Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Love and Acceptance

Two words that I have struggled to grasp for myself: love and acceptance. For many reasons, some of which the Lord has showed me through the years and others that I am still seeking, learning and trying to understand.
Some people are so comfortable in the presence of others. When they visit your home they don't need to ring the doorbell. They come through the back door. They don't notice if your house is a mess. They will just step over, push aside, or join in on whatever is going on.
How do they do it? It is simply acceptance. The kind of love and acceptance that doesn't come to see your stuff, but to see you.
These people leave behind their expectations of how others should be and what they should do. To them, every person is a buried treasure to be discovered and enjoyed. Differences, evaluations, judgements and makeovers are not their job. Loving acceptance is.
When such a person takes me into her heart, it is certain that she cannot stay long out of mine.

Wordless Wednesday x 2

For more Wordless Wednesday go here or here

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Truth that Sets me Free

"Satan's ultimate lie is that you are capable of being the god of your own life, and his ultimate bondage is getting you to live as though his lie is truth."
~ Neil Anderson ~

Our Tuesday morning Bible Study is currently doing a study on the "Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets them Free". I am using Nancy Leigh DeMoss's book as a reference. (the book is excellent and I would highly recommend it)

During our first week we looked at the creation of woman and how Satan was able to trap her in believing the "lie". He is still trying to use this method of operation today.

Satan deceived Eve through a clever combination of outright lies, half-truths, and falsehoods disguised as truth. He began by planting seeds of doubt in her mind about what God had actually said (“Did God really say….?”)

In Genesis 3, right at the beginning he questions God
He questions the word of God. He questions his truthfulness, the meaning, the motives, implying that God has some secret plan and so on. He twists the meaning: He said, “Has God indeed said” (verse 3:1)

What God had said (Gen. 2:16-17) actually came in the positive.

He deliberately misrepresented the character and the command of God. He made it seem as if God didn't care.

Next he not only mis-quote’s God’s word but he contradicts it. (Compare Gen. 2:17 with Gen. 3:4)

Than in verse 5 he gives her a partial truth.

Eve was deceived. In verse 6, She “saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise”

He appealed to what seemed right at the moment.

Like with Eve, Satan does not come head on and say to me "you can be like god", therefore believe this. Instead he starts by questioning the truth. He plants seeds of doubt. I than begin to question the character of God, and once I am questioning His character I have opened myself up (like Eve) to believe the lie.

God's Word is truth. The more time I spend reading, studying, meditating, and praying God's word the more I know his character and the truth. The more I know Him!

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."John 8:32

For more great posts visit Christine at Fruit In Season be His love

In preparing for bible study, I found the most beautiful qoute from Mother Teresa, "The family is the place to learn Jesus. God has sent the family - together as husband and wife and children - to be His love."

I can think of no better place to begin than home, to share His love!

Monday, January 29, 2007

I Have Felt Loneliness

I wrote this post last night after pondering the question a friend asked me recently, "have you ever experienced loneliness?" Without hesitation I immediately responded, "yes". I know my response surprised her, in fact at times it even surprises me, but only in the last several years was I able to recognize it or even understand how it creeps into my life. I had hit the publish button and went to bed, but this morning I had some additional thoughts.

Loneliness as described in Webster's dictionary, is being without company,cut off from others,not frequented by human beings, sad from being alone, producing a feeling of bleakness or desolation. I have yet to meet a woman who doesn't desire "alone" time. But this wasn't what my friend was referring to. She was talking about what Harold Rupp quotes in the book, "A Woman in her Home", "loneliness is not so much a matter of isolation as of insulation."

There are many circumstances in which I have found myself insulated from others.

I have felt the deep loneliness of location - often separated from family.
I have felt the loneliness of aloneness - in a strange land, pressed on every side by many people.
I have felt the loneliness of wife hood - when my husband's tasks took him away, often and long.
I have felt the loneliness of motherhood - when no one understood. or could lend a helping hand.
I have felt the loneliness of friendship - when the phone doesn't ring and my box is empty
I have felt the loneliness of standing up for what is right - while others mocked, laughed, and looked on with pity.
I have felt the loneliness of deeply involved decisions - which no one else could solve.
At times I still experience loneliness.

The hardest thing to do during intense struggles, change, disappointments, pain, weariness, all of which can take place in the day to day life of a wife, mother, employee etc. is to continually reach out to others. It is during these times that we sometimes insulate our hearts in a defensive nature assuming that we will be protected. When in actuality we are allowing the disease of loneliness to have its perfect breeding ground.

One of the distinct characteristics I noticed in experiencing loneliness in my own life was my focus had slowly shifted from pleasing God to looking at myself and allowing my circumstances to dictate how I felt rather than God and His word. I needed more than ever to reach out to others, attend a weekly bible study or mom's group and yet during these times I have every excuse in the world not to go, not to reach out, not to risk the possibility of feeling worse.

Dee Brestin in her book, "The Friendships of Women" states,
Intimacy is risky. No doubt about it. If I reach out to a woman to whom I am drawn, she may reject me. If I tell a woman that I love her, that I cherish her as a friend, she may respond little (or not at all). If I open my soul to another, trusting her with my dark side of failure, she may draw back in shocked silence (or she may tell others). If I love out of the overflow of my heart, promise another unfailing love until the day I die, then I have bound myself before God( and I bring upon myself His wrath if I break my vow) Risky. Risky. Risky.

It is risky, but as I shared with my friend, "God never leaves us, nor forsakes us." I encouraged her to begin attending the ladies bible study in her church. I told her, "It will take courage to fight through the walls that have been built up in her heart, but God will be waiting at the door." I prayed with her and reminded her that "she is not alone!" I am anxious to hear the report.
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

Friday, January 26, 2007

A Church Guy

Today while driving home Theo, who is 10, was talking about what he wants to do when he grows up.
Hunter, who is six and in Kindergarten, shouts from the back seat, "I want to be a church guy like dad" (he meant a pastor, but for now we will call it " a church guy")

Theo looked at me and smiled!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Music to my ears...

My fifteen year old daughter has been at home sick the past two days. This morning we had a conversation about babies. She commented that she wished that Coleman, her 2 year old brother was still a tiny baby. (the picture to the left is my daughter at 13 a few days after Coleman was born) She mentioned that when she has children she will already know how to change a diaper, dress a baby, give them a bath, but there still may be some things that she would need help with. I told her that I would be there to help her and she smiled. She went on to say that she loved large families and hoped to have four children. This was music to my ears. Why? Not because at some point she has expressed the opposite desire or because I have some fear that being the oldest child of five children that we had somehow discouraged her from desiring a large family, but in a culture in which young women are encouraged to be independent, powerful, self-absorbed, and to "take care" of themselves and not rely on a man, a young lady who desires to pursue a life as a wife and mom is not given that box to check as she comes to the end of her high school education.

You may be wondering if we are encouraging our daughter to go to college. Absolutely, if this is the direction we feel God is leading her in. As parents we don't need any help encouraging her to pursue her dreams and desires for a career. We are bombarded by media, friends, school, and other influences that speak to those desires. But where is it spoken for young girls to look at the role in which God created them for as a most high and holy calling? Who is showing and encouraging young girls to live a life devoted to her husband and children? Personally, I feel the job is best completed through women who recognize the truth of the word of God and begin to teach these truths to their daughters, granddaughters, and other young ladies God places in their life to influence.

Preparing my daughter for a life of biblical womanhood includes preparing her for singleness as well. 1 Cor. 7:34 says, "There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband." Teaching my daughters to trust in the sovereignty of God over their life, even the hope of marriage and children someday can be an anxious and troubling time if there is not a sure reliance upon the providential care of the Sovereign God.

Our oldest daughter is typical of other girls her age. My husband and I prayerfully plan to continue to guide and teach her these truths. We hope to model them in our relationship and through the teaching of the word of God. She (or we) may stumble and get muddy along the path, but we continually put our trust in God for wisdom, strength, and help as we parent our children.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

the little things

Luke 19:17 says, "Well done, my good servant! his master replied. 'Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities'. "Little things matter to God. And I don't know anyone entrusted with more little things than a mother. You know the things I mean. That little everyday stuff that never ends:

  • make beds
  • laundry, laundry, and more laundry
  • read a story, write a note, kiss a boo boo
  • dishes, dinner, and more dishes
  • vacuum, dust, and bathrooms
  • when you're done, do it again
  • and do it again once more

There is a point to all this. When we do the little things that matter today, it has eternal value. I am reminded of what Jesus said, "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it for me." ( Matthew 25:40)

Reading this verse cause my toilet scrubbing, nose-wiping duties to take on a high and holy purpose.

Monday, January 22, 2007

S.O.A.P. for today

This morning my household duties were calling out for attention. I took inventory and realized places in every room were looking at me saying, "pick my up", or "put me away", or "wash me". I had two piles of laundry sorted in each of the kids room and three loads in my room.
Often times when my home is screaming are the days that I am most tempted to forgo my time spent in God's word and yet it is these days which I need it most.
So this morning, in the midst of a sink of dishes, a floor that needed sweeping, clothes to be folded, and my own desire to finish up my notes for tomorrow's bible study, I sat down to my Life Journal. Our reading for today was from Exodus 3,4,5 and Luke 22.

Title: The "I" worries 1/22/07
S. (Scripture)

Moses said to the LORD, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue."

The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD ? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say."

But Moses said, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it."

Exodus 4:10-13

O. (Observation)
I have read this portion of scripture many times. But something stuck out for me this morning. The conversation Moses was having with God beginning at the burning bush and continuing on into chapter 5. God had revealed himself to Moses, performed miracles for him personally, and was speaking directly to him. (How much more could a person want) And even with all this Moses was still questioning God. As I read I am a bit intrigued with this conversation going back and forth with Moses asking questions and God supplying answers. Finally, the last excuse Moses gives for not being the one that should go, is he is not talented or capable or eloquent etc. etc. in his speech. God responds with again more words revealing who He is and some personal instruction, "Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say." But Moses still replies, "let someone else do it." Matthew Henry in his commentary says, "But while we blame Moses for shrinking from this dangerous service, let us ask our own hearts if we are not neglecting duties more easy, and less perilous."

A. (Application)
I found myself thinking, "come on Moses, what more do you want?", but before I could finish the thought, the question in my own mind arose of my own questioning of God. The easy things I am asked to do. He paid the ultimate price, has already demonstrated His unconditional love, and has sent a helper, comforter, encourager in the Holy Spirit. How often do I try and negotiate with God? How many times have I missed an opportunity to complete His services because "I" worries got in the way.

P. (Prayer)
Lord, Send me forth, not in my own strength, but with the words, "I will help you speak and will teach you what to say", imprinted on my heart.

Thank You for your help!

My kids, my husband, and I all had fun sharing our thoughts and reading yours on the very trivial subject of whether or not we should cut our son's curls off. My husband, who loves to tease me about the whole thing has kindly left it up to me to decide when to schedule the hair cut since 60% of you voted "yes" (even those who suggested a trim) and 40% "no".

I appreciated Kim's and Julie's comments who reminded me gently that I should respect my husband's vote. This couldn't of been more timely since we are talking about this very subject in our Tuesday morning Ladies Bible Study, you know the word that we often avoid in our conversations with other women, yes I am talking about "submission". By the way this would be a good post for another day.

Anyhow, thank you again for the fun! I thought it was so cute last night as I was helping my half asleep 10 year old son get into bed that he asked, "do we know what the vote ended up at?" After a full day of church, playing in the snow and being with friends, this is what he was thinking about. I just giggled to myself since I know he doesn't like getting haircuts himself and was having compassion for his little brother.

Friday, January 19, 2007

A Weekend Poll - Should we cut his hair?

My baby boy is two years old. His curls have been such a cute part of his personality that I don't want to cut them. For over a year they had been pretty tight. Check out this picture or this one. It doesn't matter what he is wearing, the greeters at Wal-Mart have been commenting on how cute "she" is for months. I know it is time, but I am really dragging my feet. So, I thought I would ask you the important question of the day, "Should we cut his hair?" I know he will be just as cute and sweet with a little boys cut where there is no longer a need to constantly brush the hair out of his eyes, but I also know that once we cut it, the curls will be gone for now at least. His older brother had the same curls at two years of age and now his hair is straight as a board. So help us out and play along. Take the poll on my side-bar and let us know what you think. Thanks for your help!

I love the way his curls hang out of his cap.

Hair in the eyes

A view of the back

A side view..and zippering his own coat(which by itself was adorable)

Click on the pictures to see them larger..thanks again and don't forget to leave a comment to let us know you voted.

Stretch out your hand

Author Elizabeth Elliot writes in A Lamp for My Feet about a game she played as a young girl. She writes, "My mother or father would say, 'Shut your eyes and hold out your hand.' that was the promise of some lovely surprise. I trusted them, so I shut my eyes instantly and held out my hand. Whatever they were going to give me I was ready to take." She continues, "So should it be in our trust of our heavenly Father. Faith is the willingness not to have what He does not want to give."

Do you have unanswered prayers? Do you ever wonder if God has forgotten you or has stopped listening? I have! I am not like Elizabeth, often I keep one eye partially opened wondering if what God has promised in His word is going to be lovely. I hold out my hand proclaiming my belief, but in my heart I am ready to tuck it back in. "Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness." Gen. 15:6

Jeremiah 29:11, a much quoted scripture says, "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." By faith, I choose to believe God. I gently close my eyes and uninhibitedly I stretch out my arm and open my hand with fingers spread to receive His promises, given His way and in His time.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

5 things you didn't know about me

Cyndi and Susanne both tagged me for this little meme. These are five things you didn't know about me, unless you know me. Does that make sense??

1) I lived in Southern California just 10 minutes from Disneyland until six years ago. Then the Lord moved us to the Foothills of Northern California for five years and finally to the beautiful mid-west.

2) I majored in Accounting, but I always dreamed of being a teacher.

3) I accepted Jesus as my Savior at the age of 10. I had started attending a little baptist church on the corner across from my elementary school. I was invited by a friend. I can still remember my first Sunday School teacher, Mr. Roberts.

4) I have always liked the beach, the feel of the sand, the smell of the ocean, and boats. As a teenager, my friend and I would go sailing in the harbor. We would sail these little two man boats (I forget the name) and they would easily tip over which was half the fun.

5) I love to read. One of my favorite things is to take a whole day and find a quiet corner and wrap myself around a good book, but it is a rarity, so instead I often stay up too late reading.

So, there it is. Things you may or may not know about me.
If you would like to do this little meme, go ahead consider yourself tagged.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I can cause such a stink

Too often I find myself relating to the mother in this cute yet smelly story:

The mother of six children walked into her home one day to see all her children huddled together in a circle. She approached them to see what had evoked such intense interest, and she could hardly believe her eyes.

To her horror, in the middle of the circle of children were several baby skunks. She immediately screamed at the top of her voice, "Children! Run, run, run! Out, out, out!"

At the sound of their mother's alarmed voice, each child quickly grabbed a baby skunk and headed for the door. The screaming and panic, of course, set off the instinctual danger alarm in the skunks, and each of them quickly dispelled its horrible scent. Each child and the house itself were doused with an aroma that lingered for weeks, regardless of intense scrubbing and use of disinfectants.
Too many times I am the mother in this story reacting to my children's behavior with a scream or harsh voice and causing a stink that sometimes takes days or weeks to rid itself. The smell of skunk is all too familiar after living in the foothills for five years.

Most often my children receive the worst of my reactions when I am tired, preoccupied, or in a hurry. If only, each time I was about to respond inappropriately I would get a whiff of one, maybe than I would stop and think about my response before reacting from my emotion-driven, spur of the moment, selfish behavior. What do ya think?

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18

Monday, January 15, 2007

S.O.A.P. for today

In my Life Journal this morning I looked intently at these verses in Luke.

Title: What is my Attitude? 1/15/07
S. (Scripture)
"The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, 'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!'
" 'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found." Luke 15:28-32

O. (Observation)
Whenever I read Luke 15 and see the heart of Jesus when it comes to the lost, I am always drawn to these verses. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior as a young girl, therefore I have tried to walk with him throughout most of my life. And so did this older brother. Or at least that is what he thinks. One thing I have always wondered is "what happen after the father came out and talked to him?" Did he repent in his own heart for his pride and self righteous attitude or did he stay outside and remain angry and bitter. Scripture does not tell us. But as I look at the older son's description of his faithfulness to the father and the words that was selected to describe it, I have a clue. He says, "Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders." His heart is revealed. Loving devotion, faithfulness and obedience usually do not use imagery of being a slave. He also reveals his heart and attitude towards the Father when he refers to his brother as, "this son of yours" as if to have already separated himself from the family long before he came in from the field. I can almost imagine him placing himself in some high position in his mind because he wasn't LIKE his younger brother. Oh, what a dangerous place to be.

A. (Application)
Do I celebrate when others come to Christ who have clearly caused grief to their family and others? Or is my heart jealous of what God is doing in their life and do I let my own self-righteous attitude come forth? Do I become irritated when it seems the prayers and concerns are always aimed at the lost and hurting in my family? Jesus celebrated when the lost repented. I must always remember "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". No matter how long I have walked and pursued godliness in my life, I must never forget that I am a sinner, saved by grace.

P. (Prayer)
Lord, forgive me for my self-righteous attitudes. Help me to have a heart for the lost and hurting. I thank you for the words, "you are always with me, and everything I have is yours".

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I want to be like the tree

As I pulled away from the school this morning I found myself a bit reflective. That is of the trees. Along 2nd Ave. there are these huge trees one right after the other.
There they stood this morning in the brisk cold air towering high into the sky naked as ever. It was almost like they were a bit proud of their position, their season, this time that they were given. Normally I don't notice them much at this time of year but rather look forward to the new life they bring in spring or the dramatic performance they give in fall. Yet I know from my brief studies of the seasons while my oldest daughter was in kindergarten, that at this time or season all of their energy and efforts are put into their root system in order for survival during the harshness of winter.
And then I saw it, not the naked limbs which seem so vulnerable to the elements but the huge trunk with what almost looked like legs going down deep into the ground. All of a sudden in an instant I realized I want to be like those trees. No, not naked, but rather with deep roots and a strong foundation because life is often referred to as seasons.
I know that during the difficult winter the tree is at risk of being hurt, losing a limb or two or three, and gasp even being forced to be pruned. But what if a tree refused to give up those leaves and stay green all year and put forth all of their energy towards staying in this one season, never changing? Like me at times, the tree would look pretty silly and eventually die of sickness and disease due to a poor root system. I could almost see it, the tree holding on to those dear leaves with everything it has as the cold air blew across the sky and than crying out for help, "Oh, dear God have mercy on me."
Am I like a tree refusing to go through the season that God is taking me? Do I resist the pruning? Am I more worried about what others see in me or am I concerned about only the roots, the foundation on which I am to stand even if it means I have to go through the barrenness of a winter season.
As I pulled into the garage and entered the warmth of my home, I asked the Lord to forgive me for holding onto so many leaves, for not shedding those things, those thoughts, and stand barren before Him with my only desire to please and know Him. I asked Him to help make my roots strong because this is what will sustain my life in every season!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Wordless Wednesday - Kisses

For more Wordless Wednesday go to 5Minutes4Mom

Chile Relleno Casserole

If you love mexican food, you'll love this yummy casserole which can be made into a low-fat version very easily.

Chile Relleno Casserole

2 (7 oz.) cans Ortega diced green chilies
1 lb. grated Sharp Cheddar
1 lB. grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 (13 oz) can evaporated skim milk
3 tbsp. flour
3 whole eggs plus 1 extra egg white


2 (7 oz.) cans Ortega diced green chilies
1/2 lb. grated low-fat Sharp Cheddar
1/2 lb. grated low-fat Monterey Jack cheese *
1 (13 oz) can evaporated skim milk
3 tbsp. flour
4 egg whites or egg substitute
* more cheese can be added if necessary but sparingly

Mix ingredients; pour into 9 x 13 inch casserole dish sprayed with a low-fat cooking spray. Bake at 325 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes.
Sprinkle top with thinly sliced tomatoes as soon as it is baked. Serve with fresh salsa.

For more great ideas go here

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

He speaks it over and over....

This morning was our first Women's Bible Study after the holiday break. I came home made lunch for me and my little guy, put a load of laundry in the machine, and now I am checking emails and of course bloglines. Kelly at A Spacious Place tagged me for this fun meme that has already gone around and has some great posts here and here. Since this is so easy I had to do it quickly.

1) Grab the book closest to you
2) Open to page 123,go down to the fourth sentence
3) Post the text of the following 3 sentences on your blog
4) Name the author and book title
5) Tag three people to do the same

Since I just plopped my books down from Bible Study the book on top was one I am using as a resource for our study titled, Lie's Women Believe and the Truth that sets them Free by NancyLeigh DeMoss. And this is what I read:

When I do so, what I am really saying (though I'd never actually say it) is that I can handle that day on my own - apart from the presence, wisdom, and grace of God. I am saying I can do my work, keep my home, handle my relationships, and deal with my circumstances without Him. That independent, self-sufficeient spirit is an expression of pride.

And all I can think is "Yes Lord, I get it! It is what you have been speaking to me over and over.

But I can't just stop there. I have to finish the page:

The Scripture teaches, "God resists the proud" (James 4:6 NKJV). If I walk in pride, I must be prepared for God to resist me and my efforts.
Sometimes I get the sense that God may be saying to me, "You want to handle this day by yourself? Go ahead." The result? At best, an empty, fruitless day lived by and for myself. At worst, oh, what a mess I end up making of things.
On the other hand, God "gives grace to the humble." When I start the day by humbling myself and acknowledging that I can't make it on my own-that I need Him-I can count on His divine enabling to carry me through the day.

I tag Julie, Heth, and Tina

I know it is very strange...

I absolutely love biographies. At a young age I read "The Hiding Place" over and over. I still have the very tattered copy on my bookshelf. I am not sure where the love comes from exactly. Could it be that I am nosy, curious, or perhaps it is my love of history, time lines, and geography. I have always been fascinated with the past(not my own just those that have lived before me). I love old pictures and the stories behind them. For many years I have collected old books.
Which brings me to the first two books I am reading for pleasure (somewhat) in the new year.

I am going to join in with Girltalks Book Club and read Elizabeth Prentiss 'More Love to Thee'. I have already read the Forward and Preface and
I am anxiously wanting to go on. But I will refrain and stay with the group.

While unpacking books a few months back I uncovered a treasure I forgot I had, A Time for Remembering: The Ruth Bell Graham Story. My copy was published in 1983 and given to me by a friend who was serving in the mission field. Today there is a newer version titled,Ruth, A Portrait: The Ruth Bell Graham Story published in 1997. I have also read the preface and forward in this book and I am looking forward to reading her life story and what it is like to be the wife of the most famous Christian evangelist of this century.

Two women from different centuries. I hope I can keep the details of their lives straight.

Monday, January 08, 2007

S.O.A.P. for today

It is the beginning of the week. The first full week of hopefully getting back into a regular routine. I have much to accomplish this week with two weeks of laundry to get caught up, cleaning bathrooms, washing bedding, planning meals, not to mention several closets and other areas that desperately need some attention. I can easily begin to allow myself to feel overwhelmed, because in the midst of it all life has to happen, kids fed, nurtured, read to, played with, and I need to reserve some energy and time to enjoy my husband. And I haven't even mentioned what I need and hope to accomplish for the church.

But before I begin with my things, I start with His ways. Last week I shared here about the Life Journal. S.O.A.P. is the acrostic used for the journal. No matter what I need to accomplish today, I first begin with this.

Here is an entry in my Life Journal from last week that I am also using tomorrow as part of the teaching in our ladies bible study:

Title: "Did God really say?" 1/2/07
S. (Scripture)
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" Genesis 3:1

O. (Observation)
The serpent questions God's word and doesn't even quote it correctly, "you must not eat from any tree" He questions God's Word raising doubts about the truthfulness of what He has said.

A. (Application)
Do I take God at His word or do I question it? Do I listen to the enemies lies or allow the world to influence what God is speaking to me in His word?

P. (Prayer)
Lord, I want to take you at Your word. Help me to hear and obey what you have spoken. Reveal to me areas in my life where I have believed a lie, half-truth, or questioned Your words.

I chose this entry because although short, it packs a powerful reminder to me at the beginning of this new year to become a woman who takes God at His word.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Go ahead...kiss all you want

I found this article tucked away in one of my old books...thought it was cute!

Researchers discovered that husbands who kiss their wives every morning:

  • live an average of five years longer
  • are involved in fewer automobile accidents
  • are ill 50 percent less, as noted by sick days,
  • earn 20 to 30 percent more money

Other researchers have found that kissing and hugging releases endorphins, giving mind and body a sense of genuine well-being that is translated into better health.

A kiss a day just may keep the doctor away!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Life Journal

For my New Years Meditations go here..

For years I tried to read through the bible in a year only to come up frustrated when I missed a few days and the reading list would grow and grow and be so overwhelming that I would give up. I had such a strong desire to systematically go through scripture and gain wisdom and understanding that I would continue to try each new year only to end up feeling like a failure.

Several years ago through a conference and other events in our life we discovered the "Life Journal". It was originally created by New Hope Church in Hawaii. It is a systematic approach to reading through the scripture and a simple way to journal what God's word may be speaking to us personally.

It has and continues to be a wonderful tool in my life. The journal provides a reading guide which you can also find here
under on-line devotions. (I also have a link on my side-bar) The reading takes you through the Old Testament once in a year and the New Testament twice. After the reading for the day has been done the acrostic S.O.A.P. is used in a journal to record what God is speaking through the scriptures. Here is how it works:

S for Scripture
Open your Bible to the reading found under today's date. Take time reading and allow God to speak to you. (This can be used with any scripture reading, not just this particular reading schedule) When you are done, look for a verse that particularly spoke to you that day, and write it in your journal. I have often found several scriptures and had to narrow it down to one or decided to include all of them in my journal for the day.
O for Observation
What do you think God is saying to you in this scripture? Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and reveal Jesus to you. Paraphrase and write this scripture down in your own words, in your journal.
A for Application
Personalize what you have read, by asking yourself how it applies to your life right now. Perhaps it is instruction, encouragement, revelation of a new promise, or corrections for a particular area of your life. Write how this scripture can apply to you today.
P for Prayer
This can be as simple as asking God to help you use this scripture, or it may be a greater insight on what He may be revealing to you. Remember, prayer is a two way conversation, so be sure to listen to what God has to say! Now, write it out.

I usually can do this on one page, but occasionally will use two. This can be done in any journal or a word processing program. The Life Journal encourages you to title your entry and date it of course and record each entry under a table of contents at the front of your journal. This is for easy future reference.

But, the best part of all is if I miss a day, I don't worry about it. I don't go back unless I absolutely want to. I am not doing this for a year, but rather a "LIFE" time. I have been using this tool for almost five years and I am not tired of it at all. I have a stack of journals that are full of God's words, promises, prayers, and testimonies of what he has done in my life. What a heritage for my children. I would never of accomplished this any other way. (I know me!) Journaling God's word has been life transforming. I purposely show others the gaps in my journals where maybe life has forced me into a particular topical study, or other season. But when I come back I start with today.

Developing a daily time with the Lord is as my husband said Sunday morning, "will be the fight of your life".

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 2 Timothy 3:16

Monday, January 01, 2007

Welcome 2007!

New Years Meditations
Hosted By Laurel Wreath

I awoke earlier this morning than I expected after staying up past midnight. I am filled with excitement and anticipation of a New Year. Each week of my life I sit in a unique position. Most attend their church each week sitting next to their spouse or other loved ones hearing a message from their pastor. I on the other hand have known only one thing for most of my married life. To sit alone listening to my husband share the word of God or serve in some other area of ministry in the church. Now that my children are getting older I have the wonderful privilege of having one or two of them sitting along side me. I am often asked questions like, "is it hard to listen to your own husband each week', or "do you always know what he is going to share", and on occasion, "I bet you have heard all this before." and the answer to all those questions is, "No".

I have another unique privilege as well that so many other women who also walk in a similar place are allowed to experience. I know the man behind the words. I pray with him, listen to his heart, and share everyday life with him. So, what does this have to do with New Years Meditations, my hopes, dreams and goals. Well, yesterday my husband gave a message that was simple in nature, and oddly he had shared much with me this past week, and yet I walked out of service knowing with a fresh perspective that all my hopes for my family, my dreams for the year and the goals that I usually like to set for myself are nothing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING apart from God. I had a sense of new revelation about my life. Colossians 1:16 says,

For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.

The words, "all things, and "for him" have played over and over in my mind in the last 24 hours. One of the questions he asked was, "What's the reason for everything? It's all for God's Glory Romans 11:36 says,

For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.

As I look at my life, the season I am in, raising a teenager, toddler, and everything in between, the hopes and dreams I have for my home and family, the daily goals I have for myself to take better care of myself, to live a life that matters, and my own tendency to make plans and figure things out, I think of this statement made yesterday morning by my husband in the context of finding purpose and meaning in your life, "who cares who remembers me in this life 100 years from now....WILL GOD KNOW ME!

This is my hope, dream, and goal for 2007. To KNOW God! And everything else will find its right place. The only way to really know someone is through spending time with them and so I continue on with my "Life Journal". My daily devotion with the Lord. It has always been a priority...but for some reason it has a new vengeance. I don't' feel compelled to make the list of things to accomplish, my dreams, my plans, and so on but I find it almost too simple, as my husband shared, "seize the day" and Know God!

Thank you Lord, that I can go to your word and look for Your hopes, Your dreams, Your goals for my life, for my family, for my future, for ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING!

To read more New Year's Meditations go to Laurel Wreath