Saturday, February 27, 2010

What are you doing tomorrow?

Tomorrow, Lord Willing, I will go here and there and do this and that.

My "Here" is Mexico. My "There" is comparison shopping at "Lindas Pharamcy" and the "Almost Free Pharmacy". My "this or that" will be buying another supply of Aricept, my mom's Alzheimers medicine.

I always feel a little daunted before I go, leaning heavily on verses like the one I just quoted from James that states with confidence that whether I go, or not go, it is the Lords will. He's got it all under His control and all I have to do is trust Him.

Sometimes, to be perfectly honest though, as much as I trust God and love Him - sometimes I'm absolutely petrified that His plans won't line up with my plans.
And yes, I realize how ridiculous that is.
But there is always a tightness in my chest as I realize that I'm standing at a moment that God could turn the tide of events in a completely different direction and... am I prepared to deal with that and accept that and love Him and trust Him all the same?

Or will I only accept His will for my life - and the lives of those I care about - when it matches up with my own plans.

I know what I want my answer to always be. But often I get that clenched gut feeling when I wonder if He will test it. He tested it the day He took Bella away and I failed miserably.

What could He test you with? Are you willing to let your answer be yes - no matter how far away from your own plans He diverts you?

I don't write this with fear or worry that somehow I'll fail God and that He'll be angry or that I'll not make Heaven because He's mad that I failed.

Though I believe God can get angry and that I could not make Heaven if He so chose.

But I write this with fear of disappointing a Savior that I know loves me beyond my imagination, beyond what I can ask or think. Beyond what my feeble typing can describe for you. I write this because I fear that as much as He's worthy of praise, I'll fail to give it. I fear that I'll be given a perfect opportunity to show how much I love and trust Him and my heart and mind will be too caught up with temporal things to embrace the chance.

I love Him.

And whatever tomorrow holds, I pray that I'll accept it with grace and dignity, humility and love. Not with pride and anger, and a frustrated reminder of my personal "rights" and space. But with the grace of God abundantly flowing out of my life.

Anyone can be gracious when the going is good and things are going as you imagine they should. But do you let God really control your life and plans even when we don't like His? Whatever I hope my answer will be, my attitude will be my true answer on those days - and I hope I am able to show all the love and honor due in that opportunity.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I'm one of those people that tends to think they're unique. My feelings are unique, my hurts are unique, my thoughts are unique, my fears are unique.

I'm sure you're not like that. I'm sure I'm the only one that feels that way.

Or perhaps every single one of you feels that same way.

But I wonder if it's not true where God is concerned. Each of us have our own unique relationship with Him. We relate in different ways, struggle with different things, and all of us just respond to life, and God, differently.

Last week I struggled to rebound after the sudden jolt I had from a happy and fun time, to the stark reminder of the reality of my moms disease and my dads decisions. Suddenly I became quiet. I was quiet because sometimes when I talked I started crying again even if the subject was as inconsequential as dinner rolls. So I spent a few days trying not to think, talk, and especially not cry.

On Sunday morning I stayed home from church and in an empty house I began doing dishes. And it made me cry again. And I finally said what I needed to say to God. I didn't know what to say until that very moment, but suddenly it just flowed out and I spoke and I cried. It hurt.

I recognize, that you don't know me. The crazy influx of readers that have begun stopping by my blog.... some of you are old friends, but most of you are strangers. So keep reading and I'll get to the part that is about you eh?

Sunday morning, I told God I needed something that was simply an impossible request for me, and even as I asked it I knew it was impossible.

And then, as my family was about to return home I left and spent the day around town just passing time. And all day long I absolutely, positively, felt His comforting presence.
So while I didn't know what I was praying for, what I needed, I received exactly that. God could have sent a person along, but my comfort doesn't come from people. It doesn't come from physical actions or words... oh sure, those things are comforting, but nothing like the comfort that God can bring.

It's too easy for us to look for worldly comfort, physical comfort, things of this world to comfort you. But God truly wants us to find our comfort in Him. And when we ask Him for that comfort, I believe He will come through.

I didn't wax eloquent with my words, I didn't say "Lord," or solemnly close with "In Jesus name, Amen".
I just cried out.
And He heard my cry.

He WILL do the same for you. He will see you through the dark nights when the money isn't there, the test results aren't good, and when the boss announces that there are layoffs coming. All you have to do is open your mouth and say the words in your heart. He can hear you even when you whisper.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Blessed be Your name though there's pain in the offering:

It was like a sucker-punch.

I suppose that's why I haven't been able to catch my breathe back yet.

In one of our rare nights out just to do something fun, our little band of people went to "The Incredible Pizza Co." a pizza place with a huge arcade area that includes Go-Karts, Mini-Golf, Bumper Cars and Bowling. We ate pizza and chocolate pudding while we watched old "Bewitched", and "I love Lucy" reruns on the television and then went and I soundly trounced my brother at Go-Karts, and then was soundly trounced myself at mini-golf.

We were playing some other game when the phone rang. My dad was calling. I flung my tickets at someone and ran out of the arcade so I could hear him. In those few seconds I fear things that no one should ever have to wonder about their parents. 38 minutes later it was over. I'd heard dad talk about mom, promised that I would make the necessary trip to Mexico for more medicine, and then talked to mom trying to convince her that she had to be nice to the man that was helping her (my dad) and she shouldn't hide food from him or try and kick him out of the house.

And I can't seem to catch my breathe now.

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cluttered rooms, hurting bodies and changing lives.

I've spent most of this last month in an unusual amount of physical pain. I can't move, sit, I even spent the entire day at work in a big bulky winter jacket because removing it was just more painful than what taking a jacket off was worth.
Do I have a disease? Some type of disorder? Did an accident happen to incapacitate me?

No. I've just grown.
I've spent time challenging my muscles. I've lifted weights too heavy for me lift, and I've done crazy magical sit ups (if you're not in shape enough to do a sit up, I can show you a cool trick that will let you do them). And 24 to 36 hours later, I'm in torment.


I started cleaning out some unnecessary items from my little corner of the world, trying to clear out anything I don't really need. Something I'd already done for the first move, but it's amazing how much more you can find to get rid of. Here is a picture of what the process looks like though. It doesn't look like improvement - does it?


God is working on me. Sometimes it hurts because things that I did before, I'm now convicted about as He draws me towards a more holy lifestyle. The organized lifestyle I had before is more cluttered, unclear - I rarely know what bills will be paid or what tomorrow might be like. I used to have a 5 year plan, and now I'm thankful if a 5 day plan goes well. It seems messy, and unfocused and while that bothers me I have only to look at that photo of my room to remember how things look worse while they're being fixed.
We often think if it hurts or looks messy that something must be wrong. But it's just the process. It's why I go back to the gym every single week and do something that I know will hurt later. It's why I piled bag upon bag, stuff upon stuff, knowing that at the end I'd have a good finished product.

But I'm not done. Even though things got put back into order, I'm still not done. I was only working on one little section (despite the fact that it effected the whole room) and soon I'll tackle another section of the room.

Just like God will do for me eventually whenever life falls back into place, it'll all unravel again as some other area goes under renovation. And I pray that just like I go back to the gym even though I know it will hurt, that I'll head straight back to God and wait for my next renovation, for the next unraveling, for the next test and trial.

It's worth every bit of the pain. I know that without one doubt in my mind.

For I know God is Good.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

And the winner is....

Update on the updates: My winner never claimed the prize, so a new winner was selected tonight under the careful supervision of two kids who were apparently rooting for their mother. Nevertheless, the new number chosen by was...


Which goes right back to Kristi (my original mis-named winner). Apparently she was just meant to win. The prize will be shipped out this week Kristi.

UPDATE: My sincerest apologies, but it looks like I err'ed (and disappointed the wrong Kristi) But the winner of the videos was KristY not with an "I" at the end. Kristy please e-mail me your address to send the videos.

If I haven't heard from the winner by this Sunday at 5pm, I'll get a 2nd random number and we'll draw again.

I've been excitedly watching the clock, forcing myself not to count or do mock drawings and such. It's been a hard wait for me!

But, I surrounded myself by witnesses and counted the entries, (38 total) and the winner handily chosen by "RANDOM.ORG" is #19.

Should I stall while you consider counting the comments yourself???

#19 is Kristy!

Kristy said...
I would love to win these for my family!

7:50 PM

Congratulations Kristy! All of the entries certainly paid off.

But I want EVERYONE to know how much I appreciated their participation. This is the biggest thing this blog has done and I've enjoyed every minute of it. Thank you all for playing and I can assure you, as soon as possible I'll have another giveaway.

Any suggestions as to future prizes you'd like to see?

Kristy - please just e-mail me with the address you'd like me to ship the DVD's to.
Congratulations again!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

It's time for another giveaway!

I enjoy doing giveaways, and I like family movies so this month I've combined the two pleasures to create a great giveaway. This should get anyone well on their way to having a clean, family movie library.

I'll be giving away a 3-pack of movies: Fireproof, Facing the Giants, and Flywheel. (Click the title to see a preview for the movie.)
I've personally watched all 3 movies several times and still enjoy them each and every time. They're simply awesome - Christian - movies. And those are extraordinarily hard to find.
So... all you have to do is leave a comment to enter, one entry per person per day.
For additional entries, you could receive 2 extra entries for posting a link to the giveaway on facebook, or as a tweet, or even blogging about it. 2 entries each for any of those methods. Just leave me a comment letting me know you did it.
The contest begins tonight (Sunday 2/7), and will end at 5pm central time next Sunday (2/14).
This post will remain at the top of the blog for easy access, but updated posts will be beneath this one during the week.
Thanks for playing!

You're running out of time!

I'm so very excited about this giveaway I just wanted to write out another reminder that time is almost up. As I write this there is only around 17 hrs left to enter. I'm sure I'll say it again, but thank you all for entering and for the support you've given this blog. Especially those who linked to the giveaway.

So for the next 17 hrs you could get into the game. If you haven't entered yet, just write a simple comment and you'll be entered. These are terrific movies and I'm really excited to be able to give them away. You'll like them. Actually, you'll probably love them.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Don't die for an apple.

I truly wish that I could remember where I saw this. I sincerely apologize that I'm not able to give credit where credit is due, but if it was you and you wrote this if you'll comment I'll be happy to give that credit.

I was shocked to pieces at the simplicity and obviousness (and yes, I checked, it is a word) of something that I'd never thought of before: The fall of man came because Adam and Eve ate an apple.

Not because someone murdered someone, or blasphemed the Holy Spirit, not because of fornication or greed, not because of violence or hate. But simply through the eating of an apple. Because in eating that apple they weren't obeying God.

We love to assign different levels of 'bad' to sin. Obviously eating an apple that you're not supposed to eat is nothing compared to murder right? But for God, disobedience was the key. Whether you're disobedient in big or small, all is important to God.

So keep in mind while you discount the small disobediences in your life - God isn't discounting them along with you.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Christs character concerning not nice people...

I had to change the title to the post because I'd originally written "enemies". Enemies though, is too restrictive of a word. But as general citizens of the world we typically don't have a lot of enemies that we struggle with how to treat. Instead, we struggle with the jerk sitting at the table next to us, the cop writing us a ticket, the neighbor who lets his dog "visit" your lawn.

But what caught my attention tonight was a combination of two things: reading in Acts and seeing the change that took place in Peter and how he changed from who he was to what he became, and reading about Jesus washing the disciples feet. Of the last story, it was particularly Judas' feet that caught my attention. The one He knew would betray Him; He knelt down on the floor, took off his sandals and washed his feet.

So often I want to give up on people that fail me, or even just annoy me. I discount some people as unimportant in my life. But Jesus knew something important - He knew HE was important in everyones life. He wasn't taking stock of whether they were important for His or not.

The only people Jesus seemed to genuinely dislike were bad religious people. Everyone else... He had time for. Everyone else He didn't scorn. Sinners changed around Him, yet you never heard Him telling them they had to do better, try harder. All He did was love them.

If Christ could wash the feet of the one who was about to betray Him... I can be nice to the white SUV that's going to cut me off in traffic tomorrow, or the customer who is outraged because their checks aren't free, or the tenant who doesn't pay their rent.

It's... interesting... being a Christian and trying to love everybody all the time. So often I feel justified in not caring... but it simply isn't true. It simply isn't true.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Christ is not my accuser.

I received a call this past week from my parents. My mother, as most of you might remember, has alzheimer's and desperately wanted me to come get her. It was a long, hard two hour conversation that actually crazily ended suddenly with her forgetting why she called me.

Later, I found myself wondering idly if God would ever forgive me. If there was ever any way I would be able to repent my way out of knowingly not being there for my mother. For telling her no. For hardening my heart against the accusations she tearfully flung at me and sitting here in San Antonio away from the suffering she's going through. There's no way to repent from that... this will forever be a black mark on my record. I will forever be the person that did this to her mother. How can Christ forgive that intentional choice?

And suddenly I realized what I'd done. By continuing that thought process I'd allowed myself to become at odds with Christ, separated from God by sin.

When I haven't even sinned.

The Bible describes the devil as an accuser of the brethren and it's entirely accurate. He leans into your ear and tells you of the things you feel you've failed at and lets you know that God is too good to put up with someone like you. God is too holy, to just to allow someone who would do what I've done into His presence.

But, I'm in San Antonio, far away from my "rightful place" taking care of my mother because God wants me in San Antonio. I don't know why, I don't know what purpose He has in taking me away from her now when she and my dad could use my help the most - but it was instigated by God Himself. So during this time I can either allow my accuser to separate me from Christ, or I can draw closer to Christ to help get me through the hard times.

I tell you this because it's too easy to listen to the devil. To not realize who it is that is talking to you. To understand the difference between the Holy Spirit conviction on your soul and the accuser condemning your soul. Just because you do what God wants you to do doesn't mean that everything else in the world will be wonderful. Sometimes you go to China on a missions trip just as your wife gets sick. Sometimes you happen to be visiting someone at a hospital when someone breaks into your house. Sometimes things happen.
But as long as you're doing what God wants you to do, then simply take heart in that and trust His lead. He won't ever condemn you for doing what He tells you to do. He loves you.

So be careful to examine what you think you're hearing. And any voice that's telling you God can't forgive you - well, it's not the voice to listen to.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

How do I know I am a beloved child of God?

I was talking to an old friend the other day and the subject of their recent struggle with God came up. They indicated that they perhaps weren't mad at God anymore for not keeping His promises because they realized that God doesn't have to keep His promises. God can do whatever He wants. To the extent that you could live your whole life for Him and then arrive at Heavens gate only to have Christ announce that you failed to give that cup of water in His name so you were out of luck.

Quite honestly, I was shocked. The very idea was so preposterous to me that it couldn't hardly be imagined. Especially coming from someone who read the Bible more than I did. All I could think of was how the accusation didn't match the character of God at all. But alas, of all the scriptures running through my mind that spoke of Gods love they all seemed trite, easy to disregard suddenly. I didn't want the verses that spoke of His love, I wanted the verses that implied His love. The verses that told of His character, without ever actually speaking directly to it.

That's why I was so happy as I began hungering for His Word. As I read scriptures that had no bearing whatsoever (well, hardly) on His love for us I found they were literally saturated with implications.

I woke up with God telling me to read Ephesians 5. So I went there and found this:
Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children.
Which led me to 1 Peter 1:14 whose first three words read "as obedient children"
Which led me to Luke 6:35 which reads: "But love your enemies, do good and lend hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Highest. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful."
Which led me to Luke 15, the entire chapter coming to rest on the Fathers simple statement to the frustrated, sad, bitter child: "Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine."
Which led me eventually to 1 John 3:21 "Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God"
Which led me to Hebrews 10:22&23. "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)"

But the scriptures are simply full of verse after verse proclaiming Gods love for us. And it's easy to dismiss it since I've heard it all my life but the Bible speaks of Gods open, unabashed love for us - His kindness even when we're evil and unthankful. His love beaming down on us while we were yet sinners. His instructions to us to love those that hate us, because that is the very nature of God Himself.

He's not the powerful crazy God who has a quota of people to send to hell each month. He longs for His children, He loves His children. God is the very essence of love itself. When you hear things like that your whole life, you tend to shrug it off much like someone who is surrounded by jewels is no longer awed by the beauty and awesomeness of the value.

Today, I can assure you I will no longer stutter and gape should you tell me that God doesn't keep His promises, or that He's a fickle taskmaster who will live in glorious communion with you throughout your life yet keep you from separated from Him for eternity for something you didn't even realize you'd done wrong.

If you say it to me, I want you to know that I'm more than happy to sit down and show you verse after verse where God is pouring out His love for you. You won't believe it, you'll doubt and be angry still I'm sure - but God promised me that His Word doesn't return void, it will set out what it was meant to accomplish. And I will pour that Word over you as a balm if you would allow - that He could heal your hurts and bitterness.

It works I know. I've been moved to tears this week as I read section after section and realize that the story isn't just telling me a story, but of Gods love. For me. For you. For messed up idiots just like ourselves.

But perhaps you need to acknowledge first that you need to be ministered to. That there is something broken and vulnerable and angry all wound up that just needs to be ministered to. If that's you, all you have to do is e-mail. E-mail your brokenness and anger and I will e-mail my balm of Gilead for the seen and unseen. There is a path beyond the hurt and it leads to glorious Light. E-mail or comment if you're willing to admit you need help.

And let me just put words to something you already know. You're dying. I know you feel that way even without knowing who you are because I've been there, dying and broken, bitter and angry; confident I knew the answers and who God was enough to know He was too cold-hearted to trust in. But you don't have to die this daily miserable death. You can have peace, hope, you can live again.

Just reach out. Friends, family, minister, church leaders, or some stranger with a blog. Any of us are willing to help.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The character of God

If you want to know who God is - read His book.

I've been blessed this past couple of weeks with a hunger for the Gods word. I'm eager to see what Christ will say, or what His apostles might instruct next. Words I've read my entire life are coming alive to me in brand news ways that actually excite me.

In the past, I've simply "read" because it's what you're supposed to do and often I actually enjoyed it. ;) But never have I felt an eagerness such as this before.

In reading just this week I have truly appreciated how things that I know and believe are being solidified as I see connections in verse after verse and book after book. Moving from Ecclesiastes, to Luke, to Ephesians and Colossians, back to Psalms (I'm reading 52 over and over and over again).

I know it doesn't seem as exciting as what I might make it sound like - but I assure you if you keep trying, keep reading and pray for help and understanding you'll find something amazing.
For me, right now, I just cannot thank God enough for the desire for His word and the hunger to know Him better, and then putting it all together and giving me a better understanding.

Read your Bible. Read it. Read it. Read it.
I know.
Just read it.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Series - Walking the talk. (1.01)

I started this blog September 25th, 2005 and since then I've written 1, 151 posts.

And I still haven't figured out how to do what I've been blogging about all of this time.

It makes me feel anxious, twisted up inside and more than a little frustrated as I write each and every post because I believe the words I write from the very bottom of my heart - yet I haven't figured out how to do it.

My posts *typically* all talk about walking the walk, not with a Sunday attitude but with a life changing every day attitude so that every day, every moment, every encounter in life is touched by God's hand and His anointing in your life. Not that we won't fail and stumble once in awhile, but that we will do our utmost to live as He would have us to live. Every day. Every word. Every thought. Every action.

But I've struggled with it because apart from becoming a missionary and going over to Africa or something - I haven't figured out how to do that as an HR worker, a Customer service person, a newspaper person, a piano player. So despite the fact that I want it more than life - I've never figured out how exactly to do it.

But in the last week I've found something interesting. I've begun studying the Bible.

I've never been good at that before, I can read it no problemo, but when it comes to studying I've always failed miserably and felt as though I was just making up things to do. But now, this week, I've been studying. And here's what I've found.

Ephesians 5.

I've been studying out the words and references and I now have something more than my "feeling" that God loves us but scripture proof that the God of love and Holiness has a heart of love towards us that we can trust. (You wouldn't think that would be up for debate, but in my house it is and I can't just say He loves us, I need scriptures to back up my knowledge.) That's the difference between studying out certain thoughts and just reading.

I've also found some words that were difficult to read sometimes. I'm going to go more into them later, and you'll be able to watch this journey some I suppose as I try and accomplish what it says, but I'm going to live as the Bible directs me to. And I've got the instructions for the game now, and I understand them (for the most part) so we're going to see what happens.

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
Be not ye therefore partakers with them.
For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

I stopped there but that's not the end of the chapter. I'm going to work on living out the instructions in chapter 5. This week I'll be focusing on something very difficult for me. "No foolish talking."

I'm a queen at it. I can make a joke of anything and carry it on and on and on until half the world would gladly beat me to a pulp with anything handy. So I am going to focus on not talking foolishly. I don't believe it means I can't have a sense of humor, but I think it's possible to do both and do both with purpose rather than just blurting out whatever comes to mind.

Pray I do well.