Wednesday, July 30, 2008

First, before I forget, I wanted to let you know that I will be leaving tomorrow for a camping trip with my family and will not be blogging for the next week. I've shared before, that living without my computer is a big struggle for me so this next week will be good for me to go technology free!

Now, on to some really good stuff! We have a friend that has been struggling in her marriage. Mike and I have been talking with and praying with her for quite some time. We shared with her the struggles in our marriage and how God has helped us. Last week, she made her final decision to divorce her husband and it broke our hearts. We both knew that God could change hearts because we experienced how He changed ours.

She had contacted the lawyer and was waiting on paperwork. Mike and I continued to pray for restoration. In one last attempt, I encouraged her to read our Pastor's message from last week on Hosea She did and God used that message to change her heart. She was able to see and truly believe that God's love can overcome anything.

Restoration of a marriage - possible

She and her husband have both made the commitment to give their marriage 100% and both desire to make it the best that it can be! In fact, they will be spending the next few days on a vacation for themselves to catch up.

Praise God for His faithfulness and never give up! Nothing is impossible with God

Have a great day and a great week

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

God never ceases to amaze me. How humbling to realize that the God of the universe takes a moment of His time to speak to me and you.

Just like God has encouraged me to be bold and speak for Him over the past week, again, as I read Acts 6&7 this morning, He speaks again. 6:8 And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. 6:10 But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.

How cool! They couldn't resist God's words that were coming from his mouth!! If it came from Stephen - another ordinary person, just like you and me - it can come from us too! When we are filled with the Spirit of God, we contain power that is unimaginable to us but we choose to put God and His power under our limitations. Stop putting our God in a box! Stop believing that the struggles you face are impossible to overcome! Stop doubting and believe in the God you believe in! Our God is trustworthy, faithful, and good - nothing is impossible with Him.

The restoration of your marriage - possible, the salvation of your children - possible, the forgiveness you are holding back - possible, loving those unloveable people around you -possible, finding the right job for you - possible, telling others about your faith - possible, trusting in our Savior - POSSIBLE

Don't give up --- keep praying and trusting --- it's possible

Monday, July 28, 2008

Happy Monday! It's that time again, to get back to work. Well, our family had much to praise God for this weekend. Our daughter accepted Jesus as her Savior on Saturday!!!!! Praise God - I've been doing a happy dance ever since. We've been talking about it for a few weeks. I think the death of gramps may have made her think harder about it but we were in the car Saturday morning and she had hoped that her dad could be with us, but she was ready. I didn't want to waste one more minute, so I pulled the car over and we prayed together. It was the highlight of my life - to pray with my daughter for her salvation!! WooHoo - can you tell I'm so excited!!! I was also 12 when I accepted Christ and was baptized but found myself soon after falling away from God as satan worked hard on me. I do not want her to fall into the same trap, so I continue to pray for God to strengthen her and for Him to show me and my husband how to nurture her faith. I would appreciate you prayers on her behalf.

Something else I would like to share with you as I read Acts 4. Verse 41 says: "Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the Name." The apostles had been preaching the good news and as punishment they had been beaten and put in prison - more than once. No matter what others did to them or threatened them with, they never stopped telling about Jesus. They rejoiced because they suffered. Can you say the same? I find myself being intimidated and quieted over much smaller things than what the apostles went through - people who I think know more than me, people who I know that have already rejected God, people who mock me, people that I want to impress. You and I must continue to pray for boldness to overcome whatever it is that quiets us.

Do you feel like rejoicing when you are in the midst of suffering for the sake of God? I have found that I can rejoice when the suffering is over and I look back to see what it taught me or changed myself or someone else but rejoicing while in the midst of it is another thing. As missionaries for Christ, the apostles rejoiced over their suffering. We must make the choice to follow their example because it should be an honor to suffer as Christ suffered. Are you suffering for who you are? Don't give up - give praise!

Have a great day

Friday, July 25, 2008

Are you bold? Are you bold by the world's standards of arrogance and inconsideration or by God's standards of the ability to share Him with others irregardless of what they may think or say of you?

In Acts 4 Peter and John were teaching with boldness. In fact, thousands, yes, I said thousands of people had come to saving faith because of their boldness.

After they were arrested and imprisoned, they were told to leave and not to tell of Jesus or the miracles that they had performed in His name.

So what did they do in their boldness? They explained that they couldn't, not tell. They had to.

Then they got together and prayed for more boldness, asking the Holy Spirit to fill them. They were filled and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

Can you tell what the moral of the story is? BE BOLD! BE BOLD!

I struggle with wanting to please people, I struggle with wanting to have a strong relationship with someone before I talk to them about God, I struggle with being intimidated - not so bold am I.

Lord, please help me and others who struggle with being bold. Give us the courage to stand firm in our knowledge of You. Give us the strength to resist being people pleasers and being intimidated by others. We want to be so passionate about You that we can't, not tell. In Jesus Name, Amen

Have a great day and a great weekend

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Let todays devotion from "God Calling" speak to your heart -

"Keep close to Me and you shall know the Way because, as I said to My disciples, I am the Way. That is the solution to all earth's problems.

Keep close, very close to Me. Think, act and live in My presence.

How dare any foe touch you, protected by Me! That is the secret of all Power, all Peace, all Purity, all influence, the keeping very near to Me.

Abide in Me. Live in My presence. Rejoice in My love. Thank and praise all the time. Wonders are unfolding."

You ask - "can it really be this easy?" Absolutely! God has made it this easy for His simple-minded children but it is us that try to make it harder than it is. The answer to life's questions: Keep close to your Maker

As I read this devotion this morning, the word purity stuck out at me again. I had just posted about purity on Friday and God has brought it back to mind several times since. When I attended an Apples of Gold class, I learned that a spiritual definition of purity would be: The moral excellence I demonstrate in my life as I consistency do what is right. So, basically doing the right thing, rather than the thing that feels good. Purity involves thoughts, words and actions.

I think that God is and has been teaching me that my purity is a great part of keeping close to Him. When in midst of sin, whether it be in thoughts, words or actions, I am not connected and close to God but when I am consistently making self-controlled choices that please Him, we are close.

Purity is also the process in which you and I will gain trust from people.

In Acts 3:26 it says "God, having raised up His servant, sent Him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness."

God is not trying to keep you from doing what you want, He wants to bless you for turning from your wickedness. Will your choice for purity, allow God to bless you today??

Have a great day

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Good morning all my bloggy friends! I hope today finds you connecting closer with our Lord than ever before.

In the second chapter of Acts, the apostles were together on the day of Pentecost and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. They began speaking in other tongues and the people were amazed that they could understand the apostles in their own languages. Or should I say, some were amazed - others began mocking them saying that they were drunk.

I was reminded of how many times I have been ridiculed for doing what I knew God wanted me to do. Sometimes people were intentionally trying to hurt me and sometimes innocently, bringing me down - I have to remember that I'm not the only one who has suffered, misunderstanding.

I thought of a particular instance in which a woman saw a flyer that I would be speaking at her church. When she saw where I was from, she asked a friend about me from the same town. She was told that I may be a good speaker but to watch out for what I may be teaching. I was one of "those women" who allows their husband to lead their household. Did it sting my heart that someone was talking negatively about me? Sure, but I soon got over it and felt honored to find out that I was being ridiculed for obeying God.

I'm sure you have experienced similar situations with work, family or friends as you seek to follow our Lord. I would love to hear your stories and how you deal with them.

Have a great day

Here's a great post from my friend LuAnn Prater:
I’ve really been focusing on this word expect. When my expectations fall on unsuspecting subjects like my husband, my kids, my family or friends, the same results will inevitably occur. Disappointment! After all they are just like me, flawed! At some point they will let me down because they are dealing with their own issues, their own struggles, their own LIFE! I dug into the Word again to look for more meaning. Isaiah 64:3-4 tells us, “For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came down, and the mountains trembled before you. Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. I wonder why it is so easy to expect things from people, but we put God in a box. We expect our husband to know what we are thinking, our kids to know how to behave, our friends to know we need a listening ear, and yet we don't want to 'bother' God with our daily needs. huh? Does that even make logical sense?Remember my neighbor who had surgery on the 10th? A couple of days after she came home she asked for prayer. It seems a bruise had developed on her side that ran from under her arm to her waist. They hadn’t noticed it before and it was large and extremely discolored. Since she had just gotten home from the hospital she really hesitated to call the doctor for fear he would tell her to go back. Her husband insisted if they did not see improvement by morning they were calling the doctor. We prayed.She emailed me this note: One for the Praise book. My side looked really bad Tues evening, but by Wed, when I asked Bob to check it, it was completely gone, white skin returned. No sign of anything having been there. We still don't know if it was a bad bruise or more like a burn, but God didn't have to look in a treatment book to see how to cure it.It was another ah-ha (V-8) moment. Reminds me of the hold hymn that says, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”Today I will DO, SERVE, LOVE, GIVE, HELP, OFFER, EXTEND to others without expecting anything in return. However at the same time I will expect, anticipate, hope for all the Lord wants to pour out on me today! Have people let you down? God never will.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I had the opportunity last night to record a demo cd of my keynote message. I hope and pray that God will be able to use my voice to impact those who listen to the cd. Let me know if you would like to receive a copy.

I was reading in the first chapter of the book of Acts today. In the 14th verse, it says "These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer...." It stopped me in my tracks as I read. It was referring to Jesus' disciples who in chapter 26 were then referred to as apostles. Disciples are followers or learners and apostles are messengers or missionaries. They were disciples while Jesus was on the earth, teaching them - He went back to heaven - they were devoting themselves to prayer - and then went out as apostles to share the good news. It is our job, now, to be apostles - can you say that you are meeting with those of like mind to BE CONTINUALLY DEVOTED TO PRAYER? I can't, I want to - but it is such a good reminder of how we should be prepared to shine Jesus' light into this dark world - through continual prayer.

I heard a friend speak of the power of God that she has experienced through the prayers of her and her prayer partner. I encourage you to find one prayer partner or more, and be continually devoted to prayer. It is our most powerful tool.

Have a great day

Monday, July 21, 2008

HAPPY MONDAY!! Hope your day is going well. I feel renewed after a great weekend. It had been a long time since my daughter and I had a girls night out, so we took the opportunity on Friday. First we had our nails done - she got a manicure and I got a pedicure. It was only the second time I've ever had one and oh, how I could get used to it - how relaxing! We then went out for Chinese food and then shopping. Fun, fun, fun!

Saturday, our church hosted a women's gathering that I attended and was so blessed by the fellowship and the message given. When I got home, we decided to go canoeing as a family. My husband rowed the whole time, but myself and my children all took turns with our oar. Sounds fair to me! The best part, and the part that I so wish I would have had my camera for, was when we came upon a beach with a huge mud pit. At first I told the kids they could just walk in all the mud, but soon they were begging to get fully covered. I agreed and they decided to pretend like they were having a wrestling match and were throwing each other, face first into the mud. If I would not have just got such a beautiful pedicure, I would have joined them - my daughter lost all of her beautiful polish in this endeavor but had a great time.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! Our youth pastor gave the message on Sunday and I so want you to read or listen to it. It was very powerful and spoke straight to my heart. Please check it out at - it was called Dare 2 B a Daniel.

We visited with my recently widowed, granny and then with my husband's grandparents. His grandmother has cracked her vertebrae in 2 places and is in alot of pain when she walks. We would really appreciate prayers for her healing. The doctor's say that it will heal on it's own if she rests for the next few months. Rest - is not a word in her vocabulary so please pray that she will accept the help that has been offered to her.

For those of you who are hurting, either physically, emotionally or spiritually:

Have a great day!


Friday, July 18, 2008

Good morning my bloggy friends! Even though I've been going through a little dry time in my spiritual life, God continues to be faithful. He is so good. I read a devotion this morning that talked about how when we seek to please people, we are not trusting God. Ouch! I am a people pleaser and find it very difficult to overcome. It also taught that we must humbly walk with God in a purified state. Ouch again! I have a difficult time seeing myself as purified too. I decided that I need to ponder what steps can be taken today to accomplish these things.

1. I will speak in the boldness and compassion of my Savior - irregardless of who I'm speaking to or who's around to hear
2. I will walk humbly with my God. Proverbs 25:7 "For it is better that it be said to you, "come up here." Than for you to be placed lower in the presence of the prince, whom your eyes have seen." I will not fall, today, to thinking that my way is the only way.
3. Being in a purified state. Jesus purified me when He died on the cross to take away my sin but purity is consistently making good choices. I will consistently make good choices, today.

I thank God that He is always working on me and He never gives up on us!! Praise God!
Have a great day

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I'm baaaaack! Sorry for falling off the face of the earth for a few days.

When I went to bed Friday night, I had decided to spend Saturday cleaning out the last portion of our pig barn as a surprise for my husband. God had such a better plan for me. It was storming Saturday morning so I decided to get up and spend the day with my gramps in the nursing home instead. Thank God for the rain and change of plans. When I got to the nursing home, they had moved gramps to a private room at the end of the hall. When I went in to see him, I had to take a double take, not believing that it was my gramps in the bed. I knew immediately that he would be going home very soon. Drugged for relief from the pain, he slept and struggled for each breath. I spent the day holding his hand and telling him who was there to see him. My heart was breaking, but yet, I was at peace knowing that I didn't want him to live like this any longer. After all his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren said their goodbyes and left for the evening - he slipped into the sweet hands of our Savior.

Today's post is a tribute to my sweet gramps. When my daughter was little, she always called him pappie. Since then, I've lovingly called him my grand-pappie or gramps. He and my granny are faithful in all they do. I can honestly say that they have never let me down. Any time during my life that I needed them, they were always there. They are selfless, always giving of themselves to anyone in need. Every neighbor, every family member, every person they met - they gave of themselves to. They also love children, especially gramps. As I looked through pictures of him this week, I noticed that there were only a few that he didn't have a child in his arms. Almost every time I saw him, he would tell me "Chris, I just love kids - I don't care whose they are, I just love kids." I know gramps, I know. He was one of the three men in my life who could get away with calling me Chris. Only him, my dad and my husband.

A few weeks ago when gramps became paralzyed from the chest down, I began to pray that God would preform a miracle and allow my gramps to dance for joy - I truly believed that He would and I would dance with my gramps. As time passed, and I realized that it was not His will, I began to pray that He would take my gramps home. I feel like busting at the seams when I think about the fact that my prayers have been answered - he is now dancing - and someday, I'll dance with him.

Don't take your family for granted - soak up every second you can. Be faithful to them.


All of You is more than enough for all of me
For every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with Your love
And all I have in You is more than enough
You are my supplyMy breath of life
And still more awesome than I know

You are my reward worth living for
And still more awesome than I know

All of You is more than enough for all of me
For every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with Your love
And all I have in You is more than enough

Youre my sacrificeOf greatest price
And still more awesome than I know
Youre the coming KingYou are everything
And still more awesome than I know

More than all I want
More than all I need
You are more than enough for me
More than all I know
More than all I can say
You are more than enough for me

Friday, July 11, 2008

A radio signal is being put out all the time - you choose to turn your radio signal on and listen or turn it off to not. God is similar - He is always speaking, we choose to listen or not.

I spent many years of my Christian life not hearing God. I was eteremely skeptical of those who said that He spoke to them and even called them crazy or liars. That was until my faith reached a point that I wanted to hear Him because I wanted to know His will for my life.

When I became intentional about seeing and hearing God, I was amazed at His appearing in my life. It is so cool now to explain to people how to be more intentional about hearing Him and have them come back in the same amazement that I did when they do.

It's funny though, for me, the amazement never goes away. Each time I hear God and see God in everyday circumstances I stand humbled and in awe. I cannot fathum that the God of the universe takes the time to speak to me!

Look around you and truly soak in God's creation, take encouragment from others to heart, take a walk alone, spend quiet time reading God's Word, spend some of your prayer time being quiet and listening for God, obey the nudge in your heart, take time to find pleasure in small things, listen to music with Christian lyrics. BE STILL!!!

Isaiah 1:2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the Lord has spoken
Isaiah 1:10 Hear the word of the Lord
Isaiah 1:18 Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord
Jeremiah 1:4 Now the word of the Lord came to me
Jeremiah 13:15 Hear and give ear; be not proud, for the Lord has spoken
"The word of Lord came to ...." - too many times to mention here

God is speaking - are you listening?

Have a great day hearing from God

Thursday, July 10, 2008

We have a new addition to our family!! No, don't be crazy - we're not having a baby but we did find this kitten last night in our shed. She was crying so loud that we had to find her. Not long after we feed her, she snuggled up in Elizabeth's arms and was happy as could be. We're not sure where she came from, but she'll get plenty of loving around here.

I was reading in Jeremiah 26 this morning about the words that God gave to Jeremiah to warn the people of Judah to come to their senses and follow God or His wrath would come upon them. His words angered them and they wanted to kill him.

Have you ever been nervous about telling someone something they don't want to hear? When speaking, I have had times that I look out into the audience to find someone looking back with crossed arms and a scowl. It sometimes is difficult for me to stay focused and not be intimidated. I can imagine that Jeremiah could have been nervous about the message he was about to give. My husband always reassures me that I was not called by God to please the people that I speak to, but to faithfully teach His Word.

Even though the people didn't want to hear what Jeremiah had to say, he still obeyed by giving the warning. Would you have done the same? Remember, that when God gives you the words to say - He will give you the strength to say them.

Have a great day!


P.S. Here's a great blog entry from my friend LuAnn Prater

09/07: When We Work, We Work; When We Pray, God Works!
Category: In His Grip
Posted by: Luann
It is no wonder throughout the bible we are referred to as sheep! We had a guest speaker at our church several years ago who grew up on a sheep farm and she told us how incredibly, (how can I say this nicely), slow they are. They can be standing within 10 feet of a green pasture and yet stand and bawl because they are on a dry spot! Wow, do we deserve the name sheep! We stand in the middle of our circumstance crying about it, when all we need to do is pray and allow God to lead us to the green pasture. We are so stinkin' stubborn we would rather stand there miserable and hungry because we don't want to be led anywhere. We are self-reliant and we want to do it ourself. We make it so hard on ourselves. Take a look throughout the bible and see when God did his best stuff. It was after people prayed. He is standing right there but he will never force himself into our lives. He longs to show us a better way, a greener pasture, an abundant life, but we have to ask. He is that loving; never imposing His will only offering to work for us when we ask.Lord, work in me today. Show me the things that are important and give me the strength to do them. Pour out your wisdom in me to let go of the things that are only distractions from your perfect will. Forgive me for my stubbornness and my controlling nature. Bend me, mold me, shape me to resemble you. May others see the family resemblance in me today. In Jesus' name, amen.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I was working on a message yesterday about contentment and was thinking of all the times in my life when I have wanted more - when being satisfied with what I already had was not even crossing my mind. It became a habit for me to always be searching for something. I didn't always know what I was searching for but there was a void that I needed filled so I tried everything I could to get the fix I needed for the moment.

Ephesians 3:14-20 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Do you, honestly want God to get glory or do you want glory for yourself? Now, I’m not just asking you this question but just as much for myself. Do you want more of what you want for yourself or do you want more of what God wants for you. Verse 20 explains how God is capable of giving us far more than we could ever ask for. Do we truly believe that He will bless us with His desires or do we hope that He will bless whatever it is that we are working towards for ourselves? It’s easy to give lip service about desiring what God desires, but is it true in your life?
Is it true when His desire or plan is far from ours. Is it true when you are fired from your job, when you lose a child, when your marriage is falling apart, when you have a wayward child, when your friends or family forsake you? Is it true then? Do you desire what God’s plan and will is? Do you accept who He is and what He is capable of?

Have a great day desiring God's will instead of your own

Wanted to share the post from Lysa Terkeurst's blog today too:
I think God is wanting me to give my marriage some intentional thought. Art and I have a good marriage. It is comfortable and stable. If I held my marriage up to a checklist, we would get a passing grade on all accounts.But the stresses and strains of daily life with many blessings can sometimes dig ruts in even the most solid of relationships. It's not the big things that knock us off kilter. It is the accumulation of lots of little things tumbling upon us in a very constant way.Again, we have a great relationship. But, it is oh so easy to slip into a drifting phase where we start operating more like business partners than husband and wife.Well, last night we went to a movie screening that seriously got our attention.The movie is Fireproof. You can find information about it by clicking here.When I say this movie is amazing, that word can't possibly contain what we experienced last night. Over popcorn and Milk Duds we found rib aching laughter, heart racing action, truth, and a gut honest reality check.And we found out the creators of this movie are releasing a 40 day book for couples to work through called "The Love Dare." After seeing the movie, this title will totally make sense to you.We are so doing this study.Will you do yourself a favor? Pull out your blackberry, or paper calendar, or PDA, or strawberry... whatever keeps your schedule... and schedule to go see this movie on the weekend of September 26th. Whether you are married or not, the spiritual truths in this flick are rich for every person.This movie is from the creators of "Facing the Giants." Y'all it is a church in Albany, Georgia that is producing these great films. Talk about getting radically obedient to reach people for Jesus!I had the privilege to meet the pastor of this church, some of the directors and the guy that starred as the coach in "Facing the Giants" (who happens to be one of the directors/ writers for this project.)They all have big humongous hearts for Jesus and for His plan for marriage. If you will commit to going to see this movie when it comes out in September, would you leave a comment and let me know? I'd love to be able to participate in some small way to promote this incredible endeavor.And oh my stars... the main characters are seen with a Chick-fil-A cup and bag. Could it get any better than that?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My heart is sad as I write this morning. I just got off the phone with my granny and she let me know that my gramps is failing quickly now. He's been refusing food due to nausea for a week now and not been able to drink much either. When we visited over the weekend, he could barely stay awake long enough to get a sentance out. It was the first time I've heard my granny cry. She is an extremely strong woman but losing the man you've been married to for 65 years, hurts so badly. Please be praying for strength for her during this life altering time. Her name is Betty.

Yesterday, as I read in Mark, God spoke to me so powerfully with a verse of His Word. As I've shared with you before, fear is a struggle and temptation for me but God has shown me that I must obey Him irregardless of my fear. In Mark 4:40 Jesus asked His disciples "Why are you so afraid? Have you no faith?" That question hit me like a ton of bricks - I wonder how many times that God has asked me the same thing. If I say that I am a woman of faith, then why do I fall to the temptation of fear? Fear comes from satan, not my sweet savior. I pray that each time you or I begin to fear, we will ask this question of ourselves and realize that when we are a children of God - whom shall we fear?

Have a great day defeating fear!

Monday, July 7, 2008

What a great weekend! We had some important preparations to make for the Fourth of July - my daughter needed just the right finger and toe nail polish for the occaison. It took way too long, but we have white finger nails with red and blue polka dots and red, white and blue striped toe nails. Oh, the issues of a pre-teen :) :)

The Fourth was a great opportunity to spend time with family and friends and we really enjoyed the day. Our plans of canoeing on Saturday were changed so we decided to stay home and get some much needed work done.

We had 2 last pig stalls that needed to be cleaned out. Now, we have never cleaned pig stalls but it was the time we needed to learn. It took all four of us between 6 and 7 hours to finally clean out the poop-dirt-hay mixture, but we did it! Look how beautiful our pig stalls are now! We now can use them for trailer storage. You learn something new everyday!

Something else we learned this weekend was what it sounds like when a rifle goes off in the kitchen. Yes, you heard me right. My husband had got up early to get a drink and when he looked out the kitchen window, he spotted another skunk lounging by the flower bed. He hurried to get and load the rifle, took the screen out of the kitchen window and shot the skunk from our kitchen! We have been teased about being hillbillies before, but this is ridiculous! A friend asked why we didn't throw him on the grill and have him for breakfast?!!!

Country life is so much fun!!!

We convinced our children that if they cleaned pig poop on Saturday, then we would take them for bowling and miniture golf on Sunday. So yesterday we soaked up some additional family time and I got beat at every game we played as usual. Last time we played mini-golf, I beat my husband. It was the first time in 17 years that I had beat him at anything! His winning streak was back yesterday so I will savor the one win.

Enough of my ramblings. I hope you enjoyed your 4th and I pray that, today, you will live your life in a way that is pleasing to our Lord.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Well, after checking the weather this morning, it looks like we will have a great weekend with all our outdoor plans. Even though Chenoa is a very small town, we have a very large 4th of July celebration. It all begins in the morning with a flea market in the park, lunch at Mike's grandma's, parade, supper with friends and family and then off to the fireworks. It is so cool that this year our new home is located just a mile or 2 from the fireworks so we can sit in our front yard and watch. We then made plans with some friends to canoe on Saturday. I'm hoping the water will be high enough that I won't have to paddle. I figure, why be working when I'm supposed to be having fun. Then, we finally get to go back to our church on Sunday. With traveling and speaking engagements, it's been 4 weeks since we've been there. It's always good to come back. I hope your long weekend will be a blessing too!

I am in the midst of preparing to record a new demo cd for the ministry. I've been a little stumped as to what I'm going to put on it. I would appreciate your prayers in this matter because it is going to be making the first impression of my speaking to others.

Have a great weekend always remembering to put first what is most important - our God

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Yesterday, I shared with you a devotion written by Lisa Whittle. She is a very transparent person and shares her transparency on her blog which I enjoy very much. After reading her blog and devotion, I was searching through some documents on my computer in search of something totally different and came across a journal from a very dark time in my life. I thought in the light of realness, I'd share it with you:

We watched a video at church yesterday and one sentence stood out to me that was over the head of a woman - “avoids relationships for fear of pain”. ( I am that woman. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I have broken most all of my relationships with friends and family. Those still intact only consist of surface conversations and smiles. My intimacy with my husband is gone because I fear intimacy with anyone. It only gives them more of an opportunity to hurt me. Of course people have hurt me over the years – everyone gets hurt but the last five years seem like the hurt was constant between friends, church, family and husband. Getting angry and walking away is my learned defense mechanism. It is all I know now. I don’t know how to overcome this. I don’t know how to trust again. I don’t know how to let anyone in. I feel like my heart has shriveled up and has nothing to sustain it. I avoid sharing my feelings because it only leads to being hurt once again. I can’t endure any more pain. I used to be a loving, compassionate, gentle person who enjoyed people but I now see people as something to avoid. My husband asks where this person has gone, but I don’t know what to tell him. I want superficial relationships so I can be in control. It is not fair to those around me but I don’t know how to change. I am happy as long as I don’t think about or talk about my feelings. When they are brought up, I run or sleep – anything to get away. I have to release my mind and heart from the pain somehow. The pain of loosing so much, was a lot for me to handle so I didn’t. I pushed everything down so deep that it couldn’t hurt me any more. In my mind, it seems like I did so much for good, but all those around me saw it as negative. My heart wanted to be serving God, but I don’t think my actions always showed it to those around me.

My heart broke as I read the words that I had written. I thank God that He has pulled me a long way from that place but I know that there are many who still are in that very dark place that I was in. It is time for us all to share the dark places in our lives so that we can comfort those who are there.

Keep it real today

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

When I received the daily devotion from Proverbs 31 Ministries yesterday, I just knew that I had to share it with you. What powerful and true words. It's time for us all to stop hiding!

Secret Places
By Lisa Whittle, She Speaks! Graduate

”He searches the sources of the rivers and brings hidden things to light.”
Job 28:11

Have you ever noticed how often Satan uses secret things to trip us up on our journey…those secret places that reside deep within our soul that we keep hidden from others and even try to hide from God?

Think about it… pornography is usually done in secret. Excessive shopping can be done over the Internet, with no one watching. Eating disorders develop in isolation when we binge by ourselves, then purge with no one around. Or when we publicly pretend to eat, but privately starve ourselves.

The things we watch, what we think and how we spend our time are the “secret places” Satan can and will use against us. Yet often we continue in our secrecy, afraid to reach for Truth. Why?

Secret places seem safe. Secret places are familiar. Secret places feel comfortable to us. So we cling to them.

It’s not that we don’t want to be honest and get real about the secret places in our soul. It’s just sometimes easier to keep the truth hidden than it is to get real about things from the inside-out. Though most of us crave authenticity, our fears of being “found out” are what keep us living in secret, exactly where Satan wants us to stay. The crafty, conniving one knows that if he can get us to continue to bury our secret places deep within our heart, we can’t be effective for God. He knows that thoughts of our private sins will eventually eat away at us, causing us to feel fraudulent and unworthy of the love and acceptance of others, and most of all, our Heavenly Father. But the truth is, we are the ones who don’t love and accept ourselves. Not God.

Friends, the message of Jesus Christ is one of hope and restoration. It is one of freedom. It is one of unconditional love and acceptance. And it is one of Truth and spiritual exposure. What He is after from all of us is greater authenticity, greater genuineness, and the Truth, found in Him. In His sovereignty, He knows it is what we truly crave. “What you’re after is truth, from the inside-out” Psalm 51:6 (MSG).

So, how do we combat those secret keeping habits we’ve developed over time?
1) Practice telling the truth. Telling the truth is a choice and needs to be a conviction. Healthy habits can and will be formed when practiced repeatedly, and truth telling is an important habit to get into.

2) Develop a genuinely authentic faith. Recognize the importance of authenticity, and begin making it of utmost priority. Do things to strengthen your walk (prayer, Bible study, etc.) and guard your mind.

3) Recognize that no one has it all together. See Satan’s lie for what it is and determine not to get into the comparison trap with others. You cannot know what a person is all about by what they look like on the outside.

4) Stop trying to be perfect, act confident, appear happy, and seem super spiritual. These are some of the most common ways we, as women, pretend. It is only when we operate in a spirit of truth and openness that we will be able to live without pretense.

5) Determine to live your life with a genuineness that others will cling to and want to emulate. Honesty facilitates honesty. When you begin to get real and honest, hiding nothing in your relationship with God and others, people will begin to take notice and follow suit. This will strengthen all of your relationships and build up your self-esteem!

When we no longer hide in our “secret places,” we can venture down a different path of greater authenticity and truth, bringing us to a place of ultimate and lasting freedom. And it is in freedom that we find no value in being a secret keeper any more.

Lord Jesus, thank You for knowing me completely, and loving me just the same. Help me to seek Your Truth and deny my natural tendency to hide from You and others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
The Seven Hardest Things God Asks a Woman to Do by Kathie Reimer and Lisa Whittle

Do You Know Him?

For more on this topic, visit Rachel Olsen’s blog as she discusses the new book
Behind Those Eyes: What’s Really Going on Inside the Souls of Women” by Lisa Whittle

Application Steps:
Submit yourself to the scrutiny of the Lord and ask Him to show you the areas of your life that you are trying to keep hidden. Write them down and pray over each one, claiming the victory in your life by the power of God over each and every area.

How does keeping secrets affect my relationship with others, God and even, myself?

Power Verses:
John 8:32, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (NIV)

Job 28:11, “He searches the sources of the rivers and brings hidden things to light.” (NIV)

Have a great day as we are honest with ourselves and others