Monday, January 30, 2012

The Family Video

Last night my husband pulled out some of our old family videos. Christmas time when our two older sons were teens, and when our now 23 year old was just an 11 year old! It was a lot of fun to watch them. We also watched the video of the day our youngest son was born and it was great to see all the excitement in the room of our older children and friends. Then we watched  the video of the trip to China when we went to get our youngest child and only daughter. We have a lot of memories on video, and even more memories in pictures, 88,000  pictures on our computer and adding more everyday. It's a family passion.
Yesterday I wrote about the Sunshine song,  my husband reminded me this morning how our son didn't want me to sing it to his little brother when he was born because it was "his" song. So, I had to come up with something new for our youngest son. Something special, his song was Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. There are a lot of fun family memories, precious times that we all enjoy looking back on and watching. We having fun laughing as we remember the times we've spent together and the love we share.
I feel blessed that God is adding to our family. Daughter in laws and grandchildren. As my husband and I get older, and I look back on my life I am seeing how fortunate I am to to be loved. God has showed me many times that He has given me relationships through my family and my friends to keep me and to love me, and I once again,  choose to praise Him. Even when I have a challenging day, or I question the way I may be currently feeling, I know in my heart that God has placed people in my life to LOVE me and to care for me and to keep me. He shows me His love this way, and teaches me how to bless others because of the way He has blessed me. I have 88,000 pictures to show me evidence of His love! And, that's just the frosting.
Monday's are often challenging days for me.  Friends pray for me on Mondays. I try not to schedule extra stuff on Mondays. Today, on this Monday, I felt like crying, so instead, I came home and distracted myself with pictures. I reminded myself of my family and the love we share. I prayed.
Say That Again, Jesus, Your memory of me is good and full of love. You look upon me with tenderness and kindness and you keep me captured in Your Hands. Thank you, Jesus, for blessing my life.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Song

My Daughter in law invited me to an online discount catalog that has great sales events! Every morning around 6am my phone alerts me that there is another event. Boots, purses, hats, socks, etc have gone on sale! This morning, as I was browsing though all the fantastic events on my phone I saw some signs on sale, and signs are one of my favorite things, so naturally I had to take a look. One of the signs had a song on it from my childhood: "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray you'll never know dear how much I love you please don't take my sunshine away."  My grandmother use to sing this song to me all the time, and I loved it!
When my third son was a little, I would sing this very same song to him! We have a video of him singing in his deep voice "you are my sunshine, my only sunshine..." he was so cute and he loved the song as much as I did. It was our song.
The song reminded me of all my sons. It reminded me of my oldest son standing in front of me with a bunch of yellow flowers that he had purchased for me, his sweet face so precious and dear, just like sunshine. It reminded me of my second son, his blue eyes dancing with delight as he would describe Lego wars. My ten year old and his love of wrestling and teasing. And, my daughters joy over the time we spend playing together. Sunshine, my sunshine.
Jesus, Say That Again to me. You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, and I love you. Thank you for being my God, for getting me through the gray days, and for blue skies. Thank you for blessings. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Playful Life

One of the books I'm reading talks about the playful personality of Jesus. I'm really liking it, and I've been thinking about it a lot the last couple of weeks. I like to play. I have some favorite games, like twister, musical chairs, and apples to apples. I think it's fun to be playful, to tease, to laugh, and to be silly....and these last couple weeks I've been thinking about some of the ways that Jesus is playful, silly, full of laughter, and does He tease? If He came to one of my parties, would He join right in with the teasing? Would He try to get to my chair before me, laughing  and teasing? Would He burst out laughing along with everyone else when I drop an armful of dishes? Would he tease relentlessly, play endlessly, laugh loudly?  I hope so. When it's picture time would he make a face, or do silly peace signs?
As I have talked to Jesus and asked Him to reveal to me who He is, I have asked to know more of His personality. I want to know Him, all of Him. I want to see the playfulness of Jesus and be able to interact with Him on this level. I really enjoy playing with my friends. I love to laugh with them, tease them, be silly. And, I think Jesus, enjoyed that kind of relationship with His friends when He walked this earth, I want to enjoy that with Him now. I want to see Him fully.
Say That Again, Jesus, You are playful. You have given me a playful nature, and I desire to see yours!

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Plot

This week I've been hearing a lot of life stories. In these life stories, the women have experienced so much pain and hardship. Now, they are working through the consequences of someone else's plot against them, and it's not easy. I know it's not easy, because I'm doing the same thing. It takes a lot of faith, and trust to know that God is walking beside someone that has been abused. And, yes, He does renew minds, He does heal the wounds, and bind up the broken hearts, He does revive and restore. Still, the plot of evil against the innocent brings pain, and it requires work.
God brought another psalm to mind this morning. Psalms 21. In verses 11-13 it reads this, "Though they intended evil against You and devised a plot, they will not succeed. For You will make them turn their back; You will aim with Your bowstrings at their faces. Be exalted, O Lord, in Your strength, We will sing and praise Your Power."
Say That Again, Jesus! Your POWER will make them turn their backs! But, my back will not be turned, my face will look upon your glory and your truth, and the plot of others will diminish with Your Power!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Pesky Packets

At our ministry house we have been very busy working on some packets to mail out to churches in the surrounding areas. These packets seemed like a pretty good idea at first, so my son ordered my bio sheet and business cards for the packets.  Then, we added a cover letter, and another business card for a team mate. Then, it seemed like a great idea to add a picture of the entire team, and so the pesky packet project grew! My teammate and I have been stuffing envelopes for weeks now, and in this process, we have managed, or I should say, I have managed to get somewhat confused.  "Um, does this pesky packet have a business card in it yet?  Let me just throw another one in, just in case!"  My organized teammate, found four business cards in one pesky packet. Whoops, that must have been the packet I was in charge of.
I took a stack of the pesky packets to the post office, my hopes were high that the nice postal guy would take them off my hands and they would go off into mail land and end up in the mail boxes of all our tedious labor. But, my hopes were quickly dashed when all he could do for me was sell me bunches of stamps and send me on my way with my pesky packets. They all came back to Agape, and three of us stamped the pesky packets--stamp, stamp, stamp!!!
We drove to the post office again, this time confident and sure that the nice postal guy would be thrilled to see our pesky packets. He didn't even thank us! He just took them as if it were no big deal, not realizing the amazing accomplishment my teammate and I had just been through. Oh well!
We went back to Agape, and worked on more pesky packets, seeing that there was some organizing to do, and recognizing that I should not be the one to do it! The pesky packets are indeed, very pesky.
I find that the pesky packets are so much like life. Just like the pesky packets grew into something big, so do some of life's issues. And, just like I got a bit confused and unorganized by the pesky packets, this absolutely can happen with life's issues. It does for me. I know with life's issues, I can become overwhelmed and then get a little confused about my next step.  I have to stop and take a breath.  I need to be able to ask for help from someone more organized, get on track.  Gather my thoughts, and send them off to God, so I can recharge. God gives me the hope I need to keep going, to return again and look at more later on, and refocus.
Jesus, Say That Again to me, You see the pesky Packets, and you see the pesky in me. You are hope, and You are recharge. I will continue to come to You for that!

The Empty-Headed Life

One of my favorite verses in the bible is 1 peter 1:18-20. I have it written on the wall in our family room, so every morning when I'm praying and visiting with God I can see the verse. This is what it says:
"Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ's sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb......God always knew He was going to do this for you."
It's good for me to read this verse daily, because sometimes I forget a few things. I forget that life is a journey. I want life to be an event. I want to get my stuff over with and move on with the "good stuff" ! Failing to realize that life is a journey and in that journey God is growing me through the good and the bad, and in the midst of that I must travel deeply with Him, knowing that He is there to carry me. He has paid the price for everything already, even though I may be reviewing some of the consequences.
My Journey is with God. Its Him and me and all the Saints on the road to heaven, each of us with our own stuff. But, the price is paid. For me, He gave me a vision long ago of being securely wrapped in His robe, and forever Captured IN His hands.  This has given me great comfort and carried me through many a day.
Jesus, thank you for traveling with me and teaching me how to live deeply with you. Say That Again, You have paid the price. It cost you a lot to get me out of this empty-headed life, thank you!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Sleepless

It's one o'clock in the morning and I am awake again, unable to go back to sleep. I've had four hours of sleep so far tonight, and I hope I get more before the night is over. My children are peacefully resting in their bedrooms. My husband is sleeping in another state, he is away on a business trip. Both my dogs are snoozing blissfully. Right now, it's just me and God, again.
God has been putting the Psalms on my heart a lot lately and this time I awoke with Psalms 4.  "Answer me when I call, O God, of my righteousness!" And it continues on to say: "But know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself the Lord hears when I call to Him. Tremble, and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed and be still' Offer sacrifices of righteousness. And trust in the Lord"  The last verse: "In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For you alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety."
God does answer me! With this Psalm He is answering me. He has been so tender towards me, speaking to my needs and wrapping my heart in His love. He has set me apart, just as this psalm says, and He always hears when I call to Him. As I come before His throne, I do tremble, asking Him to enable me to walk as He walks, to be still, to think on Him and to trust only Him. The peace that Jesus gives is the deep knowledge that no one can take away my eternal safety. No one can steal my soul. The peace is that no one can take Jesus from my heart or me from His heart, I am safe there forever--Captured.
He continues to bring promises to me at odd hours. He sustains me. When I am physically and emotionally exhausted, He carries me through. For He is good, and His way is light.
Jesus, Say That Again, and I will follow. You hear when I call, You set my apart. And, You make me dwell in safety. Because of You I will lie down and sleep.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Big Fiasco

We had a bad day. My two younger children, along with the stinky dog,  were spending a little time with their older brother and sister, this part was good. I came to pick them up. As I was gathering up my two children and we made our way to the truck, my son randomly and unkindly decided to throw his sister into the snow bank. She in turn retaliated, and the big fiasco began.  In the mean time, I realized, I had completely forgot about my poor stinky dog, and returned to the house to retrieve her, my daughter realizing it at the same time, opened the door, and let her out.  Stinky dog trotted to the truck, where the door was open, and began to get in, but, upon seeing the fiasco between my two children still in full swing, she became distracted. She then noticed a passerby in the street on his bicycle, and for some crazy reason an alarm went off in her brain. She jumped over the misbehaving children, ran out into the street, grabbed onto the man's pant leg, and bit him!
I called her harshly, and she stopped and looked at me. She came back right away. The man on the bike sped away before I could get his name or see if he was okay. Stinky dog got in the car. Misbehaved children, STILL fighting....
My fury was stirring inside, I grabbed the coller of my sons coat and picked him up out of the snowbank. "Get in the car!" I said coolly. I then proceeded to escort my daughter to her seat as well.
The feelings stirring around in my belly were hot as I backed out of the driveway. My two kids sitting in silence. My stinky dog most likely thinking she had done a great job protecting us all and I was ungrateful!
Of course my son got a phone call accusing him of his dog biting a man on a bike! Then I got a phone call from my son. "Mom, did your stinky dog bite some guy on a bike when you were over here?"
Stinky Dog does not feel well, but it didn't keep her from racing out into the street and attacking that man. As I thought about it, and prayed about it, I wondered if that might be the reason she did run out and attack that man? She doesn't feel well? When the lady from animal control came and we talked about the incident and about how poorly our Stinky Dog has been feeling, she was very kind  and understanding. We still received a very high citation, but her compassion towards our dog was evident.  And, that helped.
She had more compassion toward Stinky Dog than I had towards my children. I don't know what they were so upset about at that moment, why they had to create such a fiasco, but they did. And, I was not pleased with them at all. I didn't even try to understand, I just wanted God to make it all go away and put me on a hot summer beach. Child free beach!
We worked it out later. I loved on them, played with them. I confessed it all to God and talked to Him about it. And, wondered, how often does He look down and see me fighting? His compassion and love is endless. He tells me everyday that He will never leave me or forsake me. He looks at my misbehavior and covers me in grace!
Say That Again, Jesus, Your Compassion is endless and good, your grace covers me in my fiasco. I love you!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Story

I have been waking up a night, suddenly and shockingly. Maybe from a dream, but I don't remember dreaming. I'm just awake. And, much of the time, I am unable to go back to sleep. I woke up at two o'clock this morning, same thing, suddenly and alarmingly.
As I have been praying about this to God, asking Him to lead me and reveal to me more truth, He sent me to Psalms 17 later this morning.  It starts out by David asking God to listen to him. David is building his case in the most honest way that he can. Confession.  I know about that. Just before God impressed Psalms 17 upon my heart, I had a list of confessions for Him. The kind of confessions that are deep within my heart, and needed to be expelled. I confessed that I didn't have words for some of the feelings that were swirling around inside my soul, but I knew that He could take it all and figure it out. I confessed that I often try to run ahead and fix myself, rather than give it to God and let Him bind up the wounds in His timing. I confessed that I feel way more than I care to right now, and being obedient is not an easy thing to do. I confessed that sometimes I do feel fear and anxiety, and isolation, and mistrust. I kept going for awhile, and then listened for His gentle voice.
It was the same. "Focus on me, Bethany, I am Your Rock and I am Your story!"  And, then psalms 17. In verse 3, it says this,  "Go ahead,  examine me from the inside out, surprise me in the middle of the night- You'll find I'm just what I say I am. My words don't run loose."
When I wake in the night, I pray. I am often confronted with unwanted feelings. Feelings that I am now understanding  need to be examined from the inside out.  And, as that is done, I will know that He will keep His eye on me and  hide me under His cool wing feathers.
Further down in this chapter it talks about the wicked that rise up against me, the deadly enemies that surround me, they have closed their unfeeling heart, with their mouth they speak proudly.
This reminds me of the truth of my past that God is revealing to me right now. My challenge in the present is to keep that in the past!  God has been a constant light in my face and on my path, even when I feel unsure. This chapter being evidence of His affirming love to me. It ends with this verse "As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness, I will be satisfied with your likeness when I awake."
Jesus, Say That Again! You are constant. You Hear me. You cover me. And through it all, Your Story shines.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Naughty, Naughty, Dog

This is our Naughty, Naughty, Dog! While I was away visiting my friend in Missouri, he took the liberty to pee all over my book bag. I guess he missed me. My husband had to take all the books out of the bag and stack them on the table, then wash the bag. Its not the first time, this naughty, naughty dog has graced this bag.
The weather wasn't very good while I was gone, and my husband, having a very kind and compassionate heart did not want to leave our naughty, naughty dog outside in the cold. So, he put him in the garage, but, this dog escapes the garage before we can get our car out and close the garage door, taking advantage of the neighborhood freedoms while we are running errands. Naughty, naughty dog!
He is getting old, and can no longer get up on our bed, which is perfectly fine with me. He sits at the end of the bed and tries to jump up over and over again. My husband gives him a lift onto the bed! Once he is on the bed he makes his way to my pillow where he believes he should reside for the duration of the night.
Even thought he is a naughty, naughty, dog, he is still loved. We have taken good care of him and we have overlooked his behavior and given him a lot of grace. I have complained about him many times, but the truth is, I do love him. I don't like the things he does, and I wish he would stay away from my book bag, but I still love him.
I know that if I am capable of loving my naughty, naughty dog, and giving him grace and forgiveness, then naturally Gods character towards me is much bigger! I am just like my naughty, naughty dog sometimes with a behavior that needs to be covered in grace and forgiveness. God never fails to do that. What a blessing this is to me!
Say That Again to me today, Jesus. You have covered me in your grace, and I am richly blessed.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Stinky Dog

My Stinky Dog is sick. My husband took her to the vet awhile back and they took x-ray of her leg, because she has been limping. The vet saw a spot on her bone. The vet told us that it was most likely, arthirtis, and a small chance of it being bone cancer. If it was bone cancer, she would not improve with the medication, she would get worse quickly.  She is getting worse, and she is getting worse, quickly. My Stinky Dog has lost her excitment for life. She needs help getting in and out of my car, and sometimes she even needs help getting up on the bed. She does not feel well at all. Pretty soon, we are going to have to make some big decisions for her life, and it's not going to be easy.
 We live in a world where evil happens all around us, and the results of that evil are heart wrenching. The results are death. Even worse than physical death, many, many people have a spiritual death. They do not know Jesus. They have not tasted HIS freedom in any way, or even know that it exists.
I grew up in that kind of spiritual death.
This post is really depressing, and it's kinda hard for it not to be as my Stinky Dog is laying here beside me and I know her future is not good. I think I need to learn lessons from my Stinky Dog. She handles one day at a time, and she trusts me completely. She takes the medicine I give her. She comes when I call her, even when it hurts her. She lays beside me and allows me to comfort her. She still goes in the car with me, although possibly she might prefer to isolate and be alone forgetting  the relationship because of pain. She still tries to eat when I feed her, but she lays by her bowl now, instead of stands or sits. She works to stay alive in relationship even when her life isn't what it use to be.
My life is pretty good with some challenging parts. I lead a blessed life, very blessed. And, today just because I wanted to, I wore orange and red together, I didn't think it looked that bad. And, when I asked someone why they thought this path of truth seeking was so important, the answer was inspiring and encouraging and enough to tell me that even though we live in a world of evil, I cannot forget that the One IN me is far greater!
Say that Again, Jesus You are the One IN me, and YOU are far greater!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Dead Man's Ring

Yesterday as I was flying home I was very in tune with how my love for travel has dwindled. Or, maybe I should say, my desire to fly. I use to like to be in airports and go from one destination to another, but as of late, I just prefer to be at home. Yesterday, my travels involved two layovers, one was an hour in Dallas, and the other was 30 minutes in Salt Lake City. I spent most of my time conversing with God about these layovers and how they were causing me to feel anxious!  I also spent a lot of time asking God why I was feeling anxious, when before this would've been easier for me to undertake. He didn't really give me any answers, exactly, but He did give me some good distractions and He also reassured me that my planes would be there and I would make it home, safe and sound. Trust, trust, trust, that is what I continued to hear, throughout the day, trust Me , Bethany!
In Dallas, I boarded the plane and sat down by a young lady. Shortly after the plane closed up, she began to cry, I asked her if there was something I could do to help and she said that she had left her bag in the restaurant. She then jumped up and ran to the front of the plane where the captain was standing. I could see her talking to the captain, and I could see him shaking his head "NO".
She came back to her seat, crying even harder, and sat down beside me. I asked her what happened and she replied through her tears "I left my best friends dead husbands ring in a bag in the restaurant!"
"Oh", I replied, "that is a big deal."  The flight attendant then made her way to our seats and announced that there was nothing she could do to help her. I asked her if she could possibly call the restaurant and ask them if they had the bag. She asked me if I knew what was in the bag, and after I explained to her that there was a ring of a dead man in the bag, she made her way to the captain and had a little talk.
Before we knew it, someone was being sent on a mission to look for the bag, and 20 minutes later, it had been retrieved. It was about this time that I realized that I would more than likely miss my connection! My prayers went from surrendering, to begging, to bargaining!  God was very kind and patient with me, He continued to whisper to me, "trust, trust, trust"
We landed in Salt Lake City at the exact time that my plane was suppose to take off, but my connecting plane was kind enough to wait for me. And, I was very thankful. I had to run, and I was painfully aware of how out of shape I am. But, I made it.
Jesus, once again, You have kept me. Even, when I am anxious, You are there for me.
Say That Again, Jesus, You use me to further Your Kingdom, You bless me, and You keep me. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Belt of Truth

It has been a fervent prayer of mine for God to reveal truth to me. It is something that I pray everyday, and as I have asked Him to lead me on this journey I have found that it has required a lot of faith that He will reveal truth. I am currently reading a book that my son recommended and it talks about the armor of God, the Belt of Truth being a part of that armor. In one of the chapters he pointed out that the belt of truth is not just put on in my morning quiet time or a quick morning prayer. It is a process. Putting on the belt of truth comes through long, significant seasons of time with God. It comes out of a longing to hear His voice, and then listening for it. It come when I do not ignore God, but actually seek Him. If I am blaming others, playing games, or hiding from God, I do not have the belt of truth.
Having the belt of truth happens when I am able to come before God and others in an open and honest way with humility. When I do this something painful and wonderful occurs, I break. When I am broken before God, He is able to complete me. It is then that I am able to see the truth of who I really am!
So, I am delving further into truth and the reality of Jesus. No secrets. No Masks. This is life and this is the way it is. It's messy most of the time,and God's grace is pretty all of the time. The Belt of Truth keeps deception far away and enables the truth to be spoken without fear. It is what it is, everyone has a story, so lets hear what it is!
Do you have your belt of truth on today? Or are you hiding behind a secret of deception? Has the belt fallen low? or off?
Jesus, keep my belt secure, hold it on for me. Continue to reveal Your truth to me, and show me Your Glory. Say That Again, Jesus, You are truth!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Territory

This morning as I was sitting on the couch visiting with my friend we noticed some wild turkeys running at full speed across the prairie. There's a lot of prairie, a good 20 acres of it, and the turkeys were taking it on as if they owned it all. They didn't ask permission first, they just stepped out and then ran with all their might, and they made it from one end to the other. It was a delightful sight.
I've been led to read Ephesians 1-3 for the past few days, and God has asked me to look for what I have been given. What is my territory? What is already rightfully mine? What have I been given?
He has chosen me
He has made me holy  and blameless
He has given me His love
He has adopted me
He has given me the kind intention of His will
I have Redemption
I have forgiveness
I have the richness of His Grace
I can know the mystery of His will
I have His Inheritance
I am sealed IN Him
I have the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him
My eyes have been enlightened by the hope of His calling
I have the surpassing greatness of His power
I have the strength of His might
I am Alive with Christ, raised with Him
I am seated in Heavenly places, IN Christ Jesus
I am saved by Grace through faith
I have peace
I have access through Him in one Spirit to the Father
I am a fellow citizen with all the Saints in God's household
I am being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit
I have boldness and confidence through faith in Him
I am strengthened with Power through His Spirit in the inner man
I am rooted and grounded in Love
I have the Love of Christ
I have Christ IN me, His power within me, therefore I am fruitful.

This is all my territory, and the Enemy does work very hard to take it all from me. This is war, there is NO neutral ground. Jesus, I claim my territory! I claim YOU. I do confess that life is challenging for me, and everyday I come to your throne and bow at Your feet. I need you to remind me of my territory. This is Who You are, and Who I am IN You!
Say That Again, Jesus, I am chosen forever, Captured In Your Hands. I am YOUR TERRITORY!! 

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Stuff

My friend that died had a lot of stuff. She was a missionary and she traveled all over the world for many years. She collected many treasures. She left some of her stuff to me, and I am deeply touched. Most of her stuff is piled around the house, and I am looking at it with my other friend wondering what to do with all the stuff. It is lovely and I look at it all so fondly. I am currently sitting on the bed, and on the dresser sits pictures of my children, and pictures of me, pictures I have sent over the years. And, lots of stuff. There's a big window that overlooks a beautiful prairie and big trees. It is cold outside. It is quiet and peaceful here. What is going to happen to all the stuff? The pictures from Africa, Asia, and all the beautiful quilts, and all the books? The memories....
It's weird to think that someday my life on earth will be gone, and it's good to think that my life is eternal. It's intriguing to put myself in my own home and look around at the stuff, if I were gone, what would my family and friend do? It's just stuff and what would it mean to them? Would it be overwhelming? Would it be comforting? Would it be funny, fascinating, a learning  experiencing?  Would they just want to get it over with?
I want my stuff to be only the kind that leads to Jesus, the kind that reminds others of the journey with Him. My trek through this life, the walk I've had with Him and with others. It could be painful, and it could be joyful, it will be surprising, and interesting.
Jesus, use my stuff for Your Glory, for Your Kingdom. Use me to further the work You have to do each day. I love you and I need You so desperately. You are so Good!  Say That Again, dear God, take all my stuff and use it for Your Glory!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Challenge

By the time I made it to the airport this morning it was time to walk right on to the plane. I didn't have any extra time. At least I wasn't late! And, thanks to God, there was one spot left for my bag in the overhead compartments. I was thankful. By the time my plane landed in Denver, and I made my way through the crowd I was ready to find an earlier flight to Dallas, there were so many people in Denver! As I made my way to my gate, the plane that was currently boarding was going to Dallas and there just happened to be one seat left, an exit seat! Wow, God, He's good, I grabbed the seat, and walked right on! Just so happens that there was a spot left for my bag :-)
I am currently in Dallas. Even though it has gone well for me, I have felt stressed and kind of shaken. I can't really explain why except that I know life is a challenge for me right now. I just want to stay home, yet that is not possible when God says "Go"!
I am not always brave. So God has to be brave for me.
One more plane to go and I will be at my destination. That will be good. I will be with my friend. There is some comfort there for both of us.
Jesus, I'm seeing that life surrendered to you is a life of challenges in many ways. For me it is, because I am a natural Rebel. Thank you, for the challenge. Say That again, life is a challenge, surrendered to You!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Lists

My friend died. It was a sad day for me yesterday as I thought of her and realized I would not be seeing her again on this earth. I also felt sad because of the pain I knew her sister was in, my dear friend as well. They do not live near me and I have been wanting to go see them for a long time now, and I was feeling sad about the fact that I hadn't been able to do that yet either. It seemed there was just a list of sad for me, and as I plugged away at the day I continued to give my list to God.
My day was busy too, I worked at our ministry with my dearest friend and we made plans for future events. I cleaned my office, sorta. I was blessed with a haircut. And, for dinner, I went back to our ministry to meet up with another friend. As I was sitting down to eat my salad, I turned around and through the door, more friends started to file in the room. I was surprised to see them! All of them very precious and dear friends, ladies that I love very much. They sat down and preceded to tell me that they, along with many others had gathered the funds to purchase a ticket for me to fly to my friend so I could be with her!  All the names were listed on an envelope.
I was so taken with emotion and felt completely overwhelmed I had to remove myself from the room, just for a few moments. Just long enough to say to God "Thank you for blessing me with a list of friends that is far beyond anything I could ever imagine! Thank you for making me rich in heart!" And, God gently whispered back, "here's your new list!"
I am continually learning new lessons. I am continually learning that I am loved, and what I find so amazing is that God doesn't tire of showing me. He knows I need to know. Because of the experiences that I have had, the places I have been, I need to know, and so He shows me in amazing ways. This time He gave me an incredible list. Everyday He gives me something, and everyday I am amazed.
Say That Again, Jesus, You bring lists of blessings, You love, You keep. I Praise You today!

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Power

The song I'm listening to right now is "God's not dead, He's alive....come shake the ground with revival.  He's living on the inside..."
This morning I read about the power of the resurrection and how we have that very same power IN us, His Spirit. We, you and me, have the power of His Spirit to raise the dead, heal the sick, shake the ground with revival!
But....if I am unable to make the connections of Who I am, really am. My identity IN Jesus, I won't be able to connect with that power, His Spirit. I am God's child, His friend. I have been justified. I am united with the Lord and I am one spirit with Him. I am a member of Christ's body. I am a Saint, a holy one! I have been adopted as God's child, and I have direct access to God through the Spirit. I am redeemed and forgiven. I am complete in Christ!!  And, the list goes on and on.....
I did not know about any of this power a few years ago, but now Jesus is teaching me. And, His Spirit is alive and powerful and growing. Sometimes I forget. But, He doesn't forget, He is there all the time, loving me, holding me, keeping me, Captured In His Hands.
Grasp the Power of His Spirit, pray for revival in the land, surrender all regret to Him, hide in Him,  He is my castle, my revelation, My path, My life....Say That Again, Jesus You are the Resurrection, the mighty Power within me that uses me to further Your Kingdom!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Hideout

One of my childhood homes was nestled at the edge of a range of some large rocky mountains. All I had to do was open the front door and walk about a 1/2 mile and I would be on the side of the mountain. There were several times that I found myself home alone, so my dog and I would make it a habit to take the trek up the mountain to a special tree where I would sit and overlook the valley. It felt like my special hideout. I had to trudge through a swampy area to get to my tree, and through some bushes, and then into an open area higher on the side of the mountain. The view was lovely, overlooking the valley. I could see my house, downtown, and all the surrounding neighbors. It felt safe there, because in my mind, I was convinced that nobody else knew about my tree or my spot, except my dog, and he had no intentions of telling.
I've been thinking a lot about safety lately. The need to be safe and what that feels like. Where do I feel safe and what makes me feel safe? Where is my safe spot? I feel safe at home and when I talk to God, He always brings me back to the truth that He is my HOME. If I have the desire to hideout, then it needs to be IN Him. He continually reminds me to run to Him, turn my focus back to Him as I walk the long road, listen to Him, He is my safety!
This morning he led me to Psalms 18, I've been in this chapter before. I like how God never tires of reminding me of who He is. His love for me is constant. In this chapter I read this:

"God is bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live
my rescuing knight
My God--the high crag where I  run for dear life, hiding behind the boulders,
safe in the granite hideout.
I sing to God, the praise Lofty,
and find myself safe and saved."

I need to know that He is the castle in which I live. I need to know that He is my boulder, in which I can run and hide behind, hard as granite. I need to know that I am safe and saved. I think God is amazing in the ways that He reminds me, He touches my heart everyday, sometimes many times a day, because He knows that is what I need. He knows I need to be reminded that He is my Home, my Safety, my Hideout, and so He does the reminding. Isn't that cool?
Say That Again, and Again, Jesus, because, I will continue to listen and praise your name. You are good and awesome all the time.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Revelation

This morning as I read in my book, this sentence popped out: "God's people live by revelation."  Wow, by revelation, each day God reveals to His people His truth, His thoughts, His way. And, then that is the direction we go, I go.  Duh, I suppose this is why He tells me to stop worrying about the future, don't think about tomorrow, etc...He is the Great  Revealer. I know, maybe I'm slow here and I'm not revealing anything new to anyone else, but if I am to live by revelation, this means in every aspect of my life, this is radical.  And, I think I already do live a pretty radical life, but God is asking me to step out on an even bigger radical path and allow Him to be the Revealer in more ways.  I don't have to make sense of any of this, I just have to obey. Not just in my personal life, but in my ministry as well. For each day when God reveals what I am to do, then I do it, even if it doesn't make sense, because He has revealed it that way.  It is God's heart that matters, His way, and His people. He is the one with the map, compass, light and I will follow.
I think that most of the time, it's not going to make sense. Most of the time the "visionaries" might look in and say to me that it's not going to work. But, God is faithful, and Big and Mighty. He reveals truth, love, wisdom. He gives hope, boldness, courage and strength. And, so as I soar today with the Spirit of God and listen to the revelation for today, I will obey.  I will wait upon Him for His strength, and rest IN Him, for He is good.
Say that Again, Jesus, you will reveal all good things to me, and You will reveal Your will to me for this day!

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Regret

In our Wednesday evening group the question was asked "What do you regret" it was asked of everyone. And, I had a quick review of many things in my life, many things that I certainly could regret. Regretful choices. But, I also came to a thoughtful conclusion, is it in God's plan, God's truth for me to actually be regretful? Does He mean for me to look back on my life with regret? It was just that morning that a friend reminded me of Romans 8, and I've reminded my readers of Romans 8, many times. "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." If there is no condemnation, does this mean there also is not regret? Does Jesus look at me with regret? I really doubt it.
I'm still talking to God about this long road that we are traveling together. He has been showing me many things a long the way, and as I look at these things I suppose I could be filled with regret. But, I'm not going to. I have been sad, and I have been overwhelmed at times and pretty tired. I've had to work at giving Him my anxiety and my fear. I can see why He is saying that this is a long road, and I keep saying to Him that I'd like to be done.  At the same time, I understand that He is asking me to walk on a journey that bears a cross necessary for my healing and for the healing of others. He wants my heart to understand empathy, compassion, and my own journey in depth, so I will be able to walk with others.
I'm back to regret, do I regret this long road? No! I pray that I will be enabled to utilize His Spirit within me and live up to the calling God has given me. I pray that the freedom Jesus has wrapped me in will soar throughout the land around me, and the regret of others will diminish. The long road is walked one step at a time, even when it hurts.
Say That again, Jesus, You do not regret me or any of your children. You are walking with me on this long road and there is praise for the journey!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Veil

This morning as I wrestled with God, He sent me back to 2 Corinthians 3 again. This time, I pondered over a one-liner "God removes the veil and there they are--face to face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone."
Then, when I opened the book I'm reading, The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozar, not surprisingly he was writing about the veil! He writes about how the veil represents our own personal stuff, the deep stuff. My stuff, my heart stuff that I need to confront, the secrets of life. The secrets that need to be looked at, felt and revealed. To do this, hurts, it is deeply painful, it is my cross. He says it like this "to rip through the dear and tender stuff of which life is made can never be anything but deeply painful. Yet that is what the cross did to Jesus and it is what the cross would do to every man to set him free."
He goes on to write how important it is to insist that this work in us be done in all truth. This cross is rough, and deadly, but effective. It is not forever, there comes a time when its work is finished  and the resurrection glory and power and pain is forgotten for joy. God always has a plan, and as I walk on His long road, I will remember that as He reveals truth to me, and secrets to me, the veil is lifting and the road is getting shorter. It feels like ripping, and it is painful. Yet, there is a purpose, it is not done for nothing, it is done for His glory and to further His Kingdom. So, with that knowledge, I do praise His name!
And, so with each day, with this day I am going to ask for more truth to be revealed, I am going to ask for strength to reveal a secret as I receive that truth, and then I am going to pray that  I will die to that secret and rise again to a newness of life IN Him that is even better than what I already know! Wow, I do have a lot to look forward to!
Say That Again, Jesus, You have promised to be my strength, and I know I"m going to need it!

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Living Place

In the almost 30 years of marriage for my husband and I we have had several living places. We've moved around, from one house to another, and some of the houses I've liked more than others. The house that is now our ministry house use to be our living place, and it was an all time favorite of mine. It's been a favorite of our boys as well, and many people. There's nothing extraordinary about this house, it just feels good. It was an easy house to make a home. We lived there easily, and everyone in the family contributed to living there.  My husband and son built a beautiful deck on the front of the house. Another son and my husband built a fence in the back. One son built a rock patio, and a sand box for his little brother. Even friends contributed by hand painting murals on the walls in bedrooms. The house, our living space, was very personal. My husbands father, built a mud room, and cool pull out shelves in our daughter room. When we remodeled, the refrigerator was brought in before the door was put in, now we realize it is too big to ever be taken back out of the house!
The living space we live in now is lovely, but it took me a long time to adjust because I missed all the sentiments of the other house! But now, we have personalized this living space with versus on the walls, signs, and a soon to be basket ball hoop. We have space, and it feels like home, and I like it here.
God continues to remind me that He is my living space, and He is my home. As the economy continues to waver, and the last couple years have been a real struggle for us financially, we are faced with the reality of loosing our home. This morning, in my devotional the verse was Matthew 6:30,31 "If God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith? Do not be anxious then."
God lays His own reputation on the line. If I trust and obey, He will provide! And, He has provided in amazing and incredible ways for me and for my family. Do I feel anxious? Yes, and I have to take it to God all the time and ask Him to scoop up my anxiety. He reassure me that I am in His hands and He has everything under control. He has said numerous times that He is my home. He is my rest. He is my safety! I need Him to say it everyday, because the threat of loosing the living space I live in physically is challenging for me.
So, I'm starting out the New Year, still knowing that God is with me. Still telling others that through the challenges of life, He walks with me, and there are many challenges. And, I'm talking about them, at least some of them at this point. And, with those challenges, He will grow me and use me to further His Kingdom. He will turn all things into good, because He is God. I may not be joyful all the time, or even understand, but as He is working on me, my brain, my heart, my life, He is also enabling me to touch a world for Him. So, I will live IN Him, my living space, and  be captured today!
Say That Again, Jesus, You are my Living Space! My Home.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Family Days

Many times I have posted about my family, now I'm sharing a picture. My sons and my daughters and all our dogs. Stinky Dog is the one on the far left!
My prayer for every reader, my dear family, and all my friends is the blessings of God and His abundant love upon your lives in 2012. He is pursuing your life and loving you, go after Him with passion!
Say That Again, dear God, You are after me, and living IN me, I am complete IN you.  Thank you for the blessings of family, my days with them, and for love.