Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Joy Parade

Bring joy to your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in you.  Psalm 86:4

In response to today's Faith Jam over at Faith Barista, here are a few things that bring me joy:

Joy is family and vacation-together (the poor weenie
dog is NOT experiencing this joy).

Joy is Mommy getting all her boys to sit still
for one picture.

Joy is the happiness on my boy's face when
the water is finally warm enough to put
his toes in-for just a minute.

Joy is having a Daddy who is willing to look
silly just to see his boys smile.

Joy is another year to experience
this chosen child and all he brings
into our lives.
Joy comes in the morning when you find two
treasures cuddled up together...

I am joyful for this season of life that I find myself in.  When I think it mundane or I'm just plain tired, I remember the pit from which I was pulled and I am joyful.  God is God of the past and the future, but He is also God of the present and that is where I choose to live my life and find my joy!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

One of My Favorite Things

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Philipians 4:8

I've said it before and I'll say it again...I love to read.  Reading is one of my favorite pastimes.  Several years ago, I came under conviction about the types of books that I was reading.  I felt that God was telling me if I was going to read then it needed to be something that would be pleasing to Him.  Something that I wouldn't mind Him looking over my shoulder and checking out.

This was an easy switch for me.  I love Christian Fiction and how the writers present the gospel in ways that non-believers don't mind reading about.  I especially like Historical fiction.  I recently was sent a book for review by Kim Vogel Sawyer, Courting Miss Amsel, and it was such a delightful read.  I hated to see it end.  I'm praying for a series!  The book is set back in the late 1800's in Nebraska and it follows the ups and downs of Miss Amsel who is the new school teacher in the region.  It's a simple, pleasurable book that I'd recommend to anyone who likes period books.

Why do people enjoy reading historical books in the first place?  I've always said that I was born in the wrong time period.  I love the simpler form of life the people lived back then.  Their lives revolved around God, family, and community.  Not this hurried, too full life that we now experience.  What are your favorite books to read?  Or, like my hubby, do you only read the Bible and nothing else?

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher for review

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Deep Fried: Pickles, Twinkies and Jesus

'These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.'  1 Peter 1:7

I am from the South and we will deep fry anything.  If you can name it, we can fry it.  You can go to the county fair and visit any booth where you'll find deep fried Oreo's, Twinkies, pickles, potatoes, and even ice cream.  Why are we so fascinated with the deep fryer?  I tend to think it's because we want to take the ordinary and make it extraordinary.

This is just what Jesus wants to do in our lives.  He wants to take our ordinary life, put it in the deep fryer, let it boil a little while, and then pull us out nice, crispy, and well--extraordinary.  The time it takes to get from ordinary to extraordinary is different for each one of us.  Some of us are in the fryer a lot longer than others.  Some of us need the oil a good bit hotter than someone else.  But in the end, we all will end up just the way He wants us to be!
I can't say that I look forward to being thrown into the deep fryer.  It's uncomfortable and hot.  It's a time of uncertainty and you can get burned very quickly.  But who would've thought that you could take a dill pickle, bread it, and fry it up?  These things are wildly popular around here.  In other words, the final product is well worth the time and effort.  The same is true with the refining process that He puts us through to make us more like Him.  The end result is worth the time we spend in the deep fryer.

Monday, April 25, 2011

It's a Brand New Day

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”   Luke 24:45-49

"I've just seen Jesus!"  "It's true, the Lord is alive!"  These are the voices of those who were witnesses of the unimaginable.  Can you fathom the excitement?  Beyond the shear miracle that had occurred, something even bigger was coming.  Jesus was getting ready to ascend to heaven and leave the Eleven for the final time.  But He promised them that something even better was coming.

What could be better than following a risen Savior?  I'm sure they couldn't imagine what it would be.  They didn't have to wait very long.  Jesus may have been leaving for a time, but He left them with the Holy Spirit.  The same Spirit also comes to dwell within us when we become Christ followers.  The third part of the trinity is living in you and me.  God is living inside us.  Wow.  The only thing better than that is going to be the day when I see Jesus face to face.

Until that day occurs, I desire to let His Spirit indwell my life to the point that I am no longer visible.  When others look at me, I want them to see Jesus.  I want people to say, "I've just seen Jesus in her life" or "It's true, the Lord is alive because I've seen Him in her."  What an honor.  Holy Spirit come and fill my life.  It's a brand new day.  The night has gone and morning is here!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

He Is Not There!

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. John 20:1
At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 
John 20:13-14

Oh the beauty of the stone rolled away from the tomb.  When Mary first came upon this sight she was afraid that someone had stolen her beloved Jesus' body.  What she didn't know was that He was not in grave clothes any longer.  He had already risen from His temporary slumber and was waiting for just the right moment to appear to her. 

I am humbled to know that our Lord chose to appear to a woman first.  This is significant to me because in the time in which they were living, women were deemed as unimportant, almost an afterthought.  To me, this is an example of my Jesus showing me that I am not insignificant.  Of all the people He could've appeared to first, He didn't choose the most influential disciple.  Instead, He chose one that was quietly going about her business, taking care of her Lord's body.  This continued the example He set in His earthly ministry of attending to the poor and broken-hearted. 

I can never fathom what was done on the cross for me the day Jesus died for my sin.  I can not imagine the horror Mary must have felt as she stood in the crowd and watched her Savior be beaten, degraded, and ultimately killed by men.  As bad as that must have been for her, can you imagine the overwhelming joy, ecstatic joy, that she felt when she saw Him on the other side of the cross?  The disbelief?  The eventual realization that she was seeing her Savior as He was truly meant to be seen?

I know the joy I experience because of what He did for me.  I have not seen Jesus face to face, nor placed my hands on His nail-scarred body, but I have faith that one day I will.  And what a glorious day that will be!  Then, I can say that I've felt what Mary did that day over 2000 years ago and I will be complete.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

At Once

“Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me."  Matthew 21:2 

I am in love with the Word of God!  I began reading on Palm Sunday the events of Easter week as they happened (thanks to the craft Sam did in Dinky Disciples).  The triumphal entry was the first thing I read and the phrase and at once you will find jumped out at me like I've never experienced before.  I've read this passage and taught Sunday School lessons on it for years, but have never had it actually speak to me before!

How significant is it that Jesus didn't send his disciples into town to search aimlessly for the donkey and her colt.  Can you imagine how long it would've taken them to go around looking for just the 'right' ones for the Lord?  Christ had it all lined up.  He knew what the prophet had stated many years before in Zechariah.  He had inspired it.  He didn't need to send his men on a donkey hunt.  Instead, He had yet another chance to show that He was the all-knowing Messiah.

I am thankful that He also has my life all lined up.  He already has it planned out.  I don't have to wander around trying to find the right path.  All I have to do is get into the Word, spend time in prayer, and intentionally seek His will for my life.  He wants to show me that He is the Messiah.  He wants me to discover the plan that He has for me.  I am ready and willing to follow Him, are you?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Glorious Day

In honor of our Lord's sacrifice and His ultimate redemtion, I'd like to share this song that Casting Crowns remade from the old hymn 'One Day'.  It is an awesome testimony of what our Lord has done for us!

'But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.' Romans 5:8

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Jesus Joy!

'Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.'  Isaiah 49:13

I am afflicted.  I am tired.  I am thanking Him for His comfort today.  I am praising Him for His compassion.  My heart is weary, but in Him I can shout with the heavens.  I can rejoice with the earth.  I can sing with the mountains!  He is my Deliever, my Portion, my Strength.  Without Him, I am nothing.  With Jesus, I have joy, unspeakable joy.

These are all things I've been learning in my quiet times with my Father.  I am joyful that I found a bible study in my area that I can go to and be real with other ladies.  We are from all walks of life, all denominations, and we all have the same purpose:  to get to know our Daddy.  This is where my joy comes from. 

People may try to convince you that the things of this world will bring you joy.  'Stuff' and more 'stuff' is the only thing that will satisfy.  But have I got news for them!  If they grasp on to the desire that is within them to get to know Jesus--the absolute JOY of that relationship is unfathomable!  You'll never be satisfied with the temporal things of this earth...only Jesus Joy will do!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Football With the King

'And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table; he was lame in both feet.'  2 Samuel 9:13 

"Mommy, I want to play football!"  said my three year old son.  "Sure you can buddy, but you've got to work on your running game,"  said his mommy in return.  I can see you shaking your head and asking what is so unusual about that?  Don't all three year old boys want to play football?  Especially those little boys whose daddy's watch every football game known to man.  You know the one's who TIVO College Football Classics from the 1980's so they can watch it in the off season?  That may be normal for most boys, but not this one.

What I didn't mention is this child is special.  This child has Cerebral Palsy.  We consider it a good day when he only falls three time while walking around the house.  But run?  You've gotta be kidding me!  What kind of mother would I be if I let my son think that he will be able to play football?  On the other hand, what kind of mother would I be if I didn't let him reach for his dreams?  Good Mama or bad Mama?  I DON'T KNOW!
Mephibosheth was cripple in both feet, just like my son.  But this did not deter King David from inviting him into his home.  No, he was welcomed into the palace and even dined at the king's table as one of the family.  He was given land and men were appointed to run it for him.  His disability didn't change the fact that he was valued in the king's eyes.

I used to get my defenses up when I would see a child with disabilites playing sports with 'normal' kids.  Now that I am a Mama of a child with disabilities I can see why she let her son play football.  She wanted him to have his dream.  She didn't want to be the one to hold him back.  Sooner or later we have to let go of our little ones and entrust them to the One who gave them to us in the first place.  After all, they were never truly ours to begin with.  For all we know they may one day be invited to play football in the yard of the King...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Confessions of a Spiritual Hillbilly

'His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.'  2 Peter 1:3

It's great to back from vacation!  I hate to see it go, but getting back into the routine is nice.  I was able to make it to Bible Study last Monday night and I'm thankful I made the effort to get there.  Priscilla used the analogy of the Beverly Hillbillies in Discerning God and it was just to good to pass by.  Just call me Ellie Mae Clampett.  Pig-tails and all. 

I love this!  I'm sure you all know the story of the Clampett's.  They were living in a shack when one day Jed was out shooting for some food...and up through the ground came a bubbling crude...oil that is!  They were living like paupers when all along they were sitting on a goldmine.  So they did what any decent hillbilly would do and packed up and moved to Beverly Hills!

That is what my spiritual life has been like.  According to the verse above, when I became a Christian, I got everything I needed for life.  Everything.  I've been sitting on a goldmine all along and have never taken the initiative to use the power that I have been given.  I have been a bonified spiritual hillbilly.  So like any decent spiritual hillbilly, I'm packing it up and moving into the life meant for me.

How does one do this?  By offering my body daily as a living sacrifice to my Father, as well as focusing all my energy on what is pure and godly, I will strive to live in the manner in which I have been called.  What about you?  Are you a spiritual hillbilly as well?  Consider movin' on up with me today!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Forsaking Your First Love

In keeping with reposting oldies but goodies, here's another one from last summer. 

"I have something against you, namely, that you have forsaken your first love." Rev. 2:4

I've recently re-started Beth Moore's Revelation series (I started at the beginning of the summer and then started another study at church--so now I'm back to the first one) and she is so dynamic! I just LOVE her. She has such a way with women...OK moving on--my purpose is not to talk about how great Beth is--but she is great, isn't she?

On the third teaching CD she is talking about Rev. 2&3. She goes into detail about only one of the letters to the churches leaving the others for the student to figure out for herself. One thing she said stood out to me with such force I had to address it (mostly for myself, but you're lucky enough to get to share my rambling thoughts). The church at Ephesus had forsaken their first love. They did so many other things that got God's attention for the good, but they had a fault that I think a lot of us Christians today have. They forsook (is that a word) their love for God.

I so don't want to be that person! I don't want to be found lacking in my love for Him, do you? So how do we love Him with a love we can be proud of? Good question, I mean can you really love God as He deserves? That I don't know, but I do know the Word says in 1 John 4:19 that-"We love because He first loved us."

What should we do in response to such an amazing love from Him? It's easier said than done I think. When Jesus came He abolished the Law and the old Covenant and left His church two simple commands: to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength AND to love your neighbor as yourself (Matt. 27: 37-39). Easy right? Yeah, OK. I can follow two things...I've got the love the Lord one down!! But love my neighbor as myself? Depends on who the neighbor is right? I don't think Jesus was talking about just our next door neighbor either. I think He meant ALL people...even the crazy terrorist ones (He died for them the same as He did you and me). Not so easy anymore. I need to work on loving my neighbor and I pray that God'll give me His eyes to see others as He does--then it will be easy to love them.

I think if I choose to love others and love Him, then I am actively pursuing Him, not forsaking Him and that's exactly where I want to be.

No-I didn't finish the study.  I had a baby 6 weeks early and then got involved in a local Women's Bible Study group!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Hello fellow Bloggy friends! Since I am out of town, I decided to go way back and repost some of my first blog posts. This was written almost one year ago in May.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday brought news for our family that we weren't expecting. My GeeGee went for her routine mammogram and was met with the news that she has two "spots" on her left breast. That's the only one she has as she has met with the big "C" 1982 she lost her right breast to this evil disease.

I immediately found myself wanting to control the events surrounding this circumstance. Being the nurse that I am, I wanted to call a surgeon and have the biopsy done right now. Not June 7 (when it is actually scheduled) but RIGHT NOW. I mean, how can we wait for almost 2 weeks to know what is going on here? Who are we going to get to do the surgery? I wonder if she'll do chemo or radiation? All of these thoughts and more ran through my head before I even paused to ask God to be in this situation (even though He's already all over it). I didn't even acknowledge Him or His plan for us.

After I slowed down a minute, it occurred to me, "What in the world can I do to change what is there and what God's plan is for GeeGee?" Absolutely nothing is my answer. Every single one of her days was numbered before there was even one of them according to my God. He knows His plans for her and they are for good not evil His word declares. He tells me to rest in Him because His yoke is light. He says to be still and know that He is God. God is God and I am not!!
Today I have a peace about the situation. GeeGee says that she does also. After all, we can't change anything. All we can do is walk the path that He has set before us in faith in Him and His perfect will for our lives.

So, please pray for her and us as we wait this out. 9 times out of 10, this will be nothing but calcium. But the 1 in 10 chance that this could be cancer drives me to my knees in prayer for His perfect peace and even His joy in the midst of it all....after all, God is God and I am not!!

PS- there was no cancer and GG is still thriving at 80!

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Silly Box

I am on vacation with my family so I thought I'd go way back and pull out some posts from the beginning.  This one was written last summer.

'Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.'  Phillipians 4:8

We just got back into town Monday after a nice, not-long-enough, family trip. We had TV (Jon goes nowhere without his satellite and access to the FOX Carolina 10 o'clock news...nowhere) but didn't watch much of it save cartoons and HGTV.

As we came home, I realized how much we depend on the silly box and it's ability to entertain us. We can't even come into the house without someone turning it on...sometimes just for the noise, I think. I wonder what it would be like to have no TV at all. Would we be totally out of touch with the outside world? Would our world collapse if we didn't see every new episode of CSI's or Deadliest Catch? What about Disney, Animal Planet, Nickelodeon? And even the occassional Fox News Channel for the latest about how bad our world is and how it is falling apart?

I think it could be the best thing that has ever happened to us! I have stopped watching some of the things that I used to watch (General Hospital, One Tree Hill, Grey's Anatomy, etc.) because I, what would Jesus think if He came back to earth right now and this is what I was doing?

But I'm pretty sure He'd feel that way about most anything we fill our minds with on the TV, movies, books, etc. What is more important than studying the Word of God and renewing our minds with His truth? NOTHING!

So that is what I am challenging myself to do this summer. Instead of coming in and turning on the a christian novel (which I love to do), do a bible study, read to my kids, play a game...anything other than turning on the silly box and losing ourselves in it instead of God or our family!

God is in control of this world, no matter if we can watch it happen on the 10 o'clock news or hear about it from a co-worker, He has it all under His feet! We just need to look up and draw our daily bread from Him!!

We've still got the TV, but I can say that I do think about what I watch before I turn something on.  I still do not watch the shows I decided to cut out!