Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Care and Feeding of Emptiness

I just found this one in my drafts

Care and Feeding of Emptiness

. . . that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:19b

Recommended Reading
Ecclesiastes 2

Emptiness has become the trademark of recent generations. Like Solomon, many have tried everything the world has to offer in an attempt to fill their void. Tragically though, countless empty souls have come to their end without ever having come to the realization that the only thing in life that matters is to "Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all" (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Solomon, whom God made the wisest man in all history, sought out every conceivable pleasure without limitation; but in the end, concluded that nothing so satisfied the hungry soul of man like knowing and loving his Creator.

When asked "If emptiness were a pet, and you were writing a manual for the Care and Feeding of Your Emptiness, what advice would you give?" someone answered, "It is easy to care for. Be sure to give it daily attention, and it will grow big and strong." Every moment we spend giving our emptiness the wrong kind of attention, whether that consists of sampling everything under the sun or giving up completely, we are enabling it to become bigger and stronger.
Give your emptiness the right kind of attention by letting God fill your heart. It will never feel full until it's filled by Him.

Outside of Christ, I am empty; in Christ, I am full.
Watchman Nee

Proverbs 15:1 - 17:28

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Monday, September 28, 2009


So Morgan and I both have the swine flu (a.k.a. H1N1). I have too much to do to be sick. Please pray for all of us. My fever is high and I am trying not to throw up.
OK Morgan story:
She is on the phone with her MiMi:
MiMi: Morgan, MiMi sees a blimp flying over the lake. It is flying kind of low. It has Auburn colors (MORGAN IS AN AU FAN, so do not be mistaken).
Morgan: MiMi, it could be a terrorist!

Please know that I don't think terrorism is funny. It's just we watch to much Fox News.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Oh Woe is Me!!!

John 8:12

12When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

My head is spinning about a book I have been reading and I have really learned so much that my heart could burst. For now I just need to cut to the chase and jump right in with what I feel I can not type quickly enough.

Ever since I can remember I have been a thinker. I can remember being a little girl and analyzing certain situations and having a check inside of me that what I was thinking through, regarding certain life circumstances, was not normal or healthy. This is not always a good thing especially when it comes to taking unruly thoughts captive. Our minds are so stinking powerful. We over analyze, drudge up the past, think on all the things of this world system and etc. I literally can start trying to self diagnose and google web md and start thinking I have all kinds of issues based on a simple symptom. In dealing with panic attacks due to my mitral valve, I have even set off other panic attacks by fearing the thought of having one. We can meditate on so many things: "I'm fat", "I'm ugly", "I am a bad mom", "I am a failure", and on and on. When we meditate on these things and they are not true or do not motivate change we will be pulled down into the pit of self-destruction. There are some things in your life and mine that are true, real, and have happened that are good and bad. You may have faced some serious rejection, maybe your parents were alcoholics, you may have been co-dependent for as long as you can remember. You may have been abused, raped, misunderstood, misused, or betrayed. Just as we can not focus on past trophies, we can not dwell (literally pitch a tent and camp out on the spots of your affliction) on all of our "wrongs" for the rest of our days. Hey are those things awful? YES! YES, I am not saying they aren't. I could sit here and give you a list a mile long of things I have been through personally but it would do no good unless I am using it to glorify God through relating to you. There is a huge victim mentality going on in our day. We expect things from people that can give us nothing, and if they could would it really satisfy? We are grasping at the wind when we go after that one thing, that one person, that has failed us that we desperately think we need something from.

I have watched several people over a period of years grasp at the wind in their effort to blame every thing bad that has happened to them on someone else. Literally, I have seen so many pointing fingers that a certain amount of disillusionment sets in. I have seen a person never ever own up to their own past. Instead blame...blame...blame. It was everyone but them. I can't stand fake. Most of that stems from observation over my brief lifetime. You see it everywhere. People trying to act like more than they really are. Look at our national debt for example. I am talking about a pervasiveness, something that fills and spreads without, that appeals to our carnality. It is dangerous. We want to be people that are wholly filled with God. Integrity means wholeness. We are full of integrity. Being filled by the Holy Spirit is a continual thing. One baptism with many fillings. We can grieve the Holy Spirit by our sin. Remembering that the Holy Spirit is part of the Triune God, God is Holy and can not dwell with sin. Light and darkness have no fellowship. They can not co-exist. Light extinguishes the darkness always. So, we are going to be filled with something. One or the other. Just like either we are children of God or we aren't, which leaves us being a child of the devil in our unregenerate state.

Let me tell you why it is so dangerous when we live with unforgiveness. We heap sin upon sin. We either forgive and let everyone off the hook (I am not talking about a doormat mentality) and lower the bar that has been raised so high...or we become bitter.

I had the illustration of pancakes come to me a while back. A big heaping stack of pancakes. One piled upon the other and then (I don't like syrup) but sticky syrup poured all over. I REALLY just spent an hour making this so you could see the visual idea (CLICK TO ENLARGE). I hope my handwriting is legible:

Can I just say that most of what is written here I have learned from experience. We have to own up to our own sins, take our hurts to the Lord as much as we have to, and place confidence in Him. Satan will tempt you into thinking that you deserve better than the lot that has been dealt. He wants you to buy into all of the health, wealth, and prosperity teaching and trick you into all manner of sin. he will bring people along that will try to dress your wounds as though they are not serious, when we in fact have some serious gaping wounds that we need the Lord to bind up. PLEASE listen to me! Take your hurts and disappointments and find the sufficiency that only comes from Christ! He is the only one that will never grow tired or weary. He will not reject you in your brokenness. If your husband is not the husband you think he should be (not talking about abuse and etc) find that the LORD is YOUR husband. If friends have let you down go to Him and know the friend that sticks closer than a brother. If your mom and dad were never real parents to you, see that even if your father and mother forsake you...the Lord will NEVER leave you or forsake you. If you have suffered great loss, run to the one who can restore your life and make the second half better than the first. If you have blown it and traded your inheritance for a bowl of stew like Esau, start replacing lies with truth, stand to your feet and believe God for the rest of your days. Dying to ourselves will bring our richest gain. Nothing that the enemy offers is for your good. Nothing! His word works. Drink deep of the Water of Life. Walk in the Light following Him...there is nothing dark about Him, nothing even shady. Take it from me.
Instead of the woe is me attitude, let us run to the throne room and find grace and mercy in time of need. When we gaze upon the beauty of the Lord, and seek Him in His temple, where He is enthroned between the cheribum with ten thousands upon ten thousands of angels...we will cry with Isaiah: (Isaiah 6:5) "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."
We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. We are all unclean before a Holy God. Yet inspite of my own sins the Cross made a way for me and you to be made right with God. He never shames us. He is the rebuilder of the ancient ruins. Ruins in our own life. Bringing beauty for ashes...the things that have burned down around us that maybe we even caused. Instead of sitting in the ashes, smelling like smoke, and dressing ourself with soot let us take the garment of praise and believe that God still has a plan for you and me. As long as we have breath.

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What are some modern forms of idolatry?

Question: "What are some modern forms of idolatry?"Answer: All the various forms of modern idolatry have one thing at their core: self. We no longer bow down to idols and images. Instead we worship at the altar of the god of self. This brand of modern idolatry takes various forms. First, we worship at the altar of materialism which feeds our need to build our egos through the acquisition of more “stuff.” Our homes are filled with all manner of possessions. We build bigger and bigger houses with more closets and storage space in order to house all the things we buy, much of which we haven’t even paid for yet. Most of our stuff has “planned obsolescence” built into it, making it useless in no time, and so we consign it to the garage or other storage space. Then we rush out to buy the newest item, garment or gadget and the whole process starts over. This insatiable desire for more, better, and newer stuff is nothing more than covetousness. The tenth commandment tells us not to fall victim to coveting: "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor" (Exodus 20:17). God doesn’t just want to rain on our buying sprees. He knows we will never be happy indulging our materialistic desires because it is Satan’s trap to keep our focus on ourselves and not on Him. Second, we worship at the altar of our own pride and ego. This often takes the form of obsession with careers and jobs. Millions of men—and increasingly more women—spend 60-80 hours a week working. Even on the weekends and during vacations, our laptops are humming and our minds are whirling with thoughts of how to make our businesses more successful, how to get that promotion, how to get the next raise, how to close the next deal. In the meantime, our children are starving for attention and love. We fool ourselves into thinking we are doing it for them, to give them a better life. But the truth is we are doing it for ourselves, to increase our self-esteem by appearing more successful in the eyes of the world. This is folly. All our labors and accomplishments will be of no use to us after we die, nor will the admiration of the world, because these things have no eternal value. As King Solomon put it, “For a man may do his work with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then he must leave all he owns to someone who has not worked for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun? All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 2:21-23). Third, we idolize mankind—and by extension ourselves—through naturalism and the power of science. This gives us the illusion that we are lords of our world and builds our self-esteem to godlike proportions. We reject God’s Word and His description of how He created the heavens and the earth, and we accept the nonsense of evolution and naturalism. We embrace the goddess of environmentalism and fool ourselves into thinking we can preserve the earth indefinitely when God has declared the earth has a limited lifespan and will last only until the end of the age. At that time, He will destroy all that He has made and create a new heaven and new earth. “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness” (2 Peter 3:10-13). As this passage so clearly states, our focus should not be on worshipping the environment, but on living holy lives as we wait eagerly for the return of our Lord and Savior, who alone deserves worship. Finally, and perhaps most destructively, we worship at the altar of self-aggrandizement or the fulfillment of the self to the exclusion of all others and their needs and desires. This manifests itself in self-indulgence through alcohol, drugs, and food. Those in affluent countries have unlimited access to alcohol, drugs (prescription drug use is at an all-time high, even among children), and food. Obesity rates in the U.S. have skyrocketed, and childhood diabetes brought on by overeating is epidemic. The self-control we so desperately need is spurned in our insatiable desire to eat, drink, and medicate more and more. We resist any effort to get us to curb our appetites, and we are determined to make ourselves the god of our lives. This has its origin in the Garden of Eden where Satan tempted Eve to eat of the tree with the words “you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5). This has been man’s desire ever since—to be god and, as we have seen, the worship of self is the basis of all modern idolatry.All idolatry of self has at its core the three lusts found in 1 John 2:16: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” If we are to escape modern idolatry, we have to admit that it is rampant and reject it in all its forms.. It is not of God, but of Satan, and in it we will never find fulfillment. This is the great lie and the same one Satan has been telling since he first lied to Adam and Eve. Sadly, we are still falling for it. Even more sadly, many churches are propagating it in the preaching of the health, wealth, and prosperity gospel built on the idol of self-esteem. But we will never find happiness focusing on ourselves. Our hearts and minds must be centered on God and on others. This is why when asked what is the greatest commandment, Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). When we love the Lord and others with everything that is in us, there will be no room in our hearts for idolatry.

What is the definition of idolatry?

Question: "What is the definition of idolatry?"Answer: The definition of idolatry, according to Webster, is “the worship of idols or excessive devotion to, or reverence for some person or thing.” An idol is anything that replaces the one, true God. The most prevalent form of idolatry in Bible times was the worship of images that were thought to embody the various pagan deities.From the beginning, God’s covenant with Israel was based on exclusive worship of Him alone (Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 5:7). The Israelites were not even to mention the names of false gods (Exodus 23:13) because to do so would acknowledge their existence and give credence to their power and influence over the people. Israel was forbidden to intermarry with other cultures because who embraced false gods, because God knew this would lead to compromise. The book of Hosea uses the imagery of adultery to describe Israel’s continual chasing after other gods, like an unfaithful wife chases after other men. The history of Israel is a sad chronicle of idol worship, punishment, restoration and forgiveness, followed by a return to idolatry. The books of 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, and 1 & 2 Chronicles reveal this destructive pattern. The Old Testament prophets endlessly prophesied dire consequences for Israel if they continued in their idolatry. Mostly, they were ignored until it was too late and God’s wrath against idol-worship was poured out on the nation. But ours is a merciful God, and He never failed to forgive and restore them when they repented and sought His forgiveness.In reality, idols are impotent blocks of stone or wood, and their power exists only in the minds of the worshipers. The idol of the god Dagon was twice knocked to the floor by God to show the Philistines just who was God and who wasn’t (1 Samuel 1:1-5). The “contest” between God and His prophet Elijah and the 450 prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel is a dramatic example of the power of the true God and the impotence of false gods (1 Kings 18:19-40). The testimony of Scripture is that God alone is worthy of worship. Idol worship robs God of the glory that is rightfully His, and that is something He will not tolerate (Isaiah 42:8).Even today there are religions that bow before statues and icons, a practice forbidden by God’s Word. The significance God places upon it is reflected in the fact that the first of the Ten Commandments refers to idolatry: “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me” (Exodus 20:3-5).Idolatry extends beyond the worship of idols and images and false gods. Our modern idols are many and varied. Even for those who do not bow physically before a statue, idolatry is a matter of the heart—pride, self-centeredness, greed, gluttony, a love for possessions and ultimately rebellion against God. Is it any wonder that God hates it?

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Is the worship of saints or Mary biblical????

From one of my favorite sites

Is worship of saints / Mary Biblical?

Question: "Is worship of saints / Mary Biblical?"Answer: The Bible is absolutely clear that we are to worship God alone. The only instances of anyone other than God receiving worship in the Bible are false gods, which are Satan and his demons. All followers of the Lord God refuse worship. Peter and the apostles refused to be worshipped (Acts 10:25-26; 14:13-14). The holy angels refuse to be worshipped (Revelation 19:10; 22:9). The response is always the same, "Worship God!"Roman Catholics attempt to "bypass" these clear Scriptural principles by claiming they do not “worship” Mary or saints, but rather that they only "venerate" Mary and the saints. Using a different word does not change the essence of what is being done. A definition of "venerate" is "to regard with respect or reverence." Nowhere in the Bible are we told to revere anyone but God alone. There is nothing wrong with respecting those faithful Christians who have gone before us (see Hebrews chapter 11). There is nothing wrong with honoring Mary as the earthly mother of Jesus. The Bible describes Mary as "highly favored" by God (Luke 1:28). At the same time, there is no instruction in the Bible to revere those whom have gone to Heaven. We are to follow their example, yes, but worship, revere, or venerate, no!When forced to admit that they do, in fact, worship Mary, Catholics will claim that they worship God through her, by praising the wonderful creation that God has made. Mary, in their minds, is the most beautiful and wonderful creation of God, and by praising her, they are praising her Creator. For Catholics, this is analogous to directing praise to an artist by praising his sculpture or painting. The problem with this is that God explicitly commands against worshipping Him through created things. We are not to bow down and worship anything in the form of heaven above or earth below (Exodus 20:4-5). Romans 1:25 could not be more clear, "They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator — who is forever praised. Amen." Yes, God has created wonderful and amazing things. Yes, Mary was a godly woman who is worthy of our respect. No, we absolutely are not to worship God "vicariously" by praising things (or people) He has created. Doing so is blatant idolatry.The major way Catholics "venerate" Mary and the saints is by praying to them. As the following article demonstrates, prayer to anyone other than God alone is anti-Biblical – praying to saints and Mary. Whether Mary and/or the saints are prayed to, or whether they are petitioned for their prayers – neither practice is Biblical. Prayer is an act of worship. When we pray to God, we are admitting that we need His help. Directing our prayers to anyone other than God is robbing God of the glory that is His alone.Another way Catholics "venerate" Mary and the saints is by creating statues and images of them. Many Catholics use images of Mary and/or the saints as "good luck charms." Any cursory reading of the Bible will reveal this practice as blatant idolatry (Exodus 20:4-6; 1 Corinthians 12:12; 1 John 5:21). Rubbing rosary beads is idolatry. Lighting candles before a statue or portrayal of a saint is idolatry. Burying a Joseph statue in hopes of selling your home (and countless other Catholic practices) is idolatry.The terminology is not the issue. Whether the practice is described as "worship" or "veneration," or any other term, the problem is the same. Any time we ascribe something that belongs to God, to someone else, it is idolatry. The Bible nowhere instructs us to revere, pray to, rely on, or "idolize" anyone other than God. We are to worship God alone. Glory, praise, and honor belong to God alone. Only God is worthy to "...receive glory and honor and power..." (Revelation 4:11). God alone is worthy to receive our worship, adoration, and praise (Nehemiah 9:6; Revelation 15:4).Recommended Resource: The Gospel According to Rome: Comparing Catholic Tradition and The Word of God by James McCarthy.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Make a joyful noise?

So tonight I am in the closet singing "Come Thou Fount" (Here it is if you don't know the words):

Come Thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
I'll praise the mount I'm fixed upon it
Mount of Thy redeeming love

Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by Thy help I come
And I hope by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wondering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood
O to grace how great a debtor
daily I'm constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to Thee

Prone to wander Lord I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart Lord,
take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above

I get to the first stanza and let me tell you I am an awful singer. Awful. It blesses no one but the Lord for me to sing. My twin sister got every bit of the musical/artistic gene. She can sing and draw and etc like nobodies business. Me. nothing.

So, I close my eyes in a moment of worship and all of the sudden I get whacked on my glasses with a pencil. Morgan said, "Mom, I do not like that song!!!" TRANSLATION: I DO NOT LIKE YOU SINGING IT!

Totally rude. I was so caught off guard as I did not care that she was listening. It was not a concert for her. I died laughing because I was so rudely interrupted by my 4 year old. I mean she shut it down. I fell out on the floor laughing so hard. Picture me in a moment of serious praise and then getting thumped in the face and told to stop. I mean can you blame her?
Anyway, I needed the laugh. Of course that only encouraged her more but I was caught up in the sheer hilarity of it.

Psalm 126:2 (New International Version)
2 Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them."

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Yay Lunch with some favorite people!!!

Robyn (3girlsmom); Lisa (ThePreachersWife) and me.

Robyn was so gracious to meet up with me and let me ride with her for our roadtrip lunch. I can still taste the chicken quesidillas that I had. They were so good that they left me full all day.
MaryRobyns sweet girls are beautiful!!!! They are so sweet. Her baby Camille would tell me "I am telling my mommy" when I was trying to listen to what she was saying. In other words, I am not talking to you. Cracked me up!!
I love these women and their precious hearts for Jesus. I am so blessed that they would include me. ;) I esteem them much.
Then, I had bible study tonight. Morgan had to go with me for various reasons. She cracked me up when she would respond to what Beth would ask us to say back. Then, Morgan and I went out to eat with the most precious person ever. Her name is Jan. She has the most amazing story so far. I walked away, got in my car, and just wanted to humble myself before the Lord. She is one of those people that you can just connect with. So real. To the core. She is so loved by God and He is so pleased with her. She totally made me want to just love Jesus more. I think that is what accountability looks like. As we seek Jesus together and get to know one another, and just have conversations there are things that the Holy Spirit can stir up in us and convict us that maybe we need to cooperate with Him in this or that area and try to change and better ourselves in the name of Jesus. I just love her. I praise God for the fellowship of other believers. Don't get me wrong some people can make your life hard...but I just praise God for the precious people I have in my life.

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Breaking Free Beth Moore- The new one

This is for you Donna. To answer your question, the new study that is to be released in November is completely different as far as videos are concerned. I need to find my notes. I am so needing to follow through on getting my notes to so many others that have asked me for various notes from events I have been to. Here is just a part. I know she updated the workbook but it is said to be very similar.

Isaiah 9:44 For as in the day of Midian's defeat,you have shatteredthe yoke that burdens them,the bar across their shoulders,the rod of their oppressor.
Isaiah 61
The Year of the LORD's Favor 1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,because the LORD has anointed meto preach good news to the poor.He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,to proclaim freedom for the captivesand release from darkness for the prisoners, [a]
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favorand the day of vengeance of our God,to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beautyinstead of ashes,the oil of gladnessinstead of mourning,and a garment of praiseinstead of a spirit of despair.They will be called oaks of righteousness,a planting of the LORDfor the display of his splendor.
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruinsand restore the places long devastated;they will renew the ruined citiesthat have been devastated for generations.
Judges 6:1-6
Judges 6
Gideon 1 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. 2 Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. 3 Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country. 4 They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys. 5 They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count the men and their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it. 6 Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the LORD for help.I hope you read all of those scriptures because they are important to the points.Usually in God's word when He is speaking of freedom He is speaking to those who are free yet who are living in captivity. That is HUGE. So often I used to think well after so many years I will get this life down. Why do I still struggle? Why am I disobedient? Why have I gotten into my own pits of sin? I love church but so often you will have the message relayed that you can only be used of God if you haven't done the dirty dozen or whatever. But where does that leave people who knew better yet sinned anyway? As if to say Christians don't get in a pit. We couldn't be more wrong in relaying that message and I would like to say that that is part of how we get there. This is all just me but say you are really struggling with something and you have prayed about it yet it is still gnawing away at you. You sit in a room week after week with people that are believers and you think man they all have this thing together and I am really struggling over here. I bet no one else struggles with the things that I do. That is not true it is just that we tend to mask our sin and we sure don't want to let our guard down too much to let other people know that we don't have it together which is duplicity. Do you air all of your But for goodness sake let's get real people. What would things look like if you accepted God's forgiveness and could turn back after you have denied Christ and strengthen the brethren. What if your testimony could be a wake up call to someone who is dying on the inside to know they are no alone. For example, I have a lot of single women ask me (and guys) how do I know if I am called to be single? My pointed question is this: Do you desire to have sex? Most always the answer is an honest yes. Then, you aren't necessarily called to be single. So keep giving your desires of your heart over to God in prayer. I am not saying that is an easy one. Especially to the woman who is in her 40's and has had the desire to be married yet where is her prince charming. My whole point is that we are all fellow travelers in Christ and I am so blessed to have a friend who I can call up at any given time and tell her listen to what I am struggling with and it just sort of snuck up on me. Will you pray for me? Thank you for letting me expose this to the light and nip it in the bud. If you don't have someone like that pray for that. There is no telling what this has saved me from. So as children of God we can live under great oppression...The enemy of our souls wants us to be unfruitful. He is not worried about unbelievers. His goal is to smear the testimony and witness of the believer. I am so thankful that God is greater still than even our deepest darkest sin. He is greater than our enemy. The enemy is wanting us to live in a constant state of distraction. He wants to oppress us to make us just waste our life. So what do we do? Examine yourself today and see if he has got you ensnared with too many distractions. When I hear people tell me that they have to love themselves before they can love anyone else I WANT TO SCREAM: THAT IS A FARCE. Nothing could be more incorrect. Jesus has called us to die to ourselves. Our problem is that we are lovers of ourselves instead of lovers of God. Yesterday Morgan and I went round and round. She cried so bad because she does not want to share with anyone. I mean she was stinking hysterical. It occurred to me as the day went on that in her sin nature and her just plain being 3 years old, she thinks that this world revolves around her. We think the same way at times. Get up in an airplane and look down from thousands of feet above and you can see that the Lord looks down and we are like grasshoppers (Isa. 40:22). My time is up and I haven't even gotten to one of her be continued.

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

learning romans 5:5 by jennyhope - SnapMyLife

learning romans 5:5 by jennyhope - SnapMyLife

So....Morgan is playing upward soccer. She is not a huge fan of it yet because the other team won't share the ball. She is all about looking cute in the uniform. She refuses to pull her socks up like the rest of the kids but that is fine with me. It is bugging her daddy to death. Anyway, I thought that this whole upward deal was going to be about me being more intentional about teaching her more memory verses. Kids really are a sponge and we completely underestimate them when we think they are too little to learn something especially if we struggle to. So, I get in BIG trouble for my pride last weekend. Morgan had gotten a jump start on the verse and I had worked out a little song/cheer to teach her the verse: "Only the Lord gives wisdom, knowledge and understanding come from Him." Except I add a lot of exclamation points. So, first game I am all about her getting her sticker since she knew the verse. Yet I was too proud that she knew her verse when she wasn't supposed to. I can be such an idiot. This lady was in the bathroom at church cheering that her kid knew the memory verse (Gen 1:1) and that none of the other kids did.
Well, my inner voice was like come on lady everyone knows that verse and can you scream a little louder that your kid is smarter than everyone else and that you have a prodigy on your hands with her mad memory verse skillz? I was like lady there is a mirror right behind you take a look in it. It was one of those moments where you just knew that she wanted everyone to hear with the volume of her voice.
Well, well, well, what does Jenny do? Um the same thing. Yep! I was just as bad as the chick in the bathroom. 1. I should have rejoiced with her and given some high fives (after they washed their hands) and then 2. taken a look in the mirror myself.
So, I felt like a big idiot as I was so proud that my child was a step ahead with the verses. Then, Rod helped the Holy Spirit out to drive the point home even more. I just wanted to go ahead and get that green sticker to put on her scripture chart.

No but really it is so amazing how sin and pride creep up in us and manifest themselves making you only look foolish! Oh what a fun lesson.

So, tonight I was trying to teach her visually by the pic above. We poured water into the heart representing Gods love and filled the heart with Gods love.

"God has poured out His love to fill our hearts..."
I hope it takes.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

For a thousand tongues to sing...

YAY I am coming live from a brand new laptop. I will soon take a pic of my other one. It has been beaten up BIG TIME. We have been a thousand miles together with a thousand posts.
Yes this is my 1000th post!! Some of them have not been published but nevertheless.

So, what a great way to start with my 1000th post with a new computer that will hopefully give me hundreds of opportunities to share this journey with others! ;)

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Good Quotes

Real quick thank you to all of you who leave such encouraging comments. Also, everyone needs a Nancy. She is constantly full of encouragement!! Thank you.

I have some really funny morgan stories but I am way too tired to post. Good night!!

"God often takes a course for accomplishing His purposes directly contrary to what our narrow views would prescribe. He brings a death upon our feelings, wishes, and prospects when He is about to give us the desire of our hearts." --John Newton

"Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time." Oswald Chambers

"God will never leave you empty. If something is taken away, He will replace it with something better. If He denies your request in a certain area, it is because He wishes to give you what is best. If He asks you to put something down, it is so you can pick up something greater." --Roy Lessin

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

When Our Enemies Realized That We Knew Their Scheme...

"In the ancient world, a city without walls was helpless before its enemies. For Jerusalem once more to have its walls complete was evidence of divine favor and meant that the inhabitants could carry on life with a measure of security."

Nehemiah 1:3-11 3 They said to me, "The survivors in the province, who returned from the exile, are in great trouble and disgrace. Jerusalem's wall has been broken down, and its gates have been burned down."

Nehemiah's Prayer 4 When I heard these words, I sat down and wept. I mourned for a number of days, fasting and praying before the God of heaven. 5 I said,
LORD God of heaven, the great and awe-inspiring God who keeps His gracious covenant with those who love Him and keep His commands, 6 let Your eyes be open and Your ears be attentive to hear Your servant's prayer that I now pray to You day and night for Your servants, the Israelites. I confess the sins we have committed against You. Both I and my father's house have sinned. 7 We have acted corruptly toward You and have not kept the commands, statutes, and ordinances You gave Your servant Moses. 8 Please remember what You commanded Your servant Moses: "[If] you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples. 9 But if you return to Me and carefully observe My commands, even though your exiles were banished to the ends of the earth, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place where I chose to have My name dwell." 10 They are Your servants and Your people. You redeemed [them] by Your great power and strong hand. 11 Please, Lord, let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and to that of Your servants who delight to revere Your name. Give Your servant success today, and have compassion on him in the presence of this man. [At the time,] I was the king's cup bearer.

Morgan and her friend were at our house playing on Friday and I had a few minutes to sit and ponder some in Nehemiah. Nehemiah is said to be a continuation of Ezra. Well, I really tried to get into Nehemiah's emotion here over Jerusalem. As most of you know Gods people were exiled due to their own rebellion against God. Rebellion always leads to exile or isolation and broken down walls. I truly believe that rebellion breaks down the walls of protection that are meant to guard our hearts and minds and we give the enemy a foothold into the territory that only God needs to have access to. When we compromise a little here and a little there we wave a red flag to the enemy and invite him over the allotted boundary lines that the Lord has set for our safety. So as the exiles (or the remnant that returns) return to Jerusalem they find that they are in great trouble or disgrace. "Jerusalem's wall has been broken down, and its gates have been burned down." (Neh. 1:3) This is is a BIG DEAL. To us looking on it is harder to understand. We tend to put so much security in our military strength or reputation as a whole in the United States as being a dominant world power. Yet we see a decline in morality all around us. A decline within leads to a decline without. We as a nation have broken down walls everywhere in a non-visible sense. So, as stated previously, walls represented a certain measure of divine favor. The fact that Jerusalem was broken down meant disgrace for God's chosen people.
Nehemiah was at time the kings cup bearer and placed in a position where he could take his lament and given the divine opportunity he could be used of God to do something about it.
The man was more than grieved over the walls being broken down. In fact it says that he went before the king and was sad and the king took note that he had never been that way in his presence and he posed the question to Nehemiah asking him why he was so sad when he was not sick. We too should still be moved over the brokenness of Gods people and lost souls as a whole. We should be moved over the injustices of our world and long for Gods people to be built up and not torn down. Also, we can not lose sight that God will right every wrong. Nothing gets by His watchful eye and you and I, in Christ, are the apple of His eye. His people. I often get discouraged. The enemy wants to discourage anyone or anything that is going on in the name of Christ. So, I LOVED reading these verses please don't miss this:
Neh 4:15-18
15 When our enemies realized that we knew their scheme and that God had frustrated it, every one of us returned to his own work on the wall. 16 From that day on, half of my men did the work while the other half held spears, shields, bows, and armor. The officers supported all the people of Judah, 17 who were rebuilding the wall. The laborers who carried the loads worked with one hand and held a weapon with the other. 18 Each of the builders had his sword strapped around his waist while he was building, and the trumpeter was beside me.
I am standing up to type now. Nehemiah is given the opportunity, the resources, the blessing, and the people to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Walls of protection instead of brokenness and shame. So of course the enemy comes against them to taunt and discourage them. You and I have got to stop being so surprised by the schemes of the enemy. We have to wise up and be on to him. He is going to go after whatever he can to try to thwart God's plans. Will we give up and lie in the dust completely discouraged or will we take our swords and fight the good fight back. They used their weapons (their swords) as they worked to rebuild. We figuratively have to use our sword to fight the enemy as we seek to rebuild and further Gods kingdom on earth. The sword of the Spirit being the word of God. We are powerless without the armor of God and especially our defensive weapon being the Word of God. We have got to know it, believe it, drink it and breathe it. One time I took Morgan to get her pictures made and I took her little pink bible to get her picture made with. She put that word in her mouth (some of you may pass out now) and the lady was telling her to move it. I said, "NO!! NO!!! I need that picture!!" Jeremiah 15:16 says "16 When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty."
Your words were found...and I did eat them!! I told her. We have got to have His word as the manna for our souls and a weapon to use against the enemy. He will twist the word as best as he cant and tempt us by asking all manner of questions while we are trying to live out our call on this earth. Did God really say...? Are you sure you are the one to be doing this after all you have done...? Surely, you are confused because you aren't really forgiven...
He will try any of his same old same old methods to discourage you. If you aren't on to him and if you aren't working and yielding your sword at the same time you and I will most likely cave under the discouragement.
So, I love when it says: 15 When our enemies realized that we knew their scheme and that God had frustrated it, every one of us returned to his own work on the wall.
He will come against you...and as he realizes that you are on to him that coward will have to tuck tail and run as God will frustrate his schemes by the power of His word! Greater is He in You than he who is in the world! GLORY!!!
I could go on and on but I have to head to church and teach. Love to you all!!

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

My Fundraising Page

My Fundraising Page

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Friday, September 4, 2009

The Word of the Lord stands forever

Peter 1:23-25 (New International Version)

23For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24For,
"All men are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
25but the word of the Lord stands forever." And this is the word that was preached to you.

Just in front of my kitchen window there is a TALL weed that shot up. It was green and looked vibrant at first and because of the heat that weed has turned dark brown and has died. It just teaches as I stand there. When I was in seventh grade, I went to a lock-in at a small baptist church. As long as I live I will never forget that time. A precious girl named Melanie told me about Jesus. She sat in one chair facing me and me in the other. She held my hands and prayed with me to receive Christ. I recently found her on facebook and was able to finally thank her. She had no idea the impact that this would have on my life. I was so on fire for a year and because I never got discipled and did not know how to grow in God's word the passion I had fizzled out. Praise God I walked smack dab into a bible believing church where the word of God was preached. I have heard of a lot of churches lately that are reaching out in the Name of the gospel, yet I am afraid (from me listening to the teaching) that the people are not getting taught the full counsel of the Word of God. It scares me to death. In this day we have so many different gospels going around. Turn on the TV and you will see a whole host of TV preachers telling you to send in your money and God will do this and that for you. It is all about you. I even heard a preacher tell people to send in their unpaid bills and they were going to have a huge bonfire and burn those bills. A lot of good that is going to do. Then, you hear of the "lets make the church more relevant" type deal. I am sorry but the true Body of Christ is the only thing that has stood the test of time. We are not called to use methods of this world to attract people who are lost. I will not apologize at all for that statement. Then, how often do you and I take the backseat in the name of not wanted to offend anyone when people are so caught up in false teaching? I could sit here and give some of you a list a mile long of teachers that day in and day out teach nothing but prosperity and your best life now. If this is my best life now I am in for trouble. I love life...but I am in trouble if this is as good as it gets.

I have first hand witnessed someone follow this kind of teaching and it does not work. The gospel works. The Word of God works. I have shared this numerous was 4am and I had one of my doctors sitting at the foot of my bed breaking the news to me as best as he could that my child was going to die. Bless his heart. He was so kind, humble, and you could tell that his heart had never grown hard over the years. It was not easy for him to come in and tell me this. I wanted him though to spit it out so I could just take it in and be alone with the Lord. I literally put my hands over my ears and starting quoting scripture and singing because I wanted him to just discuss whatever he needed to with Rod and let me deal with things. I am the type that wants you to spit it out. Don't drag things out on me. So, I kid you not a word stirred up in me that I had not even been studying or thinking on because it was stored in my heart. Mary, Martha and Lazarus was the word. The Lord revealed to me on that bed that He alone holds the keys to death because of His death on the cross. He was not crying just because Lazarus had died. He was about to bring him back from the dead anyway. It was almost (of course He didn't speak audibly to me) as if the Lord was showing me that He was crying and experiencing the external and internal forms of grief for the "Mary's" and "Martha's" of this world. The ones who are feeling the sting of death. We just were not made for separation. No wonder the last enemy to be destroyed is death. Oh death where is your sting? It will be swallowed up. I use this story and I could list so many others to say that His word works. Time spent in His word is never void.

Do you want to build up your faith? Go grab a copy of "Daniel" by Beth Moore. You throw yourself into that study and you will walk away with your faith built up. A faith that understands that persecution brings purification. You will see the God of the Bible who allowed Daniel to be thrown into a den with hungry, ferocious lions ready to rip the flesh off of any soul to satisfy their beastly hunger. Then, see that God shut their mouths. I don't know about you but I would be wigging out to even come close to a lion, much less spend the night with one.

Then, the fiery furnace the three men in the fire get to see the glory of God. Literally, a fourth man shows up in the fire. The fire is so hot that people that get next to it are killed and these dudes are dancing in the fire and come out of it not even smelling like smoke. Then, you see the prophecy given to Daniel regarding the statue. It was given way before the history books were written. You can go back in history and literally see most of the prophecy fulfilled through history to the tee. We still have some to go on that statue regarding eschatology but God's word is true and relevant. It is amazing.

The point of me telling you about Shelby is that if I had not been rooted and grounded in the Word of God and I got a trial like the one I had dealt to me I would have indeed withered up like that weed in my front yard. I have watched a woman completely live in bitterness and selfishness for as long as I have known her, yet she follows this doctrine of Jesus wants you to be happy, give you money, and allow you to be the spoiled princess that you are. We are in this big princess movement. Everywhere you turn princess this and princess that. We are indeed daughters of the King. We are heirs and co-heirs with Christ. Yet, His kingdom can not be inherited by flesh and blood. Unfortunately, we are not going to be able to be spoiled princesses without a stinky aroma. We need to know who we are in Christ to be secure. Yet life is still not all about us in the here in now. There is glory at stake in our trials, failures, and persecution. We are called to a life of servant hood not a life of us being served.

I got way off here but one thing that spurred this is that I am really, I mean really struggling to get along with someone. REALLY struggling! So, based on God's word proving true in the past when I have battled this and wallowed in unforgiveness, I became bitter and that root of bitterness sprung up and true to the word it defiles many. My sin doesn't just effect me. Not only that when I choose to not forgive it eats me alive and hardly even bothers the person I am struggling with. So, been there done that, I am going to pour out my heart to Jesus. Memorize me some scripture and pray for this person that I am struggling to love. In the process God will change my heart. He does it every time. Yet I still have to work at it and do my part.

Guard your heart and mind, watch your doctrine closely, and don't allow things to spring up in your heart by fostering sin and it's deceitfulness.

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Lamenting the days gone by...

Psalm 102:1-3

Psalm 102

A prayer of an afflicted man. When he is faint and pours out his lament before the LORD.
1 Hear my prayer, O LORD;
let my cry for help come to you.

2 Do not hide your face from me
when I am in distress.
Turn your ear to me;
when I call, answer me quickly.

3 For my days vanish like smoke;
my bones burn like glowing embers.

I was in my closet earlier just listening to the quiet. My stomach turned within me as I felt I was treading on holy ground. It is such a sacred thing. We truly don't take enough time just to be still before the Lord. I am not talking about some sort of blank meditation but more of the availability to hear when a word may be scarce and respond like the little boy Samuel (1 Samuel 3)...Here I am! Anyway, when I got up and went and looked at my baby girl my heart just ached within me. I just lamented in my heart. A lamentation was a song or a poem and it expressed regret, coupled with grief, or mourning. More than anything I would say it is raw emotion before God. It is the pouring out of your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. (Lamentations 2:19

19 Arise, cry out in the night,
as the watches of the night begin;
pour out your heart like water
in the presence of the Lord.
Lift up your hands to him
for the lives of your children,
who faint from hunger
at the head of every street.)

Let me just say, no I am not some morbid person but my heart just yearns for the days that are so fleeting. They are not without pain and toil, but the joy of this sweet child no one can know but God. So why would we think that our Father thinks less of us. He loves us more than we who are evil could ever even love our own children. Even in a short four years I have my regrets, have had my share of tears and fears, and have grieved that my sweet girl is growing up and there is nothing I can do to stop it. Sometimes we get out her baby pictures and I tell her all about her being born and now before I pick up the book she says, "Mom, don't cry please!" After the loss of Shelby, Morgan came into this world in a time when I thought my heart was going to die. This morning she let me hold her while she slept and I held her so tight to my chest and I thought my heart was going to burst with love for her. Do not get me wrong I get irritated, impatient, and etc. Those are some of the things that I lament...times when I am impatient or not attentive. Lord, help me. I just praise Him for the fun that we have in the midst of the groanings of my heart that this child who has been entrusted to me is growing and things keep changing and there is nothing I can do but just live each day and cherish the time. I believe there is a sinful type of lamenting when we look back on our own personal Egypt and groan to go back to relationships, places, or situations that God has delivered us from. Yet I believe there is a good lament that allows us to understand once more that we really are not in control as much as we long to have control. She has started talking to me about going to big school next year. I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT. She says, "Mom God made me to grow up." True...true.

1 John 3:19-21

19This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

21Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Dancing boy in the red shirt

Why doesn't my daddy love me?

Psalm 27:9-11

9 Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
O God my Savior.

10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
the LORD will receive me.

11 Teach me your way, O LORD;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.

I remember very few things about my biological father (or sperm donor as I prefer to call him). After the tender age of four I never saw him again. I remember asking "Why doesn't my daddy love me?" or "Why doesn't he want me?"
God just wired us that way regarding family. I am convinced. When a parent walks away from a child there is a hole in the heart of that child's soul. I don't care what anyone says. Morgan has asked me why he didn't stay around and wondered if he is dead because she can not comprehend her dad ever not wanting her. She is secure in his love for her. She is taken by her dad. Some of you reading this may have had the same question yet on the flip side: Why didn't my mom want me, or why didn't my mom and dad want me?
My sisters and I all three handled it in different ways. I can not speak for them. I could speak regarding observation but I did not know their true hearts. I internalized it and tried to stuff it down. I remember my dad telling me "not to cry" when I was very young...therefore I made it my ambition to never cry. I had to be tough or so I thought. I also took on a parental role with my sisters and etc. I was a perfect set up for insecurity and for one who would look for love in all of the wrong places. Whether you have been abandoned or emotionally abandoned by the ones who "should love you the most" have a God that will never leave you or forsake you. When you have known rejection like the kind I am talking about and you turn yourself in desperation to our Heavenly Father, our Abba, He will never reject you. Not ever, never!
It is a strange thing but I was in a way glad that he was not in my life. If he didn't want us then I didn't want anything to do with him. Sadly, he has at least 15 kids and has little to do with any of them. I find myself feeling sorry for him as I type this because to be honest I don't give him much thought. I can not tell you what comfort I have found in Christ. What acceptance and love from Him. There are no bars that we have to reach for Him. He loves us steadfastly. The way to Him is the way of the cross. He died for the fatherless, the orphan, the widow, the destitute. He died for the whosoever would come to Him. I was adopted at age 7 or so and while I love my dad, and with all due respect, no one comes close to Jesus. When I think of my Father or Dad...I think of the Lord. Hands down. In a way I can boast along with Joseph that what the enemy intended for my harm God meant for good. I would not be who I am today if it weren't for all that I have been through. Through trouble, hardship, persecution, and famine of the soul I would not trade one thing if it means I draw closer to Christ. If my marriage were perfect, finances were perfect, ministry were perfect and on and on...I promise you I would be wigging out in some idolatry. Where would there be any room for God in my life? He doesn't have to allow anything to happen to me so I will seek Him but I can say for sure that because of the trials of my life it has drawn me to intimacy with Him. An intimacy I would not know if I allowed earthly things or people to fill the longings of my soul.
I spoke of warfare earlier and I just want to say that as I was thinking tonight, I thought I don't even stinking care about the warfare...if it means I will draw closer to Him bring it. The enemy is so stupid. The more he comes against me the more I go to God. What a moron! So are things not going your way? Have people let you down again? Did you open up your heart to love only to have that heart dashed on the rocks? You know what I say? You and I are more than conquerors. Come what may, we are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us and gave Himself for us.

Romans 8:35-38 is so powerful!!
35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:
"For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If you know the God of the bible, even if you feel forsaken you are not. Praise God when I lost my firstborn I was able to say in-spite of the indescribable pain that this I know Psalm 62:11 One thing God has spoken,
two things have I heard:
that you, O God, are strong, 12 and that you, O Lord, are loving.
Surely you will reward each person
according to what he has done.

The very things I lacked are the very things that brought me to a certain desperation for Christ so for this I will praise Him all the more.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Oil & Water Just Don't Mix

1 John 2:15-17
15Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

I am going through a personal time of warfare right now. I have had the blessing of being able to start teaching again in the Singles ministry to women. My first Sunday is this Sunday so please say a prayer! I will then start back my fall bible study on Tuesday nights this coming Tuesday. It is as if I almost forgot the wiles of the enemy. I taught for seven years and without fail I had warfare for seven years (and have continued to don't get me wrong). Don't get all freaked out on me I am just saying that the enemy would come against me in some form to try to thwart Gods plans. I look back over the years that I taught week in and week out and wonder why anyone ever came to my class. There were times I felt like the biggest idiot after I taught. I would go home some afternoons, sit in my bed, and pull my pillow over my head thinking about how bad I blew a lesson and wonder what in the world went wrong. Then, I have wondered why people are still friends with me and on and on. It really is about His power being made perfect in our weakness though. So, He sure gets the glory for ever even using me to accomplish one ounce glory. My cardboard testimony is Psalm 130 for sure! The primary area the enemy targets is a relationship that is close to my heart, one that in no way am I called to leave. For whatever reason every season we just butt heads. There has to be a point that comes with each of us when we no longer succumb to the same old same old way of reacting just because we are stuck in a rut.
We are called to holiness as believers. However, when I teach it holds me to such accountability about the standard of purity in my life. I think this is why we should all continue to serve in the gifts God has given us because there in lies our calling. Consecration should be the standard at all times but I am just being honest about how serious I take teaching a class of people. (And no I am not talking about being a pastor) I do know that I am the least of the least and not worthy or fit to do anything for the Lord, yet for His grace.
So, I am upping my level of consecration and being a lot more particular and intentional. It is just way too easy to let your guard down in the area of what you watch (your eyes are a lamp unto your soul), what you listen to (it does affect you), where you go (whether you are setting yourself up for temptation), the way you spend your time (our life is a vapor and mist). I have heard over and over people tell me that certain things just don't effect them. Wrong. What you put in that precious mind of yours effects you. How do I know? 1. From experience and 2. Gods word says so. So take that up with God of the Universe. I have at times been on facebook or something and someones pictures will come up in my feed and I begin to click through thinking thoughts like these: "Oh she is so much prettier than me." --"This couple seems so in love, like they are best friends."--"she dresses so cute."--"She is thinner than me." All from looking at some stinking pictures. Half the time your thoughts aren't even true of their situations. Yet there are so many things that create a sinful discontent in us as we compare ourselves to this world system. God gave Adam and Eve a lot of variety in the garden paradise and they went after the ONE THING...THE ONE THING that God said no to. They focused on all the one thing they could not have instead of all that God had given them. That is our sin nature at its best. With all of the media outlets we have we are inundated with things that raise our level of discontent...and we lust and lust for what we feel God is holding out on us over.
As I was boiling some water earlier today I poured some oil in the pot and watched as I have many times how it all starts out as a bunch of drops and then forms as a whole spot of oil. That is exactly what Christ is calling us to. He wants us to be in the sea of people on this earth yet He doesn't want us to blend in. We are called to be radically different in a world of chameleons. We are to come together, united as one body of believers yet serving in our individual places. I will never forget a sermon I heard about ten years ago regarding salt and light. Salt and light are so prevalent in our day that we have a hard time thinking of "back in the ancient day." Salt is a preservative and light was not just the flip of a switch. When your house is pitch black and a light comes on, even the smallest light, it extinguishes the darkness. We are called to spill out onto the meat of this world and shine for Christ but it won't happen on accident. When we compromise (which I have had my share of) we lose focus, and sensitivity. We in essence put our lamp under the bed instead of shining like a city on a hill.
After all what good is salt if it loses its saltiness?

Matthew 5:13
13"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

The whole point here is that we have an identity problem. When we start to blend we forget our identity in Christ...that He is our life. Yet what is our point if we lose our effectiveness? If we lose the whole point of our being here for this brief time. When we conform to the patterns of this world we become like the above verse...not good for anything. Salt if it wasn't added flavor or preservative was tossed out and mixed with gypsum to help plaster a roof on top of a house. Back in the day people spent plenty of time on the roof and trampled under foot that salt mixed with gypsum. Do you want to be effective? Ask God to show you what your level of cooperation needs to be regarding what needs to go that is pulling you down. Listen, as hard as it is to let go of some of the things that have a hold on you work with Him. You were meant to live in the freedom that is already yours. So stand firm and do not be burdened again to a yoke of slavery.
Short story: I used to be so co-dependent. You have no idea. My identity was so wrapped up in having a man in my life. So, the Lord called me to be by myself because I needed to know that I could be OK, He didn't need to know I would be OK. I thought it was going to be the death of me. Yet my whole deal did not start over night and I sure wasn't going to be free of long standing co-dependence overnight. When I tell you I cooperated with Him as painstakingly as it was I am not kidding. I prayed, I fasted, I memorized scripture. I got on the floor and writhed in pain as my heart was completely His and it was the most liberating thing that had ever happened to me at that point. I was not whole as long as I clung to my idols. I am not even that person anymore. Why? Because His word works. He works! So go with me and let us press on to know Him. Let's bind together and build one another up in the faith.

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Out of the mud and mire

Psalm 40:1-3

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.

2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.

I have come out of what I believe to be an intense sifting that has lasted for a little over three years. I never want to go through this kind of sifting again. In more ways that I can count I felt like Jeremiah when he was thrown into a cistern, which was a mud pit. If you have ever been in some deep woods you know that there is nothing pretty about mud and mire. A deep pit was often used to imprison someone. Just like the traps set for us by the enemy. He desires for us to sink down so low and not get back out. Down in that pit is some serious gloom and darkness. The only way you and I can get out is to cry out. Our Redeemer is the only one who can get us out of this kind of pit. I have shared this story before but Morgan has been asking me to tell her stories about when I was little. I grew up on a lot of land. In fact that is all we did was yard work on the weekends. ;) So, one day I am dressed up, looking cute (or so I thought...which I didn't have a lot to work with so I am sure I didn't). I was wearing a long skirt, a red shirt, and my sisters shoes. We were not big on sharing so if you wanted to borrow something you basically had to wear it without asking. If you have had siblings close in age you know what I am talking about. So, I head "out back" to look at the new school that is being built adjacent to our property. The town I grew up in was called "Clay" and clay it was called for a reason. Rich in iron resources and some good ol' mud. So, I take a few steps and begin to sink like quicksand. No lie. Before long I am up past my knees in mud. I began to panic and scream. If my dad was not working he was in that yard. He had lived there from a young age (maybe 9). So, after a while he heard me screaming. I will never forget my relief. He came and began to pull me out. "Daddy what about my shoes?" I cried. Well, of course they were not my shoes. He said, "Big'un if we are getting you out of this the shoes are staying." By the time he pulled me out the shoes had gained some weight with mud. So, yes the shoes stayed and I was relieved yet mixed with fear over them being my sisters shoes that were being buried. My point is that when your God comes to pull you out of the pit you are in...some things are going to have to go. After you have been sifted like wheat, believe me you are going to want those things to go! You can't be free with the extra weight. I don't know what needs to go for you but I can tell you I sure hope you will humble yourself, memorize some scripture and arm yourself in this age of seduction that we live in and not have to have the beating of your life.

We will not be victorious if we continue with our own pet sins and disobedience. God would rather have our obedience than any sacrifice or offering we could bring. He has our best interest at the center of His heart.

I thought today about how much you and I can let external things define our worth. There are so many times I have started out having a great day then gone and gotten on the scales. I refuse to weigh at the doctors office because I believe the only way to weigh is naked. LOL! So, I would hop on the scales and see that number and let it ruin my day obsessing over my weight. I thought about buying some scales the other day and I said out loud in the store, "No! I am not going to stinking let some scales define who I am as a person!" Seriously, when this tent is coming down one day why on earth do I waste my time obsessing over it? When it is said and done that is not what matters.

When you are down in the mire you do not have a firm place to stand. This in turn causes fear and a measure of panic. You wonder how you are going to get out. If you are ever going to get out. Will you die in that pit sinking down as low as you go? Not if you cry out to God and cooperate with Him. Today, if you hear His voice do not harden your heart against Him. Do not harden your heart to the still small voice who is so worthy of your attention and affection. He is worthy of you spending Your whole life on Him. He is our life and the length of our days.

When you get out of the mud and mire, and are standing on a firm Rock, you sing that song of praise...the new song in your heart as loud as you can and to everyone you can.
Morgan cracks me up so bad because she will sing songs that she has made up so loud in stores and as I am telling her to quit I get so tickled while everyone is staring at us.

They go something like this:

"I'm ok, cause your ok. We are ok, because I am ok. I am ok because God is love!"

Y'all with God we are gonna be ok! We will make it! He is love and mercy.

The Lord has given me this scripture twice this week:

Micah 7:7-9 (New International Version)

7 But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD,
I wait for God my Savior;
my God will hear me.

Israel Will Rise
8 Do not gloat over me, my enemy!
Though I have fallen, I will rise.
Though I sit in darkness,
the LORD will be my light.

Do not let the enemy gloat over you. Shout from your mouth, "I AM FORGIVEN!" Even if you have fallen rise up! Don't stay in the darkness sister or brother: The Lord is Your light! Keep letting Him light the steps before you as you walk in His ways.

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