Monday, November 23, 2009

Thank you - thank you for your prayers over me as I spoke at Clinton Presbyterian church yesterday. It was an amazing morning of worship and God filled me with His words and peace. I continue to praise Him for His faithfulness!

My friend Tammy, had a sweet friend and mentor, Jean. Although their ages were quite far apart, they loved spending time together. As the years brought Jean into the nursing home with medical issues, Tammy continued to be a faithful friend and visit her every day. She told me of the encouragement, teaching and love she received from her mentor. One thing that stood out to Tammy was that Jean continued to praise God even through very difficult and trying times. Jean missed her family that wasn’t able to visit often and yet she would lift up her hands to God and exclaim “and yet I will praise Thee”. When she lost her sight and could only be reminded of the Word of God with her ears, she lifted up her hands to God and exclaimed “and yet I will praise Thee” as a cassette player became her new Bible. In the hospital, when Tammy sat by her bed during kidney dialysis and she would become ill and vomit, before raising her head from the bucket, the words slipped from her lips once again, “and yet will I praise Thee”. As I stood with Tammy and watched Jean slip into the hands of God, we knew that she had been preparing herself for the worship she would be involved in for all eternity and we whispered, and yet will we praise thee.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

This is a command. God’s will is that we gratefully acknowledge His hand in all circumstances, not for all circumstances. Circumstances change; God does not. Continuous prayer causes us to be open to God in all situations and we have the opportunity to talk to God about all situations. Do not be afraid to pour your heart out to Him. He is always listening and wants to hear and connect with you.

Have a great day!

Living fearlessly in Christ

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sniffles, congestion, coughing, full-blown flowage from the nose - pretty much sums it up. What, you ask? Me - thinking that I am unable to get sick and feeling fully confident of it as I cared for 10 sick babies on Tuesday at work. By Tuesday evening, I could feel it coming and then it was full-blown by Wednesday. When I returned to the preschool on Thursday, I ended up being sent home early because by shortly after lunch time, we only had 3 children due to illness. Well, I now have to admit that I am not SuperWoman being able to determine my own outcomes in life.

This also reminds me of how powerless I am in all of life without my total reliance on God. He is powerful - I am not. He is mighty - I am not. He is faithful - I am not. He is capable - I am not. I love the title of the book by Louie Giglio "I am not but I know I AM" - that pretty much sums it up!

As I prepare for our young adult group tonight and for doing a pulpit fill on Sunday, I am reminded once again of my insecurities and incapableness (I don't think that's a word but I'm using it anyway). Of myself, I cannot teach the Word of God in a way that sinks deep into the hearts of others but through the Holy Spirit, God can speak directly to them through my mouth.

What is my role? Be a life-long learner, prepare, be open, and say yes to anything God tells me to do.

That's it - simple but not easy!

Lord, thank you for Your Word and the way it transforms lives. Thank you Holy Spirit for residing in me, prompting, convicting and teaching. Thank you Jesus for being the Word become flesh. May You spill from me. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

Have a great day and a great weekend!

Living fearlessly in Christ

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hey all! Thanks for praying - my message for Sunday is complete and practiced! Yea God! Check out this devotion that touched my heart:

The Beauty of the Lord
18 Nov 2009
Lynn Cowell

"One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple." Psalm 27:4 (ESV)

The jagged scar on his back may be gruesome to some. To me, it is a mark of beauty. It is a reminder of the love he showed that day.

It was suppose to be a day filled with wonderful memories with my husband's family in the foothills of South Carolina. The highlight of our trip would be Slippery Rock, a natural water slide in the cool Pisgah forest. However, under the guidance of a "local" we changed our plans to go to a different waterfall.

When we reached it, the waterfall wasn't quite what we were told or expected. Unprotected. Steeper . Less water. No lifeguard, no stairs, no rope. Though disappointed, we vowed to make the best of it.

Greg watched the kids start down the steep slope. Sensing everything was not as smooth as it seemed, he called to our nine-year-old daughter, "Wait for me, and we'll go together."

The laughter and squeals brought joy to my heart. Wanting to catch their expressions, I looked down to adjust my camera's zoom. Looking up, I caught his eye. Something was wrong. I pulled the camera away just in time to witness Greg sticking out his leg, causing him and Madison to spin. Instead of her head slamming into the stone wall, Greg's bare back took the blow.

The day ended then, with a trip to the emergency room. The four-inch gash on his back, evidence he saved our daughter. Today, it is a thick red scar; proof of his love for his family.

My First Love also bears scars of love. Though I haven't seen them, I know they're there. I was young, naive and taking the course wi th no stairs, no rope, no lifeguard. I wanted to "live a little." Just before I smashed against the rock of this world, I listened to Jesus' invitation: "Wait for me; let Me get you out of harm's way and lead you." I fell into His accepting arms, rescued and safe.

Like I was, there are those who want to go their own way. They are oblivious to the rushing power of sin, which will smash them against the hard walls of this world. Thoughts such as "I can flirt with this sin; I just want a little fun!" or "I'm tired of responsibility. It's my turn. My kids will bounce back," or "I don't have to put up with him anymore. It's my life too," take precedence. Inevitable destruction follows. All along Jesus is at the top of the slope inviting them: "Wait for Me. Let's go together and I will lead you."

They've missed the Man. They've missed His strength. They've missed the scars that are proof that His love held Him to that gnarly cross when His mind and body sc reamed out. I see the price He paid to protect me from my own destruction and all I can say is "Oh, the beauty of the Lord."

Dear Lord, help me look to You every day. Help me trust Your instructions and warnings, knowing that You love me more than I love myself. You are my first love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I am on a mission! A few months ago I was asked to speak at Clinton Presbyterian church on Nov 22. When I thought of something that I could use in my message for that day, I would add it to a file in my computer but kept putting off getting it all put together. I knew it was coming soon but haven't found the time to work on it. Last night at Liz's basketball game, a friend asked me when I was speaking, my response: "in a couple weeks on Nov 22". She looked a little confused and then explained that Nov 22nd was THIS COMING Sunday! I just about fell off of my bleacher!!!! So, all homework and housework is put aside today until my message is complete and I have it revised and practiced.

Just where does the time go????

Off to work I go........

Have a great day

Living fearlessly in Christ

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I'm struggling today and am in need of prayer, please. I am attempting to fight off evil thoughts in regards to my current class and professor. I do not want to allow the actions of one person to ruin my workday, time with my family or even one moment of my life. God gives us joy and no one else can take that joy away unless we allow them to. I have allowed someone to take my joy and I say "no more"!

I realize we all have people who get under our skin from time to time - how do you find it best to deal with them?

What do you think about to get your mind off the situation?

Lord, help my focus to stay on You today and help me to show continuous grace to others just like you show me. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Have a great day!

Living fearlessly in Christ

Monday, November 16, 2009

Good morning and happy Monday my bloggy friends! I am wiped out but still in amazement of the power of God at yesterdays orphan/adoption awareness benefit in Pontiac. I had the privilege of volunteering at the event.
Here is the amazing couple with a heart for orphans that put it on - Dan and Christi Ucherek. I would have never even imagined doing something like that at 25 years old!
Here's Christi again and our friend Susan who also helped at the event.
Afterward, I was so excited to go to dinner with Lysa Terkeurst, president of Proverbs 31 ministries and her assistant, Holly Good. Lysa was the main speaker at the event and did a wonderful job of sharing her adoption story.
I will post more about the event tomorrow but have to head out to take my kiddos to school.
One thing is for sure - - - God is GOOD!!!
Living fearlessly in Christ

Friday, November 13, 2009

Happy Friday! I'm sitting in humble adoration of our God. As I continue reading Exodus, God continues to speak to my heart. First I can totally relate to Moses' fear of what God has asked him to do. Sometimes God asks us to do things that are WAY beyond our capabilities and comfort zones but the amazing thing is that He has already made the way - we just have to put one foot in front of the other in obedience.

As I have read about Pharaohs rejection of Moses' requests to let the Israelites go, something else has stood out to me. Pharaoh says no to God, God brings forth plagues upon Pharaoh and the land, Pharaoh agrees and begs to have Moses pray for the plague to end, and then Pharaoh hardens his heart and says no again.

Oh how this reeks of my life! I go along on my own until something bad happens, beg to God for relief, and when all is good again, go back to my old ways until I need Him again. I guess Pharaoh and I have a lot in common!

Being a Christ Follower means following Christ ALL THE TIME. Not just when I'm hurting. Not just when I need help. Not just when I feel like it. It is a lifelong lifestyle. It is time to say yes!

Have a great day and a great weekend!

Living fearlessly in Christ

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It's confession Thursday! I love being a student......when I have time to get my homework done. Contrary to what I thought would happen, I truly love being in school. In fact, I have even enjoyed doing homework as I dig deeper into the Word of God, textbooks, and my brain. Recently, I have found myself beginning to feel a little burnt out. Between chasing both my kids to basketball practices and games, looking for a job, 3 small groups, working part-time, keeping up with the housework, and writing a message for an upcoming pulpit fill, I've found it harder and harder to do my best on my homework. My last professor was pretty easy and didn't expect much and I found myself falling into the trap of not doing my best. Since I began this new class with a very strict and by-the-book professor, I have to straighten up and get back on track. I turned my first paper in on Monday and when I got online to check my grade yesterday, I was shocked when I saw a 70% as my grade. I have never got a C on a paper and very rarely a B! The anger immediately started to burn within me. How could he do this to me? Doesn't he realize that I want an A? Doesn't he realize that no other professor has given me a C? What is wrong with him? What a jerk!

I used my anger for good use and helped Nathan clean his room that went far too long without cleaning. As I cleaned and vented, God helped me realize that my professor had done nothing wrong. There was only one person to blame for this grade and it was No - that couldn't be! :) I didn't like having to be accountable for my effort on the paper, but I had to be. It was I that hurried. It was I that just tried to fill in space. It was I that failed to write it for God and not for man.

Humbling, oh so humbling - to point the finger at me, once again.

Lord, please forgive me for trying to go my own way again. Forgive me for trying to do just enough to please man instead of doing my best for You. Help me to remember that You have placed me where I need to be and I need to learn all I can from where I am. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

Living fearlessly in Christ

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Started a new class last night on the life of Christ. My professor is in his mid twenties and has 2 masters degrees and a phd - talk about motivated!

What has your desire to know Christ better motivated you to do? I'd love to hear your answers!

Have a great day
Living fearlessly in Christ

Monday, November 9, 2009

Good morning and happy Monday my bloggy friends! I found great encouragement from my Exodus study this morning. In chapter 7, God is explaining to Moses that He wants him to go back to Pharaoh and ask to release the Israelites again even though God knows that Pharaoh is going to say no. God explains His plan of eventually changing Pharaoh's mind for him but wants Moses to be obedient now regardless of what Pharaoh says.

God knows my future.

God knows your future.

God has a plan for each of us and will make that plan happen.

We may see situations as impossible because of obstacles before us but we must remember that NOTHING is impossible with God!

Even when things do not go the way we think they should does not mean that it is time to give up and go another direction.

Be patient and allow God to lead your path.

Have a great day!

Living fearlessly in Christ

Friday, November 6, 2009

We live in a very individualistic society. The days of community are slowly slipping away. It is easy to go about our day with our own agenda in mind with no concern of what is going on around us. The Bible clearly states that we need each other. Galatians 6:2, Proverbs 27:17, and Romans 12:4-5 are just a few.

Are you connected in a community?I'm not talking about a town but a group of individuals that you can truly connect with.

Are you open to meeting new people even though it may take you from your comfort zone?

Instead of coming home from work and closing your garage door, do you ever walk over to your neighbors to visit?

Are you involved in a small group at your church?

Staying connected with other Christians makes you more likely to stay connected with God and isn't that what we all want and need?

I challenge you to do something today that connects you with someone else. Let me know what you do and how it worked.

Have a great day and a great weekend

Living fearlessly in Christ

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"We humans are quick to blame God for our troubles. God does permit wicked, godless people like Pharaoh to bring suffering and injustice on other people. God's people need faith and patience to wait for God's liberating actions."
NIV notes on Exodus 5:1-23

Amen and Amen!

Have a wonderful day

Living fearlessly in Christ

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Good morning my bloggy friends! I've been thinking about what God can teach us as we go through difficult times. Struggles in my past have taught me humility, perseverance, patience, and that God is faithful. A few things have stuck with me but others continue to be a struggle for me and God has to continuously teach me. I think I would endure a lot less hardship if I would just learn my lesson the first time but unfortunately I have a very thick and stubborn skull!

My newest struggle is to consistently be teaching my children the Word of God. As God has laid the importance of parental spiritual teaching on my heart, I have been convicted when I've thought of the times that I have fallen short.

Oh how I want to raise children that are so connected with God that they want to serve and obey Him every day of their lives but I fall short by not being the example that God wants me to be, not taking daily time to be in the Word with them, and not taking every opportunity to teach them a life lesson and how it applies to God's will.

I have repented of this short coming and asked God to give me great motivation and perseverance for this endeavor. I had the privilege of presenting a message last night at school on how it is the parents responsibility and not the church's responsibility to raise up spiritual champions.

Here's some things that I'm going to try:

Have a full fledged Bible study with our children at least once per week

When life happens, I will cease opportunities to share with our children how their situation or their response to the situation can be directed by the Word of God.

Use every opportunity to be a teaching lesson even when they roll their eyes at me

Purchase some Bible based games (Bible Trivia Pursuit or Bible Apples to Apples) and learn as we play

Now, don't get me wrong, live happens and things get crazy but I really want to be more intentional about taking the time to teach my children and I know that with the help of the prompting of the Holy Spirit, I can improve.

Have a great day!

Living fearlessly in Christ

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

In Exodus 3:19-20 God tells Moses "But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. So I will stretch out My hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go."

Is there something holding you back?

Is there something that God has laid on your heart but man tells you it cannot happen?

Does your situation seem impossible?


Have a glorious day!

Living fearlessly in Christ

Monday, November 2, 2009

Long time, no talk! Glad to be back with you today! Last week, I began studying the book of Exodus. As I read chapter 2 about the birth of Moses, God opened my eyes and spoke to my heart. Many of you have heard about Moses mother putting him in a basket and leaving him to float in the Nile river ever since you were a child in Sunday school. Pharaoh had ordered for all Israelite baby boys that were born to be thrown into the Nile and killed to keep from increasing God's people. Moses' mother had tried to hide him for 3 months but finally had to try something else to save her baby. Moses' sister watched as he floated past where Pharaoh's daughter bathed. The mother's heart must have been busting with joy and excitement when her daughter came to her and told her that she got to keep Moses and nurse him for pharaoh's daughter. I bet she soaked up every moment she had with her son. Verse 10 came too soon, "When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh's daughter and he became her son." Reading that verse broke my heart. If I were in her shoes, I would have been praying and hoping that God would intervene and allow me to keep my son. I cannot imagine the pain of giving my child away. I'm sure that her mothers heart was thankful that Moses was alive and well but how could giving him away be whats best for him.

This reminded me of how God's ways are not our ways. His "fair" is not our fair. Our hearts have to break sometimes to accomplish His will but we must remember, He has felt the pain of giving up a child and so much more. He understands but He also knows what is best for all involved.

Faith is believing that God knows what is best and accepting His will. Will this be joyful at times, for sure. Will this be heartbreaking at times, absolutely.

God is good all the time and all the time God is good.

Have a great day

Living fearlessly in Christ