Friday, December 28, 2007

I am going to be speaking on January 6 at Arrowsmith Christian Church about obedience. As I have been preparing and asking God to show me exactly what He wants me to say, I was reminded of Mary. When Gabriel came to tell Mary that she was going to carry the Son of God in her womb, her final response was "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38) How long has God been waiting for you and me to say the same words to Him? Although there have been times that I said "yes" to God, my responses usually start out with, "I can't do that" or "what will people think". Most times, He waits in vain to hear these sweet words come from His children's mouths.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

There are many good times and many bad times that come our way during this crazy thing we call "life". Fortunately, yesterday was one of those good times. I had a wonderful day shopping with my daughter and son. Yes, I even said son. Usually whenever the word shopping comes up, Nathan runs as far and as fast as he can. He came with us yesterday and we all prayed together that we would all be patient with each other and go with a great attitude so that we could enjoy this time together. God answered! Not only were we patient and happy-hearted, but Nathan even picked out and tried on clothes! I couldn't believe it - he hates clothes even more than shopping. So, when we walked up to the check-out at Old Navy and my arms were overflowing with clothes for Nathan, I didn't even blink to write the check. I didn't know if there was enough money in the checkbook, but I wasn't losing this opportunity.

When my husband got off work, he met us at the mall and offered to take Nathan home with him. Elizabeth and I had a couple things to finish up and then we headed home. When I got home, Nathan and Mike both had strange smiles which usually means that something got broke. This time, I was surprised in a good way - my husband and son had not went home from the mall. They had went to the jewelry store and spent the money, Mike had received for Christmas for new tools, and bought me a beautiful new ring. Nathan was so excited to tell me that he was the one who picked it out. What a sweet sacrifice from my husband. When I told him that he should have spent the money on him, he assured me that he did spend the money on what he wanted to spend it on - what made him happy was to spend it on me.

Yes, I do have the most wonderful husband - but his small sacrifice, just reminds me and makes me thankful for the ultimate sacrifice of my Lord and Savior

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! My family and I did. We switch back and forth each year between my family and my husband's family for Christmas lunch. This year we went to my mother's for lunch and all my brothers and sisters and their families were there. It was so cool to have everyone together all at once. We then went to my husband's parents house for dinner and enjoyed it very much too. What a wonderful day we had!

I had mentioned last week about hanging door hangers for invitations to our church's Christmas service. We had 643 in attendance. Yea! Even cooler than that was that my husband had most of his family came with us. Parents, aunt, uncle, cousins - it was awesome! It was a great message about the hope we have in Jesus.

Well, it is now time for after Christmas shopping! Our daughter received lots of gift cards for Christmas, so she's ready to shop. Have a great day.

Friday, December 21, 2007

I just shared with you the other day, about when I was hanging doorhangers, how God changed my attitude and perception by another person. Well, I got a call this morning from one of my friends who had a great story for me. Last night, she was on an airplane going home and sat down in her seat next to a large man that was very uncomfortable in the middle seat. After a few minutes, he asked her to switch seats with him so he could have the outside seat for some extra room. She agreed and sat down next to a woman in the window seat. She started visiting with her and found that they were both Christians. The had a great conversation which affirmed many things that my friend had been struggling with. When the flight ended, they both were disappointed because there was so much more that they wanted to talk about. As they got up from their seats, the man that had switched seats with my friend, stopped them. He shared that he had been listening to their conversation and wanted to let them know how much it impacted him.

You just never know how your actions and words can impact others - keep your mind focused on Christ so your words and actions will follow.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

I read a powerful statement in my Bible's commentary today that I wanted to share with you.

"Get rid of sin and evil because you have been chosen by God to live a new life as a representative of the Lord Jesus."

Enough said

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Have you ever been in a pit? Not a physical pit, but an emotional or spiritual pit? I sure have - I been at all levels, from getting close to falling in, all the way to being down in the deepest, darkest bottom. I have tried to climb my way back out, with the only result being, that I fall deeper. It is not until, once again, I realize that I have to surrender to my God and allow Him to carry me out. Because throughout my life, I have spent so much time "in the pit", I am very careful about not letting myself get close to one again. When I feel myself heading toward that direction, I know that I must seek God fervently.
My husband told me something last night that will forever remain in my heart - He gave the illustration: picture a person far down in a pit, with their hands outstreched - another person on solid ground, above the pit, with one hand holding God's and the other reaching into the pit for a rescue. He said that I was his "solid ground" person.
These few words meant so much to me. I know that God has put me on this earth to encourage others to live for Him. To know that I had this impact on my husband, gives me even more desire to tell others about my God.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

John 5:30 "I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgement is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me."

Did you hear what Jesus said? "I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me." I cannot imagine how different and better my life would be if I would do the same - don't seek my own will, but God's. I say that I want to live my life to be more like Jesus every day, but when push comes to shove, I like to have my own will. My selfishness takes hold and the "I wants" come out.

Lord, I pray that today will be the day that I put Your will above my own. Help me to release my selfishness so that I can truly focus on being more like you. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Lots of snow came this weekend and our children are so happy! My husband actually enjoys plowing snow, so it was a good thing for him too. Our church is having a special service for Christmas, so we volunteered to hang door hangers around town to invite people. The snow made it a little more difficult, but also more like an adventure. I have to admit though, that I think my family enjoyed it more because I just couldn't keep my socks on! Each few steps I would take, my socks slid farther and farther down my foot and into the toe of my boots. It became quite uncomfortable after awhile, so I would have to get back in the car periodically to put them back on. The coolest part was that as I walked, I had a woman stop me and tell me how much she appreciated what I was doing. She lived in one of the houses I had hung an invitation on. She told me that she attends church in Bloomington already so she wouldn't be at the service, but that she was so thankful that we were reminding people during the busiest time of year, to remember what it is truy about - Jesus. After that, my focus was no longer on my uncomfortable feet, but on how truly honored I was to make this small sacrifice for my Lord and Savior.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Do you put God in a box? I can't tell you how many times I have put God "in a box" by asking Him to answer my prayers the way I think He should. I have learned the hard way, that God does not think the way I think. Unlike me, He has no limits - I am so thankful, He has no limits! I have found that when I leave circumstances in God's hands and take them out of mine, the results are so much better than anything I could have ever imagined.

When you are praying about something, whether it be big or small, remember the Creator and Sustainer of the universe can handle anything you dish out!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I've been putting together some magazine articles and yesterday was one of those days when the creative side of me just poured out. I love those days, especially when I have an opportunity to write. This is just one advantage of having a daycare in my home, 2 hours of naptime everyday! It's the only time that it is quiet in my house so I can focus. As the children woke up and I put my writing away, the phone rang. It was a local pastor that was going on vacation that needed me to fill the pulpit while he was away. The only thing I love more than writing about how awesome my God is, is talking about how awesome my God is!!! It was a good day!
Something else I'm excited about is my son's school Christmas program tonight. We are so blessed to have a Christian music teacher in his elementary school. I love that he has the children from pre-k through 4th grade singing about the true meaning of Christmas!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

There are alot of laws in our cities, states and countries that we don't like or don't agree with. It is easy to disregard these laws when we don't think anyone is watching? How many of us drive over the speed limit and then get angry when we get a ticket. Disobedience has it's consequences. Speeding was something that I always used to do - without even thinking about it. That is, until one day, God started to convict me about it. Every time my spedometer would move past the limit, I would have this conviction come over me. I was frustrated at first, especially when I was running late for something, but then God showed me that He was protecting me. If I obeyed the laws, I would get to where I was going when God wanted me to get there. Have you ever been frustrated by having to wait in line? There is a reason for your delay - God could be protecting you from something.
I've also had to make changes in my daycare. There were many DCFS rules that I did not agree with and so did not comply with. When God showed me that I needed to follow all authority, I began to follow. It was both frustrating for myself, the children, and their parents, but I felt it was something I had to do to obey God.

Titus 3:1 Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Winter blues, I'm not sure, but my husband and I were discussing last night about us both having more negative attitudes lately. It's even easier to fall into this trap when your spouse is already there. I decided today, to make the choice not to be negative or have any more pity parties. See, we do have that choice - It just sometimes takes me awhile to make it. I usually give myself a day or two to wallow in my pity party before I decide to pick myself up, remember who I am in God's eyes and move on. When I spend time wallowing, I waste precious time that I could be available to be used by God. So, I will make the choice today. I may have to make it minute by minute or hour by hour, but today I will choose to have a positive attitude and think on all that is wonderful.
Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Colossians 2:20-23 If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as "Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!" (which all refer to things destined to perish with use) - in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshy indulgence.
Commentary: We cannot reach up to God by following rules of self-denial, by observing rituals, or by practicing religion. Paul isn't saying all rules are bad. But no keeping of laws or rules will earn salvation. The Good News is that God reaches down to human beings, and He asks for our response. Self-made religions focus on human effort; Christianity focuses on Christ's work. Believers must put aside sinful desires, by doing so is the by-product of our new life in Christ, not the reason for our new life. Our salvation does not depend on our own discipline and rule-keeping, but on the power of Christ's death and resurrection.

Salvation by self-effort is something that I fell to for many years. I wanted to work so hard for God that He would be happy with me and not focus on all the bad in my life. One day, God opened my heart to the fact that He loves me. His love for me and you will never change. He cannot love us more or less than He already does. I desire now, to live my life for Him because of my thankfulness for all He has done - especially my salvation through Jesus.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Well, the flu bug has officially hit my daycare. I had 2 with it last week and 4 with it today. Oh, the joys of winter! I was very fortunate - even though one was puking here, yesterday, the rest all got sick after their parents picked them up. God so knows what would put me over the edge! We have a busy weekend with our daughter's basketball tournament, so please be praying that none of us get it.

From Today's Christian Woman Magazine "10 Ways to Pray"
Pray Daily For:
1. A deeper understanding of my value and worth before God
2. Caring Christian friendships and involvement in Christian community
3. Opportunities to share Christ through my words and actions.
4. Strength to stand firm in the face of temptation
5. Greater understanding of what it means to be loved by God and to love others
6. Integrity and honesty
7. Humility to admit my sins and ask for forgiveness
8. Wisdom in my daily life and actions
9. A sense of God's calling and purpose in my life
10. Gratitude in all things

Thursday, December 6, 2007

I just finished reading an excellent book on marriage called "Love and Respect". I highly recommend it for all ages and stages of marriage. If acted upon, the principles in this book will transform your marriage. I've seen the results.
Here's a Bible verse that too, if acted upon, will transform your marriage. Are you ready for this one? It's a biggie:
Phillipians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Well, I calmed down a little bit since yesterday. I decided that there's not a whole lot I can do about Christmas commercialism, but want I can do is educate myself and my family on the true meaning of Christmas with the true Christmas story.
I was reading this morning in 1 Timothy 2 about Paul's instructions for the church and women in the church. Verses 9-10 says: Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.
I wondered, how others may perceive me. Could someone look at me and know whether I am a Christian or not? This verse is not telling us that it is wrong for a woman to look or dress nice, but that what's on the inside that is important. Even though this world tends to look at our outside appearance, God looks on the inside for a heart that is devoted to Him. We need to be careful about what our outside appearance says about us, because the world does look at it. We don't want it to deter others from seeing our devotion to our God.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I got so worked up that I forgot to give you the link to the quiz.
Our pastor had a Christmas quiz posted on his blog, so I decided to take it - thinking, of course, that I had heard the Christmas story so many times it would be a cinch. Wrong! I failed the quiz! How could this be? I had my husband and children take the quiz - they failed. I forwarded it to my extended family - they failed (except for my Bible scholar, sister, who still only got a 66%). I've heard the Christmas story hundreds of times in my life and so had they - I began to realize the problem, our world, our Christmas marketers, our media have aided in giving us the wrong picture. Have you ever seen a Christmas card, nativity scene, Christmas picture, or program that wasn't bright and beautiful - that didn't sparkle and shine with happiness? I'm in no way saying that Christmas shouldn't bring joy and happiness, it should - it is a great reminder of how we should be celebrating Christ's birth and time on this earth, all year long. What I am saying is that I don't think the world truly wants to know how it truly was. They want to think that the birth of our Savior was a perfect, bright, wonderful occurance. Ponder on this - Here was a young girl (probably 12 or 13) traveling for this census being 9 months pregnant (miserable). Then she is in labor and cannot find anyplace to stay for the night so they are forced to put their newborn son wrapped in cloths in a manger. The mention of the manger is how we get the idea that He was born in a stable. Stables back then, were caves with feeding troughs (mangers) carved into the rock walls. The surroundings were very dark and dirty. Definitely, no place for a King and Savior. The shepards come to worship Jesus in the manger. The wise men, didn't. The wise men came to worship Jesus when He was probably between 1 and 2 years old. By this time, Mary and Joseph would have been married and living in a house. So all the nativity scenes with the wise men worshipping in the stable are false. We also don't know that there were 3 wise men - only 3 gifts were mentioned, so assumptions are made that their were only 3 wise men. The more I write, the more frustrated I become. How have we allowed the truth of the birth of our Lord and Savior be comprimised so that we can all have warm and fuzzy feelings. We should be humbled and thankful for the gift God gave us in Jesus, but the life He lived for us and the brutal death He died for us was in no way, easy.

Monday, December 3, 2007

What a wonderful weekend I had! Friday night, I went on a date with my husband. Saturday, we had lots of sleet and ice so all our plans were cancelled and I had to stay home! Yea! I was able to get all my Christmas gifts wrapped and under the tree and all the Christmas cards addressed and ready to mail. Then Sunday, after a wonderful worship service, we witnessed 10 baptisms and celebrated with friends afterward. I just doesn't get much better. I so treasure the time spent with friends and family because there have been times in my life that I've taken them for granted.
I was reading in Acts this morning and came across chapter 13 verse 22 that says this: "After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, 'I had found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.'
I love it when I read about David being a man after God's own heart. It excites me because David made many mistakes in his life, just like me and yet God still sees him as a man after His heart - just like me! I want to be a woman after God's own heart, who will do all His will. The hard thing for me is believing that He really can see me as this - even though I remember my sins and use them as excuses for not being who He wants me to be - He doesn't! He doesn't remember my sins so He can see me as a woman who will do all His will. God is so good.