Friday, August 29, 2008
In the meantime, here are links to some of my favorite previous posts...
Worth the Wait
The Potter & the Clay
Commit and Rest
A Loving Reminder from God
Lessons for Life (Through an Old Man at the Airport)
A Gracious Second Chance
Thursday, August 28, 2008
You must also know my heart is so grateful that in the most important of all ways, Brennan is ready for this. That’s huge! He may forget some of what we've taught him about doing laundry, or balancing a checking, but his heart for God has never been stronger or more prepared. His passion is a joy to see. Throughout his young life, he has seen God do some amazing things, so He places no limits on Him (that I and many others are sometimes inclined to do). He has some God-sized dreams that he awaits with much hope. Tom and I pray God will use him greatly, and believe with all our hearts that He will. Words can’t even express the joy and peace that gives.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
My hubby and I both know God’s grace is more than sufficient to meet our needs and ease our heartbreak. We are confident He has gone to great lengths to prepare us for this time. We’re leaning hard on that, in fact. We also know countless parents have experienced what we’re preparing to walk through and just like them, we’ll be alright, we just dread the process. Typically, Tom and I are much more inclined to the giving of prayers and encouragement as opposed to the asking for it. But because I consider you friends, I want to be real, transparent and honest before you. Several of you have already been praying for us. We can’t express how much we appreciate that. We also know that in the grand scheme, there are those with far greater needs and certainly far deeper pain than ours.
For those with little ones, I know this day seems far away. Believe me when I tell you it will be here before you know it and you’ll wonder how in the world it happened. Can I give some advice you can never hear too often? Cherish the everyday moments. Read the extra story. Play a bit longer. Talk a little more. Hug & kiss them every chance you get. Speak words of love and affirmation daily. Linger over them as they sleep. Pray for God’s greatest blessings in their lives. Savor them like never before. You’ll never regret it.
Here's a little glimpse of Brennan's first 19 years of life...
Monday, August 25, 2008
There’s an amusing story of a business executive who, at the end of a long day of travel, climbs into bed at a hotel. As he begins to nod off, he feels something crawling up his legs.
Leaping up and fumbling with the light, he throws back the sheets to discover the bed is full of bugs. Changing rooms was not enough to satisfy the man’s disgust. When he got home, he wrote a letter of complaint to the hotel’s corporate headquarters.
Weeks later, he received a reply directly from the president of the company:
“We are absolutely appalled that a man of your position and reputation should have had such an experience in one of our hotels. We are deeply, deeply embarrassed, and we assure you that we are working diligently to correct this problem. It will never happen again.”
As he read the reply, the businessman felt great! The hotel management had heard him; they’d committed to making a change; and now every customer would benefit from the businessman’s initiative.
As he folded the letter, a small Post-it® note floated to the floor. Picking it up, the man saw, in a hand-written scrawl, “Send this guy the bug letter.”
Have you been sending “bug letters” to God? Form letters that cover any concerns and commitments between you and the Father; standardized responses to God’s commands, directions, or promptings; a file full of templates that allow you to walk by sight and not by faith?
It’s easy to say you’ll be a more supportive husband and a more attentive father. Will you allow God to lead your transformation, or will you send him a form letter?
It’s easy to say you’ll be a more loving mother and a more encouraging wife. Will you allow God to lead your transformation, or will you reach into the file cabinet for another form letter? Don’t waste God’s grace, my friend. Let him transform you. Let him teach you to walk by faith and not by form letters or ritual reactions.
· God is not surprised – He knows the intent of your heart and the truth of your priorities. He knows when you’ve sent him a form letter. His desire is not to condemn you, but to grow you. What form letter to God will you tear up today?
· Be authentic – Speak to God from the depths of your heart. Tell him about your fears, your hurts, your dark places, your sins – and allow him to be your Heavenly Father.
· Jesus is personal – Jesus doesn’t keep you at a distance, thinking of you as just another standard, typical, “templated” believer. He lives in you and guides you, and you access his power through faith: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20 NASB)
Lord, may I not waste your grace by sending "form letter prayers." The price you paid was far too high that I should treat you as I often have. I want so much to walk by faith, to be changed. Do a work in my heart, Father. I want to always show you the love, reverence and respect you so deserve. May it be so, Lord Jesus...Amen.
Friday, August 22, 2008
A daughter is telling her Mother how everything is going wrong, she's failing algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is moving away.
Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the daughter says,
"Absolutely Mom, I love your cake."
“Here, have some cooking oil," her Mother offers.
"Yuck" says her daughter.
"How about a couple raw eggs?"
"Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?"
"Mom, those are all yucky!"
To which the mother replies: "Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake!"
God works the same way. Many times we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for good! We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful!
I hope your day is a "piece of cake!"
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
At work a couple of weeks ago, we all received an e-mail from Brad, one of our summer interns (a 19-year-old college student) saying his Mom had sent in cake in honor of his birthday. He said he had left some in the kitchens of every floor of our office. I immediately thought, "Wow! how nice...that's a lot of cake!" In an effort to "be good," I quickly decided to forego a trip to the nearest kitchen and resumed work on my task. Moments later, a co-worker of mine came bursting in saying "I brought you some of Brad's cake!" For a split second I was disappointed, but then quickly decided it was only right that I should partake. After all, she HAD made a special trip trip just to deliver the goods...it was such a kind gesture...how could I say no? ; )
Let me just say as soon as I took the first bite, I knew I was in trouble. Wow! In a matter of moments, the cake was gone and I was literally sad! It was that good! Soon thereafter, I saw Brad. I said..."that cake..." He just started smiling and nodding... "yes...I know." I decided to be bold..."Do you think I could get your Mom's recipe?" "Sure" he said. I walked away thinking I better start searching the Internet, because 19-years-olds have a lot more important things on their minds than recipes. After searching every conceivable description of the cake on Google, I gave up. Would you believe a couple of days later, he stopped by to see me...recipe in hand?! I was so impressed. My happiness spilled over when I looked at the recipe for "Brad's Cake" and realized that it was incredibly simple. I've already made it...twice! It's pretty much foolproof, and perfect for those times you need to whip up a quick dessert. In honor of your sweet friendship (and with Brad's blessing), I'm sharing this deliciousness with you! Enjoy!
1 white cake mix
1 can "Thank You" brand chocolate pudding
(I found this near the instant cheesecake mixes at our Kroger)
Combine these three items until smooth. (Batter will be thick) Spread in 9 x 13 pan.
In a separate bowl, combine:
1/2 cup of sugar
1 cup chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts and chopped them very fine)
Once well blended, sprinkle over the cake batter. (There is enough to cover the top of the entire cake). Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. That's it!
(Variation: You can also use 1 box of yellow cake with butterscotch pudding and chips in place of chocolate.)
One other sweet blessing that came about because of this cake...I spent more time talking with Brad. I learned he is a Christian (which I should have suspected based on his demeanor around our office). He's a great guy. The Mom heart in me then thought of his Mom. I asked how she was doing with his fast-approaching return to college. He said, "She's doing well...she's quite a tough cookie." He then went on to tell me how she fought two different types of cancer during his high school years, and now is cancer free. She is considered quite a miracle. Her oncologist even nicknamed her, "Lazarus." Seeing her faith through such a difficult journey has obviously made quite an impact on this young man. His love and admiration for her is evident, as is his gratitude to the Great Physician who brought about her healing. I can't tell you how much that blessed this Mom's heart. Something tells me I'm going to think about Brad and his Mom each time I bake that cake, making it even sweeter than ever before.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Hope this finds you well. It seems as though there have been a flurry of awards circulating the last couple of weeks here in blogworld. I am grateful and humbled to have received honors from a number of sweet friends.
If you're like me, you so appreciate the kindness with which these awards are given. If I can be completely honest, though...I much prefer being on the giving end of affirmation and awards than the receiving. My favorite part is always passing them along to others, and yet that presents a new dilemma all its own. What if in doing so, I hurt someone's feelings, or unintentionally overlook a sweet sister who is very deserving of one of these honors?
I pray you will understand the intent of my heart when I say I'm not going to chose individual recipients of these awards. I don't do so out of selfishness, but rather out of a heart that wishes to honor ALL of you. I'm grateful to God for each and every one of you, all of whom have enriched my life in some way. God has chosen to cross my path with yours at this time because He knows I need what you have to share. He is so good to me through you!!!
I do want to express special thanks to those of you who shared these awards. If any of these sisters are unknown to you, please make it a point to stop by their blogs. You WILL be blessed!
To my gracious friend, Nancie of More than Conquerors, who recently shared the Gratitude with Attitude Award and later the Friendship Award...thank you precious friend. You may be far away in distance, but your impact on the hearts of those of us in blogworld seems to know no limits! Nancie has a definite gift of loving and encouraging others with her kind words and sweet prayers. She has brightened many days with her caring heart.
Thank you also to Jenelle from Life in the Woods, E-Mom from Chrysalis and Peggy from Mazes, Messes, Miracles...aMazing Grace for the Brilliante Weblog Award.
Jenelle is a sweet young stay-at-home Mom of an ADORABLE little man, Colter. Her blog is a delightful mixture of real life, humor, loads of great photography and inspiration. Visits to her never fail to bring a smile.
E-Mom's blog is filled (and I mean filled) with an amazing array of resources...from marriage, parenting, politics and countless other topics through an evangelical Christian world view. Her blog is truly like a mini news network for Christians. It's impossible to visit without learning something each and every time!
Peggy is a delightful soul who exuberantly worships the Lord! The time she invests in special offerings on her blog often staggers my mind! She is truly a woman devoted to the Lord, and she loves to encourage and bless her friends in Christ. A perfect example of one such offering was her 100th post. It was the most incredible, all-encompassing post I have ever seen. She shared verses, songs, video clips, prayer challenges, and then presented the "Sharing the Love" award to 100 blogs, complete with LINKS to each and every one! I was privileged to be among the recipients and I offer my thanks to her again today.
Again...if you read this blog, please consider yourself a recipient of all of the awards above!
Finally, I want to express thanks to my new friend Colored Heart at Clay in the Potter's Hand...she honored me recently with her own blog award which truly touched my heart. She and her beautiful family have an awesome ministry in the Phillipines, and she has yet another blog that is LOADED with incredible Christian resources, and a feast for the eyes, as well.
Thank you again for these special gifts! My life has been immeasurably blessed by the friends I have made in the blogging community. I pray God will bless you abundantly for your kindness!
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
This past Saturday was so much fun! You may remember I posted about my Grandparents, Walter & Elsie...well, this past Saturday was the reunion in Ohio with that side of our family. It's quite a large crew, and I hadn't seen them for several years, so it was especially sweet. As always, there were some who couldn't make it. I especially missed seeing my Grandpa and my Aunt and Uncle who currently take care of him in their home in Georgia. He's too frail to make such a long trip. (I also missed seeing my sweet Georgia cousins and their families!)
Brennan's girlfriend, Brianna "Breezy" came with us for the first time. She very sweetly commented she's never seen so many red-haired people in one place! (lol) This coming weekend, we have the reunion with Tom's side of the family! (And there are hardly any red-heads in that bunch!)
P.S. For my cousins or my sister, who might be reading this...I need to (once and for all) settle a long-standing family debate (lol)...it's official, Uncle Graddie says, I am his absolute favorite niece! ; )
Sunday, August 10, 2008
(Continued from Thursday, 8/7)
(4) “Dig the Roots”
Our roots are as deep as we are convinced of God’s love for us. “Are we convinced?”
Ephesians 3:17- 19 That He would make His home in our hearts and we would trust him. Our roots would grow down into God’s love to keep us strong. That we would have the power to grasp how high, long, wide and deep is His love. And that we experience His love, even though we can’t fully understand it.
“I have to know that I know He loves me.” The words of Jesus Loves Me can carry you through great difficulty (loss of loved one, betrayal of your spouse, etc.)
2 Kings 19:29-31 “Take root below – bear fruit above.”
(5) “Stop the Choke”
Anxiety chokes the Word right out of us and keep us from maturing in our faith.
Phil 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but with prayer and thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.
The cure for anxiety is prayer! We need to be Warriors not worriers! We can have that peace. He will release us if we trust – tell Him we claim the promises He gives! (She shared that God completely restored her thought process, her sanity.)
So often we insist on a life of “feeling good.” Will we so resist trials that we have no crowns to cast?
1 Cor. 1:5-7 God has spoken blessings over us; He has made us rich spiritually. Remain competently competent in the Word of God! (Those are true riches)
Romans 10:8 We need to keep His message close at hand -- on our lips and in our hearts.
Be genuine before others (no “performing”). Hear and Retain the Word in a good, and noble, persevering heart. Noble (Gr. “Kalos”) meaning beautiful, harmonious. Good (Gr. “Agathos”) beneficial. We are here to be a benefit! (to share Christ, serve, disciple and encourage others).
Phil. 2:17-pour yourself out as a drink offering for others for Him!
Be glad about it! We can survive and thrive! We do not have to live in defeat as emotional disasters.
Start your day in the Word…our capacity of hearing from God in the morning is supernatural. (Eccles. 11:6 & Isaiah 50:4-5)
We need to think of PMS as “Please more Spirit!”
(6) “Retain the Word”
Retain (Gr. “kateche”) meaning to hold in a vice grip; to possess with.
Always pray before reading the Word. Ask God to fill you with His Spirit. Then ask Him to raise a specific word or phrase that resonates in your life. Meditate on it that day. Sometimes He will give you “Daily Words.” Other times He will give you “Destiny Words.” Press your hand over your heart so that you can retain it there! (She writes scriptures on index cards and places them where she will see them.) Continuously learn both New and Old testament scripture! (Recommends "Daily Light" by Anne Graham Lotz)
(7) “Press Forth to Your 100-Fold Harvest!”
We are in a culture of “now,” but harvest doesn’t work that way. We have to sow it, wait, and sometimes even water it with our tears. It’s normal in the midst of a long obedience to be tired, worn out and want to quit. Hang in there, press through the discouragement. Harvest takes time, but you will persevere in His strength!
Heb. 11:2-3; Rev. 10:5-7 There is a day coming when we’ll know all the answers. We’ll know He was right and faithful.
It's been impossible to share these notes with you without feeling their impact afresh. For those who, like me, were privileged to attend, I pray God has spoken afresh to your heart as well. For those who were unable to attend, I pray that the power of these insights has not been lost in translation. If you are unfamiliar with Beth Moore's ministry, take a moment to visit her site. There you will find all sorts of information about her Bible studies, books, speaking engagements, etc.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
You may remember, her overriding message was based on the parable of the sower (Luke 8:1-15), and was entitled "100-Fold Word"
First, we must increase our confidence and competence in His Word (the seed), so that it can have Maximum Impact in our Lives!
Gen 26:12 – Isaac reaped 100 fold because the Lord blessed him.
Gal. 3:29 – We are Abraham's seed, we have been called as a blessing of God!
Mark 10:29-30 - Anything we suffer or lose for God’s sake will return to us 100 fold!
“Just Do the Thing”
Hosea 10:12 – Break up your unplowed ground for it is time to seek the Lord until He comes and showers righteousness on you…
What have I never let God touch and change in my life?
What if I were to let Him!?
So how do we begin to allow God to work in us for 100 Fold Harvest?
(1) “Treasure the Wonder.” We need to recapture our wonder for the Word of God. Spiritual power is released when you read God’s word!
What makes for the closest relationships (with both God and others)?
The knowledge of secret, personal and intimate things. Secret (Gr. "mysterion") - meaning the revelation of the revelation (ongoing in nature). To those who want to receive, He shows them more and more. (Matthew 13:12) Scripture is the very breath of God. We need to breathe it in every day. Can’t go on last Sunday’s sermon for a month…we need a “now” word for today!
(2) “Protect your Heart.”
John 10:12,12 – He has come that we may have life and have it to the full.
Psalm 119:10,11 – We need to seek Him with all our hearts, as well as hide His Word in our hearts, so that we will keep his commands.
We need to fill our hearts with His Word and then firmly place our hand there to keep it. Faith, Deliverance and Freedom are inseparable. The time for obedience is now!
“When the season of testing exceeds the season of believing, we are headed toward a season of falling.”
(3) “Expect the Test”
When a profound Word comes – expect you will be tested. Testing (Gr. "Peirasmos") means both Trials and Temptation. Trials come from God to make you stand. Temptation comes from Satan to make you fall. The Word was meant to be applied when trials come! We must have Word abiding in us.
Whatever is not under authority, that is where we’re vulnerable to bondage and temptation.
Memorize 1 Cor. 10:13! Everyone has temptations, but God is faithful and will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can stand. He will ALWAYS give a way out. (Take it! Run!)
When you’re overwhelmed, call on the power of His Word. Desperation can be your best friend.
Psalm 126:5-6 Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy. This is a promise!
Water your dry times in the Word with your tears…it will return as fertile soil!
Psalm 105:17-22 He refines us and proves us true, genuine. God wants us to be real...that same person everywhere. Burn away the fake!
Come back for the final portion...
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
To see other Word-Filled Wednesday posts,
join us at 160 Acre Woods!
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
We were blessed to be among the 70,000 women overwhelmed by God's unmistakable presence this weekend! You may have already heard, the simulcast was shared in 715 locations (representing 49 states and 4 countries)! (Wow!)
Incredible praise and worship by Travis Cottrell and his team prepared our hearts beautifully for the rich teaching that was to follow, both Friday and Saturday.
All of Beth's messages centered around the parable of the four soils in Luke 8, but it certainly didn’t remain there. (We were all over that Bible!) I’m not kidding when I tell you I’ve never taken notes faster. I didn’t want to miss a single thing the Lord had for me. If you've ever attended a Beth Moore conference, or even a simulcast, you know there is so much information, it's hard to even begin to summarize or describe it. I've decided for now, just to share a few highlights. These were the things on my notes that were marked "*" or "!!"
On having "Maximum Impact and receiving a 100-fold harvest..." She was not referring to 100-fold harvest in the "prosperity sense." She reiterated 100 "fold," not 100 "folk." Harvest doesn't mean serving more people. (Jesus had only 12 disciples!) She urged us to forget about the numbers and just do the thing God is calling us to. God wants my faithfulness in the now, where He has me, at this time. When He has my faithfulness, he promises to return it 100-fold! (Mark 10:29-30)
God has made us "Competently Competent"
She shared 2 Timothy 3:16-17:
"All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching,
rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that
the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every
She reiterated by giving us the Greek translation of the phrase "thoroughly equipped." Thoroughly (Gr. "artios") means now, just now, complete, sufficient, competent. Equipped (Gr. "exarizo") means essentially the same, although expressed in a more intensive way. Both come from the same root word. Put another way, He has made us "competently competent" to do that which He's called us to do, but only through the power of His Word!
We can't wait! When God places a desire within us to do something, He not only makes us competently competent, He simultaneously gives us the power of obedience at that moment to do it. (NOW!) Waiting only serves to give Satan the opportunity to begin planting doubts, fears, discouragement. (Isaiah 55:10-12)
God's Word never lays idle within us, even in the seemingly "dry seasons." It is always at work. When we don't cooperate, "fires" will come to "burn the fake out of us," and make us genuine. (Psalm 105:17-22)
Anxiety at its root, is our desire to maintain control! What you're going through is not just about you! He will birth your passion from your pain. (Philippians 2:17) She asked "Will we so resist difficulty that we'll have no crowns to cast?"
The importance of sowing God's word in our hearts in the morning. Whether we're "morning people" or not, our capacity for hearing from God in the morning is supernatural. (Eccles. 11:6, Isaiah 50:4-5) What a difference when the first influence of our day comes from God's Word, before the distractions and worries of our day have the opportunity to crowd out His voice!)
As I look upon pages and pages of notes, there is much more I'd like to share. I hope to do so by later this week. Meanwhile, I pray these initial insights have challenged and encouraged you, as they did me! Be blessed.