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All About Me

Well, I got tagged by Addie and since she is Grace "family", I'll play.  After all, they are kind of fun.  has tagged me with a meme that's all about ME....but then again, aren't they all?  I'm not really sure what this one is called, but here goes:

I am – a very sincere, down-to-earth person

I want – to impact others’ lives for good

I wish – I had more time in the day

I hate – hypocrisy & fakeness

I miss – a friendship that I used to have

I hear – the words that people are saying without saying them

I wonder – why people do the things they do

I regret – some of the poor choices I’ve made in my past

I am not – fake

I dance – when I’m alone in my house and rejoicing over the good things God has done.

I sing – a lot

I cry – everytime I watch “Love Affair”, when someone touches my heart

I am not always – the neatest housekeeper

I make – good lasagna!

I write – the songs that make the whole world sing. Just kidding, I saw Barry Manilow in Las Vegas recently and couldn’t resist. I really love to write in my blog to encourage people to get into God’s word.

I confuse – TV channels

I need - Time to myself

I should – learn how to cook a little better

I start – several different books at once

I finish – every thing that I start….eventually!

TAGGED:  Since I'm so late on this I won't tag anyone unless I know they haven't been tagged.  So...Karla, my friend, at long last you are tagged! :)

Uneducated Fear

Have you ever been afraid of something perhaps because you didn't know enough about it?  If so, you probably know a little bit about how the nation of Israel felt about a God whom they had grown apart from.   Let me explain.

I was reading through Exodus 20 this morning and became intrigued by the following passage:

Exodus 20:18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountains smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.  19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear, but let not God speak with us lest we die.

Think about this for a minute as if you were a Hebrew who has just seen God cause all of the plagues on Egypt.  You have possibly grown cold in your relationship with God because of all of the years in bondage, feeling like you've been abandoned and unheard by the God who was supposed to care.  Then, you are rescued, still haven't built back your relationship with God Almighty, and your fearless leader is up on the mountain with God getting the do's and don'ts of your life given to him to give to you.   Would you be afraid?  I think I would.

Deeper than the historical perspective presented above, I think that this kind of attitude depicts our society today.  We don't take the time to hear from God personally because we are secretly afraid of what God might say to us.  After all, isn't it easier to hear what God is teaching other people, especially since we are often taught through trials?  The people were afraid in the Exodus story because they did not really know God.  They knew of God, but they did not know of His goodness.  They forgot that God does not have a dark side.  Uneducated fear.

This kind of fear is not what God wants us to have.  He wants us to have the kind of reverent fear for Him that will change the way we behave, not the fear of being in His presence through prayer and bible study.  Remember that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom? (Prov 1:7)  The fear of the Lord  is the beginning of wisdom because that fear leads to less sin and more blessings  for everyone involved....including you and me.  As Moses said unto the people:

...Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.  (Exodus 20:20) 

God is good all the time.  He wants us to fear Him so that we will do the right things and consequently be blessed by Him.  God wants us to be happy and wise.    So in conclusion, my questions to ask yourselves today are these:

1) Do I believe without a shadow of a doubt that God is good - always - and has no dark side at all.

2) Am I living my life in obedience to God out of respect for that goodness?

3) Do I spend time alone with God personally on a regular basis or is all of my "God time"  spent where I'm being taught by someone else?

LBY Week 6-Kindness & Goodness

I am sitting here in my home office, after all of the Mother's Day festivities, and after finishing this week's video that focused on "Goodness" from Galatians 5:22.  I can't describe what I'm feeling except to say that as the tears flow down my cheeks as I absorb what I've just heard, I know without a doubt that God has touched my heart in a mighty way.

A quick review of the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22) according to Beth Moore is as follows:

  1. Love never fails.
  2. Joy cometh.
  3. Peace rules.
  4. Patience waits.
  5. Kindness tenders.
  6. Goodness does.

Goodness does.   It was just a week ago that I mentioned to a good friend that I wanted my life back.  I didn't really mean it, but I was weary in all of my well-doing.  You see, my schedule for the past 13 days, outside of working 30 hours a week, included the following:

Retreat planning meeting & preparation: 3 hours
Women's ministry planning meeting & preparation: 3 hours
Small group bible study preparation: 3 hours
Adult ministries planning meeting: 1 1/2 hours
Database meeting: 2 hours
Ladies' Tea Preparations & Event: 3 hours
Other ministry stuff: 8 hours
Mothers' Day dinner for my family: 3 hours

I do a lot of doing, and I love the doing - this is not a complaint.  The above doesn't include time I'm spending reading another book for a leadership training program ("Called to Influence") that I'm taking a group through and the fact that I still must maintain my household & marriage. Goodness does. I didn't feel so "good" last week when I was complaining though.  Why, because I was disobeying God in feeling weary in the well-doing.

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.  Therefore as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.  (Galatians 6:9-10 NKJV).

I liked what Beth Moore pointed out regarding the word "weary" here.  She says "to become weary doing good means to give in to trouble; to become exasperated by difficulty, be defeated in spirit, discouraged, or faint-hearted; to despair, lose heart."  I thought it was interesting how she stated that the enemy (Satan) does everything he can to make us quit and then turns around and calls us "quitters"!  Satan doesn't respect us for our unbelief in God's promises because he knows God is believeable.  Wow.

Let's not be quitters no matter how tough the going gets so that we can have the last laugh on the wicked one.  Our sole purpose on this earth is to be a blessing to others.  We were called to benefit the world by imparting God's goodness.  And lo and behold, by doing good, we find the presription to heal our very own souls. 

Our "prescription", as Beth Moore pointed out that got to me so, was stated in Isaiah 58:6-11.  I'm not going to put the passage here, but I will quote the bullet points from our listening guide based on the passage:

If you spend yourselves (on doing good)....

  • your light will rise in the darkness
  • the Lord will guide you always
  • your needs will be satisfied
  • your frame will be strengthened
  • you will be like well-watered gardens

Friends, today is the day, if we aren't doing it already, to start spending ourselves for the lives of other people.  Our world is a hurting world and we have the cure.   We are called to be people of influence for God's kingdom. 

Lord, thank You today for this water for my weary soul.  I thank You for picking me back up time and time again and filling me up so I can keep giving out.  I do know that doing good for You is a healing touch.  Your are truly my light, my strength, and my song.  Amen.

Addie Heather* Carol
M Rach Jeana
Jenn Amanda MamaB
GiBee Boomama Maria
Blair Heather Nancy
Janna Flipflop Robin
Sherry Patricia Tara
Lauren HolyMama! Faith
Christy Eph2810 Karin
Leann Rachel Janice
This is a list of the women participating in the study and the links to their blogs. New postings on the study will be published for the next ten weeks, between Friday 8pm - Saturday 8am. Please feel free to visit each of us and comment. Everyone is welcome to participate in this discussion as we seek to live beyond ourselves. May God bless you richly from the hearing of His word.

Two Are Better Than One

Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.  For if they fall, the one will lifet up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

God is so amazing isn't He?  Now, although that is a true statement, I understand that it is coming a little out of left field for anyone who isn't inside my head.  But that is okay.  Let me explain.  The above verse is my favorite verse in the bible regarding friendship.  God does not want us to be alone without fellowship on this earth and He doesn't want us to live life without Him in it either.   Even though relationships can be trying sometimes, we are much better with them than without them, because when we fall and cry "I can't get up!" someone will be there to help.

Back to the "God is amazing" statement.  Some of you may have noticed that I haven't been posting as frequently and the reason once again is that ministry and life have been a little busy of late.  Priorities, priorities.  One of the things upcoming is our church's Spring Ladies' Tea.  In a book I was reading late last night, totally unrelated to my "tea" preparations which have not yet occured,  I came across the verse in Ecclesiastes mentioned above.  I must mention that the verse is our theme verse for our Ladies' Tea on Saturday.  So the amazing part is seeing that verse in a book that I wasn't really planning on picking up again until Sunday (after the Tea) .  It was confirmation again from God to me that our theme is what He wanted to speak about there.  Hence, the coolness.   In addition, since I had not yet planned my opening remarks for the tea, I believe God gave me them hear as well in a story from the book I will share.   God answered my prayers for wisdom last night!

So, without further adieu, I want to share with each of you a story that exemplifies why we should allow others into our lives and not try to do things all by ourselves.  I hope you enjoy it.  So, from John Maxwell's "Becoming a Person of Influence" p. 108-109, here we go with a story of a bricklayer who got hurt at a building site because he tried to get a load of bricks down from the top story of a building without asking for any help:

It would have taken too long to carry all the bricks down by hand, so I decided to put them in a barrel and lower them by a pully which I had fastened to the top of the building.  After tying the rope securely at ground lever, I then went up to the top of the building.  I fastened the rope around the barrel, loaded it with bricks, and swung it over the sidewalk for the descent.  Then I went down to the sidewalk and untied the rope, holding it securely to guide the barrel down slowly.  But since I weigh only 140 pounds, the 500 pound load jerked me from the ground so fast that I didn't have time to think of letting go of the rope.  As I passed between the second and third floors I met the barrel coming down.  This accounts for the bruises and the lacerations on my upper body.

I held tightly to the rope until I reached the top where my hand became jammed in the pulley.  This accounts for my broken thumb. 

At the same time, however, the barrel hit the sidewalk with a bang and the bottom fell out.  With the weight of the bricks gone, the barrel weighed only about 40 pounds.  Thus my 140 pound body began a swift descent, and I met the empty barrel coming up.  This accounts for my broken ankle.

Slowed only slightly, I continued the descent and landed on the pile of bricks.  This accounts for my sprained back and broken collar bone. 

At this point I lost my presence of mind completely, and I let go of the rope and the empty barrel came crashing down on me.  This accounts for my head injuries. 

And as for the last question on your insurance form, "What would I do if  the same situation rose again?"  Please be advised I am finished trying to do the job all by myself.

So the moral is: Sometimes relationships are a pain, but seldom are they more trouble than they are worth.  Lord, I thank You for the friends and family that You have put into my life to not only help me but change me for Your glory.  Help me to appreciate them more as well as show me how to be a help to them.  Amen.

Abundant Life

What do you think of when you think of spring? I don’t know about each of you, but I tend to think of new life springing forth in the abundance of budding trees, green grass and the seasonal birds coming back into town from their winter vacations. Abundant life. Do you have have it? Jesus said regarding His followers that “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10 NKJV). What does that mean to you?

In addition to the eternal life we have through believing on Jesus Christ, we can also have a life on earth that is much richer than we can ever expect without Him. Through the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives we can possess the qualities of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23). These qualities alone would affect so many people in our lives for good.

But what about the eternal impact for good we can have through a life of service to Christ? When we minister to others in service to God, we not only reap blessings on earth, but we reap an ability to experience eternal life to the fullest. (Gal 6:8). And the good thing is, God is right by our side to help us serve Him.

So, my dear readers, when was the last time you reached out to serve God in using your talents and abilities to enrich the life of someone else? Do you feel that God is calling you to be a blessing? If He is, knowing that He will help you in anything He asks you to do for Him, what are you waiting for? Abundant life is yours for the taking.

A Fickle Faith

Warning:  Before you read this post and laugh at how inconsistent the children of Israel where in their faith despite all of the miracles God performed before them to bring them out of Egypt, stop and consider how fickle you are as well in your faith at times.

Every time I read through the story of how God delivered the children of Israel out of their bondage in Egypt, I am always amazed at how little faith they had in God even though they saw with their own eyes the power and salvation of God in the miracles He performed for them.  For crying out loud, in addition to all of the plagues on the Egyptians, which "miraculously" spared Israel, God also parted the Red Sea to make a way for them to escape Pharaoh's chariots.  Wouldn't you think they could have had a little more faith?  Not so.  After all, how often does our faith waiver when times get tough even though we've seen God's past miracles in our lives?   Oh, I'm getting ahead of myself.  Back to Exodus.

Exodus 15:1 Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. 2 The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him.

Don't you just love this?  The whole song is longer than what I'm presenting here, but I just love the picture of someone's heart that I see when someone just spontaneously sings.  Such joy and happiness!!  The children of Israel - I love how God calls them His children - had just been delivered out of Egypt with plunder in hand.  They were so happy that they sang praises to God for what He had done for them.  However, this happiness was short-lived because not to long after we see them singing, we see them whining and wishing they were back in their old place.  Go figure.  Does anyone else do this?  Surely not.   After all, we are more mature than they, right?

Ex 16:2 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness: 3 And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

Wasn't it I, who only yesterday, practically did the same thing when I said in the midst of some frustration "I want my life back?"  I think in the busy-ness of ministry and the rest of our lives, we all get a little bit stressed from time to time.  Did I really want my old life back? No.  I love my life, my home and my ministry.  I do not want to go back to yesterday, last month, last year or the last decade.  After all, God has done a lot of work in me to bring me to the "perfection" that I am today.  :)  (Note: please read "perfection" with some big-time sarcasm).  The temporary frustration I expressed yesterday was cured by a little time with God last night.  I had merely spent too much time pouring out myself to others without stopping in to say "Hi" to God and get myself fueled back up.  Thankfully, God was there once again.  He is there for us in good times, so-so times and bad times.  The question is, are we there to serve Him through the same?

Food for thought:

1) Am I stopping to "eat" along the way at God's table in my journey through this life?

2) When was the last time you had a sit down, four course "meal" with God?

3) When times get tough do I run away from or run to God?

4) Before I start doubting God's power in my life, do I remember the times He came through for me in the past?

LBY Week 6 - Peculiar Patience

When I started  this week's homework on Patience for Beth Moore's "Living Beyond Yourself", I had no idea what I was getting into.  Quickly, I realized that patience is a very deep rooted virtue!  You see, I thought that patience was just the ability to wait on God through circumstances (you know, waiting in lines, waiting on things to go our way, waiting on people to see our way of thinking).   Come to find out, while I thought I was making progress in this area, God made sure this week that I knew otherwise.

First of all, and this was the easy part to digest, I was amazed to see that there are two different types of patience mentioned in the bible:

Hupomone: Patience in circumstances, inspired by hope.  James 5:9-11, Patience of Job

Makrothumia: Patience with people, inspired by mercy.  Galatians 5:22:23

Notice that the patience mentioned as the fruit of the Spirit type of patience is the one dealing with people.  God knows that we need more help in dealing with those aggravating people placed in our lives than we do with the circumstances we find ourselves in.  After all, we can sometimes get out of a circumstance but we can't always leave a person! 

The next part regarding patience was the most profound to me.  I just didn't realize that patience was so complex. 

Forgiveness, Patience, Mercy

Did you know that patience is void of judgment?  Beth states that "patience and judgment are opposites and impossible to exercise simultaneously...The mercy that inspires biblical patience contains an ingredient which overrides the temptation to judge."  Chew on that a minute.  Right now I'm thinking that I've got some re-evaluating to do.

In the parable of the merciless servant, Matthew 18:15-35, we see a story of forgiveness and mercy.  In verse 26, the servant begs his master to have patience with him in repaying his debts.  This patience was given, but was inspired by mercy.  Read what Beth has to say about this parable and the relationship of forgiveness, patience, and mercy.

The parable of the merciless servant is about forgiveness...a forgiveness prompted by patience, and a patience perfected by mercy.  If we neglect the necessity of forgiveness, we fail to complete the portrait of biblical patience.  Patience is the vessel through which God pours His mercy.  Mercy is fueled by forgiveness.

Pretty deep, huh.  Now we can apply patience to our lives in a whole new way.  We can have the patience because we are slow to judge but quick to forgive and quick to grant mercy.  Patience is inspired by mercy which is fueled by forgiveness.

Wow.  I'm still affected by this study and am praying to God how to be more merciful to the people in my life that God is challenging me with so that He can purify me as gold.  Lord, help us all.

Addie Heather* Carol
M Rach Jeana
Jenn Amanda MamaB
GiBee Boomama Maria
Blair Heather Nancy
Janna Flipflop Robin
Sherry Patricia Tara
Lauren HolyMama! Faith
Christy Eph2810 Karin
Leann Rachel Janice
This is a list of the women participating in the study and the links to their blogs. New postings on the study will be published for the next ten weeks, between Friday 8pm - Saturday 8am. Please feel free to visit each of us and comment. Everyone is welcome to participate in this discussion as we seek to live beyond ourselves. May God bless you richly from the hearing of His word.

But, Lord....

How many times have you heard God call you for service while you responded to Him with a "But Lord" or "I can't" or "I don't know how"?  Did you realize  that you have lots in common with Moses?  Just because Moses saw God and was even spoken of as a friend of God in the bible, doesn't mean that he always possessed the kind of faith that can move mountains.  In fact, I think that Moses got on God's nerves with His insecurities for a time. 

If you don't remember the story of Moses, he was the Hebrew born in Egypt at a time when the Egyptians were starting to fear the Hebrew people because they were multiplying like mad.  A decree had gone out to kill all firstborn Hebrew babies but baby Moses survived because he floated in his little bed on the river right to the daughter of Pharoah. Moses was brought up as an Egyptian prince but eventually God's call on his life, whether he knew it or not, brought him out of the palace into the desert and eventually to the mountain of God, staring at God in the burning bush, and called as the deliverer of Israel from bondage.  How's that for a reader's digest version?

So, God tells Moses that he is "the man" and what does Moses say?  "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel, out of Egypt?" (Ex 3:11)  God reassures Moses that He would be with Moses, and through the next several chapters of Exodus we see the ongoing dialogue between God and Moses as Moses whines and God reassures.  Below, I'll summarize the whinings.  Between the whinings but not presented here, God tells Moses how he will be able to do what is asked of him.

Ex 4:1 But suppose they will not believe me....

Ex 4:10 But I am not an eloquent speaker...

Ex 4:13 Lord, send someone else...

Now, the Lord, gets a little angry (Ex 4:14)

Ex 5:22 Lord, why did you send me?

Ex 6:12 Israel didn't listen to me, why should Pharaoh?

Ex 6:30 How shall Pharaoh hear me?

Do you get the point here? Moses was insecure and did not have a strong faith early in his faith walk, just like you and I feel at times. But he kept coming back to God to talk things out and finally, he believed.  Granted, it took seeing God's hand through plagues on Egypt, but remember, the whole God thing was new back then, relatively speaking. He didn't have several bibles documenting all of God's miracles like you and I do. 

The good news is this.  Moses' faith grew.  In fact, it grew so much that he was mentioned in the Hebrews "Hall of Faith".

By faith, Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.  (Hebrews 11:24-26)

By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.  By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them. (Hebrews 11:27-28)

Ours can grow too.  No matter what our insecurities, our faith can grow and we can do mighty things for God as He works in us, with us, and through us.  Are you ready to get started?

My Life's Pursuit...

Do you have a mission statement?  Do you have that one thing in your life that fills you with such passion that you will continue on with it until you do not have the strength to do it anymore?  That thing that you will spend your life telling others or teaching others about?

I didn't always have a focused life. (Disclaimer: Not that it is perfectly focused now, but I do try!)  I wanted to be successful at everything - my career, sports, music & relationships.  But I didn't have that one thing that was all consuming until a couple of years ago.  It was then when I realized that the one thing I would go to my grave "preaching" would be that a deep relationship with God through daily bible reading and prayer is the end-all-be-all to a joy-filled, purposeful life.  In Colossians 2:3, Paul says of God that in Him "are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge".  Joshua 1:8 also tells us that a knowledge of the scriptures is the only way to make our way prosperous.  Psalms 1:1-3 tells us that if we delight in God's word that we will be like a tree planted by rivers of waters that never withers and that whatever we do will prosper.   Think on this for a minute.  Of the people you know who do spend DAILY time with God in prayer and bible reading, aren't most of them the ones who have more peace in their lives no matter what is going on around them?  Be honest here.  This is something I would bet on, and I'm not a gambler.

So why, oh why, if we know we would be blessed beyond measure with peace, comfort, joy, wisdom by taking hold of the power we have through the Holy Spirit of God which we have inside us if we are Christians, don't we make the time to spend time with Him?  As I said before, we all are busy and we all have the same amount of time in each of our days.   

In closing, I'd like to leave you with some practical tips by sending you to a post on Carol's blog, that so wonderfully speaks of priorities and how we can "cheat" our earthly priorities to make time for some eternal priorities.  I truly loved what she had to say and how she said it.  Remember friends, we all can change some of our priorities in order to choose the best thing to do rather than the good thing.

Our God of Hope

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.  - Romans 15:13

You know, I was going to continue on with the book of Exodus today, but an experience tonight brought some verses to mind that I just cannot get off of my mind.  Is anyone out there feeling hopeless because of loneliness, rejection or some other circumstance beyond your control?  Did you know or do you need to be reminded that our God, the creator of the universe is also the God of hope for you and for me? 

God is our hope.  Jesus is our hope.  Our hope for peace, our hope for joy and our hope for a new day.  King David knew this as fact as he recorded it in Psalm 40:1-3

I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.  He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.  And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God:  many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.

Do you need a new "song"?  God will hear your cry just as He heard David's cry so many years ago.  He WILL bring you up out of the pit...maybe not immediately, but in His time, He will.  God will set your foot upon a rock and bring a new thing into your life that will surpass in goodness anything in your life before if you just trust in Him.  He promises it, and we know that God does not lie.  Isn't that cool?

Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.  Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?  I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.  (Isaiah 43:18-19)

Behold, He will do a new thing.  He will make a way for us to get through our struggles...believe it.  No matter what your wilderness or what your desert, nothing is too big for God to change it and set you back upon solid ground again with a new song in your heart.   Remember, He said it.

Father, I thank You so much for Your words of life and hope.  I thank You that You know every thought I have and everything about me and still love me just the same.  Please, Lord, take hold of the hands of Your suffering children and let them know that You are with them.  Please put your loving arms around them and help them to not feel so alone.  Show them Your peace, mercy and grace, and if they don't know You, reveal Yourself to them so that they know that You are real.  Amen.