happen that way. Take the other bad day for instance: My hubby called to say he would be home late. This should have been a clue.

In the next hour, my baby’s high chair would overturn (with her in it) due to an overzealous big brother playing peekaboo. My entire pot of Texas chili, also known as dinner, would be dumped onto the floor and my toddler. A special bowl my Grandmother passed down to me would break, my daughter would fall off her bed backwards, scraping her back against the wall, the animal toothbrush holder I bought to coordinate would shatter and I would ground two out of three of my children. Whew!

When my husband arrived, I high-fived him and went to my place of renewal: Target.

As I shopped and touched everything in the store, alone, without my children, I couldn’t help but think of the scripture that God has brought to mind over and over the past few months to remind me to lighten up, especially on bad days.

Sarah is referring to her unexpected, but desired pregnancy in Genesis 21:6, “"Sarah said, 'God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me." I love this story. I love it because it’s talking about a woman who desired to have a child, a woman who becomes a Mom.

I love Sarah’s attitude. First of all, she’s completely human and laughs at God. I don’t exactly encourage this. But I’m glad her doubt and her humanity is recorded in Scripture. It makes me feel a lot better about me.

But God is gracious to her and gives her a child when she is very old. I won’t elaborate, but I think God has a sense of humor too. Can you imagine being nearly 100 years old and preggo? I can just see her with her walker, tubes of Ben-gay while she’s knitting booties. Yes, God definitely loves laughter.

Secondly, Sarah embraces the unexpected; she takes the absurd in stride. She chooses to laugh, to rejoice in her situation. And as we probably all can recall, later in her son’s life, Isaac is faced with certain death at the hand’s of Sarah’s husband. Well. She’s quite the woman in my book. Throughout her life, she makes wise and unwise choices, just like us.

But I love her for her laughter. That’s a hard choice, especially on a bad day.

But the awesome thing is, there’s a new one, every day.

So, laugh a little.

Photobucket

Daily you can find Kristen laughing at her blogspot, "We are THAT Family."

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Spending Wisely


Join us in welcoming Sandra Wald to the Cafe today!!


With the obsession with frugal living and readjusting of priorities brought on by the recession, I am reminded of a conversation I had with some girlfriends many years ago. One of these friends was jobless and looking and talking about her income requirements. She spoke as if revealing a great revelation, “I don’t have to have a lot of money…as long as I can afford to get my hair done…and buy new clothes…and…” Her list of must-haves was unending.



In a similar conversation, a female colleague informed me that she could get by with very little to be happy. She just had to get her hair and nails done, keep her gym membership and her tennis league. Every now and again, especially when I am thinking about something I want (and don’t really need) the Lord brings these conversations to mind. Every so often he asks me, “What’s your list? What do you have to have?”



This sometimes seems like a fun game to me as a tick off my top “luxuries”—gourmet coffee, a good book, bubble bath. I pause and rethink—can I be happy without those? I consider. Chocolate? I may joke to my friends that I have a physical need for coffee or Dove chocolates, but I know that those things are not my source. They are not my all in all. They are not my soul’s sufficiency. My soul (mind, will, and emotions) finds rest in God alone.



We are told in 1 Timothy 6:8 “But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that” (NIV). We also recognize according to 1 Timothy 6:6 “…godliness with contentment is great gain” (NIV). You have heard the saying, “Eat less; enjoy more”? Mine is, “Spend less; enjoy more.” Cultivate gratitude. Make note of every blessing.


Some of my friends shared a story with me of how they managed tight finances when they were newly married with several small children (triplets). They desperately wanted to be able to support missionary work, but their finances were just too tight. They decided to give up buying soda and ice cream and use the left over money to give to missionaries. That’s true frugality. Did they feel deprived in giving up their diet Coke and Rocky Road? No, they felt blessed because they were able to spend their money in accordance with their true priorities. That’s the hallmark of true wisdom and frugality—managing your money, so that you can afford to spend where it is important.


Be generous. Be a cheerful giver, in accordance with II Corinthians 9:7 (NIV). This immediately brings to mind my 93-year old grandmother. She buys groceries at a store that gives a penny back on every dollar spent there. That’s not a big return, so most people don’t bother. Well, Grandma saves her receipts, as well as those of every member of her church who purchases groceries there. With her diligence, she got over $500 back! What did she do with her windfall? She gave it to the church.


Dear Lord,
I pray that you would give us wisdom in the area of finance. Help us to make good decisions and see that our trading is profitable. Gives us hearts of gratitude for our blessings. We acknowledge you Lord, as our source. We know that every good and perfect gift comes from you. Increase our giving that we might be a blessing and share in more of your work. Let our spending and saving and giving be in perfect balance. We pray that we would have your priorities. Reveal to us God, how to be wise stewards and give us the grace to truly enjoy all that we have, never forgetting that you are our treasure (Luke 12:24 NIV).


Questions to Ponder:

1. We are advised in Ecclesiastes 7:18b (NIV) to avoid extremes. Are there any areas of your spending where you go to extremes?

2. Do you often buy things to soothe your emotions?

3. Are you giving as much as you would like to?

4. What are your financial goals?

5. How do you envision God using your money for the advancement of the kingdom of God?

In Him,

Sandra


Sandra Wald is an assistant professor of English at Central Methodist University in Fayette, MO. She lives on a farm with her husband in north central Missouri. In her spare time, she enjoys blogging (www.wholesometalk.com), reading, sewing, and baking.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Are You in Need of a Remodel??

Sawdust, tile, sheet rock, nails….

I am up to my ankles in building materials this week because we are doing a semi-remodel of the kitchen. We had a very old 27” drop-in stove and it finally went up in smoke, literally. We found it was cheaper to get an average range and remodel to accommodate it versus buying another drop-in. The problem we had with this was the inconvenience. We honestly pondered the idea of spending almost $600 more to get around it. I mean, we seriously considered it. Can you believe that?

We finally realized how foolish that was and decided to begin demolition. Of course, I tried to cut every corner possible. “Save that! Maybe we can use if for something else.” I didn't want to get rid of anything. I also gave my $.02 worth when it came to the supplies that were needed. I assumed that we could just use what we had. Why did we need a trowel and tile sponges? Why can’t we use a kitchen sponge and flat blade knife?

My brother the engineer/construction guy insisted that if he was going to do this job then it needed to be done right and he would also need these tools. He said we couldn’t use old warped wood because the tile wouldn’t lay right. He said he was not going to be a part of any project that was done so poorly. Then, my 20 something brother began to preach to me about foundation and structure and how I could make it look like a million bucks cosmetically but it still wouldn’t matter if it collapsed because the structure was weak.

sigh…. Can you hear God’s voice already?

1 Corinthians 11:1
“Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”

Our Lord doesn’t pretend to be good, He is good. He didn’t put a smile on his face and calm the tone of his voice just to be aesthetically pleasing. He did it because that is who He was as a man. If I am to imitate Him then I must do it from the inside out. I need a good structure or else I will collapse under pressure. This has happened to me many times before. I have slipped up and revealed my true insides in front of others. This happened because I tried to modify my behavior instead of letting God change my heart. Being Christlike is a result of loving Him. It can be hard work to change your heart but it is the only way to imitate Christ.

I want to be as true and strong as my new kitchen!


Thank you, Father for speaking to my heart even in day to day tasks. Amen.


Ephesians 6:6
Work hard, but not just to please your masters when they are watching. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart.




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



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Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Backpack, the Snake and the Map


The Cafe welcomes Guest Barista, Julie Arduini today!


When there is a sunny day in Northeast Ohio, you take advantage because you're not sure when the sun will return. Today I took our nearly six year old daughter out on her Dora the Explorer bike. Of course it came with the matching helmet and attached to the bike was a purple backpack.


Halfway through the journey, my youngest asked if she could retrieve the map from her backpack. We stopped and she digs deep in the bag. Instead of the map, she pulls out a plastic snake.


Before I go further, let me make this clear: I detest snakes of all kinds, even the cartoon kind. As a child my neighbor loved to tease me about potential snakes but a step away. One time he was serious and I ignored him. I went to step and saw the snake. Eating a frog. I’m with comedian Bill Engvall that snakes are of the devil.


I gasped at the sight, while my daughter giggled. The snake represents a silly toy that freaks mom out. She returned the snake to the bag. As she fingered through the bag again, it hit me how her backpack contents mirror our choices and consequences.




Although we live in a fallen world which means there will be adversity and hardship, we do have a degree of control over our circumstances. We don’t have to max out that credit card. We had no business “getting creative” with our taxes. We truly reap what we sow. Yet often people lament over how they wish life came with an instruction book. A map of sorts.
We have such a thing. It's called the Bible.



In our busy schedules and the devil's plan to slowly, precisely woo us away from the map, we wind up making our own choices, and we get bit.

By the snake.

The snake next to the map.


The snake in her backpack didn't do my daughter any good; it definitely didn't help her reach her destination. However with her imagination, she grasped the map and consulted it time and time again. Before long, she found her way home.


How often do you consult the map of life?

When you dig deep in your backpack, what do you find?

A snake or a map? Which do you use?


Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Psalms 119:105, NIV
Father, thank You for Your holy, inspired Word. Help us against all the disruptions and distractions to pour over the Bible for direction and hope. Thank you for this Map! In Christ’s name alone, Amen.

Do you feel tempted to make choices on your own without seeking God’s will?


Do you live in a way that reflects that His Word is our instruction book, our map?


What’s in your backpack?

In Him,
Julie


thesurrenderedscribe
jarduini@zoominternet.net


Julie Arduini is a graduate of the Christian Writer’s Guild and a columnist with Take Root and Write and The Cypress Times. This Spring she is moderating a great group of ladies at Christian Women Take Root through The Love Dare. She has published credits as a contributing writer. Her quote about being buried by a snow plow will be featured this summer in Kathy Vick’s Run Like a Girl. This fall her story, Who Hung the Moon Upside Down, will be released in James Stuart Bell’s book, God Sightings. To see more of her writing resume, please consult the sidebar of her blog, The Surrendered Scribe. Julie lives in Ohio with her husband and two children. She is plotting to get rid of that plastic snake.

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Cafe Chat

Jealousy...

I know, not a great choice of a word to start out our discussion today, but I think it is a good topic for a "Cafe Chat" question. One definition from Dictionary.com states that jealousy is
"jealous resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, etc., or against another's success or advantage itself." For today I think this will be the definition that we use to answer our question.

Jealousy is a sin that all people struggle with from time to time in their lifetime. Some will struggle greatly, and for some it can be something they might deal with in specific situations. In my past, I would categorize myself in the "struggle greatly" category, but now with the Lord's changing power I struggle with jealousy less often.

Today I would like for you to tell about a time that you dealt with the sin of jealousy. If you can, give details. Then I would like for you to share how you worked through the situation with God's help.

If you are struggling with jealousy ruling in your life, then I would like for you to write some reasons why you think that is. Would you be willing today to ask God to begin the process of destroying this sin in your life?

Again, always feel free to post anonymously. I will make sure to post my answer this week at my blog. If I ask you the hard questions, I have to ask them to myself. I hope this week's question will encourage all of us to seek God when it comes to the sin of jealousy, and any other sin :)

Blessings, Kim

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mamma, I NEED My Pants!


The Cafe is thrilled to welcome Guest Barista, Theresa Horton Miller today!


It doesn’t matter how many times I offer my two-year-old daughter a solution, she has to try to figure it out all by her self before coming to the conclusion she needs help!

With a little patience on my part, it’s just a matter of time before she asks for the help I am so eager to give her. It’s that innate will to assert her independence. Fortunately, she will grow out of this stage as we all do…or do we?


Often, I see my own independent reflection in my two-year-old daughter, Alexa.


Alexa, at one point this morning, took off her pants because they "got sticky" and then remained in only a diaper, a shirt, and socks. When it was time to pick her older brother, Robby, up from school I told her we needed to put her pants back on.


She replied, "I don't need my pants." I proceeded to try and convince her.


"Let's put your pants on first, then we'll put your pretty shoes on." "Oh! My shoes!!" she replied enthusiastically as she darted up the stairs to retrieve her "pretty shoes.”


She bounced back down and proceeded to wiggle her little toes into the opening of her first shoe. I, once again, encouraged her to let me put her pants on first, then her shoes.


"I don't need my pants," she declared as she pressed her heal down into the shoe. She successfully weaseled both feet into her shoes. They were on the right feet and they matched her shirt beautifully, just no pants.



Now I'm a believer in natural consequences so, I decided this was not a battle I was going to pick.


"Okay, Alexa, let's put your coat on then."


"I don't need my pants or my coat."


"Okay, let's go." We proceeded out the door.


In a high-pitched shrill, Alexa cried, "It's windy."


"Do you need your pants?"


"I need my coat."


We put the coat on. "How about your pants?"


"I don't need my pants."


We proceeded outside again. She made it all the way to the car, stopped and cried in her high-pitched shrill, "It's windy!"


"Do you need your pants?"


"I need my hat."


I went and fetched her hat and put it on her. “How about your pants?"


"I don't need my pants."


She was happy.


Imagine my daughter in 26 degree weather (with the wind-chill) in a coat, hat, socks,
shoes, and a diaper.


Half-way down the road I hear from behind me, in that high-pitched, drama-girl, shrill…


"Maaaamaa...I need my pants!"


Oh, the lessons I learn from my two-year-old daughter! Like Alexa I, too, can be as stubborn with my Heavenly Father as to say, “No thanks, Lord, I have what I need.” I persist determined to try to figure it out all by myself.

Then when a circumstance overwhelms me I, too, cry out in a panic, “Looooord…I need you!” Or maybe just some pants…at any rate, I realize that what I need so desperately in a moments time is something that, just maybe, he’s been offering me all along. Oh, the love and patience of my Heavenly Father when I realize—my way has, once again, fallen short of my needs.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NIV

When was the last time you panicked due to trying to figure it out all by yourself?

At what point did you surrender to the solution God was offering?

Have you ever been disappointed by God’s provision in any given circumstance?

Will you trust Him today for the outcome of a circumstance you feel passionate about?

Prayer:
Father, we thank you for your provision for our lives. We pray for the woman reading this devotion, that she would release control to you in the given situation that has kept her determined to do things one way only. We pray that you would transform her heart so that the one and only way she relies on is your way. Amen.

In Him,

Theresa

Theresa can be found at her blogspot, heavenlyglimpses~

Theresa Horton Miller lives in Sheridan, Wyoming with her husband, Rob, and three children; Robby (5), Alexa (3) and Drew (10 mo.). She attends the Sheridan Classic MOPS Group and is in the process of starting up a local evening MOPS Group. Theresa has written articles for her local MOPS and church newsletters.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

See To It, Girl!


Growing up, I always thought I’d end up writing advertising jingles in a Manhattan high rise, latte in hand and high heels hitting the pavement.

I never imagined the Lord would call me into ministry.

If I am honest with you, some days the workload and lack of "real job" perks in ministry get me down. It has been a struggle for me to shake off my idea of what my life should be and accept God's plan for my life today.

The truth is I wouldn't trade this wild ride for the world. But some days when I am tired I can’t help but wonder...

Enter: Archippus.

We rarely read his name in Scripture (once in Philemon 1:2 and again in Colossians 4:17) but it is this man whom the Lord has used to encourage me to hold out and keep going.

Paul as he closes out his letter to the Church of Colossae writes:



"Tell Archippus:
"See to it that you complete the work you have received in
the Lord."
Colossians 4:17


And with those words, my God says to my heart: Do the thing I have called you to. See to it that you fulfill the plans I have for you.

Even when you are tired.

Even when you have plenty.

Even when you don't want to.

Even when it goes against the grain.

Even when you are filled with joy.

Even when you are offered other jobs.

Even when...even still...even then.


I cannot tell you how many times I come back to Archippus in this particular verse. I call it my "Archippus Prayer" and I pray it often!

Read that again: And I pray it often.

Why? Because I feel it often.

Today if you are feeling like you are not equipped for the job before you or are simply too tired to do this thing another day, I want to encourage you to keep going.

We only get so many days on this earth and every day our purpose in this place is at stake.

There is glory at stake.

Hear me again, there is glory at stake!

I'm want to tell you what Paul told Archippus (and what he tells me!):

"See to it that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord."

Beloved, "The one who calls you is faithful, and he will continue to be faithful." (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

See to it, girl.



Kristen is the founder and editor of Exemplify Online & Magazine. She welcomes you to stop by!

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Running in Place

"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."-Psalm 46:10 (NIV)



The sabbatical was a much needed break and something I really needed.

For the longest time, I felt like I was going a mile a microsecond and there was no more fuel in the tank.

Every have that happen? You're driving and you know you should have fuel the vehicle, but instead, keep going, "One more mile, one more mile," only to find yourself, near empty and barely coasting into the nearest fuel station?

That was how I felt.

I was running empty on ideas, in need of inspiration and felt short of nourishment but instead of stopping and taking a short break and recharge, I kept going and going.

How often do our souls sometimes feel like that?

We are running on empty, there are those moments of drought and no nourishment seems to be coming in and we just want or need that quick refuel to keep us going so we really, just don't have time to stop.

Be still. Wait. Turn it over to Him and stop trying to do it ourselves.

That's easier said then done.

Even on sabbatical, rather than taking a step back and resting; I found myself going a mile a second, brain just busy and getting involved with projects, everything but....oooooo..."be still".


This command — “be still” — forces us to think on two things: that we are finite, and that God is infinite. That being the case, we need to drop our hands, go limp, relax, and “chill out.”~"Be Still and Know that I am God by Jason Jackson"

Moms, how many of you actually "relax"? I mean...don't really do anything, just took the time off and really just be still?



So I sit here, staring at the computer screen and I realized. The hardest part about stopping, is actually having to face whatever it is our Father wants to tell us. That uncertainty, we may not want to hear what He has to say, though we know we need to.

So long as we keep busy, we keep distracted and we didn't have to stop....or think.

Stay strong
You are not lost
Come on and fix your eyes ahead
There's a new dawn to light our day, our day
You've gotta stay strong
You and I run
For the prize that lies ahead
We've come too far to lose our way, our way
~Stay Strong by Newsboys


We need to stop the tug of war with Him and go, "Okay I'll let You take care of this after I do this and this and this and....."

Stop.

Just stop.

And breathe.

Be still and breathe, it's okay...really, it's okay.


Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins"~ James 4:13-17 (NIV)

After running around in circles, it's easy to stop and find out that nothing was really accomplished. We are like hamsters running forever in a wheel that goes nowhere and what we thought we had build up, was really....nothing.


The notebook wasn't filled, because instead of making time to just reflect, I was too busy thinking. Instead of reading the books I wanted to read, I was too busy looking at more books I would like to read. Instead of making time to spend with Him, I kept saying , "tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow....."

And maybe tomorrow doesn't come or it just starts back all over again, the same way it started up yesterday, but with no real changes today.

Be still.

Stop running in place and if you have to drop what you are doing, drop it, unless they are the dishes, then that's a hard one to explain to hubby, why you need new dishes. Or maybe not.

There comes times like this, we need to just turn off the computers (okay, easier said then done for many), turn off the cellphone and today, right now, do that something different and more than anything, go to our Father and be still and just listen to Him.


The real prize, the real goal, the real point of life is that our Father has already overcome everything and HE is there and HE is strong and He IS and WILL see us through so we should just stop for that second, minute, hour.

Right now, as we speak, ask yourself.

What are ways that you can just make that break in routine and really spend that time just really listening to what our Father has to say to you and for you?

If you are feeling that rut in your life, like you are running on empty and just need to make it to the fuel station, what are ways to just make it a high priority in your life and get that recharging you are desperately needing??

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4 (NIV)

Heavenly Father,We lift Your name up in praise for You are King of kings and no matter where we are, You are always and will always be there. You leave no place untouched with Your presence and Your light. Lord, help see us through the droughts and the storms and those moments when we seem to be stuck in a never ending wheel of routine and help keep us reminded that no matter what, YOU, are Lord and through You and in You,we do have that promise of encouragement and endurance,but rather than lift our heads down, remind us to lift our heads up and lift Your name, for You reign higher than all of us and all that ails us.

Thank You Father, for being what we are not, so YOU and only You, will be what sees us through, no matter what faces us.

Gentle Readers, it's good to be back with you and prayers and hope that you are blessed and encouraged, today, tomorrow and forever, in and through our Heavenly Father.




Thrilled to be back from taking a break, you can visit Twinkle Mom at her blog, Sunflower Faith, where she isn't chasing dogs, birds or laundry.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Are you Thirsty?




“O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.”
Psalm 63:1


During these hot summer months, I am more mindful of our deep need for water. I find myself thirstier and consuming more amounts of liquid during the day. Our bodies need water to sustain our life. It has been said that we can go quite a while without food, but not very long without water. As much as my body needs water, it has not been my “drink of choice”. In the past, I would much rather have sweet tea, diet coke, or even milk over water, but then the weirdest thing happened. I began to force myself to drink water. As I drank water on a regular basis, I found my body actually cultivating a thirst for more. As my body experienced the benefits of water, I began to yearn for more and more of it. Where I used to have to force myself to drink one glass, now I am usually carrying a bottle around with me throughout the day.


This is much like our spiritual life. While we may think that we are able to go without feeding it, we actually cannot go very long without drinking from the water of His word. We will shrivel up spiritually without the refreshing spiritual nourishment of His word. The Bible tells us, “Blessed are those that hunger and thirst for His righteousness”. The only way to cultivate a hunger and a thirst is to digest it regularly. As we absorb His word daily, we will find ourselves developing a deeper thirst for it. We will find ourselves taking more and more of it with us and desiring it throughout the day, not just taking a little dab here and there.


No matter where you are in your journey with Christ, whether you are finding it hard to digest His truth, forcing yourself to partake of it when you can, or enjoying its nourishment each and every day, the truth is the same. If you will take the time and enforce the discipline to get into His Word each and every day, you will find that you not only gain spiritual benefits, but come to a place of deep desire for more.

The psalmist said, “as the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs after you”. This is where I want my spiritual appetite to be. I want to absorb God’s Word each day and allow God to increase my hunger and thirst for Him. Just as I physically carry water with me and drink it throughout the day, I want to have such a thirst for God that I am consciously taking His word with me throughout the day.

I want it to soak into my heart and life and overflow into the lives of others. Just like I can see others drinking a cold glass of water and feel thirsty or hear someone talking about a great restaurant and get incredibly hungry, I want others to see my life, and Jesus in me, so much so, that they are drawn to Him. I have found the source of living water and I want to gulp it in and share it with all those around me, as well.

Don’t you?

Lord, thank you that you are the Spring of Living Water. Thank you that when I soak in your Word, my spirit is renewed, refreshed, and nourished. Help me to cultivate a deeper hunger and thirst for You and enable me to share the thirst quenching water you offer with those around me.



You can visit Tammy at Steps In Our Journey

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Deactivate the Hyperdrive


I’m at the stage of parenting where silence is a hidden treasure. If I’m able to dig some up, it’s priceless. Let me just say that my kids are, um, a bit hyper…

Hyper-happy, hyper-angry, hyper-debating, hyper-complaining, hyper-planning, hyper-eating, (inhale) hyper-primping, hyper-snuggling, hyper-pretending, hyper-begging, hyper-back-seat-driving. (exhale). It’s loud, it’s active, it’s busy, it’s sometimes fun, sometimes draining. Always an adventure.

I’ll admit that this is a difficult season with the way I’m wired. But I’ve got it all figured out. What I need is a special robot that can painlessly deactivate the hyperdrive on my kids. You know, kind of like in Star Wars? Just a few hours a day, and BAM! I’ll be good as new. ;)

*******************

All joking aside, my kids get it honest. Not only was I JUST LIKE THEM growing up, I’m also the Lord’s hyper child now. So often I am hyper-sensitive, hyper-active, hyper-anxious, hyper-distracted, hyper-emotional, hyper-irritable, and a slew of other hypers.

And the amazing thing is: He still loves me. At the same time, He constantly reminds me to let go of anything else I’m runnin’ round in circles for other than Himself. The bottom line is focus—He truly longs to be the object of it.

I’m not alone here. All around me right now are those hyped-up about the economy, hyped-up about politics, about ministry, the news and weather, the traffic, the environment—a cause, a feeling, a rule, a relationship, a standard, an entitlement...and on and on.

And it all serves to distract us. It distracts me. All of a sudden I’m issue- and circumstance-driven. Dare I say, LauraLee-driven. When I landed on this passage in The Message, it reminded me to re-group. Though the Lord loves me just the way I am, His desire is for me to grow steadfastly focused upon Him.

Matthew 6:6
“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place
so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God.
Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage.
The focus will shift from you to God,
and you will begin to sense His grace."

All of a sudden I’m not feeling so hyper. This passage “deactivated my hyperdrive.” Will you allow Him to do the same in you?

Your life may be busy, you may be runnin’ in circles or drowning in your circumstances. Maybe pain overwhelms you or loneliness envelops you. Some of you may be disappointed with a relationship, some of you may be concerned about what the future holds. Are you frustrated with politics? Have you been hurt by someone you loved deeply? Hate your job? Fed up with your children? Locked into a sin struggle? Taking care of everyone but yourself?

What is it that keeps you hyper-focused on something other than the absolute sovereignty and love of the Father? Because of this, that or the other, you don’t have time or you don’t want the time, or it’s seems too difficult to arrange the time to slow down and let the focus shift from you to God.

But if you do…
If you will…

…You will find Him at that place ready to fill your heart with His grace. You will sense His peace. He will make your burden light. He yearns to do this work in us today, friends.

“Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you,
because I am humble and gentle at heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For My yoke is easy to bear,
and the burden I give you is light.”
Matthew 11:29-30 (NLT)

Father, Thank You for showing us Your Truth through the lives of children. Thank You for being sovereign and completely in control of whatever gets us hyped-up or off-track in our focus of You. You are, and have always been the One person who encompasses everything we need for fulfillment, for Godly living, for love and peace and self-control. I cannot thank You enough. Help us to get this message today, Lord. Open our hearts, our logic, our understanding up to fall completely in line with Yours. It’s in Your name I pray, Amen.





Selah~ Pause. Ponder. Praise.


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Friday, August 14, 2009

I'm a Fan!


I'm a fan.

It just happened that way. I was born in Pittsburgh in the late 60's. Legend has it that while babies were still in the hospital, a transfusion occurred, changing their blood from red to black and gold. I'm certain that it happened that way.

I grew up being a Steeler fan, then when I went off to college I became a Tiger fan.

I'm a fan. It's just that simple, or so I thought.

Last year my team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, made it to the Super Bowl. That is when it happened. My true fan colors came shining through. The game began and I was in control, for about 3 minutes.

Then, I screamed.

I cheered like a crazy woman.

I did an end zone dance.

In short I was not just a fan, I was a CRAZY fan.

A few days after the "big game," I was spending some quiet time with God, who I'm SURE is a Pittsburgh Steeler fan, and I felt a nudge. I began to think about what kind of fan am I? Just how CRAZY am I?

We find ourselves caught up in the game, whether it's a favorite football team, hockey team, nascar, college team, pro or tee ball. We get caught up in being a fan. Many of us have team jerseys and license plates that say we are proud to represent our team. We'll scream, cheer, dance and high five all in the name of "our team." Stadiums are filled to capacity with fans.

What about HIS team?

What kind of FAN am I?


Am I a "CRAZY for HIM" fan or a lukewarm fan?


"So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth."
Revelation 3:16



Each day I have an opportunity to "wear" the team colors, except they are not black and gold, they are;

" love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. " Galatians 5:22 - 23


I have an opportunity to cheer;

"We praise you, Lord, for all your glorious power. With music and singing we celebrate your mighty acts." psalm 21:13 nlt


and this team WILL be victorious;

"Everyone who is a child of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world - our faith." 1 John 5:4 ncv


The arena is life. A true fan stands up and is counted. A true fan commits to her team, regardless of what the scoreboard says. A true fan is easy to spot, there is no doubt who's team she is on.

I am a fan. As a fan, I need to make sure that I'm acting like one, showing up for each and every game, each and every play, rain or shine, cheering with passion. Lukewarm fans are not what this coach is looking for.

After all, this team and it's head coach, never lose...never have, never will.

Are you a fan? Better yet, are you a CRAZY fan?

Just this week a book was put in my hands....called Crazy Love, call it coincidence, call it crazy...I'll just call it God speaking directly to me.


Father God,

Again you reveal a message to me in the midst of my daily life. I want to be a true, CRAZY fan. I want to always be in YOUR game, playing by YOUR rules and committed to YOUR will. It's in this game that I can find victory each and everyday. Help me Father to be that true, crazy fan. Help me to always walk in love and grace, never in selfishness and pride, for I know that the real victory lies only in you.

It's in Jesus' name I pray,

Amen







join Lori daily at her personal website,all you have to give, where she can be found anxiously awaiting football season.

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