Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Mere Piece of Bronze

29 Sep 2009Marybeth Whalen

"He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan)." II Kings 18:4 (NIV)

I used to have a quote, cut from a magazine article, taped above my desk. I can't recall the exact quote, but the gist of it was that while our children are gifts from God, it's easy to let them become little idols. I remember the shock value of reading those words printed on the page. My children? Idols? It sounded like heresy! But as I allowed the words to sink in, I realized that the person who penned those words was right. Most anything can become an idol in our hearts -becoming more important th an our relationship with God, taking priority over His place in our life.In Numbers 21:8-9, God told the Israelites to raise a bronze snake on a pole and look to it in order to be healed. Seven hundred years later, the Israelites had gotten off track. They had turned that snake - something that was God's idea -into an idol they worshiped. In our verse for today, we see Hezekiah destroying the snake in an effort to turn the people's hearts back to God. The word Nehushtan in the verse means "a mere piece of bronze." The bronze snake was not the answer to the people's problems. They had attached too much significance to it. Hezekiah had no choice but to refocus their attention where it needed to be by physically removing the idol.Idols can take many forms in our lives. Family members and friends can become idols. Doctors and medicine can become idols. Work and hobbies can become idols. Entertainment - movies, TV, music, games - can become idols. Food can become an idol. An idol by definition is anything that we place our trust in, anything that takes precedence over God. While we may not pray to it and burn incense to it, it becomes more important than anything, including God. Just like God designed the snake to be a good thing in the lives of His people, so He allows us to have good things in our lives. He just doesn't want us to get things out of whack, as we are prone to do. It's not that the thing itself is the problem; it's our attitude about that thing.God showed me that I needed to destroy any idols in my life. For me, I had to spend a lot of time refocusing my priorities. I started with how important I had made my husband and children. Yes, my family needed me. Yes, I needed to spend time with them. Yes, I loved them dearly. But they couldn't take the place of my relationship with the Lord. I had to put them in their proper place and renew my perspective. This can only be done with intentionality and continual heart work. God gives u s good things to enjoy - family and friends and work and food and hobbies and entertainment. But He has also given us Himself, opening the door wide for us to come before His throne. May we keep good things in their place and keep God on the throne of our lives.

Dear Lord, please get my attention when I get distracted. Help me to keep the good things in my life where they belong and to keep You first. Help me destroy any idols I have placed ahead of You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Unexpected things come up in life. When my alarm went off this morning, did I expect to find the evidence of our dog having an accident in his kennel and him covered in a mess? No. Did I expect to have to clean his kennel and give him a bath all before 7 am? No. But unexpected things happen and we have to make the choice whether we are going to roll with the punches or get all uptight and freaked out.

It brings me great peace to know that nothing is unexpected for God. He is in control and anything that comes to me has to go through Him first!

Have a great day

Living fearlessly in Christ

Monday, September 28, 2009

Good morning and happy Monday! As I got ready for church yesterday, I looked out the window to see a squirrel taunting our dog, Cooper. This is not the first time I've seen this, but it has happened many times over the past couple weeks. When Cooper is tied to his leash, he is right next to a fence, but can't quite reach the fence. On top of the fence, Mr Squirrel has inched a bit closer to Cooper each day attempting to see how close he can get to him without being attacked. Of course, this drives Cooper crazy because he wants to eat Mr Squirrel so badly!

I thought about how this is much like how satan works. He knows what our flesh desires and little by little begins tempting us with it. As the temptation comes closer and closer, we think about it more often. We desire it more because it is just out of our reach. But one day, when we're tired, bored or weak, that "squirrel" is right in front of our face and easily reachable.

Through the strength of God, we can resist. Scripture tells us that God will give us a way out of temptation. But the question is: will we take the way out or will we fall to our flesh and give in?

Standing strong in the face of temptation is not easy, but in the end will make our lives filled with peace.

Have a great day

Living fearlessly in Christ

Friday, September 25, 2009

The words I read cut me like a knife "Then all the disciples deserted Him and fled" (Matt 26:56).

I cannot imagine how many times this can be said of me.

How many times has Jesus watched me desert Him, again?

I am ashamed of the number.

The past is permanent and cannot be changed, but the future is ahead and is full of hope.

Lord, please forgive me for the times that I seek my own will over Yours. Help me to live a life that doesn't desert You but embraces You and Your will for me. Lord thank you that Your Word is ALIVE and works in our hearts. In Jesus' Name, Amen.


A Divine Appointment
23 Sep 2009Wendy Blight

"He answered, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind;' and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Luke 10:27 (NIV)

Every Memorial Day weekend my friend Karen and I travel with our families to Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, for five days of rest and relaxation. We just cannot wait to dig our toes in the sand, take long walks on the beach, and enjoy the island's incredible sunsets. Every trip is special, but this most recent trip stood above all others.Karen and I ran to the local grocery. Feeding nine people for five days resulted in two carts overflowing with food and supplies. We approached the checkout lines looking for the shortest line. We chose a line with an older wo man without a cart. Apparently waiting on someone else, she motioned for us to go ahead of her. Moments later, a young woman scurried up pushing a crying child in a half-full cart. It was clear the older woman was frustrated that they now had to wait behind us, so we offered to give her back her place in line.As the young woman and her child passed by me, my heart began to pound. I physically began to tremble. I felt God impressing upon my heart that Karen and I were to buy her groceries. I hesitated, but past experience caused me to obey. I tapped the young woman on the shoulder and spoke these exact words, "I know it sounds strange, but God told me that we are to buy your groceries."She graciously accepted with tears in her eyes, and then she and the older woman left. A few minutes later, the older woman returned to share an incredible story. The young woman was her daughter. Her name was Micah.Micah's husband had walked out on her and her young son a fe w months before. He had abused her for years before leaving. She could barely make ends meet and felt completely abandoned by everyone, especially God.Days before this God-ordained meeting in the grocery story, Micah and her mother had prayed. Her mother prayed that God would draw Micah back into relationship with Him. Micah prayed, "God, if you are real, if you love me, show Yourself to me!" As her mother shared these words, it was a powerful moment. Micah, in the midst of her deepest sorrow and pain cried out to God for His Presence. Karen and I simply walked in the store that day to complete an ordinary task. And God crossed our paths at one point in time to show each of us He is active, involved, and OH SO REAL!Yes, it was a great day for Micah. But what a day it was for Karen and me as well! Our obedience to the Lord's prompting touched this woman's life in such a powerful way that she KNEW He was real and had not abandoned her, and that He answers prayer.

A divin e appointment ... a day I will treasure forever.

Heavenly Father, Sovereign Lord, the Great I Am. Thank You that You have planned every day of our lives before we have lived a single day. Thank You that You speak into our lives today. Thank You that You invite us to join You in Your work. Father, give us opportunities to be Your hands and feet. Give us ears to hear and eyes to see the broken and hurting people all around us. Give us a heart of obedience. Give us boldness to speak. May all glory and honor and praise go to You. In Jesus' Name Amen.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Next, Jesus takes His disciples to Gethsemane and asks them to keep watch while He goes off to pray. Although He is in complete agony over what He is about to face, the disciples fall asleep and are caught each time Jesus returns.

Once again, people disappoint Jesus.

Jesus tells them "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." (Matthew 26:41)

What wonderful advice for each of us!

Jesus warns that our own desire is not enough - we need the strength of God. We need the strength that comes from prayer.

We discussed some temptations last night at our Bible study that are so hard to overcome. Yes, they are hard to overcome but through the strength of God they are not impossible to overcome!

I encourage you to make the choice today to begin fervently praying about overcoming your strongest temptations. Not just that the temptation will go away but that the mighty power of God will give you the strength to resist the temptation.

Let me know if you will begin praying about it because I want to be praying with you.

Living fearlessly in Christ

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I don't even have to ask the question "have you been hurt by a friend or loved one?" because I already know the answer. We live in a world full of sin and we are selfish, sinful people, which is why we all get hurt at times.

Over the past couple days, I have been reading in the 26th chapter of Matthew verses 14-35. 2 things really stuck out to me:

1. Jesus was very open and clear when He told the disciples that Judas would betray Him and that Peter would disown Him.

2. Although, Jesus knew what these 2 men were going to do, He still made the choice to fellowship with them and continue to teach them.

Jesus was a very loving, kind and compassionate man but He was also a straight-shooter. He did not hide behind a mask or sugar coat what needed to be said. He laid issues on the table, so people could either repent and change or reject His teaching.

He was rejected, mocked, betrayed, deserted, and hated but He didn't respond in those ways.

He was focused on His mission. He wanted to please and obey His Father.

I want to be so focused on my mission from God that my reaction to others mirrors His.

Jesus' example to us to follow when we are hurt by others - love them.

Jesus didn't throw Judas and Peter out of the disciples group because of what they were going to do - He continued to love them and teach them. We should do the same.

Man, that's a tough one to follow but regardless of the difficulty, we are to follow the example of Christ and through His power, we can prevail.

Living fearlessly in Christ

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Who are you when no one else is watching?

God is always watching

Monday, September 21, 2009

This weekend brought a whirlwind of emotions for me. Friday afternoon, Mike and I made a road trip to the Bloomington RP and then to Canton IL to pick up some things. The kids didn't want to go, so we had a wonderful 4 hours together, alone in the car. Life is crazy sometimes and we don't get much time to just visit with each other so we both soaked up this wonderful date time!

Saturday we worked at home as a family and then headed to LeRoy to spend time with my baby sister (Courtney) and her hubby (Jordan) who were here from Detroit. Jordan's brother and his wife had just had a baby on Thursday and we celebrated this new life together. We were all visiting at my mom's house when Courtney gave mom a card that revealed 2 sonogram pictures - which told us that she was pregnant. We all were so excited and there were congratulations and hugs all around. As we talked about this wonderful news, Jordan's phone rang and was told that his grandparents had been in a motorcycle accident. We spent the rest of the evening praying for them.

On Sunday morning, we found out that the motorcycle they were on, blew a tire and it went out of control and his grandmother died in the accident. As we drove to church, I wondered why such a devastating thing had to happen in the midst of so much joy.

We don't get the privilege of always knowing why things must happen the way they do, but what I do know is that God is in control and knows much better than me. I ask for your prayers for the Whitted family. Thank you

Living fearlessly in Christ

Friday, September 18, 2009

Good morning and happy Friday my bloggy friends! I truly hope this day finds you ready to serve the Savior!

I read Matthew 26:6-13 this morning about when a woman anoints Jesus' head with perfume. He is reclining at the table in Simon's home when she enters in and pours her jar of perfume over his head. The disciples get angry and think that a much better use of the expensive perfume would have been to sell it and give the money to the poor, but Jesus knew her heart and knew that she was making a sacrifice to Him.

I can't tell you how many times I have been stopped from doing something because I was afraid of what other people may say or think. I'm ashamed to admit it, but it is true. Whether it's not raising my hands in worship, not telling others about Christ or any thing else, I am rejecting God when I stop doing things for Him because of my own selfishness.

I was so encouraged by this woman. I don't know how many people were in this house with Jesus, but to her it didn't matter. It didn't matter what they thought or said, she was there for one reason and one reason only, to worship.

I can learn a lot from this woman and must make the choice to be a follower of Christ and show it no matter where I am and who I am with.

Lord, please forgive me for focusing on myself and others instead of keeping it all on You. Help me to be Your light, no matter where I am or who I'm with. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

Have a great day and a great weekend!

Living fearlessly in Christ

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Have you ever been so overwhelmed by a task that you don't start it because you didn't know where to begin?

I have, many times but I decided to do something different this time.

My assignment was to write a paper on how God's redemption process runs through the entire Bible - book by book, people, events, themes, etc. I knew this would take a while and it was not the only paper due for next week, so I made the decision that I was going to spend all day on Tuesday to write it and get it off my to-do list.

I got up on Tuesday, showered, ate and then sat down with my laptop, my school books, my notes and my Bible. I began the session with prayer and went to work...... 6 hours later, my brain hurt, my eyes hurt, my back hurt, and I was only 1/2 done with my paper!! I was overwhelmed and when I thought about how much more I had to do, I was depressed too!

I grumbled about my lack of accomplishment for the day to my husband and he sweetly assured me that I would get it done and that having 1/2 done was much better than having none done.

He was right - through the grace and inspiration of God, I was able to get it finished on Wednesday. The relief of having it completed was wonderful but what was even better was the fact that I learned alot in the process about the Bible and about God.

What may seem overwhelming to me is definitely not overwhelming to God. Nothing is overwhelming to God because He is in control of all things. This was one more lesson of God's faithfulness and His ability to do all things - my only requirement is to say yes to His calling and be willing to be used by Him. It is so good to know that He takes care of everything else!

Will you let God have what is overwhelming you today?

Living fearlessly in Christ

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sanctification is still on my brain.

Don't make excuses for not doing what God calls you to do!

If God is really our Lord and Master, we will willingly obey - even when we don't understand. What we have is not ours anyway - we are only caretakers of the many blessings of God. When we abuse what God has given to us, we deserve to face consequences.

Matthew 25:31-46:

The Judgment

31"But when (A)the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then (B)He will sit on His glorious throne.
32"All the nations will be (C)gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, (D)as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;
33and He will put the sheep (E)on His right, and the goats (F)on the left.
34"Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, (G)inherit the kingdom prepared for you (H)from the foundation of the world.
35'For (I)I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; (J)I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;
36(K)naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you (L)visited Me; (M)I was in prison, and you came to Me.'
37"Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?
38'And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?
39'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'
40"(N)The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, (O)to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'
41"Then He will also say to those on His left, '(P)Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the (Q)eternal fire which has been prepared for (R)the devil and his angels;
42for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink;
43I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.'
44"Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?'
45"Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'
46"These will go away into (S)eternal punishment, but the righteous into (T)eternal life."

Have a great day saying yes to the leading of the Holy Spirit!

Living fearlessly in Christ

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

As I read the parable of the loaned money today in Matthew 25:14-30, it instantly reminded me of a discussion we had in class last night. In the parable, the master gives his slaves talents comparable with their abilities and then leaves on a journey. When he gets back, he wants to see what each has done with his talents.

The talents represent resources we are given by God. God gives us time, money, gifts, etc. according to our abilities and He expects us to use them in a wise way. We are responsible for using them and He will ask what we have done with them one day.

Last night we discussed sanctification - the process of living our lives in a way that pleases Christ. When we become Christians, we confess and repent of our sinful ways. Confessing is admitting but repenting is actually making a choice to not repeat those sins again. Sanctification is that process. Now, don't get me wrong, I realize that we cannot be perfect and their are certain sins that can come back over and over but as a Christian we must choose to work hard at resisting those temptations that allow our old self to enter in.

Through the life-long sanctification process, we should be bearing fruit in our lives. Others should be able to see a difference in the way you live your life after becoming a Christian. If your life has not changed since accepting Christ, then you have some serious considerations to make.

Although we are not saved by our works, the gift of the Holy Spirit upon acceptance of Christ, prompts Christians to serve just as Christ served. Due to the overwhelming thankfulness we have to God for forgiving our sins, and the desire for others to see Christ, we serve Christ by serving others. This can happen in many different ways but the questions are: How are you living your life as an example of Who you serve? and How are you serving?

Have a great day

Living fearlessly in Christ

Monday, September 14, 2009

Last week I wrote my 500th post on this blog. As I look back over the last 500 posts, I am amazed at all God has taught me. In somethings, I've learned my lesson easily but others have taken me time and time again. I was taught another very valuable lesson over the weekend.

Our son loves to skateboard. At home, he has constructed all kinds of different ramps and bars to practice his different tricks on. We heard that there was a skate park in Pontiac and he was so excited to go. As we mentioned this to some of our friends, we were told not to go to the skate park because there were "bad" people there. They said it wasn't safe to be there and we definitely shouldn't take our son there.

As a family, we had stopped by there for a few weeks after church on Sunday to find the place empty and Nate had a great time practicing. Nate had a friend spend the night on Saturday and wanted to take his friend. We headed up to find the whole park full of boys with skateboards and bicycles. Nate and his friend went in and tried to do some boarding but were very intimidated by the presence and talent of these other boys. One boy in particular was doing tricks that I had only seen in the X-games. Like most of the others there, he was tattooed, smoking a cigarette and swearing but seemed to have a kind spirit about him as he talked with the others. I started asking him about how long he had been boarding and told him how talented I thought he was. I noticed his face started to beam. It wasn't long after that I saw him taking Nate and his friend under his wing to help them with their skateboarding. He patiently demonstrated some techniques as they listened and practiced intently. The section they were practicing in soon became full again and they backed off and waited for a break in the action. After a short while, another boy parked his bike right in front of the entrance to the half-pipe so no one else could enter and told Nathan and his friend that they could have it to themselves for awhile. Before we left, my husband talked to and shook the hands of these boys who helped Nate and his friend. It was a heart-warming experience.

I'm so glad that we decided to take our son to the skate park. As we watched, Mike and I realized once again that we are to look at the heart of a man and not his outward appearance. We also realized what a great opportunity we have to show the love of Christ to these boys that we hang with at the skate park.

Praise God for opportunities to serve Him by serving others. I can and do walk right past many opportunities but I'm glad for the prompting to pay attention on Saturday.

Have a great day

Living fearlessly in Christ

Friday, September 11, 2009

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will be glad and rejoice in it! Yesterday I talked about being thankful in whatever circumstance I face. Well, I have to tell you, I am thankful and rejoicing today! :) As you know, I have been out of work for a few weeks and when you are self-employed there is no unemployment check coming in. My husband gets paid every two weeks and today is the day that he gets paid. I've thought about how today I would sit down to pay bills and there would be more bills than money. I knew that I would have to choose what ones I was going to pay and what ones would be left unpaid. At times, I worried and at others I believed that God would provide - I guess it just depended on the day. As I read His Word, He reassured me that I needed to be patient. I needed to wait on His provision. So, instead of worrying, I made the choice to pray, pray and then pray. I asked God to help my unbelief and I asked Him to provide what we needed to pay our bills today. I couldn't figure out how it could happen but I prayed anyway.

Praise, glory, and honor be to God! I had two people hand me a check out of the blue, yesterday and received another in the mail! This money was enough to not just cover our bills today but for the rest of the month. Even as I type those words, the tears flow in thankfulness. I cried alot yesterday in awe and thankfulness of our God. God is good all the time and all the time God is good. He worked through the generosity of those sweet wonderful people. Thank you Lord and thank you to those who touched our hearts with their generosity.

May you have a blessed day and weekend

Living fearlessly in Christ

Shelter from the Storms
11 Sep 2009
Melanie Chitwood

"Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us." Psalm 62:8 (NAS)

The thunder and lightning of a powerful storm rattled our house last night. As rain slashed against the windows and lightning lit up the dark sky, I woke up just long enough to make room for my youngest son and yellow lab to join me and my husband in bed. I remember thinking with surprise that I didn't even know it was going to storm.What a picture of my life lately. It's been a year of unexpected rain. Some just drizzles, but others, like the storm hitting me most recently, have rattled windows with wave after wave of thunder and bursts of lightning.What about you? Is there stormy weather in your life right now? Where are you finding shelter from the storms?My friends and family have been a shelter for me this year, just like my family was last night as we all huddled together in bed. They've encouraged and supported me. And most importantly, they've pointed me to the strongest shelter from the storms, my Heavenly Father.As I've turned to Scripture this week, I'm amazed at the number of times it reminds us God is our shelter. God knows that we will encounter hard times and His Word reminds us that the strongest and safest shelter is God Himself.As always we have a choice: get drenched in the rain or seek shelter. You see, the storms of life can cause us to run toward God, but just as easily they can cause us to turn away. A whole range of emotions can leave us standing in the rain to get drenched: bitterness, anger, confusion, helplessness, or hopelessness. If you can relate to these emotions, you might feel badly for having these emotions, but don't let these feelings keep you from God.Read the Psalms and you'll see that God can handle every emotion. Negative emotions are not a reason to turn away from God. They're the very reason to turn to Him, desperately wanting the kind of faith and strength only God can provide.Keep turning to God, continue to tell Him in prayer how you feel, and leave your emotions with Him. As you do, you'll start to feel His nearness, His hope, His promise, and His comfort. If you find yourself returning to feelings of fear or hopelessness, just go back to God. Be honest in your prayers. Acknowledge that you're having a hard time, but that you want to trust Him in your circumstances. Know that He loves you and will consistently and constantly be your shelter from the storms.

Dear Lord, "Hear my cry, O God; give heed to my prayer. From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a refuge for me, a tower of strength against the enemy. Let me dwell in Your tent forever; let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings" (Psalm 61:1-4, NAS). In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Good morning my bloggy friends! I have to admit, that with the exception of payday, I am really enjoying this time of being unemployed. Not having a job has given me great opportunities that I didn't have when I was working. Over the past couple weeks, I have had the opportunity to visit with and help our grandparents with yardwork, spend time with our elderly friends that I haven't seen in a long time, mowed our lawn, worked on landscaping, catch up and get ahead on homework, get our home cleaned and back in shape, have lunch with my hubby, have quiet time with my children, volunteer at our church, and of course, apply for jobs. Although, this time is difficult financially, there is also so much good that has come of it. I want to take the opportunity today to thank God for this season. Instead of focusing on the negative, I want to be positive about the place that I am in.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purposes.

Have a great day!

Living fearlessly in Christ

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

One of the books I'm reading for school is "God's Big Picture" by Vaughn Roberts. Vaughn explains how he is amazed by orchestras - so many people, so many instruments but such beautiful sounds when all put together. The orchestra depends on two things - a score, which tells them what notes to play and a conductor, who directs them when to play. If an orchestra didn't have a conductor or score, it would be disastrous.

This is what we humans have done. God is the composer who created this world, and he gave instructions about how we should live; the score He wants us to play. But we ignore them. We would rather play our own notes in our own time. It is hardly surprising that there is no harmony in this world. We desperately need a conductor if we are to begin to play the right notes again.

Jesus is both the composer and the conductor. He has come to restore order. He wants to change the ugly discord of our lives and our world into the beautiful music they were designed to make: a symphony of praise to the Creator.

I could totally relate to this analogy. I really made sense. How about you - can you see how following Christ can make harmony in your life?

Have a great day

Living fearlessly in Christ

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Before I get started this morning, I want to encourage you to check out this blog of an amazing family

When I got up this morning, I took the dog outside to potty and play. It was a little foggy but as the morning has continued, the fog has become very thick and as I look out my front window, I can barely see the street in front of our house. Sometimes, this is how I feel - on one day, I can see God's plan for me and I can run full force but others, the fog is thick over my heart and I'm not quite sure what I'm supposed to be doing.

As these foggy days have been around, I have been searching and soaking up the sweet Word of God. He continues to reassure me that He is in control and all I have to do is put one foot in front of the other and He will take care of everything else. He has a wonderful way of bringing peace and comfort to my heart, even when life is chaotic around me.

I read Matthew 23:37-39 today and it was about Jesus grieving over Jerusalem. In verse 37, He says "how often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling." Those words hit me - I wanted to, and you were unwilling. I wonder how many times God has said those words about me? The numbers are more than I can imagine but it really brings me comfort to know that He wants to hold me, He wants to help me, He wants my heart to have peace - all I have to do is let Him! I will choose to let Him - will you?

Have a great day

Living fearlessly in Christ

Friday, September 4, 2009

Great Sermons are Not Preached, They’re Lived
3 Sep 2009Lysa TerKeurst

"When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus." Acts 4:13 (NIV)What if someone followed me around with a video camera all day documenting my every move? Catching on camera all of my words, facial expressions, actions, and reactions. And then what if someone packaged it all together and played it on some sort of reality TV show for all the world to see? What would be the glaring message of my life?I am convicted thinking about this.You see, if someone were to ask me, what are you all about? I would have some nice sounding answers. But what actually happens during the strains of everyday life can sometim es betray my best intentions.I want to be a loving wife. Yet I can sometimes be found in a grumpy, selfish mood and view my husband as a business partner that better hold up his end of helping out.I want to be a wise and patient mom. But my kids know the exact buttons to push that send me into a tailspin of emotion and exhaustion.I want to be a strong witness for Christ. So why is it that I can read my Bible first thing in the morning and then find myself honking at the person that cuts me off in traffic just an hour later?I realize there is a place for God's tender mercies for me in all this. But I also know that while no TV cameras are following me around, my life is speaking a message about what I really believe and I want that message to honor Jesus. I once heard, "Great sermons are not preached, they are lived." Oh how I long to live a message that speaks loud and clear, "Jesus is true and the principles found in His teachings work!"L et's just be honest, it's tough being a sold out soul for Christ stuck in a body that is so tempted to sin. That's why it's essential I view my time with God each morning as a preparation and an invitation.

• Preparation: Every verse, devotion and prayer is all part of God's preparation for me that day. Instead of just rushing to check off my to do list that I spent a few minutes with God, I must allow His teachings to seep into my heart and mind. Then I must ask God to interrupt my natural flesh response and remind me throughout the day the truths He taught me that morning. That's the preparation part.

• Invitation: The next essential view of my quiet time each morning is recognizing I've just invited Jesus to do life with me today, so I need to look for His activity throughout my day. My minute by minute theme then becomes, "Not my will God, but Yours be done." So if my husband forgets to do something he promised, or my kids push my buttons, or a person cuts me off in traffic, or one of the other one million things happens that causes my flesh to want to rear up and act ugly… I can say, "Not my will God, but Yours be done." This slight pause and acknowledgement of God redirects my frustration and replaces it with grace. And most wonderful of all, it helps me connect my time with Jesus to everyday life choices. Making that connection is how we personally hear from and experience God!I know, sometimes it's hard to spend time with Jesus first thing in the morning. And I'm certainly not trying to make this just another demand on our time. But, why not spend just a few minutes… even if it is just a few… letting Jesus prepare us for whatever we'll be facing that day and invite Him to intervene before our natural reactions to things betray our best intentions. Then and only then will my life speak to the fact that I have spent time with Jesus… and without saying a word, my imperfect life will be a God-honoring sermon.

Dear Lord, please teach me how to reveal more and more of You through the way I live my life. I want to tell the whole world about You using words only when necessary. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Have a great day and a great weekend!
Living fearlessly in Christ

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The search continues......Unfortunately, the best job lead I had found, yet, called yesterday to let me know that it was given to someone else. I was bummed but trying to patiently wait for God to place me exactly where He wants me to be. It is easy to let worry seep in, but I am working very hard at placing my life and job in the hands of God. He has always taken care of me and provided exactly what I need and I know that He will continue to do so.

Now, I'm off to Bloomington to a Hearts at Home volunteer open house. Oh, how I enjoy the Hearts staff and the work that they do to encourage mothers. Check it all out at

Have a great day

Living fearlessly in Christ

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I've been thinking about my granny this morning. She is a very strong and capable 83 year old. We went to her house to mow yesterday and she had already trimmed and mowed part of the yard with her tiny push mower before we got there. While Mike finished mowing, she took me and the kids inside to cook supper and visit. After a wonderful dinner, we went out to the yard to dig up some flowers for me to take home and plant. She doesn't let me help and pushes me out of the way when I try to. Now, she didn't get this way from a life of leisure but one that brought hardship and hard work. She is kind, loving and caring but also a very hard worker that takes being a woman of God very seriously. She also gives me great perspective when I complain about not having this or that as she reminds me of what she had when she was my age - pretty much, nothing. Her and gramps raised their two boys on pretty much nothing but they are better for it, now. Her presence makes me feel loved, I love to be a blessing to her and I am so glad she is a part of my life. I hope to grow up to be like granny some day and be as much of a blessing to someone else that she is to me.

Have a great day

Living fearlessly in Christ

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

We had another YAC (young adult connection) cookout on Sunday and it went great! We will begin our every other Friday group sessions on Sept 11. If you or anyone you know are between the ages of 18 and 35, send them my way and I would love to tell them more about this great opportunity to walk closer to Christ and "do" life together.

In class, last night, my professor was talking about how in addition to our inner spiritual life, our external worship is important. I started becoming defensive as I thought he was going to say that we must be careful how we worship as not to offend someone else but it was not the case, in fact he reminded us that we need to give ourselves and others the freedom to worship. He told a story to explain what he was talking about: He was in Texas and visiting a church. He came in late and the service had already begun so there was not a greeter at the door. As he walked to his seat, he noticed the fellowship going on throughout the church and then as the music began he noticed the people - their faces - they were happy to be there, they wanted to worship. People were engaged, they were smiling, they were singing and seemed truly content in the house of the Lord. Although, at that point, he had not spoken to or met anyone there, he knew that this would be a place that he would want to worship if he lived in the area.

I then, understood what he was saying about the importance of external worship. When my family and I have visited other churches, the first thing I look at are the worshippers. Are they there to truly worship or is attending church just another weekly habit?

Are you inviting others to worship by your worship? Are you setting an inviting example of worship or does your mood, disinterest in singing, music preference, or service layout keep you disconnected and sober?

Lord, I pray that as I come to Your house to worship and as I worship You throughout my life that You will help me to put all distractions aside so that my heart can spill out its love and thankfulness to You. Help me to worship in a way that is pleasing to You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Have a great day!

Living fearlessly in Christ