Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Ninja Mummy

My son was in a skit yesterday for cub scouts. He was the ninja mummy! When we left yesterday morning, he stuffed his back pack with rolls of toilet paper and told me he needed it to wrap up in. When I saw him running down the center aisle wrapped in toilet paper as a ninja mummy, I felt so happy! He was having such a good time, and to him, this holiday is just about dressing up and getting candy. He doesn't know about the evil stuff that potentially comes along with Halloween. He feels safe, protected, and loved. That makes me happy.
I love the picture of a ninja mummy, because I think there are days that I feel like one. I know that God has given me a name, He has made me His warrior daughter, yet there are obstacles that come along in life that wrap me up. But, those obstacles, do not change the truth of the warrior He has created me to be. I too can run down the center aisle, right into His arms. He wraps me in His arms, and guides me through every obstacle in life. Now, that is something to be happy about!  And, Jesus, Say That Again, You've created a Warrior, I will run for You!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Drive through the Woods

Yesterday morning as my kids and I were pulling out of the driveway, I noticed that the woods in front of our house could be a great place to drive my Rover. So, instead of staying on the wide driveway, I turned the Rover up a steep hill and we ventured into the woods. My kids found this to be a delightful adventure as we weaved between the bushes and barely squeezed between two large pine trees. Our path was new, narrow, and somewhat treacherous compared to the well used driveway. I am certain that when we leave for school this morning, my kids will want to do it again!
As I thought about our fun adventure throughout the day it reminded me of the drive I take through life. God weaves me in and out of narrow spots, and I am almost always off the well-worn path. God leads me through treacherous areas, and brings me out on the other side, closer to Him. God is usually the only One that can see the end of the path, He knows the way, He wants me to trust in Him to get there. There are times in my drive through life that it feels like all I see is forest, with no way out, but the truth is, God is the way. He gets me where I need to be, every time!
Jesus, Say That Again. You lead the way through narrow adventures and treacherous paths. You are the driver!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Walking Dead

I spent yesterday in a training for addictive behavior, it was insightful and rewarding. As I listened, and took notes many things came to mind about my own life, the groups I lead, the family I grew up in.  We all have problems, we all have addictions of some sort, we are not all aware of them! The speaker was talking about the pre-lapse brain, what happens in the brain just before someone goes into relapse. This is what he said:

"As arousal and stress goes up our ability to see and solve problems and consider the consequences goes down." 

The addiction, whatever it may be, dulls the brain from consequences.  It reminded me of a TV show called The Walking Dead. It's about a group of people trying to survive in a world where a disease has become an epidemic and infected the brains of millions. The problem is, as the brain became infected, the person's brain died, but they are still walking around. So, it's a world of zombie's.  The zombie's are completely unaware of the consequences. They are unaware of life, they are just walking around.
It reminded me of the Sarah Young devotional for that day. Here's what she had to say:

"Many people are so preoccupied with future plans and decisions that they fail to see choices they need to make today. Without any conscious awareness, they make habitual responses. People who live this way find a dullness creeping into their lives. They sleepwalk through their days, following well worn paths or routine."

How often do I just go through the day lacking the awareness I need and just responding out of habit. How often do I just give in to an addiction of distraction, IPhone , or whatever, allowing these things to dull my life? Do I have days that I too am like the Walking Dead?

Sarah Young did not leave me with thoughts of despair, but reminded me of this:

"I, the Creator of the universe, am the most creative being. I will not leave you circling in deeply rutted paths. Instead, I will lead you along fresh trails of adventure, revealing to you things you did not know." 

God brings life to all areas, and see's clearly where to breathe life into me. My pain, my addictions, my grief. He is Walking Life, the Living Water, the Healer!  Today, I am thanking Him for the clarity He brings to me, the love, the hope that sometimes wavers, but still exists. Today, I am thanking Him that I am walking in Life, eternal life.
Say That Again, Jesus, You are life, and You have promised to bring me and others out of all things that are death to us.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Prediction

My husband replaced his truck with a car, with the goal of getting better gas mileage. It's a nice car, and it's fun to drive. I drive it on the days that I have a lot of errands and my Rover sits at work with my husband! Yesterday, I had the car, and on my way back from getting my children from school, I noticed a flashing light on the dashboard. The car temperature was way up in the danger zone. I called my husband, and he said he would come and check out the problem. So, we waited, and the car cooled down.
My husband drove up in my Rover, the car that has issues but still runs, and he determined that his car needed a mechanic. So, he drove off to the mechanic, the Rover, the kids, Fur Ball, and I drove home.
The end result is several days with the  mechanic, and 1200.00!!  Not pretty.  It was distressing news to hear that the new car member in our family was going to be so costly.  Who knew?
As I drove back into town later that day, I had some time to think about the new car issue.  I didn't waste time asking God why, but I did post a complaint. I also thanked Him that the car broke down in town and not out on the prairie somewhere. I was able to get help right away, and move on with the pressing things of the day. I did ask God for a way to provide for the car, 1200 dollars is a lot of gas.
It was another unpredictable moment in our life. And, I'm seeing that basically, that's what life is, unpredictable.  The one thing I can predict is the guarantee of God's promises. He says He has a plan, a purpose, and He will prosper me. So, I predict that through it all, it will somehow turn out prosperous. It has to, because my life is His plan and He has a purpose.
Jesus, Say That Again to me today. It's early, but I already feel obstacles for today. But, You have promised to prosper me through all circumstances, so I predict it will work out according to Your plan.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Impact

I have another book to read, its title is Who Is This Man? A friend of mine loaned it to me.  It's all about Jesus, and the unpredictable impact He has had on the human race. I like this quote:

"We live in a world where Jesus' impact is immense even if His name goes unmentioned."

I am just at the beginning of this book, but I know I am going to enjoy it, and will share with my readers what I discover. One thing I know today, Jesus has made a huge impact on my life. He changes me everyday, sometimes in little tiny steps, other times in leaps. Just the name of Jesus brings calm to my soul, and I repeat His name when I am distressed or desperate for His help. His impact on me has shown me love, grace, mercy, hope. His impact has reached me through the life of others, and I have been lifted, strengthened, and changed. His impact compares to no other!
Today, I will ask again, for Jesus to impact my life, and reveal His truth.
Jesus, Say That Again, as I walk another day with You. Your impact on my life today will change me!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Revolving Door

In my town there's a large resort with a revolving door.  Anytime we go to visit, my young children love to go around and around in the revolving door, I like it too. They never stop inside the lobby, they keep going a couple of rounds, big smiles on their faces, joy in their step.
Sometimes, my life feels like a revolving door! Round and round, I go! Never really stopping in the lobby. Thankfully, the lobby is not my final destination, even if I spend the rest of my life in the revolving door, the reality is, I'm living in eternity!!
In Ephesians 2:6 I am promised this:

"raised up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus."

So, there you have it, and so do I. Today, I may be in the revolving door and feel like I am going round and round, but the reality is, I am seated with my Jesus in Heavenly places!
Say That Again, Jesus, You have seated me with You in heavenly places!

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Faith Fall

My grand daughter is going to be two years old on Christmas Eve day. She was visiting us last night, and it was really nice to see her. We were in the basement, and she was walking on the coffee table between her daddy, her grandpa, her uncle, and me. She would walk to the edge of the table and then just fall into our arms. She did it over and over again. At one point, her uncle got up and left, she went over to where he had been sitting, and went to the edge of the table and it looked like she was going to let herself fall. Her daddy said " there's no one there to catch you!" She smiled and turned to her daddy, falling into his arms instead.  I admired her faith. She never once doubted that we would catch her. She knew we would, and we always did. She believed it, and we believed it too. It was a joyful experience for all of us.
I want my faith fall with God to be just like hers was with me. I want to daily fall into His arms and just know He is going to catch me, always. No hesitation on my part. He is there, all the time, and I don't even have to think about it.
Jesus, You have said it is true, now Say That Again. You will catch me!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Trip Up The Hill

I went back to our old house today. My husband still had some stuff in the garage and I went to help him. I went in the house and it felt very different than I thought it would. It was no longer home. As I walked from room to room and thought about all our days in that house, it was okay with me that we didn't live there anymore. I came back out to the garage and my husband said, "You couldn't pay me to live here again!"
God is amazing, isn't He? Change is hard, but God always knows what He is doing. Still in the midst of the change I find that I struggle. But, it's okay. I know this is where God wants me and my family right now, so it is good. As I drove up the hill today I thought about the many times I had driven up that hill, and I said goodbye today.  I thought about the beautiful sunsets, and how I'd stop at the corner and admire the colors. I thought about the snow and getting stuck in the drive way every year. I thought about the stairs that we had to climb just to get into our house, and the grape vines behind our house. I admired the big boulders in our yard as I came around the corner, and remembered how much work it was landscaping our yard.
Now, I am in a different home. God has led our family to a country home. It's quiet here. I sleep longer here. The kids like it here, and our dog likes to run here. Our adult children are excited about this home, and can't wait to celebrate the holidays here. The view from the window that I am sitting near is very lovely. Our Christian family visits and makes themselves at home here. It is good here.
So, right now, I am feeling thankful for the home God has blessed me with. He is the God that provides and gives me territory that is good and wide. Say That Again, Jesus, You bless!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Manual

My husband likes to keep all the manuals from everything.  He usually has them nicely organized in a cabinet, verses me who stuffs them in a drawer, never to be found again.  He is more organized than me, and even likes the spices to be alphabetized! I prefer to spend minutes searching for the right spice, then I have a better idea of everything in my cupboard!
This morning, the chapter in my book was about having a manual for life.  A biblical procedure manual. Here is the short version from Unglued:

1. Alarmed, I resolve to remember who I am.
2. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.
3. Stay in the flow-my job is obedience, God's job is results.
4. Shift from an attitude to gratitude.
5. My reactions determine my reach.

This is a manual worth my time and effort.  I think I will file it away in my brain and refer to it often.  In my moments of alarm, I will continue to remember who I am.  I am God's child, His chosen daughter, Holy and righteous before Him. Adopted into His family, with eternity on my side.
When I begin to feel overwhelmed, and I don't know what to do, I can repeat the name of Jesus. There is power in His name. I know this is true, I've experienced it.
I will obey, and because of my obedience, God will provide results in my life that are fruitful and good.
I will remember my blessings and be thankful to my God for all that He has given me. Thankful for life. I have life, and it is His gift to me. I have an incredible family, a home, food. There are so many blessings to be thankful for .
When I am able to stay in the power of Jesus, and through His power my reactions are responses to His love and gifts,  He uses this to reach and speak to others. This is good. It is Him shining through my life.
So, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Say That Again!

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Country Experience

There are moments that living in the country is peaceful and nice, but then as quick as a twister move, I can have a different experience, and it's not so nice. It's like Fall, I think it's actually a beautiful time of year and I love the color. But, then, as quick as death can overtake a life, I feel like Fall is not that great anymore, because after Fall, there is winter. And, it's cold.
Sometimes I have those moments that my head twirls, and I can feel a mix of all kinds of emotion. It's the raw emotion I read about, and I know there is only one good solution, Jesus! Pray for Jesus, pray for something different, pray for adjustment, pray for change, pray for His Breath to overtake my soul!
Right now, at this moment, I am praying. It feels like I should continue to pray all of the day. Jesus, I know You see me, You hear me, You love me. Say that Again so I remember!

The Search

Both my husband and I drive old vehicles. His is especially old, and we need to replace at least one. I'm not that excited about replacing my Rover. I like it, and in my opinion, it has been a loyal daily companion! So, my husband is going to sell his Durango, and we are going on a search for a new vehicle. We need one that is not too expensive, and one that gets good gas mileage. My husband found a four wheel drive Buick that he seemed to think was the best ever, so my son and I went to look at it with him.  Sadly, we did not think it was the best ever, I termed it as boring. My son said it was an old person car!! My husband did not understand our point of view, but decided that since I will have to drive this new vehicle, we should look some more. Tomorrow, we are looking at two more. One is an SUV, the other a car. The car gets really good mileage and I think we will lean more that direction, since I have come to the place of agreeing to drive a smaller car and work on my feeling of being unsafe in small cars.
This morning I read more of my book, Unglued, while I ran on the treadmill. I have tagged it the "treadmill book" The book reminds me of several different episodes in my own life, and my search for resolution, renewal, and restoration.  Just like our old Durango, some of the old habits need to go, and be replaced with something more efficient. I like her view on God's Word and her encouragement to bring His Word into the present and make it an application to my current situation. It's a good habit to have because it produces peace, and the ability to do difficult things. Even in the simple like switching vehicles; it can still present a challenge for some.
The search, the journey, the life God has given me is all about glorifying Him and being in His presence. There are times I get distracted with the circumstances that come my way, but I am seeing that He has a spotlight and it is bright. It makes the search worthwhile, at least eventually.
Jesus, shine Your light, if I search in the wrong place, make Your Way brighter. Continue Your leading, Your love, and Your wrapping. Say That Again, You will be at the beginning and the end of every search!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Chisel

So, a couple years ago I went to a conference on speaking, and at this conference I heard Lysa Turkeurst speak about being chiseled by God. Since then, she has written a book titled Unglued, and in the next couple of days I plan to read this book.
Chiseled by God? I feel that God has been doing that to me, He is showing me His truth and His glory, and bringing me on a journey that will further His Kingdom.  I like this quote in her book:

"Is it true?  Will I see grace and feel grace and call it grace when I come unglued? Even when, Like Peter, I deny Christ with my actions? When, like Paul, I have a past that's anything but godly?  Will I embrace the grace by which I've been saved through faith--choose to see myself as God's workmanship--and do the good work I've been called to?"

I have noticed about myself that I still hold back about what is going on in my life. I just have a very small amount of people that I feel safe enough to really be open. A handful of friends with which I can be unglued and believe that because of grace, we will still be friends. It reminds me of something else that was read to me:

"When you need comfort I love to enfold you in My arms. I enable you not only to feel comforted, but also to be a channel through whom I comfort others. Thus you are doubly blessed, because a living channel absorbs some of whatever flows through it." Sarah Young

I hadn't realized it before, but one of the ways God chisels me, is through comfort.  When He brings others into my life that offer blessings of comfort, it works on my heart in ways that I have not allowed before. It penetrates in such a way that I begin to feel safe, and I want to be a channel of comfort to others as well. The blessings multiply, and His Kingdom grows! His grace covers me.
When I came back from the conference, I had a key chain that was given out. It said "Be Chiseled"  I did not realize at that point the many ways God would chisel me. But, I can see that His ways are unique, and because of them, I am blessed.  So, on my unglued days, when my actions are not so great, I'm going to pray to remember the workmanship of God, me and others. I will pray to allow His comfort to soak through me, and believe that He will work a good work.
Say That Again, Jesus, You chisel me in unexpected ways. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Block

Today is a full day for me, I have a lot going on. It's going to be busy. I've been thinking about what I should write this morning, but I feel blocked. I've actually got nothing to say!
Jesus, like the song by Jason Gray--Remind Me Who I Am, today!
Say That Again to me Lord God, I am Yours, a Chosen Daughter of the King!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Family Tree

This morning I listened to another song by Matthew West, Family Tree. I've had a hard time filling out family trees, I am never sure of the names of everybody! I don't know that much about my family tree. My mother and Father were divorced before I was born.  I did not know my Father as well as I would've liked, and most of his side of the family was a mystery.
I grew up in dysfunction, lots of it.  The Family Tree song was touching to me because it was yet another reminder that God changes lives. The dysfunction does not have to be carried on to every generation. He protects and He loves.

No, this is not your legacy
This is not your destiny
Yesterday does not define you
No, this is not your legacy
This is not your meant to be
I can break the chains that bind you

I have a dream for you
It's better than where you've been
It's bigger than your imagination
You're gonna find real love
And you're gonna hold your kids
You'll change the course of generations

Cause your my child
You're my chosen
You are loved
You are loved

And I will restore all that was broken
You are loved 
You are loved

And just like the seasons change
Winter into Spring
You're bringing new life to your family tree now
Yes you are, you are.

As I watch my children, I see that God has brought so much healing and life. They are loving Jesus, and living life far more abundantly that I knew how to do growing up or when I was their age. God's healing hand has pruned my family tree and made it far more fruitful for Him.  What a blessing! He has promised to restore all that was broken, sometimes I have days that I begin to think that is not possible. But, that is part of the family tree dysfunction. To believe that God restores and redeems, is part of the healing.
New life to the family tree. Good memories laced with God's calling on all of our lives, branches that thrive because they abide in Him, this is my family tree!
Oh Sweet Jesus, Say That Again to me! Your living water is poured upon my family tree and there is life!

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Great Helper

The last few days have been crazy busy for me and my family. Through the crazy, I have thought a lot about prayer, and I've focused more on prayer without ceasing. A friend and I were talking about the value of bringing everything to God in prayer and how sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the craziness of life, and forget to pray. It caused me to pray to God asking that He increase my habit of prayer, and to remind me to pray!
This morning, I read John 13 and 14. There were some verses that especially impacted me in The Voice. The first one in chapter 13 is about love:

"So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. Everyone will know you as followers if you demonstrate your love to others." verse 34-35

After reading this I had to pray that God reveal to me more truth about how He loves. What does it look like to love someone deeply and fully?  How exactly do I demonstrate love for others? To obey this command, what is required of me?
Moving on to chapter 14, in verse 12 it says this:

"I tell you the truth: whoever believes in Me will be able to do what I have done, but they will do even greater things, because I will return to be with the Father."

Then verse 16:

"I will ask the Father to send you another Helper, the Spirit of Truth, who will remain constantly with you."

God's Spirit, the Holy Spirit, never leaves me. He reveals all truth, and enables me to do greater things than I think possible. He enables me to love deeply and fully. He demonstrates through me His love. He brings the desires of my heart and soul to the Father, and changes me. It is only through Him that I can obey this command, through prayer. Jesus has said that if I ask for anything in His name, He will give it to me. If I love Him, then I will obey Him. So, I am asking Him to continue to Say That Again to me. And, I will continue to pray that He will enable me to do what He has done, to love deeply and fully.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Next Big Move

Our friends and family came yesterday and helped us move out of our ministry home. We started early, and worked for most of the day. We took loads to our new home, loads to the dump, and loads to Goodwill. We cleaned all the rooms. Whew! It was a big job, but it went well.
One friend of mine said that it was sad to see the end of this chapter, this is the house she has laughed in, cried in, connected in, and grown in. Many of us feel that way.
I hurried home in the late afternoon to make dinner for my family, all of our adult sons with wives were arriving and there was still a lot to do. As I unloaded my truck, Fur Ball decided to go for a roll in the cow manure. Darn dog! He came back to me with hopes that I would appreciate his new scent, when instead I had to rustle him into the laundry sink and bathe him. With my friend hanging on to his collar, I poured water and shampoo over him, laughing at his timing and the craziness of the day.
At the close of the evening, we watched a family video that my husband put together in 2010, the memories of all the good times, travel, weddings, and celebrations danced across the screen. I marveled at how much our life has changed in just two years! And, I felt thankful that God has blessed me with my family and friends. They have been a steady force in my life, pointing me to God's love.

Two of my sons topped the night off with a fire in our fireplace. It was big, and hot, and beautiful. I again was reminded of the Refiners Fire and God's tender touch. He moves my life to new and different places, holding me, teaching me, keeping me secure in His Hands.
Our evening ended late and my husband reflected on the full and busy day. He felt astonished that we fit so much into one day. We moved, we made a big dinner, our family came to see us, we took the kids to the park, we were richly blessed. 

This morning as I moved about my new home, I asked God what was next on His agenda. What does the next phase look like for me? To rest and be still in Him I will have more opportunities to process all the changes, and accept the new opportunities that come to me. I will be able to fondly remember the homes we have lived in, and the people that graced our doors. And, I will continue to thank God for the life He has given me today!
Say That Again, Sweet Jesus, Your richness will continue to grace my home and those that come into my life. You are life, thank You for breathing it into me and moving me to the next step!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Big Field Trip

Today was a big day for my son and daughter. They had a scheduled field trip to a university. They have been looking forward to it for a couple of weeks. And, to add to the excitement, their big brother was going with them and driving them! My husband dropped them off with their brother this morning and they were off.  About an hour into the trip our youngest son began to throw up and feel nauseated. My husband drove to get him and bring him home. It was very disappointing. Our daughter went on to enjoy the day with her big brother.
This life can be disappointing at times. Sometimes it turns out differently than what I think. Learning to trust God through those situations is the challenge! I read in The Voice again this morning and these were  favorite verses of mine:

"No one is powerful enough to snatch the flock from my Father's hand. The Father and I are one."
John 10:29-30

"I am the resurrection and the source of all life; those who believe in me will live even in death. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never truly die. Do you believe this?" John 11: 25-26

Whatever the circumstance, no matter how bad the day may be, I am always in His hands.  Even when the day comes and there is death, because I believe in Him and He lives in me, I will be alive! Knowing this changes days like the flu and disappointments beyond that. He ultimately has a much bigger plan, and life is the way it is for a reason. To grow in Him, be still in Him, and to have eternal life in Him, that is captured freedom!
Say That Again, Jesus, You are here to walk me and others through our disappointments and life crisis. You have promised that I will not be snatched out of the hands of the Father, and life for me is eternal!

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Office

Today I will be spending most of my day at our ministry house, there's still a lot of work to do there. I plan to move into the new office today, so I have to make choices as to what goes and what doesn't. The challenge is fitting into one room, instead of a house! The new office will be shared by others on our team, and used for groups, meetings, etc. I don't know what it will be like, but I know it will be different.
Yesterday, as I worked at our ministry house, I thought a lot about the memories that come with the house. Good memories. The rock patio that my son built, the deck my husband and son built, the fence my husband and son built. The garden boxes we have enjoyed so much, and the grapes we use every year to make grape juice. I fondly remembered Stinky Dog and the day she was buried under our cherry tree. Also, I thought about the day my son got stuck in the chestnut tree and I had to rescue him, or the day my daughter was brought home from China, on Thanksgiving,  and our sons had a Thanksgiving feast ready for us to eat. Then, all the friends and all the events we have enjoyed at this house. The love, the relationship, the healing. It has been a delightful place to rest and gather. It has been fun, and I will miss it very much.
God continues to tell me that all I need to hang onto, is Him. He has plans for the ministry, I simply need to trust in Him and let Him work.
Jesus, Say That Again, You have plans to prosper Your ministry, I will wait and be still while You work through me and others.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Grape Vine

This is a picture of our cherry tree, in the branches of our tree, the grape vines are tangled. So, it looks like we have grapes growing on the cherry tree!
It reminded me of God being the Vine, and me the branch. His beauty continues to grow and spread throughout my life, making me look more and more like Him! I begin to grow fruit that looks like Him. He tangles Himself up in me and we become unified.
I read this verse in Matthew 7:16-20 yesterday with my group:

"You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes not figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad trees bear bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits."

When someone looks at me, I want them to see The Vine that has tangled Himself within me, living sharp, and holy! The fruit produced will be evidence of His Presence, abundant and full.
Jesus, Say That Again, You are The Vine within me, and it is good!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Holding

I listened to a song by David Crowder Band today titled "Never Let Go" it was significant to me because a sister in Christ stressed that to me earlier. And, even though I know this to be true, it helps to be reminded. God Never Lets Go! And, He brings people in my life that are willing to hang on as well, never letting go. In fact, He holds me. I have felt Him hold me, and today was one of those days.
He is ever faithful and ever true, He Never Lets Go! He journeys me through valleys, and straight up to the top of mountains. He walks me through disasters, and into beauty. He Never Lets Go! I want to keep Saying That Again today and this week, I need to remember His holding hands never letting go!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Ribs

A friend invited me to come to her house for dinner. She made ribs, my favorite food. It was very good, and by the time I arrived at her home, I was really hungry. I hadn't eaten that much yet. Other friends were there too, and it was nice.
I arrived home late, and went right to bed, but I was unable to sleep. My mind was racing with many thoughts about many things. As I laid there and prayed for God to calm me, I eventually fell asleep.
This morning, as I opened my Bible, I read in John, I then looked the chapter up in The Voice. This verse was prominent for me:

If you hear my voice and abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, you will know the truth, and that truth will give you freedom. John 8:31

Some of our conversation last night over ribs reminded me of truth, and I continued to think of it. Jesus has said that if I abide in His Words, I will know truth, and with each gem of truth, there is more freedom.  Living in truth and walking the path is important to me, abiding in His Words everyday, all the way. I have to say though, that sometimes it is like eating ribs, messy!
Just like the disciples of old, who walked in truth and His Word, they experienced a messy life. They were constantly thrown challenges, and confrontation. So was Jesus. They had to keep their eyes focused on truth, so that freedom was theirs. Some days were not easy at all, yet they persevered through Him.
Jesus, I have found that some days are not easy, they are simply messy. I strive to abide in Your Truth and Your Voice whispers to me. Please Say That Again to me today, and let Your freedom reign!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Last Big Dinner

Last night we had dinner at our ministry house, we had a big crowd of friends show up to share in the festivities. It was our last big dinner together at this house. 
I had to continue to remind myself throughout the evening that God has big plans, and He keeps His promises. But, still, I am sad that we have sold this home. It has been a shelter for many people, and we share a lot of fond memories of past dinners together and fun events. 
By the time we arrived home last night, I was exhausted and bed was a welcome sight. My sleep was restless, as I kept waking up thinking about the evening with friends and asking God what the next step is for our ministry. What is the next step for walking a path that furthers His Kingdom, His way?
When I started reading this morning I turned to Proverbs 4, and in verse 11 and 12 it says this:

I have directed you in the way of wisdom. I have led you in upright paths. 
When you walk, your steps will not be impeded, and if you run you will not stumble.

Right now, it feels like there are still some obstacles, but there are more promises as well. If I continue to walk in His wisdom and integrity, my path will be upright. When I step forward in faith, He will remove each obstacle as we go, and when I am running towards Him, I will not stumble.
Jesus, Say That Again to me. You are wisdom, You are my path, You will direct me!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Morning Light

When I get up in the morning; it is still dark outside. The room that has become my study area has a big bay window that overlooks the forest. As I study and spend time with Jesus, I can see the light dawning through the trees. It is truly very lovely.
I read in John and Matthew this morning. For John, I read out of The Voice, and then Matthew I read the NAS, and Message. I will often ask myself what it must have been like for Jesus, and what would He have done in certain situations. When He walked this earth He was so bold and courageous, and He spoke the plain truth all the time. His Light was so bright; it dawned on the crowds and individuals wherever He went.  His entire focus was to do the will of His Father, to bring His Father glory! For Him to accomplish that He had to be in relationship with the Father all the time. And then, because of the relationship, He was with others and drew them into friendship, light, and love.  He knew the hearts and motives of the ones that were not sincere, and He often spoke curtly to them, revealing their hearts. He was piercing, exposing them with truth and light.
This world is a dark place to live, but as I move through my days in relationship with Him, I live in the light. He is constantly drawing me to Himself, and bringing relationship to my life. He asks me to keep stepping forward in Him and to keep trusting. As this happens, the light shines more and more.
In heaven, it will always be light. The light from God will provide all that we need, and darkness will be gone. Everyone there will be encased in His Light forever, His warmth. Glory and praise will be His, peace will last forever. I'm looking forward to this. And, until then I am praying that His Light will be like the morning light in my life. It will rise up and shine brightly in my life and in the life of others.
Say That Again, Jesus, You are the Morning Light, You are dwelling in me, use me!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Pretty and The Ugly

Yesterday I worked at our ministry house. I have been packing up the kitchen and getting as much as I can in boxes. After seeing so many boxes, I decided I needed a change of scenery and went in search of one of my favorite chairs. I found it in the upstairs hallway. I carried it down and pushed it in the back of my Rover. Nice, perfect fit! This chair is old, and it's another piece of furniture that reminds me of my grandmother. It's not really even that nice looking, but to me it's pretty. Others have commented on how ugly it is; and I can see that there are elements of it that are ugly.  Still, I like it, I enjoy rocking in it, and I was pleased to see it fit in the back of my Rover.
In our study last night we looked at Matthew 4-6. It was good, and I enjoyed the discussion. This morning as I open my bible back to those chapters, the one I noticed the most is in chapter 4, verse 19:
"And He said to them, ' Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.'"

In our study, I marveled over the fact that when Jesus called Simon and Andrew to follow Him, they didn't hesitate. The Bible says that immediately, they left their nets and followed Him. They didn't have to discuss it, ask someone else if it was okay, or just sit and think about it. They heard His call, and off they went!  They were in for an adventure, too. Jesus stayed by their side and He really did make them fishers of men! He became their life, their focus, their sole desire. And, they wanted to share the fantastic news of Jesus with others. The Light of Jesus lifted them up, shone through them, and convicted thousands!
Life with Jesus is pretty, even in the ugly. He knows my history, and even with the ugly spots, He sees the pretty. He reminds me of His love all the time, and holds me in His everlasting arms. He does not abandon me, even when my life is ugly. I fit perfectly in His arms, through it all. He always sees the potential in me, and just like my chair, the pretty shines through because of Him!
My prayer is that Jesus will continue to make me a fisher of men as well. To imitate Him, speak of Him, live my life for Him. He is the focus, He is the One that makes it all happen, not me.  My job is to immediately obey when He calls. His beauty is always there, even through the ugly.
Say That Again, Jesus! You continue to call me, and I fit with You.  I will continue to obey!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Thief

As I drove into town this morning, I listened to one of my favorite albums and the song that penetrated my heart this morning was "No Thief Like Fear" by Jason Gray:

Fear will take the best of us
Then come back for the rest of us
Its raging hunger never satisfied
It’s closer than a brother
And more jealous than a lover
Who holds you while it swallows you alive
Let down your guard
And it will steal your heart

There’s no thief like fear, no
There’s no thief like fear, no
Oh oh oh oh oh oh

I’ve tried to blame bureaucracy
The weak-knees of hypocrisy
And the cruel and shifting winds of circumstance
But I know insecurity
Is the worst of my own enemies
He sings his lonely song and I will dance
As he robs me blind
Right before my eyes

There’s no thief like fear, no
There’s no thief like fear, no
Oh oh oh oh oh oh

Set me free, set me free
Oh my God set me free
From these chains holding me
Oh my God set me free

There’s no thief like fear, no
There’s no thief like fear, no
There’s no thief like fear, no
There’s no thief like fear, no
Oh oh oh oh oh oh

I am free, I am free
Oh my God has set me free
From these chains I am released
For my God has set me free

I am free, I am free
Oh my God has rescued me
From these chains I am released
For my God has set me free

As I reflect on my own life I see that the things I fear, or the people I have feared, this is what steals my joy! Fear can become such an incredible bondage that I it does feel like chains holding me. Pretty soon, I feel like I have been swallowed alive and my heart is gone! 
The Word of God says over and over again to not be afraid, yet fear still has an ugly way of creeping upon my heart and stealing areas. It is in times like this that I have to pray for rescue! I have to pray for life to be given back to me and joy infused in my very bones. He breaks the fear chain and sets me free with boldness and courage. 
It is amazing to me that by resting in Him, there is such a peace. It is also amazing to me how quickly I can get caught up in some other form of fear and I have to fall back in His arms and pray for rescue. 
Oh, Jesus, keep me captured in Your Hands today. Do not let fear steal a moment of my day, but keep me fully in Your presence. Say That Again to me and release every fear chain, so that my experience is freedom in You!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Blazing Light

Yesterday felt like a long and dark day to me.  There seemed to be one challenge after another, and by the time I got home I was tired.  This morning when I awoke, I opened the book of John in the new version called The Voice.  In chapter 1 verse 4 and 5 I read this:

"His breath filled all things with a living, breathing light-
A light that thrives in the depths of darkness, blazes through murky bottoms. It cannot and will not be quenched."

This morning I met with a friend for coffee and we were talking about the way the world we live in seemed to be going rapidly downhill, and it was encouraging to me to think of this verse. The light of God blazes through it all!
Yesterday, as I met several challenges with my family, and with myself, I needed to pray for His light to blaze through me. I still need that today. I need His Light to give me sound judgement, and good discernment. I need to be able to see in the murky bottom, and blaze through because of Him.
I continue to pray for God to carry me and my family through all that goes on in our lives. His plan works best, and I need His blazing light to see His plan. I need His Light to see truth today, and to step forward in Him.
Jesus, keep Your Blazing Light on me today. I need to see and I need Your warmth. Say That Again to me over and over, You will thrive in the depths of darkness and You will blaze through the murky bottoms. Praise God!