Friday, November 30, 2007

Galatians 5:14
For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Because faith expresses itself through love, you can check your love for others as a way to monitor your faith. (NAS Commentary)
I don't know how many people there are out there like me - I've been told that I'm much stanger than most. But when I feel that sweet impression on my heart that God wants me to do something, I get so excited that I can hardly contain myself! Even when it is something hard that I really don't want to do, I'm excited that God takes time out of sustaining the entire universe to speak to me. How humbling! I have a problem though, I tend to get so excited that I just run with it and forget that I need to do it on God's timeline and not mine. I fell to this again this week. I have been so involved with writing this book proposal before June when I attend the She Speaks Conference that I never even thought about asking God when He wants me to complete it. I got some advice and info from a well published woman this week and as I read all her credintials, I began to really get down on myself and wonder - what in the world am I doing trying to write anything! I didn't have even a quarter of the experience that she had. I gave it all to God and left it at that. I shared yesterday with my husband about what I had been feeling, and once again, his wisdom shone through. He reminded me that out of all the authors I compare myself to, I am the youngest which also means I am the least experienced. How can I compare my experiences with those of someone who has had more years to experience things. Besides, I know the lessons that God has taught me and that He wants me to write this book - what I don't know is exactly when He wants me to do it! I decided when it should be done on my own. Once again, I got in front of God - I'm so glad that God has given me a husband that is so wise and can slow me down a bit when I go crazy. I think that is why God put us together, even though we are so different. It's his job to slow me down and my job to speed him up. Once again - lesson learned.

Is My Jesus Enough?

Is My Jesus Enough?
By Lysa TerKeurst

“That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12 (NIV)

I was stopped in my tracks the other day as I was mindlessly singing a beautiful praise song. I say mindlessly not because I wasn't focusing on God. I was definitely lifting up my heart to Him. But the mindlessly part came when I realized I had no clue of the weight of the words in this song. Did I really mean what I was singing? The song said this: "(Jesus) You're all I want. You're all I ever needed."Really? Did I really mean those words? Is my Jesus enough? Ultimately the question should be: Is my relationship with Jesus in such a place that if He was truly all I had today, would I still stand and sing those powerful song lyrics?My husband Art is flying on a small private plane today. You know the ones you hear about that crash with no survivors... yes that kind of plane. As I kiss him goodbye in a few minutes can I send him off with full confidence that no matter what, Jesus is enough?My son Jackson just got his driver's license and will be driving to a friend's house to watch the football game in a few minutes. His friend lives less than five miles from our house. But don't the statistics show that most car accidents happen on the roads we are most familiar with, closest to our homes? Will I be able to smile, tell him to be careful and let him drive down our driveway with full confidence that no matter what, Jesus is enough?I don't know what kinds of twists and turns might come during my life journey. But, I know the only way to travel with a joyful peace is to settle in my heart the answer to this question once and for all. So, today, I declare Jesus is enough. Before I even know in what way this declaration will be tested, I've made the decision to say it, believe it and settle it.Jesus is enough. I think this is why one of my favorite portraits of a godly woman in the Bible says, "she can laugh at the days to come," (Proverbs 31:25). She was filled with such incredible joy not because life was perfect but simply because she had decided to make laughter, peace, and true happiness the hallmark of her life. Proverbs 31:30 goes on to say this was a woman to be praised because she so reverenced God in the shrine of her heart that she knew without a doubt, He was enough.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I was reading today in Acts 14 about Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journey. What amazes me is how Paul was stoned until thought dead and then dragged out of the city. He then got up and entered the city and then the next day, he traveled some more! I cannot imagine what it must feel like to be stoned, but I would have to think that you would not be ready to travel by the next day. This was Paul's devotion to telling the Good News. He put it above anything else - even the excruciating pain of being stoned. I have to admit that I fall very short of this amount of devotion. It is so easy to make decisions by my feelings and when things are uncomfortable or unconvenient, just avoid the situation. This is not how God has called us to be. Think about it this way - it wasn't comfortable or convenient for Jesus to live on this earth and then to die on a cross for you and for me, but He did it because it was His Father's will.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Galatians 1:10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.

NAS Bible's commentary: Do you spend your life trying to please everybody? Paul had to speak harshly to the Christians in Galatia because they were in serious danger. He did not apologize for his straightforward words, knowing that he could not serve Christ faithfully if he allowed the Galatian Christians to remain on the wrong track. Whose approval are you seeking - others' or God's? Pray for the courage to seek God's approval above anyone else's.

One thing that I respect the most of the pastors in our church is their ability to "tell it like it is". Yes, as Christians, we need to be loving and understanding to others - but we should never sugar coat God's word. We never need to apologize for God's truth. There have been times in the past, that I have struggled with being straightforward when I speak with others, but am learning that in order to follow Jesus' example - I must not stray in any way when it comes to telling others about God and His will for us.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Back to the real world from a wonderful long weekend! I spent the last four days with friends and family - soaking up the opportunity to focus on being thankful. I try to be thankful each day, but sometimes I need an excuse to truly think about all that I have to be thankful for. I do have much to be thankful for - in fact, I sat down on Thursday and made a large list of everything. I will keep this list to look back on when I'm in the midst of one of my pity parties. Our pastor had encouraged his family to make a list of blessings for the same amount of years of age - they then encouraged him to do the same. He was able to list all 47 things! Will you take the time today to make a list of all the things you are thankful for - try for at least the amount you are in years.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy early Thanksgiving to all! In one of our Bible studies, we are reading "The Purpose Driven Life" and read something last night that was very powerful and I wanted to share it with you.
Remember what God has already done for you. If God never did anything else for you, He would still deserve your continual praise for the rest of your life because of what Jesus did for you on the cross. God's Son died for you! This is the greatest reason for worship.
Unfortunately, we forget the cruel details of the agonizing sacrifice God made on our behalf. Familiarity breeds complacency. Even before His crucifixion, the Son of God was stripped naked, beaten until almost unrecognizable, whipped, scorned and mocked, crowned with thorns, and spit on contemptuously. Abused and ridiculed by heartless men, He was treated worse than an animal.
Then, nearly unconscious from blood loss, He was forced to drag a cumbersome cross up a hill, was nailed to it, and was left to die the slow, excruciating torture of death by crucifixion. While His lifeblood drained out, hecklers stood by and shouted insults, making fun of His pain, and challenging His claim to be God
Next, as Jesus took all of mankind's sin and guilt on Himself, God look away from that ugly sight, and Jesus cried out in total desperation, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" Jesus could have saved Himself - but then He could not have saved you. Words cannot describe the darkness of that moment. Why did God allow and endure such ghastly, evil mistreatment? Why? So you could be spared from eternity in hell, and so you could share in His glory forever! The Bible says, "Christ was without sin, but for our sake God made Him share our sin in order that in union with Him we might share the righteousness of God."
Jesus gave up everything so you could have everything. He died so you could live forever. That alone is worthy of your continual thanks and praise. Never again should you wonder what you have to be thankful for.
Hope this puts everything into perspective for you - it sure did for me!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I was reading this morning in Ephesians 6:10-24 about the armor of God. The older I get, the more I realize how important this armor is. For most of my life, I was oblivious to the schemes of the devil. I thought that I was strong enough to resist, I thought I was smart enough to see when satan was working on me - I realize now that I wasn't and still am not. Satan can be so sneaky and crafty - he knows exactly what it is that will trip me up. Alot of the time, when I was in the face of temptation, I wasn't focused on defying satan, but on what my feelings were. This is why I must wear the armor of God at all times - I have to be ready and focused so that when the temptations come (and I know they will), I will be prepared to tell satan to get behind me! Always remember God's truth and will always, always override how you feel.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I began reading a wonderful book on marriage this weekend called "Love & Respect". It was written by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs and now, he and his wife travel all over teaching the concept to couples. I am not even half way through yet and can recommend it highly for any couple! The concept seems so simple, but it is something I missed for a long time in my own marriage. The one thing a woman desires most is for her husband to show his love for her. The one thing a man desires most is for his wife to respect him. Of course, he desires her love also but respect must come first. I thought about how when my husband and I were dating and first married, I thought I needed him for everything and was very open about my admiration of him. As the years passed, I became more independent and began taking him for granted. I began taking over leadership of our family when our children were born and made him feel like I needed him less and less. I didn't realize how this made him feel like I no longer respected him until over the last year, we made the commitment to truly work hard on our marriage. When I began to show him respect as the leader of our house and family and stopped taking him for granted - it was so much easier for both of us to show love to one another. Making small everyday changes in the things we say and do, can make a HUGE impact on marriage!

Friday, November 16, 2007

I did something very dangerous this morning - I prayed that God would test my faith. I know, I know, it sounds crazy doesn't it! I still keep thinking of the question - How can I say that I'm a woman of faith, if my life requires little faith? I asked God what I could be doing to lead a life of more faith and He made it clear to me that my husband and I need to start a class on marriage for our community. We are working on that, but I want to know just how strong my faith really is. It is very easy to say I'm a woman of faith when life is going great and all is well around me. Do you want having faith to be easy or a true test?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I just have to start out by saying "Our God is so Awesome!!" He never ceases to amaze me. About a week ago, I got a call from the leader of a Bible study we used to attend to ask for some books I had. I took the books over while the study was still going on and began discussing with them what questions that they were looking for answers to. Over the next week, I was thinking about their questions and what help I could give them from God's word. I checked our Pastor's blog and he had posted an article that answered several of the questions they had. These kinds of things happen all the time! God knows exactly what we need, when we need it! Take the time to thank Him for these instances that so many people mislabel as coincidence.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Philippians 2:13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
My Bible commentary says: What do we do when we don't feel like obeying? God has not left us alone in our struggles to do His will. He wants to come alongside us and be within us to help. God helps us want to obey Him and then gives us the power to do what He wants. The secret to a changed life is to submit to God's control and let Him work. Next time, ask God to help you want to do His will.

Not alot more to say. I am slowly, but surely learning that my emotions should not control my actions! Let me say it again: Your emotions do not control your actions!! I know, I know, it's a very hard lesson to learn but if we stay focused on the Truth, we can do it!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I spent some time yesterday thinking about how some of the most difficult times in my life have taught me the most. Although most were caused by my own bad choices, God was still able to use the situation to teach, refine and mold me into a better person because of it. I think it is good to be able to look back and see how God pulled me through and what good came of each situation. I then can think on these things when I am in the midst of the next hardship. There are 3 things that God has shown me and that I can always count on:
1. His love never changes - He cannot love me any more or any less than He already does. This helps me to remember that I do not have to perform to make God love me.
2. I am not condemned, because I am in Christ Jesus. His sacrifice has taken my place. My eternity is secured.
3. God is always with me. There have been times when God was the only thing I had. He is always faithful - people are not.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I forgot to mention that the service I spoke at yesterday will be aired next Sunday (11-18-07). Tune into WHOW 1520 AM or local cable channel 13 at 10:30am to hear it.
Well, I gave the message yesterday at the 10:30am service of the Clinton Presbyterian Church. What a warm and friendly church! I was welcomed so sweetly and made feel right at home. I was very passionate about the message that God had given me on the true freedom that we have in Him. I was excited to share it and I could see from the attentive faces, nodding heads and conversations afterward that this was the message that God intended for the group. I am so thankful that God allows me to be His vessel. He is so good! I regret telling Him "no" for so long, but all I can do now, is look forward to where He leads me from here.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Mark 3:4-5 And He said to them, "Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?" But they kept silent. After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand," and he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.

I was reading the story this morning of Jesus healing on the Sabbath which enraged the Pharisees who were determined to destroy Him. Jesus knew what the right thing to do was. He was not concerned with the response of others around Him. How many times do we put what others want before what we know God wants. I think sometimes it seems easier to please a physical person and not have to deal with their reprimands - but in the true light of things, I would much rather receive reprimands from a person than from God!!!

I read other's blogs each day and some that I read are so light, funny and explain the daily happenings of a person. I considered the difference between mine and thiers. I began to wonder if I should be less serious and more light-hearted. As I thought about it, I began to realize that I know my purpose from God. His purpose for me is to tell others what He has and is teaching me. He doesn't ask me to be funny. He asks me to have a true God-seeking heart and then share with others. I guess my true heart is made for seeking and teaching. This is who God has made me to be and I must not apologize for that.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Matthew 13:44-46 "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

My Bible commentary says: The kingdom of heaven is more valuable than anything else we can have, and a persom must be willing to give up everything to have it.

There have been many times in my life that I was willing to give something up in order to please God, but there also have been times that I was not. I can think of one case in particular, that I wanted something so bad that I did not even ask God about. I knew that it went against what He wanted for me, but I chose not to control my selfishness. Whatever it is that we want, that we consider more important than what God wants, is an idol. Until I finally made the choice to give it up to God, my relationship with Him was not what it should have been. I know now that anything that causes division between God and I is not something that I want. It's just not worth it. What are you allowing to come between you and God? Whatever it is, get rid of it at any cost.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Last night our daughter's team had a basketball game against an extremely aggresive team. In order to defend themselves, they had to be just as, if not more agressive. When the game was over, she came over to where I was sitting and cried from the pain she was experiencing over a jammed finger. This finger got jammed during the game, but her focus was on game, not the pain. I was proud of her for being focused and tough during the game and not allowing the pain to stop her.
I thought this morning about how I should be more like that. I so easily get discouraged when satan is aggresively attacking me. I get focus on all the negativity in my life instead of focusing on what God is doing through me in that moment. If I fight back against satan just as aggresively as he is pursuing me - I will remember that any and all pain is so well worth it, when in light of heaven's wonderful blessings.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Luke 17:3 "Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.
I think God is trying to tell me something. For two days, He has brought scripture to me that begins with a warning, to be on your guard. I think this is a very important warning that we must remind ourselves of every day. We must always be on guard because satan is always ready to attack. What we may see as everyday things that are happening, may be one of satan's distractions. Be ready at all times by guarding your mind, soul and spirit with the one and only Truth.

Monday, November 5, 2007

FYI - I will be speaking at Clinton Presbyterian Church in Clinton IL next Sunday (11-11-07) at 10:30am on "True Freedom".

Luke 21:34 "Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap;

Alllowing our minds and hearts to drift into the circumstances we face each day is very easy. Discouragement and negativity run rampent. These are the times that we so easily fall into the traps that satan sets for us. If we guard our hearts and minds with the Truth of God, we can learn to trust in Him, no matter what situation we may be facing today.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Yesterday, I was reading Lysa Terkeurst's blog at and came across a question to ponder. This question hit me like a ton of bricks and I hope that it really makes you think too. "If I say that I am woman of faith, then why am I living a life that requires little faith?" I enjoy being in my comfort zone where everything is safe and that is where I usually stay. This is not God's will for me, His will for me is for abundant life and in order to receive this abundant life, my faith must be grown and stretched. My faith can only grow if I live my life in a way that requires much faith.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Removing my mask is sometimes a great struggle for me because I worry how my past sins will change people's views of me or make me a less credible person. God seems to continue to put things like this devotion in front of me to make His point. He is always pursuing me and I am so glad! (even when it is difficult)

Removing My Mask
By Janet Perez Eckles, a "She Speaks" graduate

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Matthew 5:8 (NIV)

"Yikes! You scared me," I screamed feigning fright. "Who’s that!" I peered down at the three-foot little person wearing a mask framed with wild hair colored in shades of black, purple, and pink. The features, distorted by a huge lumpy nose, droopy eyes and a mouth revealing crooked, jagged teeth, gave a new meaning to the word “ugly.”

A muffled, "Trick or treat" wafted from behind the mask. I chuckled as I dropped hard candy into the orange plastic pumpkin.

I have memories of my own boys dressed up in various costumes, dashing from house to house with their daddy trailing behind. I’d stay home to greet the neighborhood trick-or-treaters.

But now, years later, Halloween masks resemble those I myself try to slip on. They come in handy to cover the real me. So often in my life I’ve worn masks, perhaps not as horrid as the friendly trick-or-treater’s, but an effective masquerade nevertheless.

When people ask me how I lost my sight, I give the routine answer: "A disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa deteriorated my retina and took my sight."

A simple question followed by a simple answer. But when they ask about how I dealt with the unexpected tragedy, that’s a different story. I’m tempted to pull down the mask over my heart and give a bland answer.

"It was tough at first, but in time, I adjusted."

Underneath that mask, however, is a whole different script with the real answers: "I wanted to die, I hated my life, I wanted to give up, and wondered if my little boys would survive with a mommy who couldn’t see."

Then God’s Word nudged me to remove that mask and allow the glow of truth to shine through: “The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful” (Proverbs 12:22). In obedience, I resolved that when asked a question, I’d spill information that reflected what truly stirred in my heart.

Here are the results: when my words are strung with honesty without omissions, deletions or embellishments, I can breathe easier. When the mask is off, the air is fresher and the view is clearer. When it comes to sharing my feelings or relating events in my life, I’ve developed a motto: Don’t omit the negative or squelch the positive.

Not long ago, a good friend called and asked about my writing. I started to blurt out that it was great, moving along fabulously, and that my agent is working on a possible submission to a publishing house. But then I gulped and remembered that masks are stuffy, binding and often ugly. Instead, I decided to rip the mask off to pull out the truth: though my agent is working for me, I’m furiously laboring on the first edit. Writing a novel is grueling, it’s demanding and at times, the work is so hard that it makes me wonder if I’m really supposed to be doing this.

Ah! The feeling of telling the real scenario with honesty is like opening the window to a stuffy room and letting the fresh spring breeze come in to caress your face.

As our little ones unwrap their candy, I also peel off what hinders honesty in my heart--misleading comments, half-truths or words hiding my real feelings. Once all this is discarded, the reward appears in the mirror: a shining reflection that sparkles with sincerity and truth—a sweet fragrance to the Lord.

Dear Lord, thank you for giving me your Word to follow. Grant me the guidance when I speak, when I formulate my thoughts and prepare my replies to all situations. Grant me the wisdom to speak with a truthful heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
She Speaks conference

The P31 Woman Magazine

Listen to Today's Radio Show

Application Steps:
Before speaking, stop and measure your words—are they truthful, sincere and honest? If there’s a spot in your heart you’d rather hide from others, release it to the Lord and ask Him to grant you the courage to remove that mask.

Do I have the confidence in the Lord to know He accepts me as I am?

What keeps me from telling the complete truth? Am I hiding something for fear I might be judged?

Power Verses:
Proverbs 25:24, "A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but in his heart he harbors deceit."

Proverbs 2:7-8, "He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones."

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105