Saturday, March 31, 2007

A heart for the lost

Earlier this year a friend referred me to a little resource titled, "A Gospel Primer for Christians" written by Milton Vincent, Pastor of Cornerstone Bible Fellowship Church in Riverside, California. I have been using this resource to memorize scripture and "experience the gospel more fully by preaching it to myself each day."

He says in his introduction, "God did not give us His gospel just so we could embrace it and be converted. Actually, He offers it to us every day as a gift that keeps on giving to us everything we need for life and godliness."

This morning I was able to sit for an unexpectedly long time in the quiet praying and reading through the "Prose and Poetic Version" of this Gospel Narrative and than I read it again along with all the scripture references.
Wow, what a refreshing time. It was the cup of cold water my soul needed. I am in desperate need of the gospel daily in my life. His great love for me. I want the truths of what scripture speaks embedded on my heart.

He writes in a section of Part I - Reasons to Rehearse the Gospel Daily, "A Heart for the Lost",
"What effect do such gospel meditations have upon Paul? What emotions do they produce in him besides the obvious joy he feels while reciting them? Paul bares his soul at the very beginning of chapter 9: "I have great sorrow," he says, "and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ, for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh."
Coming down from the heights of gospel meditation, Paul's heart was devastated by a burden for his fellow Jews to experience the saving power of the gospel. His burden existed long before he started writing, but it was undoubtedly intensified by his rehearsal of gospel truths in Romans 5-8, a rehearsal which inevitably led his thoughts toward the plight of those outside of Christ.
Hence, if I wish to have a 'Romans 9' kind of burden for non-Christians, I should become practiced at celebrating the gospel as Paul does in Romans 5-8. Over time, my joy in the gospel will become increasingly tinged with grief, and this grief-stained joy will lend a God-inspired passion to my ministry of evangelizing the lost."

"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;" Ephesians 2:8

You can obtain a copy of this little resource here.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Puddle Jumping

I watched my six year old kindergarten son walk to his classroom this morning. We had left home without his backpack in hand and had to return home to retrieve it. When we returned to the school, he wasn't late yet, but his class had already gone inside. When other kids were hurrying up the sidewalk to find their place in line, my son unaware of those around him or the time, gently jumped over each puddle left on the sidewalk from the overnight rains. I sat watching and enjoying the moment as he carefully and joyfully leaped about the sidewalk even turning around at one point to make sure he jumped a puddle that was almost missed.

I am trying to treasure these days, his skinny little legs, his cheerful delight as he skips, hops, or runs to the building. Kindergarten is such a magical time for kids. Whether I homeschooled my kids in kindergarten or sent them to the public school, I have thoroughly enjoyed each of their kindergarten years.

Motherhood is exhausting at times and the demands are great. Too often I have missed these moments in my hurried state of trying to get to what is next. All of my children have gone through a growth spurt lately, not just in size, but in every area. It is like they are changing right before my eyes and I can do nothing to stop it but possibly stop myself and enjoy the moment.

A Dyson

5minutesformom is giving away a Dyson Slim Vacumm. Go here and sign Mr. Linky and write your own post about the opportunity to win one of these.

A few years back we went on a vacuum research and investigation adventure. We had gone through too many vacuums in a very short period of time and had invested a lot of money in all types. We put forth the money for a Dyson DC 07 original and have no regrets. I have had the vacuum for almost two years now and I know with a much less inexpensive model I was replacing them at least once a year.

Go check out 5minutesformom.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Balcony Woman

I have a few women in my life who I would love to refer to as a"Balcony Woman". Joyce Heatherly in her book "Special Words" describes Balcony People as those "who by experience, by education in the school of suffering, and by the wisdom gleaned from life is our affirmer. They are people who take delight in honoring one another (a rare commodity these days) Balcony People not only love us but have great respect for us. They listen to us with their ears and hear us with their hearts."

These type of people are rare. They can look beyond the moment and see the heart. I would not be the woman I am today without those who have stood in the balcony of my life and cheered me on. They stood to their feet and applauded with great delight during certain scenes and lingered long after everyone else had gone home.

I too want to be a Balcony Woman to others. It is during those years as a young wife and mommy that we need others who will stand with us, listen to our hearts and affirm us in the role that God has fashioned for us as women. Do you have a "Balcony Woman" in your life?

Monday, March 26, 2007


Amazing, wonderful, awesome God! Those are the words that just begin to scratch the surface of what I experienced this weekend with the wonderful ladies who attended our Spring Retreat. We shed a whole lot of tears and received very little sleep. Someone asked me today what my favorite part of our weekend together was and after trying to just pick one I said, "looking around the room hours after our service had ended and seeing women huddled together in corners of the room praying together. No one was ever in a hurry to leave. They stayed and stayed. They blessed each other, encouraged each other, cried with each other, and prayed for each other. I am truly not the same. These precious women have touched my life in a way that is difficult to put into words. We went...just as we were...we heard His invitation..."Come to me" and we responded.

I don't have my menu plan ready for the rest of the week. I was tired today but it was a good tired. Thank you to all those who prayed! Your prayers touched many lives.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Come...Just as you are

I leave early tomorrow morning (Fri.) with 50 plus other women to converge on a beautiful Hotel. I would greatly appreciate your prayers as I am sharing the Word of God Friday evening and Saturday morning. We are having some fun girl type discussions on various topics related to issues specifically for women Saturday evening and then Sunday morning we are having a beautiful worship service.

The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. Revelation 22:17 (ESV)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I know...I know...

I told you here I would be away for a few days, but this morning I woke up with the stomach flu and was unable to be at our ladies bible study so I missed the time in prayer and study of God's word. I was able to take a nap this morning and I am drinking fluids. The extra rest was good!

I came downstairs to my computer to do my devotions and I have to give a shout out to two posts I read this afternoon which have inspired and challenged me. If you haven't stopped by CWO's new Internet Cafe,

than now is the time. The post is titled "You Can't Have Her!" and be prepared you may find yourself ready to ride into battle with the sword of the spirit, the helmet of salvation, the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, and your feet covered with the gospel of peace shouting those exact words, "You can't have her!" So many come to mind as I prepare to get down on my knees praying in the Spirit for those who are lost and hurting. I also see that there are those who need my arms to lock with theirs and hear those words, "you are not alone."

And if that isn't enough...then go and read Cyndi at One Day More take some "bread and a few fish" (a $250.00 check and some prayers) and read how God has transformed their lives and thinking when it comes to their treasure. It will change the question from, "Lord, how much do I give?" to "Lord, how much should I keep?

Go, read and be encouraged!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Some time away.....and a few other thoughts

I will be taking the next several days and step away from this blog (hopefully!) to continue preparing my heart for our upcoming Spring Ladies Retreat this weekend. I am very excited about getting away with so many ladies. The team of women putting this together have been fabulous to work with and have carefully tended to every detail with great love. I would appreciate your prayers for our time away together.

It is the end of Jennifer at Snapshot month long challenge to read with our children. One of the questions she asked was, "how did the mission help you actually read more?" Like most things, when I state publicly I plan to do something, it keeps me accountable to my plans. Although reading together is not a challenge for our family at this time, it wasn't always the case. It took discipline to set aside the time to read aloud and patience not to get frustrated with varying listening skills. But the rewards of watching and listening to my husband read to my children is so worth it. Many of the books I posted about here , we are still reading. The kids have finished some of their individual books, but not all of them. So, thank you Jennifer for hosting such a great challenge and encouraging us all to treasure those words, "mommy...will you please read to me."
I may not be here for several days, but feel free to stop in and take a peek around. Not too fancy, but hopefully it is warm and encouraging.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

Does God care about what happens in our day? Absolutely! Regardless of the tasks we face, without God's assistance, we cannot succeed. We may get the dishes washed, the laundry folded, and the beds made...we may get our work done without accident or incident....we may find what we need at the market and manage to keep a schedule. But without God being first place in our hearts, thoughts, and plans it is all done in vain. When I have added commitments and activities, it is easy to try and do everything in my own strength. It is easy for me not to stop and spend time in worship before the Lord. It is easy for me not to receive proper rest.
It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest,eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. Psalm 127:2

I need to be reminded of this more than ever this week as I prepare for our Spring Ladies Retreat.

Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. Psalm 127:1 (ESV)
Here is my menu plan for this week:

Monday: Chicken packets, baked potatoes, salad
Tuesday: Tortilla Soup with chips
Wednesday: Lasagna, garlic bread and salad
Thursday: Leftovers......
I am leaving Friday morning for our Ladies Retreat (yippee) and my husband will take care of the weekend. I have stocked the freezer with plenty of options.

For more great menus go to Organizing Junkie

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Source of my Life

I love scripture prayers. Kelly at A Spacious Place wrote a beautiful prayer using Ephesians 6:10-20. Beth Moore in the introduction to her book Praying God's Word says, "I am utterly convinced that the two major weapons with divine power in our warfare are the Word of God and Spirit-empowered prayer."
This morning in my Life Journal I wrote out a prayer from 1 Corinthians 1:26-31:
"Brothers, think of what you were when you were called.
Lord, I was the quiet one, the one that was easily forgotten and searched high and low for real value in this life.
Not many of you were wise by human standards;
Lord, I was referred to as the "nice" one, average, hardly noticed by others.
not many were influential;
Lord, I often wondered if others even remembered my name.
not many were of noble birth.
Lord, I was born to a nineteen year old girl forced to leave her young husband due to substance abuse and facing a very uncertain future
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise;
Lord, in the world's eyes I know I was thought of as foolish. By their standards I did not have a chance.
God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
Lord, thank you for choosing me.
He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
Lord, today I know where my strength and hope comes from. It comes from you and you alone. I do not boast in anything, but only in the blood of Jesus that covers my sin.
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."
Lord, your word says in Psalm 139, "My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.before the foundations of the earth you knew my form and what I would face when you placed me here on earth."
Lord, you are the source of my life. I have been sanctified, made righteous, and redeemed through Christ Jesus. Amen.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Everyone makes mistakes sometime

Today I was busily pounding away on my keyboard preparing for an upcoming ministry event. I was keeping an eye on the clock and trying to make the best use of my time while my two year old napped. What I failed to remember was that for some reason the time on my computer was still wrong and I hadn't bothered to change it yet. I was startled when the phone rang and caller ID displayed the elementary school. Nancy, the ever so sweet school secretary told me Hunter was waiting for me. I yelped in disbelief that I had forgotten my kindergarten son. There he was standing at the office window waiting for me. When we got into the car I apologized profusely and he said, "Mom, it's ok. I forgive you. Don't you know everyone makes mistakes sometime?" I marveled at his tender willingness to forgive so quickly. I wondered if I would have been forgotten, would I have been so quick to say, "everyone makes mistakes sometime?"

Wordless Wednesday - Cowboys

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

In "Other" Words

As a young bride at twenty two, married to the man who had prayed for me at the tender age of fifteen, I had a very limited understanding of what God's design for marriage was. I knew I was to "leave" and "cleave" and that we were "one flesh", but beyond this, I began a life hoping to find joy and fulfilment only to discover that I struggled deeply within myself. I had a husband who loved me immensely, I was a born again Christian and it just seemed everything should be fine. I found the unfulfilled expectations I had seemed hopeless. Most of my struggles did not stem from my husband, but from my own fears and insecurities. I did not believe that I was capable of being loved. I struggled to accept God's unconditional love for my life and all of this only spilled over into my relationship with my husband. Over the years God has stretched our relationship to the very core. Our love for each other never wavered but the storms of life pounded against us one right after another at times.
James 1:2-8 (ESV) says,
"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways."
As the years went on I sought the Lord with everything in me. I did not want all these trials and troubles wasted. I asked the Lord for wisdom and understanding on His plan for marriage. I lived to this point in my plan for marriage and it was not working for me. Slowly, the Lord moved me down a path showing me not only His plan for marriage but brought healing and deliverance from the struggles that had entangled my life. God brought people and put me in places where biblical truths were taught and this changed my life dramatically. One truth in particular sticks out in my mind that changed my course for good. "Marriage was not designed to make me happy, but to bring God glory!" My marriage was to bring God glory! What a enormous relief this was to me. My joy (happiness) could only come from the Lord and Him alone, and therefore the joy I experienced in my marriage was a result of following God's plan for a biblical marriage. I live each day hoping my marriage will continually bring glory to God!

"One of the secrets to a happy marriage is remembering the source of our joy, which is not one another. The source of our joy is the Lord. Yes, we share tons of joyous moments, but we don't expect, let alone demand, endless joy-filled moments from each other. "

~ Liz Curtis Higgs ~from the devotional: Rise and Shine

For more "In Other Words" visit Darlene Schacht here

Monday, March 12, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

A new week! And there is a plenty to keep me very very busy throughout this week. My menu is intentionally simple with familiar recipes. The next couple of weeks will be busy and I recognize that if I am going to serve my family warm home cooked meals, they must be simple ones.
Spring Cleaning is on the horizon and for many years I used the same plan. Since moving in the past year and a half (twice) and now living in a new home, I am creating a plan that best meets my current needs. I try (notice the word "try") to deep clean my home twice a year. I will allow myself four weeks to completely move throughout my home. Every cupboard, drawer, closet, and corner is touched. It is more than cleaning. It is tossing, organizing and just plain tackling those hidden spots which have been ignored all winter (or maybe for the past nine months). My first stop is the kitchen. Since I will be busy with other ministry work over the next couple of weeks, I will allow myself two weeks to complete. I go through every cupboard. This is the time to throw out those items which have been unused for the past year, take inventory of spices and seasonings and reorganize my recipes and cookbooks. I will spend only thirty minutes each day "Spring Cleaning".
There is still all the normal housework to be done and I find if I don't tackle it all at once I get more accomplished. Here is my super simple menu for this week:
Monday: Roast Beef & Gravy(Crock pot) potatoes and steamed veggies
Tuesday: Burritos
Wednesday: Chicken packets and salad
Thursday: Spaghetti, salad and garlic bread
Friday: Kid's Night Out!
Saturday: Barbecue Beef Sandwiches
For more great menus go to Organized Junkie

Friday, March 09, 2007

A blog note

Dear One and Many,

Wish I could just drop in for a face-to-face visit. I can see us now, sitting outside on a deck watching the sun sink over those western hilltops and taking in all the beauty.
My heart is focusing on that scene, and I cling to the hope and peace of God I sense whenever I'm with you.
Thank you for your prayers! They mean more than words can say!


Your Friend

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A son's words to his father

This morning I read John Piper's beautiful and moving journal entry narrating his father, William S. H. Piper's death giving God glory for his father's life. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Piper family.

As a parent I am so moved by these words spoken from a son,

"Thank you, Daddy. Thank you for 61 years of faithfulness to me. I am simply looking into his face now. Thank you. You were a good Father. You never put me down. Discipline, yes. Spankings, yes. But you never scorned me. You never treated me with contempt. You never spoke of my future with hopelessness in your voice. You believed God’s hand was on me. You approved of my ministry. You prayed for me. Every day. That may be the biggest change in these new days: Daddy is no longer praying for me."
I did not know this man in life, but in death his life has impacted mine to press on and finish the race that is set before me that the Gospel will be revealed in my own life and many will come to know our Savior.

Wordless Wednesday - Ice

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Yesterday my Life Journal entry was from
Mark 12:44:
"For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on."
These were the words Jesus spoke of the poor widow woman after she has placed all that she had in the offering. She gave out of her poverty, her whole livelihood. She did not put any value or trust on what she had.
I wonder how often I come to the Lord willing to give of my life out of abundance? Jesus compared her gift as greater than all those who gave before her in total. Jesus could see her heart.
When I come to the Lord in my poverty, my lack, my need, my insufficiency and insecurities, I have come offering everything I really am. It doesn't matter what it looks like to others. God sees my heart. I have given Him the whole of my life.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Just in case you were wondering....

Just in case you were wondering and to keep me very humble, this afternoon I found myself very tired. I had trouble sleeping last night and I am still fighting a cold. This morning I posted my menu plan for the week. I cooked several pounds of boneless chicken breasts today for several meals this week and to freeze for future dishes. At about 4pm I talked with my husband. He came home unexpectedly for a short time and then headed back to the office deciding to pick up a sandwich on the way. So I did what every other well organized woman would do. I asked the kids what they wanted from McDonalds, got into my car, drove up to the black box, ordered 3 chicken bacon ranch salads for us girls and 3 chicken meals for the boys. I brought it home and we enjoyed a carpet picnic on the family room floor. I picked up all the trash and was thankful that although I posted my well intended plans today and just in case someone saw me driving away from McDonalds, when mom doesn't feel well the plan can change!

Menu Plan Monday

I was asked recently about menu plans and the benefit they provide for my family. Besides the obvious, knowing ahead of time what I am going to cook just seems to make my week go a little smoother, I have also found many other blessings and a much greater purpose for doing this.

Several years ago my husband and I decided to capitalize on this time we spend together at the table. We realized that gathering together for a meal was our opportunity to not only feed our children's physical body, but also one of the few times in the day that we could gather together as a family and talk about our spiritual bodies. We also realized that we are sitting next to or across from one another and it was our opportunity to teach them how to serve, show kindness and compassion towards one another. We can sense when someone has had a difficult day and needs encouragement from those who love them most.
My plans and preparations for our family meal time have taken on a high and holy purpose. We always try and celebrate one another! When someone has had a difficult day, this is the place where they can receive restoration. Several years back some of the networks ran a "family table" advertisement. Even the world recognizes the reality of how seldom families were gathering at the table. As I shared a few weeks ago, the plan serves me. We don't always eat together and life sometimes totally interrupts my well intended plans. But our goal is to come to the table as often as we can.
Here is what I have planned to serve my family this week:

Monday: Chicken in Alfredo sauce with penne pasta Salad and bread
Tuesday: Tacos with rice and beans
Wednesday: Stove top Pot Roast with vegetables and rice
Thursday: Chiken Tetrazzini Salad and rolls
Friday: Southwestern Chili and Corn Bread
Saturday: Chicken Quesadillas with leftover chili

For more great menus go to I'm an Organizing Junkie

Friday, March 02, 2007

Walking with God

" A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." Proverbs 16:9
I have been asking myself lately how much of my life is directed by God and how much do I direct in my own ways, thinking that I have let God direct my steps (or plans)? Or do my own plans, cares and concerns crowd out God's ability to speak to me?
Noah didn't just decide one day that it would be a good idea to build a boat and then, after he was finished, ask God to do something really great with it. NO! Gen. 6:9 says, .. "Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God."
Abraham didn't one day decide to take his wife and wander around the desert, and then ask God to lead him somewhere. NO! It says in Gen. 12:2, The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you." And God promised, "I will bless you."
Moses didn't just decide one day to go back to Egypt and ask Pharaoh to release the Hebrew people in order for them to leave all at once. NO! Moses was quietly minding his own flock as God had instructed him to do, when suddenly the Lord spoke to him from the middle of a burning bush telling him to go. Moses followed God's plan and the Lord blessed everything he did.
There is so much here I can learn from these three friends in scripture. Oh, to be as Noah found blameless in the sight of God and walking with him. Or, to be as Abraham willing to pick up and go as God directs and believe what He has promised. Or, to be Moses and actually hear and see God speak to me while I am tending to the business of the day. All three were going about their day walking with God.
God speak to me! Show me your ways in the midst of preparing meals, kissing chubby cheeks, changing diapers, listening to a teenager, making brownies, scrubbing toilets, and grocery shopping. I want to be found walking with you!