Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pass the Salt Please!

'But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.'  Genesis 19:26

Bless her heart.  Don't you know Lot's poor wife never expected to be turned into a food preservative when she peeked back over her shoulder at the life she was leaving behind.  Do you wonder if you'd have looked back?  I do.  I think the temptation to take one more look may have overtaken my good sense and I could've been seasoning someones food too! 

What could've been so important that she risked her life? Comfort.  Sodom had become comfortable for her.  The city was a disgrace in the Lord's eyes and unmentionable things were going on in the midst of it, but this place had become her home.  She was happy.  She felt safe in the madness.  But God called her out of her comfort zone in order to spare her life.  She looked back because I don't think she was ready to trust God's plan for her life.

Sound familiar?  We don't want to surrender our lives to Him completely so we'll hold on to one, tiny aspect of it ourselves.  He doesn't really care how I spend my money so I'll continue to manage that part without Him.  Boom--pass me the salt please!  We have to be willing to totally surrender ALL of it to Him.  All He asked of Lot's wife was to walk, looking forward, into the new life He had prepared for her.  She didn't obey and look what happened to her. I don't think He'd really turn me into salt, but He could if He wanted to.  I, for one, am not willing to put Him to the test.


But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1Peter 2:9


P- Praise- He is my God and I will praise Him!
R- Repentance- Acknowledge my sin and thank Him that He has forgiven me for it.

A- Acknowledgement- Surrender myself and allow Christ to live in and through me.

I- Intercession- Pray for others. Ask Holy Spirit to show me who to pray for and when.

S- Supplication for self- Pray for my own needs/feelings/desires-just talk with Him!

E- Equipping- Ask Him to help me see and hear Him. Empower me and fill me with Himself.

In EVERYTHING, give Him thanks and praise...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Do You Live on Perfect Lane?

'If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood—and indeed the law given to the people established that priesthood—why was there still need for another priest to come, one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron?'  Hebrews 7:11

Do you struggle with perfectionsim?  Just swing by my house and you'll see from the utter chaos that this is one thing I do not have a problem with!  What is perfectionism anyway?  My first thought is that it's the desire to have everything around you 'perfect'.  According to good ol' Webster, this is correct, but there is a second definition I found to be very intriguing:

A doctrine holding that religious, moral, social, or political perfection is attainable, esp. the theory that human moral or spiritual perfection should be or has been attained

Hmmm....sounds a little like a God-complex, huh?  I'm pretty sure the bible tells us that no man is perfect except one...and it's not you or me.  I am so glad He doesn't expect me to be perfect!  As I said earlier, I am definitely not a perfectionist, but I know of several people who are.  I think they are some of the most unhappy, tired, and grumpy folks that I know.  They are continuously striving to have every single thing (and sometimes their children too) around them in perfect order.  Everything.

If we know that reaching perfection here on this earth is impossible, then why do we try to do it?  Control issues?  Obsessive-compulsive disorders?  I really don't know.  I feel for those who have the overwhelming desire to be perfect.  They aren't gonna get there, not in the human realm.  What do you do if this person is you?  All I can say is to take it to God.  Ask Him to show you the reasons behind your desire to obtain perfection.  When He does, commit to working with Him on getting over the bondage of perfectionism.  Come on over to the other side and join the 'non-perfectionist' group...it's a perfectly un-perfect place to be!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Recipe for Fear

'Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged. For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you may go.' Joshua 1:9

My Bible study group will be starting a summer study soon on-yep, you guessed it-fear! I've been preparing my heart and mind for what God wants to show me through this study. I stumbled across something I wrote about two years ago to share at a youth retreat. Obviously, I've been dealing with fear for a long time...still am! I came up with an acronym for the word FEAR and put verses with each letter. I'd like to share them with you, also as a reminder for myself, about what our God says about this bondage called fear...

F: Faith: We must have faith in the One who is our Protector. Without faith, we have no reason to expect to be set free from our fears.
“But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” Hebrews 10:38
'Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.' Hebrews 11:1

A: Able: We also must believe that He is able to handle our fears (and that He wants to).
'Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,' Ephesians 3:20
'Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.' Matthew 10:28

E: Expect: We must expect that He is going to answer us when we cry out to Him with our fears.
'Call to me and I will answer you; I will tell you great and mighty things which you do not know.' Jeremiah 33:3
'Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?' Isaiah 58:6

R: Relationship: We must have a relationship with Him if we want to be free from the bondage of fear.
'My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.' John 10:27
'And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.' James 2:23

We must have Faith that He is Able; we must Expect due to our Relationship with Him that he will help us conqeour our fears-no matter how big or how small! Believe it and live in it!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

One of 'those weeks'

'Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.  Psalm 55:22'
'Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.'  1 Peter 5:7

Have you ever just had one of 'those weeks'?  The kind where nothing seems to go right, people get on your nerves, and you can just feel Satan breathing down your neck?  Well, I've been having one (and it's only Tuesday)!  It's during times like this that I am thankful for His presence in my life.  If it weren't for Him sustaining me, I'd have probably gone insane or killed somebody by now.

I am also reminded of the fact that He commands me in two places, Old and New Testaments, to cast my cares upon Him.  It gets tiring carrying around all my stuff day after day.  I wonder when I'm going to learn to give it to Him before I even get out of the bed in the morning?  And when a new care arises to put it immediately into His loving arms.

If I could just learn to do this every time it would save me a lot of worrying and anxiety.  I am not a patient person.  I like to be in control.  Surrendering these aspects of my life seems almost impossible to do, but in order to completely be free in Him, I have to.  I'm reminded of a praise course we sing at church that goes like this:
I cast all my cares upon You.
I lay all of my burdens down at Your feet.
And anytime I don't know what to do,
I will cast all of my cares upon You.
Join with me and let this be your prayer when you are having one of 'those weeks'.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sink or Swim

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

We just enjoyed a great weekend of fellowship with our church youth group at one of the local lakes.  The kids loved the water, even though it felt about 35 degrees, and did some rock climbing and jumping off said rocks into that frigid water!  My hubby loves to do this and is game to take anyone along who is up to the challenge with him.  I can say that would not be me.  The highest they jumped this weekend was from about 40-50 feet...too high, if you ask me.

Hubby jumping off 'the rock'
The one thing they did do that I was grateful for was wear their life jackets.  They are all good swimmers, but had sense enough to know that a jump from that high may take their breath or cause them to panic resulting in a scenario I don't even want to think about.  As I was watching them, with one eye open and one shut, I got to thinking about how Jesus is like our life jacket in life.  
We could do this thing called life on our own and probably do a fairly good job at it...until a crisis comes along that causes us to panic.  What would we do then?  We'd have nowhere to turn, but to our own devices...scary!  But if we live our life with Jesus by our side, when those times of trouble come along, we can just let go and let him keep us afloat.  We don't have to doggie paddle in the frigid lake.  We can just float along and wait on Him to work it out for us.

This summer, whenever you put on a life jacket, remember that Jesus is your flotation device!  He's one that you never want to take off.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Do Not Be a Quitter

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.   Hebrews 12:1-3

My seven-year-old loves to start something.  Be it baseball, karate, soccer...you name it he's all gung-ho about it, at first.  He begins strong, excited, and ready to go, but by mid-season, he's ready to be done.  He wants to quit.  The easy thing would be to let him.  I wouldn't have to listen to him whine, fake illness, or cry.  But is letting him quit the right thing?

No.  Quitting before he completes a committment doesn't teach him a thing.  It lets his teammates and coaches down.  It makes Mama and Daddy look like pushovers.  Making him finish out the task builds his character and integrity.  It also teaches him to make sure he really wants to do something before he committs himself to it.

The same goes for Mommy too.  There are times when I just want to quit.  I want to give up Kid's Church or singing on the Praise Team.  I want to quit work.  I want to cease to be Mommy on the worst days (this one doesn't usually last but for a nanosecond)!  It would be so easy just to sit down and quit.  Then I get into the Word and find the verses above in Hebrews.  This chapter follows the 'Hall of Faith' with all the great witnesses of God and what they endured.  They did not quit.  They faced alot more hardship than I could even imagine, but they persevered. 

I want the same to be said of me.  I don't want to quit my race too soon.  He has it all laid out for me.  I want to finish and cross the finish line, running into the arms of my Jesus.  I want to hear Him say, "Well done, my child, you have finished well."  I will press on, head up, feet anchored to the path before me.  I will not be a quitter.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Don't Call the Home Yet!

'But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.'  1 Timothy 5:4

Over the past few days I have been helping take care of my eighty-year-old grandmother.  It is hard to see the one who has always taken care of you be the one needing the care.  I am thankful to say that God has heard our prayers and she is much better now.  In the case that she didn't recover as quickly has she had, we had a plan.  We already had my parents dining room converted to a makeshift bedroom and the bathroom remodeled to include a walk-in shower.

Praise God that these changes were not needed, but I look back and am glad that we hadn't even considered putting GeeGee in 'the home' to recover.  I understand that some people just can't take care of their loved ones, but for the ones who have no excuse I have to wonder what they would say about 1 Timothy 5:4.  God's word tells that we should be the ones to care for our elders.  Not the nursing home or someone else. 

What would happen if those who are able to care for their loved ones at home stepped up to the plate and actually did as the bible commands?  I know the nursing homes would be a lot less crowded.  I also know that some would be earning extra stars in their crowns by following the command  He left for us to follow.  I am feeling His blessing today as I look at my GeeGee and see the miracle He has worked on her behalf, but I am also feeling blessed because we were ready to take action and be her caregivers here on this earth!

Monday, May 16, 2011

What Are You Afraid Of?

Then the officers shall add, “Is anyone afraidor fainthearted? Let him go home so that his fellow soldiers will not become disheartened too.” Deuteronomy 20:8

I was searching the bible for a verse to use on fear when I came across the one above. At first glance, you probably wonder why I chose this one. There are so many other uplifting verses that deal with fear, but this one would not let me leave it alone. God wanted me to use it to speak to someone today (myself included).

We are all afraid of something. Some of our fears are healthy (things that would cause us harm), but most are not. Take my fear of flying, for instance. What about this fear glorifies God? Nothing. It actually shows my distrust that He can keep me safe in an airplane. It can also be a hindrance to me from doing His will for my life, especially if His will is for me to do some kind of mission work that involves traveling. My fear can also be a hindrance to someone else (my hubby, for example) if it impedes them from acting on God's will for their life.

Hence, the reason for choosing this verse. If I have an unrational fear that I am unwilling to surrender to God, then I should not let it get in the way of my fellow soldier's Christian walk. In turn, if someone else has a fear, then they shouldn't bring down the entire group. They should go to a quiet place, confess their fears to God, and be willing to work with Him to resolve the fear. I know how hard this can be, but I also know I don't want to be the one that causes my fellow workers to be disheartened.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Join With Me In Prayer...

Please be in prayer with us today for my GeeGee.  She was admitted to our local hospital last night in acute kidney failure from an unknown cause.  She is a dear lady of God who has endured the loss of 3 children (one infant, one toddler, and one around 12), the loss of her husband of 50 years, and she is a Breast Cancer survivor.  We don't know what the road ahead of us will hold, but I know that God will give us strength and peace to travel the path.  My GeeGee knows who her Redeemer is and I pray she'll be quited by His love.

'The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you; He will quiet you with His love; He will rejoice over you with singing.'  Zephaniah 3:17

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Hands of God

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  Psalm 19:1

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. Mark 13:31

This bible was found on the side of the road by one of the chaplain's.  It was turned to Mark 13-14.  They were able to contact the mother of the owner-he is in rehab.

This is an Ebeneezer-an altar to the Lord.  These are being left all over Tuscaloosa by people that are serving as the hands and feet of Christ.  They are to remind the homeowners that God was with them the day of the storm and of the people He sent to help them.

I don't know why God allows disasters like the tornado in Alabama.  I don't know why children have lost their parents or parents their children.  He has His reasons and we'll never understand this side of Heaven.  I can never describe the total devestation that we witnessed there.  It is impossible to wrap my mind around it all.  I have never seen anything like it. 

I have also never seen anything like the response we saw either.  There were people from everywhere helping those who have lost it all.  College students from the University of Alabama that stayed to help there fellow citizens instead of going home.  Students from other colleges, people from churches near and far, disaster teams...and on and on.  It was heart-warming to see it.

I must confess I really didn't want to see the devestation first-hand.  It really wasn't on my list of things I most want to do.  But God called me to it.  I do not want to stand before my God at the end of my days with regret because I didn't answer when He called me to action. What about you?

Monday, May 9, 2011

THE Woman

A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city
Proverbs 31:10-31

Who is this woman?  I can tell you who she isn't--ME!  This is a woman on steroids and caffeine.  She does it all, apparently with no complaints.  She works, raises her kids, takes care of everyone, helps her hubby, and on and on.  She just makes me tired.
Why did God give us this impossible example?  He knows that I cannot possibly fill her shoes.  I propose that He put her in the Word because He knew that I couldn't be her.  He knew that I can't even come close.  This, in turn, draws me to Him.  He becomes my source of the Proverbs 31 qualities.  With Him, I can be this impossible woman.  I'm not really sure I want to be her, but if I ever get the urge all I have to do is call out to Jesus and He'll equip me.

Happy Mother's Day (belated)!!!  I've got some thoughts to share about our trip to Alabama with Samaritan's Purse tommorrow!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Newest pic of the Morrison boys...Zach (7), Sam (4), and Charlie (8months).  What more can you say?
Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him.  Psalm 127:3

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tuesday Challenge

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
                                                                                                                            Deuteronomy 6:5
My preacher issued a challenge (well, kinda) Sunday and I'd like to extend the same one to you today.

Do you truly love the Lord with everything you've got?  Do you love Him more than your hubby and kids?  What about that dream job, new car, new home?  I must confess that some days I do, but on other days it is a struggle for me.  I can see my family, touch my possessions, and put my feet inside my home.  I can't see God, nor can I reach out and physically touch Him.  That makes the command above hard to do.

But we know that the Christian life isn't just a ticket to the easy life.  He said that we would have trouble.  One of mine is putting Him above all else.  I have made a commitment in my heart to seek to place Him in front of everything else daily.  Before my feet hit the floor in the morning I am praying that He'll be my number one priority that day.  Not only Him, but the things that He'd have me to do for His kingdom.  His agenda, not mine, is the plan for the day.

So, the challenge is this--put Him #1 for one week.  Seek only His approval and His will.  Not yours or someone else's.  See what happens.  Love Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.  I think He'll show up for us in ways we never expected.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Wanna Be His Hands and Feet

'But we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.'  Ephesians 2:10

Unless you live in a cave and have no contact with the outside world, I'm sure you've heard of the recent catastrophic tornado outbreak that hit the South.  My first thought when I saw the images was that I was glad it wasn't us.  But it could've been.  The same storm systems passed our way.  Only God's divine protection was our saving grace.

My next thought was what could I do to help.  I have a servant's heart and I take the command to be the hands and feet of Jesus very seriously.  My answer came in an unsuspecting way.  I was working and we had the radio turned to the local Christian radio station.  The announcer was talking about the tornado damage and mentioned volunteers being needed through Samaritan's Purse.  When I got home that day, I looked up the information.  The thoughts of 'what am I going to do with my kids' and 'what if my hubby doesn't want to go' and 'surely You don't want me to go Lord' filtered through my mind.  But I had the overwhelming feeling that He was telling me to sign up.  So I did.

It didn't work out that time due to work/childcare conflicts.  We didn't have to wait too long as there was another tornado outbreak in Alabama.  I resubmitted our info, they called, and we are scheduled to travel to Tuscaloosa this Thurs.-Sat.  I 'you-tubed' video's of the damage so I could see what to expect and all I can say is Wow!  It's gonna take a lot of manpower and a massive clean-up effort to get things back to any resemblance of 'normal'.  People's lives, families, and communities have been destroyed.

I am thankful that we have the ability to step-in and help these people in the name of Jesus.  I am thankful for parent's and a sister-in-law that are willing to sacrifice of their time and comfort so that we can serve in His name.  They may not be the ones that 'go', but they are serving just the same as we are as they help us with our children.  Our children see that it's not all about us, but about what we can do for others who are in need and who are desperate for hope, healing, and Jesus!

I realize that not everyone can take time out of their lives, find childcare, get off work, etc. in order to do hands on disaster relief.  But there are other things you can do.  First of all...Pray!  Give a $10 donation to the relief effort.  Get a group together and make hygiene kits.  I could go on and on, but you get the point.  And if you're able-bodied and have no excuse not to get out there and help....then do like I did, sign up and go already!!