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Monday, October 31, 2011

Dress Up and Candy

I only like Halloween when the holiday falls on a Friday, Sunday, or Wednesday evening.  We always have plans on these evenings—plans that do not include dressing up and going door-to-door asking for candy. 

Eating candy and dressing up are not issues within themselves.  When my children were small, we had fun daily with dress up-pageant dresses and superman capes.  I think we scared the neighborhood and Wal-Mart most days, with our black and green lipstick, pageant dresses, capes, and underwear that became overwear.  Ha! Superman was in the house and the princess was always in need of rescue.

But Halloween itself, I can say, I hate the holiday.  I hate all it represents—darkness and evil.  I am reminded of 1 Thessalonians 5:22, “Abstain from every form of evil”.  I’ve struggled through each Halloween holiday questioning the correct approach for my family.  We have hit all extremes from participating to ignoring this holiday. I think I prefer to ignore and continue on with my daily life.  At least that works on Fridays, Wednesdays, and Sundays.  Mondays are little more challenging.

I believe each of us must live out our own convictions on how to handle this day.  I pray you have researched, sought the Lord, and are obedient to all He has called you to.  As for the Dilbeck’s, today will be a normal day and tomorrow we will hit Wal-mart for the discounted candy and eat till we are sick!

Horatio Spafford

I was reminded last night of the tragic story of Horatio Spafford.  Horatio wrote our hymn, "It Is Well With My Soul".  Horatio knew great tragedy and he knew our great God.  Clink on the link before to be taken to his story.

Books Books and more Books

I believe if I covet anything, it would be books and knowledge to understand God a little more.  Listed below are 6 books that have affected my heart.  If you enjoy reading, check these out!

In this compelling book, Daniel Akin walks believers through five key texts of Scripture, illustrating the truths contained therein by sharing biographies of five missionaries who changed the world through their dedication to the Great Commission. --- from the book cover.

In the muddle of day-to-day life, have you somehow forgotten that Christianity is a living, vibrant relationship with a personal God? In this classic bestseller and recipient of both the ECPA Gold and Platinum Book Awards, The Pursuit of God reminds and challenges you to renew your relationship with your loving God. In each of the 10 chapters, Tozer explains one aspect of hungering for God and ends with a prayer.

Taking his trademark intellectual approach to understanding Christianity, Keller uncovers the essential message of Jesus, locked inside his most familiar parable. Within that parable Jesus reveals God's prodigal grace toward both the irreligious and the moralistic. This book will challenge both the devout and skeptics to see Christianity in a whole new way.
Hailed by many as the best modern book on Christian spirituality, Celebration of Discipline explores the classic "Disciplines," or central spiritual practices, of the Christian faith. Along the way, Foster shows that it is only by and through these practices that the true path to spiritual growth can be found.

This best-selling tale is based on the biblical figures of David, Saul, and Absalom. For the many Christians who have experienced pain, loss, and heartache at the hands of other believers, this compelling story offers comfort, healing, and hope. Christian leaders and directors of religious movements throughout the world have recommended this simple, powerful, and beautiful story to their members and staff. You will want to join the thousands who have been profoundly touched by this incomparable story.
Take a fresh and creative look at a prophet's encounter with persistent grace! Reminding us that we serve a good, merciful, and surprising God, this powerful journey seeks to recapture the staggering effect Jonah's life story had on those who first encountered it. Discover just how relentlessly God pursues rebels---even when we keep resisting. 208 pages, hardcover from Crossway.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Psalm 112

I greatly enjoy time alone.  Time to work without interruption, time to read, study, pray, and journal.  I have a secret dwelling place where I long to sit and receive from the Lord.  In these secret places, I am safe, taught, corrected, and loved.  If I am not careful I can become a recluse and never step outside my safe little created world. 

God did not redeem us for the purpose of continually dwelling in our safe little world.  We are to be used by Redeemer’s hand.  God gives us in the quite His heart and we are commanded to go out among the hurting and dying with a message of hope. 

Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
Who delights greatly in
His commandments. Ps. 112:1

As I was reading Psalm 112 this morning, I was challenged with two questions, “Whom or what do I fear? And where do I delight?”  Do I fear God, apparently not, if I fear a bill not being paid or no food in my belly?  Do I fear God when I chose sin over crucifying my flesh?  Do I fear God when I chose to sit in my comfortable world, imitating the ostrich with his head stuck down in the sand?

What do I delight in?  I know I delight in God’s word but is this delight more than reading, memorizing, and studying?  If we delight in His commandments, should that not be obedience?  I delight in ice cream.  I like the packaging. The container looks nice in my freezer.  I can imagine what it would taste like as it passes over my tongue into the my stomach, but to delight greatly in the ice cream would be to pick up the spoon and shovel it into my mouth.  I think this is the same with delighting in God’s commandments…we must move outside of our self and obey.  To delight greatly is to obey His command. 

I see a trend in the Christian’s life, my life as well, to surround ourselves with people who look and smell just like us.  In an attempt to be holy we have isolated our self from the lost, hurting, and dying world.  God commands us to be salt and light, to delight in this command, we must obey. 

To love others with Jesus’ love is risky.  It may cause us rejection, pain, and suffering.  The mud in people’s lives will be wiped upon us as we begin to clean with the washcloth of the His word.   The fear of getting dirty should never keep us from being obedient to the Lord. 

I see 6 blessings in Psalm 112 that follow fearing the Lord and delighting in His commands.
1)     Our children and grandchildren will be mighty on the earth.
2)     Blessings
3)     Provisions
4)     Light in the darkness
5)     Gracious, full of compassion, and righteousness
6)     Hearts steadfast, trusting in the Lord. 

As I read on, I had a thought, in vs. 8, “His heart is established; He will not be afraid, until he sees his desire upon his enemies.”  My desire upon my enemy is to see them saved.  We are cleansed and declared righteous by the blood of Christ as we walk among the wicked sharing God’s love and His life. We will be honored and the wicked will see it and be grieved.  The desire of the wicked shall perish. Vs.10

These lost, hurting people will see our good works as we live and work among them and they will glorify the God of heaven.  God will bring redemption to their souls.  Yes, we will get dirty but God will clean us up again as we come back to our secret place.

Salvation Testimony

I'm sitting in my office reflecting on God's grace in my life.  I was introduced to the Lord Jesus 33 years ago, as a 14 year old girl. I did not attend church regularly as a child but I did attend church at times with friends.  I can say I loved church from an early age.  Walking through the doors I sensed something so very different  than what I experienced at my home.  My grandmother was a Christian, a good legalistic Southern Baptist, who prayed for me daily.  I am thankful for her prayers and I know the Lord is answering them in my life still today.  And Yes, I still LOVE the church, not the building, but the people who make up the kingdom of God.  Jesus died for the church-His bride and I am thankful to be a part of that!

 Back to my reflecting...I understood nothing about Jesus. I remember sitting in Sunday School and my teacher getting upset with me with all my questions.  She was speaking a foreign language and my mind was attempting to learn this new language. I continued attending with friends or some mornings I would walk.  I did love to be at church. That is funny to me because to this day I still love to be at church either alone with the Lord or in fellowship with other believers.  Let me say it again I LOVE Church!!

I remember the confusion in my mind as the Lord began to open my eyes to spiritual truths.  He used the light of His Word to till up my hard heart.  I knew I needed salvation and I desired heaven so I walked an isle and made a profession of faith.  I did what every good baptist girl should do, right?  I noticed changes beginning to happen in my heart they were so foreign to me.  Nobody told me I would change.  I remember resisting the change God was attempting to do.  I did not understand salvation was about a personal relationship with God.  I did not understand that He would begin to change/clean up my wicked heart from the inside out.  I was so resistant that I stopped attending church and became negative in my heart toward the church.

In this state I felt I would still gain access to heaven but God and His people had no right to tell me how I should live.  I had God and He was to stay tucked away in a little corner of my life until I was in a crisis.  When a crisis hit, like getting stopped for speeding or my boyfriend breaking up with me, I would call God over and ask Him to perform for me. He was my genie in a bottle.  When I called He was supposed to bow and say, Yes Master.  Well maybe at the time I could not express this idea but looking back on it I understand this was my mindset.  This is grieving to my heart today.  Please stop and look at your life.  I know there are many people who attend church week after week who are living and treating God in this same way.  Oh people may God open your eyes and heart. On with my story...

At age 17, Todd and I get married.  We lived in married student housing in Edmond, Oklahoma.  He went to school and worked in the paint department at Sears.  I worked at a bank on Lincoln Blvd.  We were known as the "Pro's" on Lincoln.  You must know OKC to understand this.  Todd and I did not attend church and God was stashed way back in the corner of my life.  Todd finished school and I became pregnant with our son Houston.  Something about having children changes you.  God was needed in my life a little more as this little one came the scene. 

Through work, I met a couple who befriended me and asked us to attend church with them.  Houston was a preschooler and we attended sporadically.  But God was working and drawing me back to Himself.  Todd was drinking more and more on the weekends, (His testimony is incredible and I will share that at a later time.) and I wanted a "normal" family that attended church together.  Appearance was so important to me and I still struggle at times with this today.

Soon Meagan was born and Todd came to know the Lord.  He was a radically changed man.  I wanted the appearance and the drinking to stop, not the life change to happen.  I was such a hindrance to Todd.  I was a Christian I knew you did not have to surrender and give up all for Christ.  It was fine to put Him in the corner and call Him when needed.  Todd did not buy into my line of thinking.  He was sold out and on fire.  I was stubborn and prideful.  I know there are many of you reading this who can relate.  I pray God uses this testimony to crush the pride in your life.

So for THREE years, I resisted the Holy Spirit's drawing.  I remember leaving church with a throbbing headache.  Pride is ugly and I was ugly on the inside and out.  As our little family was growing, we are attending church regularly and I soon learned to put on the mask and appear Christian.  I was miserable on the inside but was good at pretending all was well with my soul.  I had the questions and answers down.  I knew doctrine, how to lead someone to the Lord, and all the right answers.  But oh how I ached for peace.

I thought the solution to find peace would be to get very busy with church.  If I was busy serving maybe peace would come.  I began teaching preschool Sunday school and even enrolled in an evangelism class.  I stayed with the evangelism class until I had to write my testimony.  I realized I did not have one.  Walking an isle is not much of a testimony!  I dropped out of the class and focused on teaching preschool, my kids, and attending every function the church offered.  Busyness does not bring  peace and confusion was becoming a close friend as I struggled to learn how to live.  Questions hounded me..."What am I supposed to think".  "How am I supposed to act?"  "What is expected of me?"  "How am I supposed to treat my kids?"  "What is my life supposed to look like?"

I searched for these answers by watching family programs on TV.  I bought self help books. I became a people watcher.  I was grabbing at everything and anything to tell me how to live and yet I had too much pride to share my struggle with others. 

I remember coming home and praying or saying the "sinners prayer" several times  every night.  I wanted peace but I did not want anyone to know I did not have it.  I wondered why God was not performing for me.  Where was He?  Was He real?  Confusion and panic began to set in.  I was miserable.  By the way being miserable is a great place to be.  You must be broken before you can come to God. 

One women's retreat, I decided to lay my pride aside and walk the isle again.  I visited with a counselor, prayed the prayer, and was baptised for a second time.  Guess what?  My pride was broken down but the peace did not come.  I was angry.  I wanted peace and God was not giving it to me.  Was the peace not found at the end of the isle??  NO, peace is found in the person of Jesus and is discovered through His word. 

I know this is long but please bare with me for you must hear.  I was at a place of desperation.  If God did not move in my life I was hopeless.  I remember grabbing my Bible and shaking it to the heavens.  This is comical now but I was angry at the time.  I said God, You promise peace, a purpose,a direction to live.  I want that!!  I am going to read Your word until You speak to me.  I am going to beg and plead on my knees until You break through.  I don't intend to leave You alone until You give me peace.  Whooo Hoooo, I did not know it at the time but that is exactly where God wanted me to be.

I sat with God's word, read, repented, cried, rejoiced and,oh my, God came.  He began once again to clean my heart, to show me His truth and give me His peace. I dd not resist this time. I cultivated a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  He exchanged my life for His.  I no longer stuffed Him in a corner of my life and called Him when needed.  He invaded my life and I was the one to bow before Him and say yes Lord. 

As time went on, Houston got sick and our church attendance and my relationship with the Lord Jesus was put on the back burner.  I needed Him to heal my son and that was my focus.  Now He was gracious and carried me through that time.  I learned of Him even more as I walked through this trial. 

Guys, God is good and He desires a personal relationship with You.  Head knowledge of Jesus will not work.  I am so thankful of His grace and His hand upon my life.  I am thankful He allowed my misery that caused me to cry out to Him.  I am thankful He never left my side.  I am thankful I can bow before Him today and serve Him with my whole heart.  I love Him so.  I love His church.  I love His word and I love His people.  My heart has a burden and a calling to minister to His people.

 Please stop playing church.  Jesus is worth so much more and you are missing a personal relationship with the Creator of the universe.  He is the only One who can give rest and peace to your soul.  Won't you love Him today!!

Friday, October 14, 2011


"God wills that we should push on into His presence
 and live our whole life there. 
 This is to be known to us in conscious experience. 
It is more than a doctrine to be held;
 it is a life to be enjoyed every moment of every day."
A.W. Tozer, "The Pursuit of God"

By far this is my favorite book that I have read.  I have the privilege of going through this book with a friend.  Chapter by chapter we are pulling out truths in which the Holy Spirit is bringing conviction, encouragement, and correction to our life.  I wanted to share a brief summary from Chapter 3.

As the veil separated the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle of God, our fallen, fleshly nature separates us from the presence of God in our daily living.  The veil in the tabernacle and the veil of our fallen nature was removed by the rending of Christ's body on the cross.  So the question is, "Why are we content to abide all our days outside the Holy of Holies?"  Why do we not enter in and look upon God? 

Tozer shares:
"It is because the veil of  our fallen fleshly nature living within us unjudged, uncrucified, and unrepudiated.  It is the close'woven veil of the self-life which we have never truly acknowledged, of which we have have been secretly ashamed, and which for these reason we have never brought to the judgment of the cross.  This veil is woven of the fine threads of the self-life, the hyphenated sins of the human spirit.  They are not something we do, they are something we are, and therein lies both their subtlety and their power. To be specific, the self-sins are self-righteousness, self-pity, self-confidence, self-sufficiency,  self-admiration, self-love, and a host of others like them. They dwell too deep within us and are too much a part of our natures to come to our attention till the light of God is focused upon them. Self is the opaque veil that hides the face of God from us.  It can be removed only in spiritual experiences, never by mere instruction.  We may as well try to instruct leprosy out of our system.  There must be a work of God in destruction before we are free.  We must invite the cross to do its deadly work within us.  We must bring our self-sins to the cross for judgement.  We must prepare ourselves for an ordeal of suffering in some measure like the that through which our Saviour passed when He suffered under Pontius Pilate. Let us be aware of tinkering with our inner life, hoping ourselves to rend the veil.  God must do everything for us.  Our part is to yield and trust.  We must confess, forsake, repudiate the self-life, and then reckon it crucified.  But we must be careful to distinguish lazy "acceptance" from the real work of God.  We must insist upon the work being done."

To be honest, I desire this.  I want to be taught in the secret by the wisdom of God to push through the veil of self-sins and look upon His face.  These are great thoughts and they can stir your heart up.  They can bring many Amens but unless you (me) are willing to endure the "flame of the fire" these are only words with emotion. I like the words/thoughts but to be honest, when I feel the heat, I tend to turn and run the other way.  The hard work of looking at my deep attitute of sin, acknowledging it openly before the Lord, and allowing Him to burn away the dross is painful. 

So the question I ask you and myself.  How desperate are we for God?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Secret Place

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty
Ps. 91:1

Can you remember, as a kid, your favorite place to hide?  I enjoyed sitting in a yard full of clovers at my grandmother's house.  It was so peaceful outside by myself alone with my thoughts.  I did not know the Lord at this time but I believe He was cultivating a heart that desires quietness and peace.  As I've come to know Him I discovered an intimacy of dwelling in a new secret place.  I no longer need to be alone with my thoughts.  I need to be alone with my Lord. 

I can think of two people God has placed in my life that I enjoy being in their presence.  I expect nothing from these two people except their time. I just enjoy being with them.  I let them share, talk, pour out their heart to me.  I enjoy the intimacy we have together.  I come away with their wisdom, attitudes, and their love.  It is easy for me to lay aside my fleshly desires to serve them. 

Last week, I attempted to enjoy God this way.  I desired to sit in His presence without asking anything from His hand.  Originally, I believed I did this quite well, but God in His mercy had some lessons for me. 

The first day was difficult.  I had no idea how greedy of a person I am.  In fact, I was so used to asking for things that it proved convicting and humbling for me.  One the second day, God gave me the picture of sitting in my friends presence and how He could be so much more of a friend to me. That was the picture I needed.  With humility, repentance, and great love I sat in His presence to enjoy His company.  I attempted to not ask for a thing but Him.  He is gracious.  He shared His heart.  He changed mine.  He shared His wisdom and imparted it to me.  He shared His love and told me to give it away.  He shared His attitude and told me to walk in it.  The intimacy I shared with Christ is mine.  Mine to have each and every moment of the day.  It is yours to have also.  But you must cultivate a relationship with Him.

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Ps. 16:11

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image form glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Cor. 3:18

And we have such trust through Christ toward God.  Not that we are sufficient of ourselves t think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers off the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit, for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Cor. 3:4-6

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


My heart is encouraged tonight so I thought I would borrow an idea from my friend's blog at .  Jennifer always lists things she is thankful for.  I am going to follow her lead, so here goes.

1) A husband who does what is right regardless of what it costs him.
2) Children who are walking in close fellowship with the Lord.
3) Laid back friends who teach me how to enjoy life and love God.
4) A flexible job where I can volunteer time in the church office.
5) A God who loves me and understands my quirkiness.
6) Unity and humility in my church family
7) Humility and openness in my pastor
8) A close group of Sunday School friends
9) Wednesday's
10) Unfinished projects

Yes, #10 is a new one for me.  But what I 've learned is to focus on things of eternal value.  I want to be intentional with my life and seek after those things that will last- God and souls.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Uniquely Created

Each of us are created unique by God.  He created our inmost being and knitted us together in our mother's womb. His eyes saw our unformed body and ordained all days for us before any of them came to be. He chose us in Christ before the world was even formed and this gave Him great pleasure.  He has gifted each of us differently and supplies all grace needed to walk in His giftedness.  He opens our eyes and gives us His spirit of wisdom to understand this giftedness, our great God, and our calling.  He places within us His power-His Spirit- to fulfill the good works He has prepared for us. God has a place for each of us in His family.  The work He has designed for us is as unique as we are. 

With these thoughts in mind, why do we tend to copy other's style of ministry? I listened to an online leadership conference last week.  It was very good with each pastor sharing his views, ideas, and helps of ministry.  There were many good practical things shared.  The one thing that stood out to me the most was the different styles of ministry and discipleship.  I focused in the discipleship time and noticed the extreme differences in each man's approach.  These extremes were as follows and there were balances in the middle.

1)Find a group of men specifically gifted in an specific area, say finances, and when you have a question go to them in your time of need.  This way you have many mentors and you do not use up their friendship. (I'm don't remember the exact words he used..but this is the meaning I received from this) and the next extreme:

2)Live  in community with each other.  Sharing your life on a daily basis. 

These are two great extremes and I hope they work for these men.  I tend to favor one and disagree with the other, but the point made is God created us differently, gifted us differently, and designed works for us differently.  I think the challenge comes to us in being confident in who we are in the Lord.  If we are confident in who we are in Christ, in what God has called us to do , and we walk that calling out in faith there is no need to copy others styles.  We can definitely receive help and ideas from others and we need others, but God created us differently... Walk in that difference!

Frederick Faber

The following words were spoken by Frederick Faber
and they are also the cry of my heart.  How about yours?

Only to sit and think of God
Oh what a joy it is!
To think the thought, to breathe the
Earth has no higher bliss.
Father of Jesus, love's reward!
What rapture it will be,
Prostrate before Thy throne to lie,
And gaze and gaze on Thee!

I love Thee so, I know not how
My transports to control;
Thy love is like a burning fire
Within my very soul.