Monday, January 31, 2011


Last night was our family night. We gather every Sunday evening as a family and have dinner, play games, watch a movie, catch up.  Our adult children come, the dogs come; it's very nice.  Often, we seem to have pizza, because cooking is my challenge, but sometimes we go beyond the pizza box and I cook.  Last night, I made spaghetti, green beans, and garlic bread.  My spaghetti sauce turned out perfect; it was very good indeed.  And, it was easy, I like that.
The game we played last night was Uno Attack. We sat around our dining room table with uno cards and the draw pile was stacked in this little gadget that one can press when it's their turn to draw.  Sometimes the gadget does nothing, other times it spits uno cards out of its mouth at the person taking the turn.  One to five cards, depending on it's "mood".  I was attacked by this gadget spitting out several cards at a time, on more than one occasion.  Needless to say, I did not win the game! It was fun, and unpredictable.
How many times have I gone into "attack mode" and spit venom out of my mouth? Poisonous words that impact the people around me in a negative way, rather than a Godly, positive way.  How many times have I felt that attack directed my way? These are the questions I have to ask myself, as I seek truth and love to be evident in my life. How often have I been unpredictable, ready to pounce at any given moment, for ungodly purposes?
Today I read Galatians 6. In this chapter it is very clear that I reap what I sow. "The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others-ignoring God-harvests a crop of weeds." ouch, those are powerful words, and I must take a close look at them.  My life has often been riddled with selfishness. Now, as I seek to run from the attack of self, and seek His will and purpose in my life, I must constantly ask Him to lead me. The chapter advises me to not be fatigued doing good! He says that by doing good, I will see a harvest, a good crop, if I don't give up. He encourages me to work for the benefit of ALL,  not me! And, tells me to start with the community of people closest to me, those in His faith.
Today, I am challenged by these words.  Today, my prayer is to look and focus on Jesus, and Him alone, so I can work for the benefit of others. So I can see beyond myself and into the hearts of others, and have love, compassion, and strength.
Say That Again, Jesus. Lift me into Your presence, and keep me from being in attack mode.  Make me predictable in You, and You alone.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Party

We went to a party yesterday, my husband, son, daughter, and I. A friend of ours turned 40, and we were invited to celebrate. A lot of people showed up, friends of ours, and we all had a great time.  We spent time together.  We ate food together.  We celebrated our brother in Christ.  It was good. There was an ease throughout the relationships that I find inspiring. There was laughter and comfort and fun.
After the party, a smaller group of us went bowling.  That was entertaining. Once again, we had a very nice time with each other, enjoyable.
Isn't this what God intends for all His children? I know it is what I desire as His child.  I desire to be with His People, and to gather often for food, fun, celebration, love, and unity.  I desire to know His People, and to be known.  And, once I am known, I desire to be accepted and loved unconditionally.  Is this too much to ask of God's people?
Am I willing, as His child to give up myself enough, that I can take the time to serve Him in this manner?  Time to give of myself in relationship and love others? Am I willing as His child to reach out and actually hear the needs of others, and put them before myself?
In my reading this morning, God directed me to Isaiah 52 and there were a few lines that popped out at me. In verse 6, He says "Therefore My people shall know My name; therefore in that day I am the one who is speaking, 'Here I am' "
It's lovely, I think.  I am part of His people, and He is saying that I will know His name, and that He is the one speaking!  He is here, in my midst, talking! He is doing this with all His people, drawing them to Him, loving them, being powerful within them, and celebrating with them.  He is in our midst, enabling His people to know His name, and walk with Him.
And, then in verse 12, I read "For the Lord God will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard." Ah, my protection. Wherever I am, He is. He is scouting the path before me, and coming up behind me to be my safeguard.  His eyes are roaming all about, and He knows my path.  He knows. When His people gather, He is there. He is the heart of the party!
I like this.  I find it comforting to know, that it is all about Him, even at birthday parties.  It is my God that brings birth, life, hope, and My God that sustains me through the good and the bad.  He is the One that will not let any of us go. He is the smile, the joy, the presence that brings peace.
Father, continue to gather me with Your people and to celebrate with all of us.  Continue to cover us in Your love. Say That Again to me about being my rear guard, and enable me to stay on Your path that is scouted out before me.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chicken and Dumplings

My son and I went to Costco yesterday to get cheese and crackers for our evening home group. While we were there, we picked up other groceries as well.  My son really wanted ground beef so we could make cheese stuffed meatballs. His brother, apparently, is an expert at meatball making.  I had my mind on chicken and dumplings, because my daughter in-law was talking about chicken and dumplings the other day and commented on how good it is.  So, we bought the beef for the meat balls, something I probably won't be eating, and we got the chicken.  I've never had chicken and dumplings, and I certainly haven't made them.  So, I looked up the recipe, on my Iphone, of course, and I think I might actually be able to accomplish this task. The picture looks great, it sounds delicious, and it doesn't appear to be too complicated.  So, between swimming lessons and the dentist today, I plan to embark on the big adventure of making chicken and dumplings.
Dumplings are cooked in the chicken mixture, they take on the flavor of the chicken and the gravy.  They become immersed in the hot, creamy, chicken and vegies.  Yup, my mind immediately went to Christ and being immersed in Him!
Am I? Do I immerse myself so deeply in Him that I take on His flavor? Is everything I do and think a reflection of Him? As I bury myself in His will, do I grow? When others get a taste of my character, do they see Jesus?
These are all questions that chicken and dumplings bring to my mind! And, whose it all about, really--the chicken or the dumplings? :-)
I read in 2 Corinthians 4 this morning.  It's a great chapter on light again, and various things.  It starts out by reminding me that God has generously let me in on what He is doing, and just because I may run into troublesome times, does not mean that I should throw up my hands and run. It makes it clear that I cannot wear a mask, or play games of any kind, or twist God's word to suit myself. On the Message side it says: "we  keep everything we do and say out in the open, the whole truth on display, so that those who want to can judge for themselves the presence of God."  And, he goes on to say: "light up the darkness! and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful."
Okay, so if my life is totally immersed IN Christ, I will be open and honest about who I am.  The good and the bad, right?  I won't hide in any darkness, but will allow His light to shine through me so others can see His presence.
This sounds a little frightening on a few levels. What if I get hurt? What if those around me don't like the open book? What if I am rejected, accused, abandoned?   The chapter says near the end, "even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside where God is making  new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace." So, there's my answer!  When I choose to be an open book before God and His Body, there may be times that I feel like it is all falling apart.  But, He is working in me, creating new life everyday, growing me, immersing me IN Him.  And, because of His boundless, endless grace, I will move through and reflect Him.
So, I choose to be a dumpling today, covered IN Him. I choose to take on His flavor, and grow In Him.  It's about Him, not me.  I'm just the dough In His life, for him to expand, teach, love, and give grace to.  When He does all of that for me,  others will witness His presence IN me, and that is good. I will be a testimony of who He is. Soaking In Him gives me power In His spirit!
Say That Again, Holy Jesus! Remind me to stay covered all day long.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wishful Hermit

There was a time in my life that I wished I could be a Hermit.  I would think about how great it would be if I NEVER had to encounter a single person! Isolated, alone, recluse, this seemed like safety to me. I was okay being with my family--my husband and children, but sometimes even that seemed like more than I could bear.  I just wanted to be alone.
The emptiness and the pain inside of me was so intense, the shame, I couldn't stand the thought of being seen. So, I hid my heart away behind many walls.  It was safe.  At least I thought it was safe, but in reality it was holding me captive in a world of darkness. It was creating a self-centered world where I convinced myself that the majority of people were the enemy. It was painful and lonely and sad.  Anytime I talked, it was not in anyway a revelation of my true self and that is because I had no idea who my true self was.
As I was reading in Matthew 5 this morning, I read about letting our light shine like a city on a hill, that's being pretty visible.  And, a bit down from that on the Message side it says "keep open house; be generous with your lives.By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven."
My body is His temple, his house!  And, He is asking me to be open and generous in the way that I live.  He is asking me to be transparent, AGAIN! It is through my open, transparent life, that God can use me to bring others into His Kingdom.  He gives me the words to say about my life, then He uses that to draw others into Him!  Wow, I find that amazing, because my life has been a mess.  He can take a whole pile of junkie stuff, and use it to save the souls of others!  Because, it is darkness brought into the light.
My past has left a trail of hurts and pain, and further down in this chapter Jesus says to reconcile with the friends that have walls between me. Do not hold a grudge, but love them.  Go to them and speak.  My love for Jesus drives me to live in the light of friendship and love, to walk a path of reconciliation. Words hurt, so I must pray for His Spirit to always speak through me, and pray for His Spirit to help me forgive the words that I have found hurtful and damaging. "The simple moral fact is that words kill."
Sanctify my mouth, Jesus, use it only for your Glory! There have been many times in my life that my mouth has not been used for Jesus! I confess this to Him and everyday I pray for the power of His Spirit to be upon my lips. I pray that I will do as I say in the lives of others, and truth will reign in me. My life will be an open book before Him and those I love, and my words will be like salve to the people He brings into my life.  My words will bring life, not death!
My children can bring such pain to each other with their words.  Name-calling, anger, down-right meanness. When they have these moments, it challenges me to bring light into their lives, and help them see the impact they have on each others hearts. It challenges me to love their hearts and point them towards Jesus. It reminds me that even as an adult, I have behaved like a child.  We all do sometimes. And, then we make enemies. But, Jesus says to love even those who have become our enemy.  He tells us to go to them and be friends. To forgive and live in the light.  My children do this too.  They can be so angry with each other, then five minutes later they have forgiven and they are sweetly playing together. Loving each other, helping each other, displaying kindness.
So, I am choosing to love and display kindness today.  I will not have a hermit heart with walls surrounding me.  I will continue to be real, transparent, alive in Jesus.  A generous life in Him and in His love. I will continue to pray for His light to shine and His life to change me on a daily basis.
Jesus, clothe me today.  Speak to me and through me. Remind me to run from the hermit life and into your arms. Say That Again to me so I will remember the beauty of a generous life with You!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Religion versus Jesus

My son was home with a headache and a fever yesterday. For most of the day he did pretty well, but there were a few times that life was crashing around him. He was annoyed with his sister, and just wanted her to stop talking. He prefers life to be a little more on the quiet side, she prefers it to be loud and lively.  His breaking point was when she was dancing on the couch with her guitar singing as loud as she could about her rock band! She can dance, for sure, and sing, but it was way too much for him. I challenged her to find something more quiet to do and she informed me that if she seeks something "quiet" then she will not be having fun! Life is all about fun right now, and that is important to her. She's not interested in being restrained in anyway, she wants her freedom to express who she is! My son wants the same freedom, he would just prefer to do it quietly. I can make the rules to try to make her quiet, but she will break them.
Back in the olden days, when Jesus walked this earth, He had the same problem.  The religious folks worked really hard at rules.  They worked hard at trying to keep Him quiet.  They were bothered by the noise of His very presence. They were just like my son, when Jesus got too loud, they would try to stone Him! But, Jesus knew Who He Was and what His mission was.  He didn't let their rules, or their stones stop Him from moving forward in this mission.
Jesus hung out with all the wrong people, He loved them, talked to them, nurtured them.  Jesus opened His mouth and spoke words of truth.  He challenged the religious guys to think about their actions. Jesus lived grace. Some of the people witnessed that and chose to follow Him, others just got mad and worked even harder to shut Him up. The religious guys were all about themselves.  They wanted the people to follow them, see them, hear them, obey them.  Jesus, on the other hand, was all about God.  He pointed them to His Father, compelled them to repent, forgive, love, and follow truth.  He compelled them to live truth, and talk truth.  The religious guys were all worried about how things looked, what everyone would say, the rules being broken.  Jesus, He didn't really care about any of that, He sought relationship.  He could look at the blind, the sick, the broken in Spirit, and be in relationship with them.  He healed them with His touch and with the truth of who they were, he did not list all the rules to them.
When he encountered the women at the well, He loved her and He did not judge her.  Then, He commissioned her to go into her own town and do the very same thing.  She was so excited to finally meet the  Savior, that she couldn't wait to share the news.  Not the news of rules, but of love and trust.   He didn't commission her to  go to meetings, keep track of every rule and follow it, restrain from smoking.  He just told her to go and speak the good news of truth.
Jesus, give me Your eyes to see. I am asking for Your discernment today, Your truth.  The freedom that you have given, is just that, FREEDOM! It is not a checklist, and I will choose to fly in that freedom and speak of that freedom today. It is because of this freedom, that He is my friend. Jesus is in relationship with me, loving me, guiding me, shining light on me. He has given such an incredible gift that I will choose to serve Him today. I will praise Him for the friendship, and praise Him for nailing the rules to the cross. I will dance before Him, and proclaim all that He has done for me, yes, me His friend.
Jesus, continue throughout this day to speak.  Say That Again, freedom is mine, and remind me to stomp out the religion!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Lamp Stand

We have a wooden lamp stand in our family room, with a cheap shade on it and a light bulb! It gives us light, and I like it.  The reason I like it so much is because my dad carved the wood himself and made it.  He gave it to me shortly before his death. It's one of the few things I have from him.
I did not grow up in relationship with my dad.  He left my mother before I was born, and I rarely saw him.  In the first five years of my life I probably saw him 3 or 4 times.  Then, he moved and I was not told where he was.  I spent years looking for him, and asking my grandmother (his mother) where he had moved to.  But, it was to no avail, he didn't want me to know.
Later, at the age of 19, I surprised my grandmother with a visit, and lo and behold, my father was there too! I actually didn't know it was my father in the room, until he walked out of the house and I was told. "By the way, that was your father."  I jumped up and ran after him.  I was able to get between him and his car door before he stepped in, and I confronted his years of avoidance.  It really was not a pretty picture!
I didn't have contact again with my dad for years.  When my grandmother died, we reunited again. His heart had softened.  He gave me his address, and I began the journey of working to get to know my father.  It was a shallow experience for a long time, but I would write to him, visit him, work to see inside his heart.   My family and I visited him after our youngest son was born and spent about 3 days with him.  It was on that visit that he gave me the lamp stand.  He talked some on that visit about his experience with my mother, his desires, his disappointments.  I saw inside of him, a little bit, and I missed him.
My father died a couple years later, and I found it to be very hard.  The father I never really knew, he was hidden from me. He took any light that he may have had, and covered it up. And now, that he was dead, it felt like I all my chances were gone to experience a father. And, they were gone.  All I had was his lamp stand, so carefully molded from his hands.
I read this morning in Luke 11, the section where Jesus talks about the lamp being put on the lamp stand so others can see the light. It is not to be put in a drawer somewhere, and hidden away.  He says that our eyes are the lamps that light up our whole body, let it shine.  If we live in distrust and greed, our eyes and our body will become like a dark cellar. He instructs us to keep our life well-lit just like our best lighted room.
My life has, in the past, been dark and not well-lit.  Like my father and his lamp stand, I hid. It took me a long time to trust my heavenly Father in such a way that I could bring out the lamp stand and allow His Light to shine through me.  His light has now directed my path, and it has clarified the truth.  His Light has healed me, and blessed me, and scattered the darkness.
Yes, as soon as I ran towards the light, out of avoidance and denial, His light set me free. And, the reality is "I'm freer than I think I am!"  It's because His light is on my lamp stand, and I will not hide it again!
Say That Again, Jesus, open my eyes to Your Glorious Light, everyday!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ice Cream

My favorite food is ice cream. I especially like chocolate covered ice cream bars, with lots of nuts. Its good, and if I could, I'd eat one everyday. One of my favorite things to do is go to the snack bar at Costco, and order one of their ice cream bars dipped in chocolate and rolled in nuts.  This is sometimes a meal for me. It is good, but not healthy.  Well, its not totally bad, right? Chocolate has antioxidants, ice cream has protein (does it?) and of course the nuts are full of nutrition.  So, maybe I could increase my intake :-)  My friends had chocolate covered ice cream bars at my birthday party.  And, occasionally someone brings me one.  Now, if only they had them at the coffee bar at church....
When I was a kid, I enjoyed ice cream on the rare occasion.  I was usually with my grandma, and she fed me all kinds of treats, like ice cream, cold cereal, and coffee in my milk!  Now, as an adult, I still like all of these things, except I've switched to milk in my coffee!  But, these foods bring up good memories to me, and I like good, happy memories of my grandma.
What about the memories that aren't so good?  Yeah, I've had plenty of those too.  I tried to run from them for a long time, because I believed they would kill me, or make me completely unproductive.  What I didn't realize at the time was that I needed to voice them, allow my body to feel them, and then I would become mobile and free. I needed to experience all the stuff that was pent up inside of me, in order to enjoy the sweetness of life. I needed to let myself trust God and others so that I could recognize Who I really am.
Memories of the past can be a little like eating a chocolate ice cream bar.  They are cold.  They can freeze my brain into believing lies,  and cause me to stop, and not move ahead, because of fear.  They can be filled with nutty ideas, and certainly make me feel nutty.  They have a bittersweet flavor to them, just like chocolate.  Mostly, the experience itself was not good for me, but getting it out of my brain is optimal.  It is empowering and healthy, just like an antioxidant! Tacky, I know, but true for me today.
 The sweetness of it all, is knowing God.  Relationship with Him, life in His Spirit.  Excitement to be with Him and enjoy His presence.  To be filled with Him, rather than a negative memory, thought, or lies.  He heals.  He covers me with His wing and protects me. He loves me.
The thrills and joys of my God are countless, and the path He has taken me on is joyful, sorrowful, peaceful, unpredictable, and challenging. It has required me to trust, to step out of my comfort zone, to run off the cliff. Every time, He has been there to catch me. In His sweetness, and in His power.
Say That Again, Precious Jesus, that I can trust you and others and know that You will catch me every time!

Friday, January 21, 2011


God has blessed me with some incredible friends. And, He has recently blessed me with eyes to see how much they love me! I am humbled, overwhelmed, and taken aback by the affirmation and love of my friends. God has spoken tender words through each one of them, and given them the ability to come to bat for me. It has given me joy, and it has blessed me beyond measure.
Not only that, but my children have stepped up to the plate as well.  They have blessed me with words of love and tenderness.  My daughters, my sons, and my husband have Kept me in a way that only true love can.
So, this morning, I am praising God for all the people He has so graciously given me to enjoy and love.  What an amazing Father I have!  I am asking Him to continue to use me in their lives, and them in mine.  I am asking Him to bless me with more!  An abundant harvest, this is my prayer.
God is about friendship.  He is my friend, and He loves me.  He has also assured me that He is my Defender, my Protector, my Passion.  I am compelled to move forward in Him, against all obstacles. He is the truth that I stand on, and will continue to stand. It is His strength that fills me, His Spirit that empowers me, and gives me boldness. It is Him, and His love that puts a smile on my face, even in the trial.
So, today, I raise my hands to Jesus and announce that I am His witness for Him to use as He sees fit. I surrender my all to Him, and confess that I need Him fully.  I was once a sinner, but now I am a Saint in Him. His grace is there when I screw up, and He uses all things for good. He has told me I am His strong branch and I will not break. It is because I am connected to Him, the strongest Vine! The Enemy may not appreciate this stand of mine, but in the name of my Jesus, the enemy is bound and the Power of God's Spirit will always prevail.
God's friendship and love for me and for all those in His world will prevail and strengthen. Thank you friends and family, for taking a stand with me. Thank you for living God's love in your lives and for being free in Him. Thank you for seeing me through eyes of grace, His grace, and for loving me still. Thank you for staying in my life, and not leaving.
God promised to bless my obedience to Him and He will continue to do just that.  Say That Again, dear heavenly Father, Say That Again to my friends and family too.  We all need to hear!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Unlock the Doors

So, I have not yet told on my blog the great story of my car being miraculously " Healed" it was amazing, exciting, and it brings a joyous smile to my face and heart!  As I've said, all the doors, except the drivers door has been locked and we have not been able to open them.  This is not convienant! The kids, the dog, the friends, the groceries, have all been hauled in over the steering wheel. We've been laughed at, stared at, questioned, all because of my car doors.
My husband and I went to visit with some very dear friends one afternoon last week.  We spent a couple hours talking, praying, and mulling over life.  It was a good and needed time.  It was healing, helpful, insightful.  What a blessing to have friends such as this, God is so good! Anyway, we left, and I crawled in through the drivers door, then my husband got in.  He jokingly said "should I unlock all the doors now?"  And, he pushed the unlock botton that had been pushed nurmerous times before with no positive result.  Well, this time, all the doors unlocked together; it was unbelievable.  I was so incredibly excited about this new development that I opened my passenger door and jumped out of the car with my arms in the air, proclaiming with delight "my doors open, they unlocked!!" I then opened all the other doors to show this glorious event was true.
Our friends witnessed this from inside their living room, peering out the window.  They came running out to their driveway to rejoice with us.  It was one of those occasions where hugs, laughter, joy, excitement were abundant.  And, in my heart, I knew it was a God thing!  He knew what we needed at that moment, and He delighted in giving it to us.  I need to know that He is there, that He cares about the small things in my life that annoy me.  He was there to reassure me that life is good, even when it may not feel so good.  He can work through any trial, big or small.
I have instructed my children to never lock the car doors, NEVER!  They find it funny to tease me while we are driving "Mom, I locked the door!" Do NOT lock the doors!! My dog will have to be the car guard, and God will guard the little hands from locking the doors!
So, that's my car story, and I marvel at God's love in this. It doesn't matter what my day is like, He always shows me in some way how much He loves me, protects me, defends me.  This is a big deal to me.  I need to be loved, protected, and defended.
He reminds me when things get rough, that He is the One that has set me free, just like my car doors.  He is the One that knows my heart, my desires, my motives.  He is the One that hears my prayers, and when I don't even know what to pray or what to say, He is the One that sends His Spirit to translate my hearts desire to the heavenly Throne.  He is the One for everything, what a wonder that is to me.
So, as I approach today and think about life and the journey He has called me too, I will pray for continual rest in Him.  Continual reminders of His promises and His love.  He will pull through, He just does.  I will not distract from the goal He has set before me, but will rejoice in the fact that He has given me a goal and a purpose.
Talk to Him today about your life and see what He says.  Ask Him to unlock the doors in your life and show truth.  I am asking Him to do that for me, unlock all the doors, Jesus.  The doors to my soul, heart, mind, so that I will see you clearly today. Shine Your light into each door and give me Your wisdom, strength, and joy! He will do it, He has promised.
Say That Again, Father, You are the One with the key to my life, and my car!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


We have a pretty big kitchen, and I like it.  I like the cupboards, because they are not the conventional color of many kitchens.  They are black, and they are big, and I like the way they look.  I like our oven.  It's big and it has five burners on the stove top.  It has a convection oven, a dehydrator (I even used it once) and the racks slide in and out very easily!  I like our counter tops, because they are granite and nothing seems to hurt them.  They are strong, I can cut up vegies on them without scratching the counter.  I can set a hot pot on the counter and it won't burn a ring in the counter.  It's very handy. They are the best part of our kitchen, they are strong!
We have a big movable island in our kitchen, and the slab of granite on it is a great workplace. Also, it is the most favorite place for my two children to sit and eat. It is a center point in our kitchen, and I like it.
Granite, it's a rock and it's has great strength and durability.  Just like my God! In Psalms 62 I read about the strength of God this morning.  I read that He is my only firm foundation.
"My help and glory are in God- granite strength and safe harbor God-So trust him absolutely people; lay your lives on the line for Him, God is a safe place to be."
Nothing can break God! He is granite strength and He is the safe harbor that protects against all obstacles! In His word, light, and truth, I can be strong too.  His granite strength can get me through all things, it can lift me, encourage me, and keep me from being burned.  His granite strength survives the fire!
So, as I start my day, and trials come my way, I will hide in His granite strength.  I will be free in His glory, redemption, and strength.  I am compelled to see life through His eyes, to fix my entire being upon Him and move in His steps. I will speak of His granite strength to others and bless them with hope.
"God, the one and only-I'll wait as long as He says. Everything comes from him, so why not? He's solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, An impregnable castle; I'm set for life."
Say That Again, Father God! I will stand firm on the granite rock today, and I will not fall!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Who Says?

Its another full day for me; it's part of being a mother, wife, and child of God.  I like full days, and I also like the quieter ones.
God has challenged me on so many levels the past several weeks.  And, I am in constant awe of His Glory and His healing power.  He has blessed me with strength and security and the assurance that He, and He alone, is in control.  I like that.  Not that I don't have moments of discouragement, sadness, or doubt.  I do. But, the cool thing is, He pulls me through all of those times, when I ask Him for help.  It's His amazing power and His incredible grace that leaves me in awe of Him.
This morning I read the chapter of 1 Corinthians 4.  It was just what I needed to help with some of those feelings of doubt and discouragement.  Verse 3 says this: "But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord."
It is important to look at things from God's point of view, and to wait on Him to show all sides. I have a lot to deal with at times, and it is reassuring to me to know that God can be my only judge.  He knows my heart, my motives, my life.  I have laid it before Him and asked Him to be in control.  He has asked me to run after the calling He has laid before me, and to do it now.  Not next week, or next year, NOW.  It is a small thing to me to have that examined by human judgments, for it is evident to me that the Lord has spoken, and I will choose to obey.
So, are you being judged? Are you being placed under the scrutiny of others, does it hold you back from running after the calling God has placed before you? Are you focused on the judgments, or on Christ?  These are all the questions I must ask myself, and then move ahead IN Him.
God knows my heart.  He knows where I've been and all that had to happen to get me here.  That is what matters. He is the Rock, the solid foundation, and that is where I choose to stand.  In His truth, everyday, all the time, by His grace.
Further in the chapter, on the Message side, it reads: "We're the Messiah's misfits. You might be sure of yourselves, but we live in the midst of frailties and uncertainties. You might be well-thought-of by others, but we're mostly kicked around." And, a little further down, "There are a lot of people around who can't wait to tell you what you've done wrong, but there aren't many fathers willing to take the time and effort to help you grow up. It was as Jesus helped me proclaim God's Message to you that I became your father, Im not, you know, asking you to do anything I'm not already doing."  "God's way is not a matter of mere talk; it's an empowered life."
Sometimes I do feel like the misfit in the middle of life's circumstances. Life is uncertain, and I don't know from one day to the next what might happen.  The only thing, absolute only thing, I can count on for sure, is God's love for me! Sometimes I feel kicked around and misrepresented, but always, God loves me. He is the foundation that keeps my heart beating. It is through Him that I am empowered to move ahead, no matter what may come my way---and something always seems to come my way!
Say That Again, Jesus--You are with me.  You are my friend, my firm foundation, and I will not be deterred from Your truth.  You are truth! Say That Again, Again, and Again!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Lets Gather Together

This was a full and busy day for me.  It started with my time with God, and early morning prayer with a great, loyal friend. And, then more prayer time with my husband, it's the jump start to our day. Then,  with the kids and I rushing out the door so I could get to my hair appointment on time.  Yes, I know I'm a grandma now, but I'm just not ready to show all that gray hair! It takes a long time for me to get my hair colored, and that is because I have an unusual amount of hair.  But, it's good, because a dear friend does my hair, so we get three hours of talk time. We share and have coffee, and it's nice. Then, my kids were starving, so it's to the coffee shop for lunch.  We went to Java downtown, because that is where we were due to meet my lovely daughter in-law for a visit.  The kids did not have an especially healthy lunch today.  They each had a banana, cookie, and some hot chocolate.
My daughter in-law and I had a great visit, although a bit short.  She is a delight to visit with, and I am so impressed with her.  We talked about books, trips, the church, etc
We raced home because I needed to make soup for tonight. I made chicken tortilla soup, and amazingly enough, it was good! While working away on my soup, one of my closest friends called for a chat.  It was so good to hear from her and have a few moments to catch up.  It felt good to know she loves me.  While finishing up my soup, a dear friend dropped by to visit. We had very nice conversation, she gave me some good advice, and I felt loved.
My soup was topped with corn tortillas, cheese, and sour cream.  We shared it with more friends that came for dinner.  Ah, the perfect frosting for a full and busy day.  We ate, we talked, we talked some more, and we prayed.  I showed off our grandaughter--Again. And we laughed.  It was very special, indeed!
Now, my day is coming to an end, and I'm finally getting to my blog, usually a morning routine for me.  But, I guess it's better late than not at all.
It was a good day, because my life touched the lives of many, and I was very blessed.  I was encouraged, loved, and kept by the keeper of my soul. I was reminded again, that safe people do exist, and they are in my life right now.  I have relationship that matters, and it was reassuring to me.  I need that in my life right now, because things have been a challenge for me and I have days that I just feel sad.  But, through the sadness, God has given me so many blessings and so much love.  He has directed my ways, and He shines through me.  He has shown me my fruits, which is something I have needed to see.  He has me deeply rooted in His love.
So, the challenges continue, that is part of life.  But, I will remember that His love is evident through His people, His word, His Spirit, and the life He has blessed me with. There is such joy in all of this.
Say That Again, Lord Jesus.  I want to remember that your joy is oh so evident in my life.  Thank you!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New York, New York!!

Oh how I love to travel! And, I've been blessed with the opportunity to see much of God's creation. There's always a trip on the horizon, someplace to go, something new to discover. My favorite cities of all the ones I've been to, is New York City.  It's big, bustling, adventurous, full of stuff to do. My family and I have been there several times, and each time we create wonderful memories. New York, New York!
There's a show on TV called Selling New York, and I watch it once a week or so.  It's all about a couple of big hot shot real estate agencies that sell million dollar homes in the City of New York.  I watched an episode yesterday and the home for sell was outside of the city, in the country, on an island!  The entire island was for sell with this 5200 square foot stone house. It was very lovely, indeed!
What got me though was how it's all for nothing.  The island, the house, the money, the drive to have the best, without God, it's all for nothing. Meaningless, empty, worthless.
I read in Isaiah 40 this morning and right there on it's pages it says "The grass withers, the wildflowers fade, if God so much as puffs on them."  Wow, isn't that amazing? I mean, God's power? It astounds me, empowers me, frightens me, leads me to want to know Him more. His glory shines everywhere and the more I see His glory the less I want New York. What I want is to run after Him, seek Him, know His blessings, discover His beauty and His life within me. My goal is His eternal kingdom, and my desires are to tell others of this kingdom.
Further into the chapter it tells of my Creator "Who has scooped up the ocean in his two hands or measured the sky between his thumb and  little finger. Who has put earth's dirt in one of his baskets."
Do I understand the magnitude and the magnificence of my God?  No, I don't. My name is written on the palm of His hand, He has the ability to scoop me up at any given moment. He is life itself!  He is on the throne, He knows the plan.  He sits above this earth, and we are all like little ants in comparison. Nothing is hidden from Him, not my thoughts, my actions, my motives.  He knows all things,  and He knows me.
The chapter ends with a promise "He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youth grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary."
Today I will repeat this promise to myself and know that God is my strength.  I will remember that I do lack might, but through Him my power is increased.  Power to speak, to love, to forgive, to be in relationship. When I get tired of the daily battle before me, I will pray for Him to renew me, and  lift me as high as an eagle.  In Him I will soar and I will not get tired. I will walk His path and not become weary.
Father, my faithful God, Say That Again to me, all day today!

Saturday, January 15, 2011


My life has been surrounded with boys! I grew up with three older brothers, and then I gave birth to four boys.  My husband has been in my life for over 28 years.  I like boys! In fact, until recent years, I have seemed to relate better to boys, they are fuss-free, and seem to take things at face value.  They don't get caught up in the drama, or the nitty gritty stuff in life.  This suited me very well.
Then, life began to change. God has called me to minister to women, and He has brought many women into my life. He married my sons to beautiful women.  He blessed me with a passionate, lively little girl.  He opened doors for wise women to speak into my life.
Now, I have four daughters.  Three of them are married to my three older sons. I watch them with admiration, love, and adoration.  They are the women that my sons go to for love and support.  They are strong, kind, and compassionate.  God has certainly blessed my sons, and me with special woman to speak into all of our lives.
I also have a grandaughter, our first! What a joy it is for me to hold her, talk to her, see her grow. I love the opportunity to be in her life and reflect love to her.
God has now surrounded me with women, and He is teaching me how to relate to them. It is very different than boys.  My little girl, Ruby, for example is loud, incredibly talkative, driven, mischievious, full of passion and life. She is demanding, sweet, energetic...She challenges that desire in me to be patient!
My daughters in-law bring new life to our family. They challenge me to see a younger point of view, to reach out in friendship, and to strive for more. They give me the desire to know more, and challenge me to be a Godly example. I feel honored when they want to spend time with me, or we have talks.  I am impressed by their love for my sons, and the way they relate to them. I want to be a part of their lives, enjoy them, know them, love them. I am blessed to call them daughters!
My friends seek relationship with me, they listen to me, and I feel loved by them.  My friends seek God, and they speak truth into my life, wise women that support me. My friends are daughters of the King, they model a love-filled life and reflect His Image.
I started praying for wise women to be in my life about two years ago.  Look what God has done! He has given me just what I asked for, shown me my fruits of obedience to Him, and blessed me with an abundant harvest. He has assured me that even though I sometimes am challenged with some of my relationships, He will be there, He will teach me how to love.
"Love their hearts, be hopeful for them, show up!" This is what God tells me, and this is what I strive for.  God's light is shining and clothing His daughters, and He is using me to be in relationship with them. He challenges me to look at the nitty gritty and see how it effects each life. He is giving me women that want friendship and want love unconditionally.
He is making my circle large and calling each one of us to reach out and touch His robe. Oh my Jesus, how I thank you! Continue to bring your daughters into my life and show us how to bow humbly at your throne.
Say That Again, Jesus. "Love their hearts, be hopeful for them, and show up!" Say That Again!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Got Mail?

I went to the bank today to open an account for God's new ministry, Agape Celebration.  My husband and son were there too. The lady helping us asked where we wanted our debit cards sent, and my son said to send them to the business address.  I had a brief moment of panic, more mail? 
I am not particularly fond of checking the mail.  And, when I do check the mail, I'm not completely sure what to do with it, so it sits on the counter, piling up.  I do go through it on occasion, but I never seem to get rid of the pile completely.  Sometimes, I am able to throw much of it away, and some I move to a drawer, but then there's that pile that just stays there forever.
Back to the bank, my son was quick to say that I will never have to check the mail at Agape Celebration.  Eventhough his office will not be there, he is more than happy to swing by and check the mail.  Ah, what a relief!  And, this may not seem like much to most people, but to me it's pretty big. He knows my issue with the mail, and he is willing to spare me.  It's not totally that he is willing to spare me, he wants to preserve the mail too.  He doesn't want to go searching for it after I check it!  Smart man :-)
I'm not sure why I have such an aversion to the mail. Good things come in the mail, an occasional letter or card from a friend. Catalogs that have boots or cool clothes. Information that is relevent to running a smoothe household. Sometimes we even get money in the mail! But, none of it is really enough to get me to the mailbox, and when I do get there, I usually don't open the mail.
Of course I start to think of parallels between the mail and my spiritual life. Am I avoiding anything at all that God is sending me? Do I open His word and apply it to my daily life? Is He my priority?
This morning I read Hebrew 4, it's a beautiful chapter on rest, entering God's rest. He talks about the value of receiving God's rest and the only way I can actually do that is by believing in His promises to me and having faith.  Everyday, when I believe what He says and have faith that He will do it, my life will be restful! It won't be cluttered with too much stuff, I won't be on overload, not knowing what to do or where to go with my life.  In this chapter he also talks about how His Word is like a two edged sword, it's living and active and able to judge the intentions of my heart. There is nothing hidden from God, everything is open to Him and laid bare before His feet!
His Word is His mail to me and it's packed with wisdom for my daily life.  I have to open it, utilize it, believe it. It's always something good, and the more I implement His Word into my life, the more restful my life will become. And, I will have His peace, understanding, and knowledge of who He is.
I find this to be thrilling and exciting.  He has given me a key to successful living, a lot of letters to read and share with others.  I cannot leave it unopened on the counter or just not check it, because it teaches me about love, light, and His glory!
Say That Again, Dear Jesus! Lead me in Your Word, everyday, keep it open to me.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

There's an App for That

We are a family of IPhones, computers, electronics. We all have IPhones, we all have computers. My husband is savvy in every area that requires these uses. My sons are bringing up the rear in savvy know-how! My two younger children know more about my IPhone than I do, and they love to play on it. My husbands IPhone is full of apps, something for everything.  And, one of the sayings in our household is "there's an app for that!" The lightbulb needs changing, and the response is "there's an app for that"  Ha!
I can watch the FoodNetwork, or HGTV on my phone, because, "there's an app for that" I have FB, my Bible, a dictionary, games, and basically everything I need to get by on a daily basis.
So, is there an app for the Holy Spirit?  What about holy living? Or, how to be patient when my son locks his little sister in the bedroom? What about sanctification? Truth? And, hearing God's will?
I guess I could say that my app for all of that would be the Bible app, but if I don't utilize it or integrate the word from this app, my life won't change.
App is short for application, which means "the act of putting to a special use or purpose".  Or, "the act of requesting".
In my daily life, my app for God is prayer. When I pray, I am utilizing His Spirit in me and I am requesting the power of His Spirit to be evident in my life.  Through Him and His Spirit, I will learn to live a holy, sanctified life that mimics truth.  I will learn to discern His will for my life.  I will learn to be dependant on Him and my faith will increase.  I will be abiding in Him and be fruitful for Him. 
Prayer is a powerful app it's communication with my God, and it gives me all I need to function in daily life. He has promised to hear me, use me, speak to me, and listen. 
Say That Again, Father. I need all your apps for daily living and holiness in You.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


The license plate on my car says "Kept". It's because I like words, and I especially like this one.  Jesus is the keeper of my soul, He has kept me in His loving care, forever! I am a kept person, dearly loved and cherished by Him.  He is my keeper! So, since I develop a relationship with my car, what better way to display my favorite word? My car, actually an suv, still does not have any working doors, except the drivers door. And, the windshield wipers are not properly doing their job, which becomes a problem when large amounts of slush are thrown onto my windshield.  My car is also full of kid stuff, all over the floor I find dolls, paper, sticks, rocks, etc....I clean it all out, vacuum, and then the next day it's back!  My kids live in my car and fully enjoy it.  It's a good car, even with it's quirks, which gives me an extra fondness for it.
I read in Jude this morning, on the Message side, my special word!  "called and kept safe by Jesus Christ. Relax, everythings going to be all right, rest, everythings coming together, open your hearts, love is on the way!" And then further down it says "...fight with everything you have in you for this faith entrusted to us as a gift to guard and cherish..."
So, He keeps me.  He treasures me.  He's given me a faith that I am suppose to keep, guard, and cherish.  A beautiful gift!  Everything within me fights for this gift, His gift to me.  I defend it, I live it, I seek it, I share it! It becomes what I represent, because it is Him.  Even on my messy days, He is there, seeking relationship with me, loving me, guiding me.
He also has given me His Body of people to keep me, and to love me.  I too must return the action to them. My keepers, which are my family and friends, look at my heart and they love me.  They keep me standing in truth, keep my accountable, keep loving me all the time, keep showing up in my life...reflecting His way of keeping.
I am praising Him today for His love and His gifts.  I need them desperately.  I need to know that I am loved and accepted and kept.  I need consistancy and unconditional love. I need family and friends that keep His Image in their hearts and extend it to me.  I need to be sustained and strengthened so I can do the same in return.
Where are you in the keeping process?  Who do you keep, and how do you do that? Are you seeing how Jesus has kept you over the years, and is keeping you now?  I am asking so all of us will build ourselves up in the holy faith by praying in His Spirit, and stay right in the center of God's love. I will keep my arms open and outstretched ready for the mercy of Jesus.  This is real life, for eternity IN Him.
Keep me on my feet, Savior.  Keep me tall in your bright presence, celebrating You all the time.  Say That Again, all the time, and continue to keep me daily.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pleased to Be

 In my reading this morning I was directed to Galatians 2. The part that really stood out for me was where he says he quit being a "law-man" so that he could be God's man. Christ enabled him to do this, showed him how.  Paul made his identity, Christ Jesus and crucified self! Christ lived in him and he lived by faith, not flesh. He knew that his salvation was not based on his performance, but on his faith in Jesus.  Because of his faith in Jesus he was free and he desired to live a righteous life in truth, and serve others.
What is a righteous life anyway?  If I am living a righteous life I will display  an upright, virtuous, and moral way of living.  And, I will display that behind closed doors when no one is watching.  I will live a morrally right life in Jesus. I will be pleased to be Who I Am IN Him. And, I will know Him.
For some reason this takes me to this last Friday when I announced to my daughter that it was time to clean her room. Her room gets very messy.  She doesn't close the drawers on her dresser and clothes are hanging out all the time. She sees no reason to put her toys back in the drawers, or pick up all the miscellaneous stuff strewn about.  It becomes a difficult process to walk through her room.  My husband says her room is like a mini thrift store that got way too many donations!  So, Ruby and I attacked her room with dilegence on Friday.  We sorted toys, she played with long lost items that had been stashed under the bed and in the depths of her closet.  We went through her clothes.  We swept up the dust bunnies. We had a good time, but I realized that she is just pleased to be in a mess! She likes it that way, and if I didn't intervene, she would live in her messy room with all the dust bunnies until something motivates her to change.
Back to Christ living in me, He is my motivater.  He drives my life, takes action in areas that need cleaning.  He sees that there are places that I am a little too pleased to be, and He shines truth on those areas.  He seeks relationship with me, so that I will be pleased to be only IN Him. When the dust bunnies start to settle in my life, and I begin to stash away treasures that are not of Him, He moves towards me and speaks to me.  And, I am so blessed to have Him.  Truth and righteousness, as a leader for Jesus in this world, I need to be identified by these two things.  My commitment to truth, a righteous life, and a servants heart, are heavenly goals, which can only be accomplished through my Savior.
Today, I am pleased to be IN Him. I am willing to let His Light shine through me and in me.  I want Him to show me my messy rooms and clean them out.  I want my life to be a continual renewal, restoration, and revival for Him. 
Say That Again to me Jesus.  Restoration, Renewal, Revival, and Righteousness--your truths in my life enabling me to have a heart like you. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Father Abraham

"Father Abraham had many sons, many sons had Father Abraham, I am one of them and so are you, so lets just praise the Lord!" I use to sing this song back in the day with my friends. It's a good song. What is it all about though?
I journeyed to Romans 4 this morning, and it's all about trusting and believing God, just like Abraham did. God told Abraham, when he was an old man, that his old wife Sara would have the long awaited son! He told Abraham that he would be the Father of Nations.  Abraham basically said "ok, God, sounds good to me!"  And, he believed!
Abraham knew that God kept His promises and that He would give him a son.  Even though his circumstances could have easily convinced him otherwise.  But, he chose to believe and trust God even when things weren't looking so good.  He chose to step out in faith and allow God to work in his life.
Am I living the same way? How much belief in God do I really have?  God has already told me Who I am and what I can accomplish through Him, am I stepping out in faith and allowing Him to fulfill His word in me?
Well, let me think. God has said to me that His love is unconditional and mine should be too.  He has promised me every (not just a couple) spiritual blessings under the heavenly realm!  He has justified me, forgiven me, counted me as righteous before Him.  He has wrapped me in His splendor, made me an eternal being IN Him, called me to fulfill a purpose. He has considered me His daughter, His ambassador, and given me spiritual authority just like the authority of Jesus!  He has gifted me with His Spirit, and made it clear to me that the power of the Spirit is mine to utilize, all the time.
But, sometimes those pesky circumstances in my life get in the way of how I live. I forget, or I doubt the promise that is mine.  I loose momentum, and get off track. I start to think that I have to do something to get my life back in order---but the truth is, I just need to believe and trust.  God is leading through every circumstance and His will for me is perfect. 
What if I don't believe?  Can I pray for God to give me that too? This is often my prayer, unbelief comes naturally for me, along with skeptism and doubt.  So, my daily prayer is that God will turn all that around for me and bless me with belief, faith, hope.  It actually works! He will do this, because this is His will for me, and for all His children.
So, like Abraham, I will journey with God today. His promise to Abraham included me, and I am going to take what is mine! I will choose today to form my life around all that God says He can do, not on all that I see I can't do!
Say That Again, Lord Jesus, and use me to further your kingdom!

Friday, January 7, 2011


My daughter, Ruby, is full of passion.  She has a quick temper and a busy mouth. Life is either all good or all bad, and she displays it fully.  She is rarely without a smile, unless of course she's screaming her disapproval. She is loud almost all the time, like I said, passionate! She has a new word for herself, "focus", when she's working on a project or doing just about anything, she tells herself to focus.  It's a repeat word for her, "focus, focus, focus..."
This morning in my prayers, God used the same word!  "Focus on Christ Jesus, Bethany, and everything else will come into place.  Focus!"   I need to hear this, because I can get easily distracted with other things.  With people, with pain, with direction, with questions.
He pointed me to John 3, and the chapter is about focusing on the truth and God's beloved Son! It's about living in light, not darkness.  Shining for Him. The chapter makes it clear that those who do not focus on the Son, live in darkness.  Those who run from His light, experience darkness in their life.  Those who make a practice of doing evil, addictied to denial and illusion, hate God's light and won't come near it! God's light is exposure, and that is uncomfortable, it's downright painful!
If I choose to work in His light and live truthful reality, God's light will shine on me and through me. If I am open to His will, and diligently seek Him, I will be used by Him. I will reflect His attitudes, His will, His love, His work! I won't run, or keep secrets, or hide.  I will stand in His light and be exposed!
Focus, Bethany, on Who Jesus is! Then I will know exactly Who I am all the time. I will not fall, but will live the saintly life according to His will and His glory. Focus on Him!
So, today, I choose to continue to move ahead in Him and run towards His light.  I choose to obey Him, and run towards the calling He has for me.  I choose to speak His truth in love, and love others. I choose to Focus on Jesus, even in the trials, the pain, the feelings of betrayal or saddness.  Focus, focus, focus.
My God gave me the gift of Jesus, and the gift of forgiveness at His Cross.  Why would I choose anything different?
Say That Again, dear Lord! Continue to keep my vision clear with Your Light!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mom, You have a Wrinkle!

My nine year old son, Eli, informed me yesterday that I have a new wrinkle! "Right there, on your face, by your eye." He said. It brought so much laughter to me, that he continued to inform me that when I laugh like that, there's even more wrinkles! What's a woman to do? A new wrinkle on my face, just what I need to hear, I thought I looked so young :-)
Then, of course, I started to think about wrinkles.  I even woke up in the night and found that the word wrinkle was on my mind.  Where in my life do I have wrinkles? Are they only on my face, or are they in the way that I live?  Hmmm,  this is a great discussion to have with God. 
Wrinkles in my life, I began to ask myself what that might look like, and do I even care?  Are wrinkles there to challenge me to grow, or are they something for me to overcome and release?  Do I have the power to remove them, or do they just get deeper and more visible?
And then I began to think about the wrinkles in the lives of others, is it my job to point those out? Or, do I just love them and speak truth around the wrinkles?  Do I give them a solution, or pretend the wrinkle doesn't exist and move away so I don't have to see their wrinkles? Can I pray my wrinkles and theirs away?
The questions hung in the air for me, and I drifted back to sleep. This morning when I went downstairs to read my Bible and pray, wrinkles came back!
I opened a devotional that I read often and it talked about how discipleship cannot be done without counseling. They go hand in hand, together.  Discipleship, my commission from God, is all about pointing out the truth to someone's life. Showing them, Jesus, living in such a way in front of them, that they want what I have.  It's about relationship and love, the kind of love Jesus shows.  In your face love, unconditional love, deeply rooted love in Jesus, visible love. It is fearless! Dicipleship is pointing someone to their glorious future in Christ, and helping them understand Who they are IN Him! 
So, what about the counseling part? Can I counsel a friend? Counseling looks at the past to address problems and weaknesses.  It opens painful doors, sometimes.  Counseling allows someone to be real on an intimate level, and still be accepted and loved. It challenges me to see inside another persons life and not judge them. It provokes me to remember that we are not our past mistakes, but are Children of God.
Every person has wrinkles in the past, and wrinkles in the present.  I know that sometimes I try to avoid them, but by doing that they just get deeper and more visible.  Jesus, sees all my wrinkles, and He guides me to look at them, and then trust Him with each one.  He sometimes sends people into my life to point out the wrinkles, and He sends friends to uplift me while I'm dealing with them. He has the ability to iron them out, and be truth to me.  He challenges me to be real and transparent about every wrinkle, and grow from them. He stays with me through every wrinkle, and encourages me to share the effect they have on my life, not hiding them in shame, but admitting they are there.
Say That Again, dear Jesus.  Use me to walk with others through their wrinkles and strengthen me to be real about mine! Say That Again to me all day long!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Pot

Cooking is not at the top of my list of favorite things to do, but I would like it to be.  I would love to be a great cook, and make great dinners every night for my family.  It's just not happening.  Yesterday was a big day for me, because I actually made beef stew, and it was good. Since, I grew up a vegetarian, I consider it a major accomplishment to cook chunks of beef and have it turn out. I chopped potatoes, celery, onion and garlic.  Threw in some carrots, and wa-la, stew! Oh, I added salt, pepper, and some vegetable broth too. Now, it's sitting in it's big pan, in the refrigerator, waiting to be consumed.
This morning as I prayed, God led me to Acts 12, and also to Colossians 2. I was praying for His guidance on ministry, church, stepping out. I was asking for His fullness to be within me today and for His Spirit to be bold and powerful within me as I move in His will and seek His kingdom.
In Colossians, the chapter tells me to focus on Christ. It tells me that I am deeply rooted in Him and I need to live Him. God is wisdom.  And, it tells me to love without restraint, to make my life a tapestry of love through Him. To get up and move according to His will, for He is the source of life.
In Acts, it's all about Peter's escape from jail, the angel of God came and released him from the iron chains and literally led him out of the jail, onto the street.  It was so amazing to Peter, he thought he was dreaming. But, after the angel left him alone in the street, Peter realized that it was not a dream, he was really free.  He went to a house where Christians were gathered and they were praying; they couldn't believe it either.  In fact, Rhoda the  girl that answered the door, was pushed aside and told she was crazy.  The Christians inside the house, did not believe her when she said that Peter was at the door!
Peter was certainly focused on Christ and the mission that he had been called to IN Christ.  He lived love and freedom through Christ, and he preached Christ. He did not live in fear, for he knew that Jesus was his Lord and Saviour, and whatever happened was God's will, because he lived Jesus! He was part of His Body, full and complete, allowing himself to be led.
I too am full and complete IN Jesus! I'm part of the Body, working to speak into the lives of others.  I'm living in the " pot of stew" with other Christians,  mixed together, flavored with love, peace, joy, His fruit of the Spirit.  I need all the ingredients in my life to move ahead and do His will.  I need to submit to His will, and allow Him to lead me wherever that path goes." Focus on Christ" not on the jail or the trial. He is leading me to new territory, expanding my faith in Him, mixing me up with other Christians that are willing to take the leap. He is stirring the pot!
So, I will obey and continue to hear His calling.  I will run towards Him, and keep my focus on all that He is, and the work He so faithfully does. I will not be detered by discouragement, or judgement, or loss. I will choose to stay with those that need love, and keep my word to others.  I will follow Him, even at the cost of loosing what I hold dear. I will live in the freedom He has so generously given me and hear His words, not lies. Who is coming along? Who is willing to get in the pot and be stirred? Step out, be led, speak truth, and be faithful.  Wanna come?
Say That Again, Father God, set my path before me, shine Your light and keep talking!