Monday, August 12, 2013

I find myself hungry this morning.

And thirsty.

I feel parched.

But it isn't a physical hunger or thirst.

It is spiritual.

I've been starving myself all summer I realize.

Almost as if I have been running the opposite direction of My Portion...My Provision.

My mouth is dry.

Yes, I've read the Bible.

Yes, I've attended Sunday church.

Yes, I've knelt and prayed.

But I have not been hunting...pursuing...chasing!



Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Joy vs Happiness

Conversations that occur at the lunch table at work are interesting most days. Recently the conversation took a little bit of a serious turn while discussing how much excess we Americans have in comparison to other countries. I couldn't tell you how we arrived at this subject, but many different opinions were expressed and discussed.

And I gained knowledge and insight about a couple of my co-workers.

Like I said, I don't know exactly how we got onto this subject, but when we dug into it, true hearts were revealed, and it broke my heart a little because these people are like my 2nd family, and some I consider friends.

I do my best to live my life openly as a Christ follower. Ask anybody that I work with and they could testify to this. So when discussing the economy and being afraid of the government and what is happening and doing all the "I wish it would get better", "If we had a better leader", yada, yada, nonsense, I pretty much stand firm that:
A) It is not going to get better in this lifetime,
B) God holds my life-He knew when I would be born, He knows when I will die, and He knows everything that will happen in between, and
C) I try to not focus on all of the bad and instead keep focused on what is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy. (Phil 4:8)

So, back to the lunch table conversation: it came around to the subject of happiness. Someone had mentioned that although we don't "need" everything that we have, if we didn't have it, then we would simply not be happy anymore.

This is just not true...if you are a True Christian...truly Saved and truly following Christ.
I have seen people with anything and everything they ever thought they desired and they are still the most miserable people to be around;

EVERYTHING is still just NOT ENOUGH to satisfy them.

I've felt that way too. I would be lying if I didn't fess up to that right here and now. And I still throw a temper tantrum every now and again when I don't get what I want---which I slap a mask over so that I can make it look like something I need, and in turn justify all my complaining. Yeah...I've done that. I think we all have.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I look at those people that have the bare minimum and who seem "happy" with less. I've been there too. Back when my husband and I were first married and barely made enough to pay our bills each month. Those were the days when a trip to Wal-Mart and Taco Bell on pay day was a treat! But I look back there and think we were, in some ways, happier than we are now that we have much more.

But it isn't about "happiness". It is about JOY.

And our joy comes from Jesus. It comes from seeking His face and digging into His Word.
True Joy is knowing HIM! Talking to HIM! Being in His presence!

And when we know Him, we aren't worried with what we don't have or what the world is coming to. We know what the world will eventually come to...and that's HIM!

So in this conversation, I openly expressed this knowledge-yes, it is my opinion-but I know it to be true. My resources you ask?

Romans 15:13 "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Job 33:26 "then that person can pray to God and find favor with Him, they will see God's face and shout for joy; he will restore them to full well-being."

Psalm 5:11 "But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you."

Psalm 16:11 "You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."

Psalm 19:8 "The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes."

Psalm 51:12 "Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."

Oh my goodness there are hundreds of references...hundreds of scriptures to confirm that
JOY COMES FROM THE LORD!

But that is incomprehensible for the non-believer...and for those who claim to believe but don't , when this subject comes up, what they truly believe is revealed. I don't argue with them; I share my belief, I share the Truth and pray that God works through my testimony. I can't change them-only God can and if it is His will, then He will!

And as uncomfortable as these conversations can be, I praise Him for the opportunity to share the Gospel and glorify Him! Afterall, that is why He keeps me here. There is Kingdom work for me here, not just business work. And I am FULL OF JOY to be used of God in this place.

I'll take JOY in the LORD
over happiness from the world
any day of the week!


Thursday, June 13, 2013

LYLAS



A few nights ago I received a text from one of my oldest friends-
oldest as in years of our relationship, not her age, lol.

She was asking prayers for her health and for healing and relief from the pain that she is enduring. It was late, so I didn't call her, but instead I stopped right there and text-prayed with her.

Typing that it sounds a little weird-ish, but, I am here to tell you that it was strong.

You see, her and I don't speak often, and we don't get a chance to see one another often either. We live roughly 510 miles apart; one of us in the heart of Arkansas and one of us in the panhandle of Texas. On top of being so far away, we both have two kiddos and husbands that have crazy busy work schedules and life has just taken over.

But do you know what we know?

Anytime, day or night, rain or shine, we are their for one another.

In prayer constantly.
In thought daily.
In heart always.

Lifetime friends.

I am so thankful for her friendship. Knowing deep down that if I called and said, "I need you", she would be there in a heartbeat. And always has been, since we were kids. Maybe she couldn't jump in her car and be at my house in a matter of minutes,
but she would be on her knees in no time, praying on my behalf.

That's powerful.

That's a God-sent friendship.

Isn't God so good and faithful to provide true and lasting relationships for us while we are here in this temporary life?
To me, this is just another way that God has bestowed grace, mercy and love on us---and we don't even deserve it.

I love knowing that Jesus is in the center of my relationship with my long-distance bestie.
I am honored to be called on by her to pray for her and her family.
Today I am praising God for this friendship and the many others that I have been graced with.

"Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV

Monday, June 3, 2013

Do Everything in Love (1 Cor 16:13-14)

I have been trying to memorize two verses a month along with the Living Proof Ministries Siestas  and I have been having some issues staying on track. I did this the last time around and was so blessed by it!

The verses that I memorized in 2011 are still with me and really have saved me on many occasions when I was about to make a choice---like 1 Corinthians 10:13 when I deal with temptations, or Romans 12:21 when I have a bad thought about a situation or person.

This year my memorization has not exactly gone as smoothly and I am having to work at it a little more---chalk it up to my busy schedule and a little rebellious nature if you want to, but for whatever reason, I have been struggling.



So the verse for the last two weeks in May and my first verse for June have come in the form of song! And I already have both memorized!

I stumbled across Seeds Family Worship music about a year or so ago for my kids and once you hear a song 2 or 3 times, it is stuck! And that is great because the entire song is a verse or set of verses straight from the Word of God! And Isaiah 40:8 says "the Word of our God stands forever."!

I highly recommend these albums for you and your family! I believe that scripture memorization is very important and that this is a tool that can help anyone, young and old!

So my verse for the next two weeks is,

"Be on your guard;
stand firm in the faith;
be men of courage;
be strong.
Do everything in love."
1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NIV

I need that reminder....
To guard my heart.
To stand firm in my faith
To be courageous for the Lord
To be strong, even when I feel weak
And most of all,
To do EVERYTHING I do in love because of the love of Christ!



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Knock, Knock



I need to learn to pray again.

Ok, so just typing that sentence kind of feels like a tiny burden has been lifted.
Admitting that to the world makes it more real rather than like a little secret I've kept to myself.

For a while now, I have just kept that one inside, behind a tiny black door in my heart, where only I knew about it...well, God and me.
I am confident that my prayer life used to be in decent shape but these days, not so much.
I send up some popcorn prayers when I hear of things happening around me, like my baby sister having tests run or the recent Oklahoma tornadoes. But I will sadly admit that getting on my knees or my face...wait...to be even more truthful, just waking up and starting the day with prayer and then ending the day with prayer, that doesn't happen like it should.

I don't want to be on a strict prayer schedule. I don't want to make this about routine prayer or a checklist type thing.

I need my prayer life to be my lifeline!
I need to call on God the way I call my baby sister when I have a bad day.
I need to grab God's ear when I get ticked at work and allow Him to talk me down instead of brooding to myself over it or even worse, venting to a coworker.
I need to just tell Him how thankful I am for the air that I breathe...the heart that beats in my chest.

I read a blog today about teaching your daughter to pray for her future husband now, while she is young and also that we, as parents, should be praying for our children's future spouses as well. I stopped dead and thought to myself, how can I do that when I don't even stop to pray half of the time over daily things!?

This revelation scared me...seriously, just made the hair on my neck stand on end.

Plus, if I am not praying, how can I teach my kids to pray? And if they don't have a prayer life, how will they have a relationship with Christ!?

I am intentional about a lot of insignificant things...I think we all are. But my prayer life, which in all reality is the connection that I have to Christ, should be the most intentional thing that I do. Boy has this hit me hard, and I am so thankful!

Prayer. Seems so easy---but it's not. It's not easy for me just to stop. But I need to. And I will.

Face down, heart cut open wide, spilling tears, allowing myself to be naked and transparent.
Change me God. Break the habit that I have of not relying fully on You for each breath that I breathe!

God knocked on that little black door this morning. It's open. Wide.
I'm going to learn to pray again...today is just day one of the rest of my life.



1 Corinthians 14:15
What am I to do?
I will pray with my spirit,
but I will pray with my mind also;
I will sing praise with my spirit,
but I will sing with my mind also.


“You may as soon find a living man that does not breath,
as a living Christian that does not pray.”
~ Matthew Henry

God brought me back to life.
New Mercy. Once again.
I didn't deserve that knock at the door in my heart.
For His Glory alone did He do it.
And He will be glorified by me and through me!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mom



Is it weird that all I want for Mother's Day this year is a bottle of perfume (only because I have been out for probably over a year) and I want an entire afternoon with my family, cleaning the garage? :)

Sounds like a lot of fun doesn't it, lol!

I have always loved Mother's Day, even when I wasn't a mom yet. As a child, I loved to create a personal gift for my mom. You know the kind, a clay handprint, a painting of the sun and a rainbow, a macaroni necklace. Fun and simple, but so meaningful. As I have gotten older, I realize it isn't so much about the gifts as it is about feeling like your children really love and appreciate you. My kids are so little that I don't think they understand that yet, so I find those creative little gifts they bring home from school, daycare and children's church to be some of my greatest treasures. But as an adult, and a mom, I know what Mother's day is truly meant to be.

My mom recently moved in with us for a few different reasons and this transition has been interesting to say the least, and an adjustment for all of us. But it is definitely proving to be for the best. Now we haven't always been the best of friends and we still have our moments, but my mom sure does mean a lot to me and my family. We are so thankful to have her around and get to spend extra time showing her just how much we love her.

I know that we should do this every day and not just one day a year---kind of like any holiday---yes, there is one day set aside to celebrate, but we should keep it on our hearts and minds daily.

So this Mother's Day, I'm not sure what we are doing for lunch or if there will be any flowers or gifts given; but what I do know is that love will be poured out in abundance and each day thereafter.

Thank you Mom for all that you have done and are doing. I know that there are days when you feel like life is just tearing you down, but I hope and pray that you will hold onto the fact that you are loved more than you know and that you mean a whole lot to us!
We love you Mom. Happy Mother's Day.




 


This blog post is linked at www.missionalwomen.com

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Only Christ




"The unbridled beauty of a comeback lies first in God's grace; second, in the decision to accept that daily dose of grace; and third, in the gain of a clear perspective that keeps you steady in Jesus' palm."--Angela Naxworth, Womb Woven and Wonderfully Made


comeback--A return to formerly enjoyed status or The act of making up a deficit
The Free Dictionary by Farlex

I am taking back my ground; Returning to my former state of joyful hope in the Lord and His Salvation and Righteousness! Not just returning, but with a new awareness and renewed spirit!

He has freshly forgiven me today, saved me again and again with each breath that I breathe...each step that I take.

NEW MERCY!

mercy-- compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender: lenient or compassionate treatment
Merriam Webster Dictionary

When I speak that word, "mercy", something within me just bows down in worship and adoration. It is such a beautiful word-a beautiful picture of my loving Savior Jesus forgiving me, an awful offender; showing me the ultimate leniency and compassion.

I am a sinner. A rebellious, prodigal child. I have done my fair share of running in the opposite direction of the Lord...and each time, I've fallen down, skinned my knees, and been covered in the muck and mire. I wear ugly scars from my own disobedient, resistant and unruly nature; daily reminders of just how much I am in need of Mercy & Grace, and of just how much Jesus loves me, to take me back in, pick me up, wash me off, and redirect me in the way of Truth and Light.
He is the only One that can and will do that for me. It's beautiful and amazing and I am so unworthy of that! Any way you look at it, I don't deserve such treatment! The only reason that I stand on two feet today is because He lifted me up from my knees when I could barely crawl. How can I not jump for joy and shout to the world of this saving grace?

We had a ladies retreat a couple of weeks ago and the theme was God's Beach House. We were there to be reminded that our peace and rest is in God alone; nothing in this world can give us what we truly need daily. No matter what we think will complete us or make us happier: a new car, a bigger house, a husband, a baby, a new job...it can't and it won't...it doesn't have that power!

But Jesus does! He has Resurrection Power, don't ya know!
Didn't He raise Lazarus from the dead? (John 11:1-45)
Didn't He heal the woman with the issue of blood with just the touch of the hem of his cloak? (Matt 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34, Luke 8:43-47)
Didn't He Himself, after being crucified on the cross, and being buried in the grave for 3 days, rise again, conquering death? (Matt 27:32-28:20, Mark 15:33-16:20, Luke 23:26-24:53)

ONLY CHRIST HAS THE POWER TO SAVE AND RENEW MY SOUL!

He has renewed me once again! He has refreshed my soul! I was like Lazarus-He raised me from the dead! I was like the woman with the issue of blood-He healed me with just one touch!
And He is stripping away what I don't need, all the things that have gotten in the way of our relationship---so that I come to Him as my only source of Rest and Renewal.

Jesus, Living Water, Breath of Life...drawing me back when I stray...Thank You Father...


"Remember once again why we are making this journey. It isn't just for the milk and honey on this side fo the cross. It's for the Person who is calling us there. He is lovingly taking everything that has happened, creating something of great worth. In the void of our lives, Jesus does His best work, faithful to bring order out of chaos, beauty out of darkness. We may not be holding onto anything, except the very prize that is worth winning. Jesus."---Bonnie Gray, Faith Barista