Friday, November 30, 2012

The Christians

I've been slowly reading through the book of Acts. Even though I've read it many times, I still pick out lots of new gems, and this time it seems that I have learned many new things.  After the stoning of Stephen, the message of Jesus began to spread like wildfire, and the believers scattered because of persecution.  The Lord was working through many people, not just Jews!  The church in Jerusalem heard of this and they sent Barnabas to check it out.  When Barnabas arrived on the scene he recognized the grace of God working in the lives of these new Christians and he urged them to remain faithful to Jesus and maintain an enduring, unshakable devotion.
Barnabas himself was a good man, full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and many people were brought to the Lord through his words and his devotion and encouragement. It was with Barnabas and his work with Paul in Antioch that the term Christian was first used to identify disciples of Jesus!
It is my prayer that God will use me to encourage others to have an endurable, unshakable devotion. It is my prayer that I will have an endurable unshakable devotion deeply rooted within me, and be that example to others, the way Barnabas was. The Holy Spirit worked through him in miraculous ways, and thousands were saved. Christians were made!
Say That Again, Jesus, You work through Your people and develop endurable unshakable devotion!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Firm Foundation

I haven't been feeling the best the last few days, the flu caught up with me and sent me down fatigue lane. I've been going to bed before my eleven year old, and when I arise in the morning, I'm not always able to stay up, sometimes I go back to bed! If I have a chance, I nap during the day. My body has the aches and feels like its been run over by a big old truck. It hasn't been very fun.
Today, I am staying home. Hopefully, today I will sleep.
When I opened my bible this morning I read from Isaiah 40; it's one of my favorite chapters. Verses 10-12,  I especially love:

If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming victims, 
quit gossiping about other peoples sins, If you are generous with the hungry
and start giving yourselves to the down and out, 
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed  in sunlight.
I will always show you where to go.
I'll give you a full life in the emptiest of places-
firm muscles, strong bones.
You'll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. 
You'll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, 
rebuild the foundations from out of your past. 
You'll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, 
make the community livable again.

Sometimes, when I'm sick, it's harder to know that the sun will shine again. So, I have to read verses like this and focus on His promises, because He says the shadows will be bathed in sunlight and He will always show me where to go. He will bring firmness, and water, and He will fix everything through me.
Today is a day to rest under the shadow of His wing so I can be in His Light. Today is a day to rest so He can build and restore, and speak to me about the renovations to come.
Say That Again Jesus, You Are my Firm Foundation, the Restorer of my life, the Builder, Renovator, and the Life inside of me.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Big Birthday Football Game

We celebrated my son and my husbands birthday today. It was fun. We had almost the entire family here, we missed one daughter, who was sick.  When we asked our son what his wishes were for his birthday he said he wanted to have an energy drink (his first ever) and play foot ball all day! So, at 5:30 this morning he woke up and sat on the couch beside me drinking his energy drink. He liked it.

It was exciting to him when his brothers arrived and the game was on.

Our son is richly blessed with a lot of brothers, sweet sisters, and a great dad. He is growing so fast, and becoming a pretty cool big brother himself. Once again, God is reminding me of my blessings, and they are numerous, especially on birthdays and football days!
Say That Again, Jesus, You have blessed me with a great game of football!

The Boots for Two

My daughter in law and I ventured out in the crazy world of shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. We were not early birds like so many people, but rather more laid back with a leisurely cup of coffee first then a trip to the mall. We had a great time poking through little girl dresses and frilly things for my grand daughter.  And, enjoyed dreaming about sparkly shoes on our own feet.
We both have a love for boots,  but our budget right now does not allow us to treat ourselves with all the boots we desire. But, when we saw a pair of black lace up boots with soft supple leather and lined in fur, we came up with the perfect plan! Why not split the cost and share the boots? So, we did. She has the boots for two weeks, then it will be my turn, back and forth we will go! It'll be fun!
It brought a spark of joy to my day, and once again confirmation of how truly blessed I am. God blessed me with four wonderful sons and a sweet daughter. Now, I have three lovely daughter in laws to add to the mix, and yesterday He added boots! It was a bonus day.
I looked up joy this morning in my bible, and this is the first verse I came across, it seemed fitting for today:

More joy in one ordinary day than they get in all their shopping sprees.
Psalms 4:7

God walked around with us yesterday and He infused some joy into the day. He took me out of my normal busy day and gave me some one on one time with my daughter. It was a joyful, ordinary day in the mall!
God, Say That Again to me, You will bring more days of joy to me, ordinary days, boot days, sparkly shoe days, daughter days. You have promised, and You do what You say!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Grilled Thanksgiving Turkey

We were certain that our turkey would take at least 3 hours to grill, so we promptly got it on the barbecue in record time this morning. My husband kept a close eye on the temp and he continued to comment that the barbecue was not hot enough, so he decided to heat it up a bit. After about 2 hours I went outside to check on our turkey and much to my surprise our bird was totally done, perfect to be exact!  We were not ready for our turkey to be done!
I turned the burners down to warm and wrapped him up in foil, and hoped for the best.
When it was time for dinner and my son started to carve the turkey, he commented on how tender it was. When we started to eat it, there were plenty of comments on how good it was! Thankfully, the long wait on the grill did not dry it out.
We had a lovely Thanksgiving Day, with the perfect grilled Thanksgiving turkey. We had a delightful meal, great family and friends, and more memories created. It was a day full of blessing.
I am thankful for days like today. It reminds me of the verse in Colossians 2:7

Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness,

Jesus, Say That Again, You will grow my roots down into You and You will build  me deep into  You. Then my faith will be strong in Your truth, and I will overflow with thankfulness in You.

The Turkey in a Bucket

Our Turkey has been soaking in salt, sugar, lemons, oranges, rosemary and thyme, all night long. This results in a tender, flavorful turkey!
Every Thanksgiving I go through the process of looking for my recipes, trying to figure out what I do every year, and looking for a bucket big enough for the turkey. This year, our oven is smaller than what we have had in the past, so our bucket turkey gets to go on the barbecue. I'm wondering what else can go on the barbecue, brussels maybe?
I didn't have the greatest day yesterday, I felt like a turkey in a bucket. This morning as I was thinking about my turkey in a bucket dilemma, God whispered to me that He is still beside me, soaking me in His solution. He is working on me putting His flavor in me, making me tender, loving, and more like Him. Adding His salt, His sweetness, His fruit, all of His flavor. Sometimes, this process is not easy, there are times that this process gets, well, uncomfortable and scary. I don't like it. It's like being squished in a bucket, unable to breath. Yet, at the same time, there's the soft arms of Jesus around me encouraging me, prompting me, loving me. He sends His people to tell me I am loved.
This morning I read this verse in Psalms 91:4

His huge outstretched arms protect you-
under them you're perfectly safe;
His arms fend off all harm.
Fear nothing

Okay, so I'm in the bucket with the turkey. But, His arms are around me, even there. I have nothing to fear. I'm being salted, and sweetened, flavored for Him.
Say That Again, Jesus, You are in the bucket with me!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Day Before Thanksgiving

It's the day before Thanksgiving. The house is full of food. The kids are out of school. There are many hours of cooking stretched out before me---stuffing, turkey, potatoes and yams.  In the morning, family and friends are due to arrive and contribute to the cooking frenzy.
This year, we plan to barbecue our turkey on the grill outside. I think it will be a great adventure. First, I plan to brine it with lemons, oranges, and herbs.  My daughter in law will roast the brussel sprouts and make pumpkin cheese cake. My husband and son always make a broccoli dish. Thanksgiving is a great family and friend day, and I'm thankful for the love God has brought into my life.
Jesus, thank you for the gift of family and friends. Thank you that you give us opportunities to be together and to love each other. Thank you for feeding us. You delight in us and take pleasure in Your children, giving them good things, thank you.
Say That Again,  You delight in me, You love me! Jesus, I thank You.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Shock Collar

This morning Fur Ball and I went down stairs for our morning work out. I on the treadmill, and he out the back door.  I put his collar on him as I always do, but this time I must not have had it as snug as usual because he wandered off and didn't come in the house when my husband called him. When I went to look for him he was nowhere to be found. I was not happy with him at all. I did not stray very far from home, but when I called for Fur Ball, he did not come. Finally, after I had returned back home, Fur Ball showed up. My husband adjusted his collar.
Later, Fur Ball went back outside and tested his boundaries. We heard some serious yelping. I ran to see how he was and by the time I got to the front door, Fur Ball was there, waiting to come back in the house. He kept looking at his collar as if something was seriously wrong! I tried to explain to him that this is what a consequence looks like, but he just wanted to sulk on the couch for awhile. Poor Fur Ball. His life will never be the same.
This is learning the hard way. I know I have had to learn many things the hard way. Learning by experience. It's the long road. The rebel road. The road the prodigal son took. It can be a tough road, but so full, and certainly not boring.
I think Jesus walked a rebel road. He went against all odds and loved when it seemed impossible to love. He had faith when it seemed faith was impossible and hoped against all hope. He forgave sins that seemed unforgivable. He looked at the law, and said that He had come to abolish it! He tested the boundaries and I think it was shocking.
Jesus, You are a shocking God. Everything you do and all that You stand for. Say That Again, and enable me to be as shocking as You are!

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Twisted Path

This morning in the Sarah Young devotional it said this:

"As you look at the day before you, you see a twisted, complicated path, with branches going off in all directions."

There have been days that I have considered the path I'm on to be twisted and complicated! I have always had to come back to the truth that even if it feels that way, His Light will show me the way. It may appear to be maze like, but God knows.
It's like one of the songs I listened to yesterday and there was a phrase that grabbed me: "Your future is my memory." God knows every twist in the path. To Him, it is not complicated, He knows the way, because He is the Way! He knows exactly how to walk life and lead the Way for me.
Say That Again, Jesus, this twisted path belongs to You. Light it up!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Wind of His Spirit

The Wind of the Spirit was mentioned to me a few days ago, and I've been thinking a lot about that. What does the wind of His Spirit feel like in my life?  Then, today, as I was driving I listened to a song by Casting Crowns called Spirit Wind. They sing about the dead bones growing flesh and coming to life, because the Spirit Wind is blowing through them.  Then, I started to think about some of the dead dry bones in my life, and how the Spirit Wind has blown through me and given me new life, revival. Sometimes the Wind is a soft gentle breeze and the lies I may have believed are softly blown away, slowly and gradually. Other times the Wind comes like a hurricane and whips though my life, bringing revival to areas where the lies I've believed have killed me!
In the Sarah Young devotional today I read this:

"Thank me continually for the amazing gift of my Spirit within you."

"Ah! The amazing Spirit that blows within, just like the wind. Blows out the old, and blows in the new. Only The Wind of His Spirit can do something this amazing!
Ezekiel knew all about this wind:

God grabbed me. God's Spirit took me up and sat me down in the middle of an open plain strewn with bones. he led me around and among them-a lot of bones! There were bones all over the plain--dry bones, bleached by the sun. He said to me, 'Son of man, can these bones live?' I said, ' Master,GOD, only you know that.' He said to me, 'Prophesy over these bones: dry bones, listen to the Message of GOD!'
GOD, the Master, told the dry bones. 'Watch this: I'm bringing the breath of life to you and you'll come to life. I'll attach sinews to you, put meat on your bones, cover you with skin, and breathe life into you. You'll come alive and you'll realize that I am GOD!' 
I prophesied just as I'd been commanded. As I prophesied there was a sound and, oh, a rustling! The bones moved and came together, bone to bone. I kept watching. Sinews formed, then muscles on the bones, then skin stretched over them. But, they had no breath in them.
He said to me, ' Prophesy to the breath, Prophesy, son of man. Tell the breath, GOD, the Master, Says ' Come from the four winds. Com, breath. Breathe on these slain bodies, Breathe life!'"

Is God grabbing you? Is His Spirit Wind moving through you and breathing life into the dead dry areas of your life? Is He rustling like the wind, and giving you new muscle and skin?
Ah, the amazing gift of the Spirit Wind!
Say That Again, Lord God, breath you Spirit Wind in me!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Powerful

There's been a couple of words on my mind this morning, powerful and powerless. If I take them both before God, I know right away that He is all Powerful. He is King of Kings, the Mighty One.  There's a sign in our bedroom with this verse:

And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9

So, to be powerful, I must be powerless?  For the only way He can work through me is if I give up all power. Not that I had any power in the first place!  The less I am in the picture, the more He works.  His grace covers me, and the power of His Spirit bubbles up from within and there is strength.
Say That Again Jesus, as I am powerless, Your power overtakes me!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Dinner Party

Last night we had a crowd of friends for dinner, it was fun. There was a rousing game of fuse ball, and our grand daughter walked off the table again in her walk of faith. The guys sat outside around the fire pit, even though it was only 18 degrees outside.  The kids ran through out the house playing swords. The women visited in the living and laughed about good times shared. I felt blessed to have  these friends help us move into our home, and blessed to have them come share food with us. I am blessed to have them in my life.
I don't always understand the fullness of God's blessings. God brings a richness to my life that I am not always able to fully  grasp. But, still He brings them, and for that I am deeply thankful.
Jesus, Say That Again to me, You have richly blessed me with people that love me, thank you!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Glove

I keep my gloves in my purse, so at anytime I can slip them on if my hands get cold. These are my favorite gloves, not because they have the peace sign, but because my daughter in-law gave them to me.
Yesterday, Fur Ball stuck his nose in my purse and took out one of my gloves. He then proceeded to carry it downstairs to the couch where he discreetly chewed it up. Then, when he had finished, he left it laying there for me to find. When I found it, and saw that he had done a marvelous job of chewing it up, I was not happy with him at all.
I found some thread and a needle and started binding up the rip, working to put together my glove in a somewhat usable fashion. If you look closely at the picture, my repair job is evident. I wore the gloves yesterday afternoon and as I was inspecting my sewing, it reminded me of God's handiwork with my heart. He binds up the brokenhearted, and makes them whole again. This verse, which has been an all time favorite of mine continued to come to mind:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted. to proclaim liberty to the captives, and freedom to prisoners. Isaiah 61:1

Because of the world I live in, I have had experiences that break my heart, hold me captive, and imprison me. But, just like I scooped up my glove and repaired the brokenness, Jesus rescues me and binds up the brokenhearted places inside of me. He releases and frees! He does it because He loves me.
Say That Again, Anointed Savior, You bind up the brokenhearted!

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Morning Slide

My kids were very excited to wake up to snow this morning. The first thing they did was get on their snow pants and coats and head out to the hill with their sleds. Fur Ball was fascinated with the cold wet stuff as well and had a great time chasing them down the hill. Winter has officially made an appearance at our house, it's time to stay inside for me!  It is cold, and currently snowing some more.
I am happy that my children love to play in the snow and they create many good memories of times they have played for hours in the snow. It's a good thing. It reminds me of hot chocolate, chili, and sugar cookies! And, this year, I will enjoy some time by the fireplace, listening to the crackle of wood burn, and the laughter of my children playing in the snow.
When I saw the snow this morning, I thought of this verse:

"Come now and let us reason together," says the Lord, "though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool."

I love how He seeks to reason with me. I love His promise that even though my sins are as scarlet, He has me covered, and because of Him I am white as snow. And, because of what He has done for me, He warms my soul!
Say That Again, Jesus, as I see the snow today. Remind me many times of Your merciful gifts to me!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Genius

This morning I read a quote from Albert Einstein:

everybody is a genius.
but if you judge a fish 
by its ability to climb a tree
it will live its whole life believing 
that it is stupid.

We each have amazing gifts that God has blessed us with. Yet, there have been so many times that I have not fit into someone else's box, and consequently, I've been judged.  I have done the same thing to others, and because of it, I missed seeing their amazing gifts and talents. Or, I've been occupied with trying to be a particular way so I avoid judgement of others, or avoid judging myself too harshly.
Today, I want to remember that through Jesus I am justified. He is the only One that can judge me, because He knows my heart. He created me to be a genius through Him, alive and breathing in His fullness. He has gifted me with His Spirit, which in turn gives me the ability to please Him and to further His Kingdom.
Say That Again, Jesus, You create beauty and genius, and give abilities in unique ways. Keep me from judging those unique ways in others, and myself!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Wings of an Eagle

My son and husband recently went to a scout event and while they were all standing around the flag pole, an eagle flew overhead, wings wide and graceful.  When they arrived home that evening it was one of the first things they told me about their day.
I've thought of their story several times since then. The beauty of the eagle in the sky, the broadness of his wings, the strength and endurance. God has gifted him with flight, and He has done the same for me.

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary. And to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths 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 an eagle. They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not become weary."  Isaiah 40: 28-31

Say That Again, Lord God! Today I need Your strength and power. Today I need to mount up with wings like an eagle!

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Maple Syrup,

Yesterday morning as I walked by the basement door I noticed a big puddle of something. At first, I thought that Fur Ball had mistaken the hallway for the bathroom, but upon further investigation I saw that it was the jug of maple syrup that had spilled all over the floor! The jug was waiting to be taken downstairs, but instead got bulldozed over by a sack of potatoes. Well, needless to say, I had a very sticky situation on my hands, a big one!
After a couple of wet rags and several paper towels, the puddle decreased. But, the sticky was still there. I washed it down with a wet rag, over and over again.
This morning, I checked the maple syrup spot on the floor and discovered that there are areas that are still sticky! And, to add to that, there's maple smell.
Last night and this morning I read Psalms 91:

You sit down in the High God's presence, spend the night in Shaddai's shadow, Say this, "God, you're my refuge. I trust in you and I'm safe!" 
That's right-he rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you-under them you're safe; his arms fend off all harm. 
Fear nothing-not the wolves in the night, not flying arrows in the day.

I have thought about the maple syrup incident, and how it it similar to my life. I spill sticky situations all over the place, God leads me through them, cleans me up. Sometimes, I keep going back to the same spot and it's still sticky, even smelly. But, God's presence is always with me. He even walks with me through the sticky stuff and He keeps His arms outstretched around me to protect me. With each step of trust, I stick more to him than the situation. Sarah Young said it well yesterday:

When you don't know what to do, wait while I open the way before you. Trust that I know what I'm doing, and be ready to follow my lead. I will give strength to you and I will bless you with peace.

Say That Again, Jesus, steps of trust in You bring rescue, strength, and peace. You are mighty!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Two Rooms

This morning I watched John Lynch preach about the two rooms. The room of pleasing God, and the room of Grace.
I need grace today, lots of it. And, I bet you do too!
Jesus, Say That Again, You are the God of grace, and I wish to reside in the room of grace.
The Grace

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Rejoicers

This morning I continued reading in Acts. In chapter 5 it tells how the Apostles preached about Jesus everywhere they went and all the time.  The High priest was getting annoyed by this behavior, and when Peter and the others were brought before the high council he was asked by the high priest why he insisted on preaching in the name of Jesus when he had been given strict orders to stop?
Peter made it very clear to the council that he would choose to obey God over men, therefore he would continue to preach the Good News of Jesus!  The council did not take kindly to Peter's answer, but decided that this whole thing was more than likely a phase and it would pass. So, they decided to have Peter and the others flogged and then sent them on their way.
As the apostles left the council, they were not discouraged! But, rather, they were rejoicing.  To them it was a joy to be considered worthy to suffer disgrace for the sake of Jesus! So, they just kept on teaching in the name of Jesus, their Liberating King!
I asked myself what I would do? Whipped, abused, tortured, would I remain in a place of joy and continue to proclaim the name of Jesus?  Would I rejoice because of my suffering in His name? There are many believers throughout the world that face daily pressure to renounce their faith, but instead they boldly  remain faithful despite the persecution. Would I do the same?
Today, I am praying for the spirit to rejoice through me. I am praying for His name to be prominent upon my lips, and His boldness to be sure.
Say That Again, Jesus, You rejoice in Your Father, and I rejoice in You!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Lofty Goal

The Sarah Young devotional was read to me today and, for this day, it was perfect for me. In my life, I have several goals that I would like to meet. Sometimes, I do not always meet them at the time I think I should meet them, and when that happens, I tend to get discouraged. Today, was one of the days that felt discouraging, because it seemed that none of my goals were being met. Then, someone offered to read the devotional to me, let me share some highlights:

"Do not be discouraged by the difficulty of keeping your focus on Me. I know that your heart's desire is to be aware of My Presence continually. This is a lofty goal; you aim toward it but never fully achieve it in this life....
When you realize that your mind wandered away from Me, don't be alarmed or surprised. You live in a world that has been rigged to distract you. Each time you plow your way through the massive distractions to communicate with Me, you achieve a victory. Rejoice in these tiny triumphs, and they will increasingly light up your days."

Today, I want to remember that Jesus wants relationship with me. That is His goal! Every time I cry out to Him, praise Him, rejoice over His blessings, I am striving towards His goal, and that is lofty!
Say That Again, Lord Jesus, King of Kings, You have a lofty goal for me, and that is relationship with You in all things!