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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Things Learned In A Can Of Spinach!

Canning/processing is a method that applies heat to food in a canning jar to stop the natural spoilage that would otherwise take place, and removes air from the jar to create a seal.  God allows circumstances in our lives as well to stop the spoilage that would naturally happen through our sin and fleshly desires.  Listed below are some things I have learned as I have gone through this canning process in the Spinach Capital of the world.
Unmet expectations will kill you
Love people at all cost and push through things that appear uncomfortable
Only God can satisfy the deep longings within soul. Things (money, house, spouse, children, job, etc) will always fall short.
Entitlement has become precedent in our lives
Material has a deep root even in poverty and government assistance
That I LOVE my family, children, and husband
Time alone is awesome and weekends are even better
No need to pretend to be perfect
I have a love/hate relationship with people (this is not new but I’ve realized it more)
I love to do ministry
I am a terrible secretary but I love to pray
Losing does not mean failing
How to encourage others and point them to Jesus
I’ve learned to enjoy a women’s Sunday School class
To worship in pain and happiness
God really is enough
Freedom in being myself and embracing my differentness
People hunt and fish to put food on the table
Camo is not just a fashion statement
God is real and sovereign and His way is perfect
God does not answer prayers the way I think should happen and I’m ok with that
The IPhone is a fun thing
Social media is awesome
Enjoy learning to blog and write
Empty nest is awesome and having adult children is freeing
Influence goes further than I could ever imagine
Having more things, more stuff, and, more money is not fulfilling
People extend grace and love to me in spite of myself
I’ve seen kids be hungry and go without shoes and clothing
I am blessed and privileged above measure
To not to be scared of emotion and a hurting heart
To embrace emotional pain with the Lord and learn to share it with the hope of helping others
To enjoy the beauty of this great state and to see God in details
And last but not least my favorite people are English teachers!!

Thank you Alma, it has been a ride or should I saw a process.  The heat has been turned up and the natural spoilage has been slowed all due to our great God and your amazing love.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Relentless Pursuit

I purchased a new Bible study today on the life of Jonah.  Many of you remember we spend two years in Sunday School studying the book of Jonah.  Well, to be honest I can't get enough of him.  This will be my third book to read regarding his life.  This small book of four chapters shares so much in the life of a believer.  It is a picture of rebellion, grace, mercy and salvation.
 It is a picture of Christ as He cast Himself into the sea of His own wrath, entering the bowel of death for three days,so we could be saved.  It is a merciful story of How God relentlessly pursues those He loves. 

So let's get started, shall we...I want to give you a small bite of Jonah as God PREPARES the fish to save Him. 

The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.

There is much history and truth in this first verse that I'm struggling to condense it to my thoughts for this blog.  But here goes...God gave Jonah a word to share with a lost nation, with a people whom were the enemy of Israel, to a people who were the enemy of Jonah.  He gave Him a simple message GO and share my love and truth. But Jonah refused because he believed God was being unfair.  Jonah really thought he knew more than God.  Friends, we may not verbalise it but when we are disobedient we are saying the same thing.  God, my way is better.  You do not know what you are doing.  Not only are we Jonah in this story but we are also Nineveh.  We are the ones so wicked that no one could fathom why, or how, God would show mercy on us.

We see Jonah ran away from the Lord.  Somethings we physically run away from the presence of the Lord as well but most often we run away in our hearts. We distance ourselves from God and His word, from His people, from His will.  I see this truth in my self and as I was studying this lesson God graciously reminded me that even today, now, I am running.  You see, we are moving.  We are moving out of Alma and going to another state.  We are moving away from people I love and care so deeply for.  We are moving away from friends that I have grown to love as family. 

We see Jonah running.  He went DOWN to Joppa.  He went DOWN in the ship and later we learn that he went Down to sleep.  Jonah went down in his running.  I tend to hide emotionally in mine. God has given us all a ministry of reconciliation.  We all have a story and God intends us to share that God story with others.  He has called each of us to ministers of His new covenant.  He has called me to do a specific ministry at Southside.  Yet, I find now that we will be leaving I want to hide.  It is so much easier to stay home and not deal with emotion.  It is easier to hide out in my self protection than to get close to others.  It is easier to do my own will instead of God's. Even Monday, I had a fit and throw my fist at God, telling Him never to ask me to do ministry again.  Yep..I did and I seem to run and quit in my heart daily. I am positive though that God is not finished with me here in Alma.  There are other lives that need to hear my God story and there are others whose stories I desperately need to hear.  Friends, we need each other even if there is pain on the horizon.  I don't need to come up with an empty escape plan filled with false promises of fulfillment.  I need to stay obedient to what God has called me here to do.  I am here until the selling of my home.  Pain is coming and God's grace will be available for that at that specific time.

Not back to Jonah...God sent a great storm. This storm was not sent because God was angry at Jonah.  Nope, it was sent because God loved Jonah!  This storm was an act of mercy not only to get Jonah's attention but the sailors as well.

Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.
But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.”
Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?”
He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.
10 This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.)
11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”
12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”
13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. 14 Then they cried out to the Lord, “Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.” 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. 16 At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.

Long story short...God used Jonah's rebellion to bring salvation to the sailors.  It is also funny to me that the pagan sailors had more fear of the one true God and respect of others lives than Jonah did.  The sailors were concerned for Jonah and did not want to toss him over into the sea, yet Jonah had no regard for these sailors as he chose to run from God. As God was getting Jonah attention with the storm these men were in danger of the winds and the damage to the boat.  Our disobedience ALWAYS affects others.

We see God in His graciousness and mercy prepare a fish for Jonah.  This fish that swallowed Jonah was not an afterthought.  It was not punishment it was a provision for a rebellious man.  This fish was prepared to house Jonah and protect him from the sea.  There are symbolism here as well regarding Christ in the bowels of death for three days. 

But in short the book of Jonah is a story of God's plan to reconcile people of all nations to Himself.  This story is about God who loves His rebellious children and is relentlessly pursuing them to bring them back to Himself.  What a gracious and loving God. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013


This blog post is to share some of my favorite twitter quotes  I have over 5000 tweets so more will be coming in a few days.  Maybe one day I will expound these thoughts by writing a blog about them.  I hope you enjoy.

The Bachelorette/Bachelor is part of why America's marriages suck! Our culture sets us up for divorce. Youthpastoroops (I added the word Bachelor to this quote)

A true Christian friend will not stand by and watch you destroy yourself by some obvious disobedience to God. He will say something in love. Ken Raggio

Don't expect people to be perfect but look for a repenting heart that loves Jesus! These kind of people make the best leaders!!

A successful leader knows his limitations and surrounds himself with people who make up for his limitations and then empowers them

The things we think about, focus on, and surround ourselves with will shape who we become. Godloved

How many red flags must God continue to wave before He allows our stubbornness and circumstances to become our discipline?

In ministry confusion comes when we sympathize with others. We need to step outside of emotion to see the truth

It takes time and the Holy Spirit to get truth from our head to our heart!

Prayer will become more effective when we stop using it as a substitute for obedience.  Jimmy Tanner

The heart is the steering wheel of every person. Everything we do is shaped and controlled by what our heart desires. Tripp

Don’t let someone change who you are, to become what they need. ihatequotes

As believers we need each other. God created us to do life together, to work together, to hold each other accountable , and to encourage.

We have enough grace for today and mercies begin fresh in the morning. He is faithful

True acceptance is always without demands and expectations. Jimmy Tanner

The gospel applies daily to us as believers. We must preach the gospel to ourselves

When you allow one area if your life outside of God's control the other areas follow.

I'd rather be hurt by than flattered/deceived by a lie. Truth sets free. Truth perseveres. Truth is love! AW Matthews

Trying to be something that you are not to please another is bondage. Freedom comes in being who God created you to be!

Maybe a wife does have the right answer but a husband beat down & Insecure can never love you the way you desire. Lift up the men in ur life

There is a time to open your mouth and a time to keep it shut. Wisdom knows the difference

When you are not feeling particularly friendly…put on a friendly manner and behave as if you were a nicer person than you actually are.... CS Lewis

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Comfort In Time of Need

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4
who comforts us in all our tribulation,
that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble,
with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Whom do you turn to when you find yourself in a time of need?  Some days my heart seems full of fear and anxiety.  I am not sure what brings on this discomfort to my soul but I did know where I could find peace.  God is our true source of comfort.  He is the one who comes along aside of us to help. 
I will pray to the Father, and He will give you another Helper (comforter),
 that He may abide with you forever. John 14:16
This Helper/Comforter is the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit lives in each believer.  We have the same power living in us that raised Christ from the dead Eph. 1:19.
Many times we want a life of comfort and ease.  When tribulation, crushing pressure, something to weaken us, resist or confine our ministry, or even crush out our life, God is there and He understands.

The word comfort in this passage does not mean a life of safety and ease.  The word means someone to come along side of.  You see when we walk through a difficult time.  Jesus walks with us.  He bring His very presence and in that sense that is all we need.

Sleepless Nights

Since I can't sleep and I'm blowing up twitter I thought I had better blog.  I might keep followers that way. 

My thoughts tonight have been on the topic of love.  I've thought of God's love to me and how that love overflows to others.  Many many people have come to my mind tonight as I lay awake. There are so many of you who have allowed me to pour my life into you and love you deeply. Many of you have poured your life into mine as well.  Many of you have extended grace to me when I deserved judgment. Many of you have stood in the gap when I would not listen. I am so thankful for that! I am thankful and rejoicing in some difficulties as well.   Days of children going off into rebellion.  Days of not knowing how to handle situations.  Days of wonder, do we cut all ties or do we extend unconditional love.  Do we continue pouring out into lives even if those lives are refusing to listen or living in rebellion.  My flesh usually bows up in pride knowing I am right and you had better listen but God's love always softens that hard heart of mine.  Love conquers.  Yes, I personally know this to be true. It may take years but I believe you can never go wrong with love.  Two words that bring great peace when I am uncertain on how to handle a situation-Follow Christ.  Search the word to see how He handled situations and difficult people.  Be still and worship in your confusion. Trust God even when you don't understand. He had righteous anger and love.  It may be difficult to know which emotion to hang on to-anger or love, for my family it was love that conquered. 

I am thankful for a God who did not give up on me.  His grace was poured out and His hand of love extended even in my rebellion.  He overcame my sinful rebellion heart with His amazing grace and extended love.  I've struggled.  I've wondered and know I know my answer is love.

Allow God's love to overcome you today and pour that love out to others. God's love is not just for you. Blessing come when that love is broken and poured out.

Sorry about all the tweets tonight and  I know this is not my normal blog style but I feel the Lord has spoken and I chose to follow Him.

Friday, July 19, 2013


I have so many why questions running through my mind.  They might be selfish questions but they are questions anyway.  Here goes...

Why do I do the things I do?
Why do I pour out into others live?
Why do I feel like no one pours into my life?
Why do I carry burdens that are not mine?
Why do I care so much?
Why am I introverted?
Why do I need time to myself,
Why do I run?
Why do I complain?
Why do I isolate myself?
Who do I put myself in places to be emotionally hurt?
Who do I care?
Why Why Why?

Selfish questions, maybe?  I do think one of the answers is this.  I am to be obedient to the Lord regardless of the outcome and response of another.  Why is this so difficult?  I think because we want glory and honor for ourselves.  Sin runs deep.  The enemy is relentless in discouragement.  He knows right where we lust and that is the area he bring temptation.  When we have fallen into that temptation and sin-he brings condemnation and discouragement.  Many times we believe and wallow in defeat. 
For me anyway, it comes back to being obedient.  I do what I do because I love the Lord.  I pour out in other's lives because He has poured out in mine.  I can only give out what He gives to me.  When I don't see the changes or results I desire, for some reason I think I need to pray harder or do more. If I don't pray this situation will get worse.  It is all about me and my prayer. (Sarcasm)  Really, what is the purpose of prayer? What is the purpose of our life?  Getting back to basic here- we are but a worm and a great sinner.  Our life is a vapor and we are just passing through.  This life is about Jesus, His glory, and Him alone.  Prayer is about worship, getting to know the King, surrendering ourselves to His will.  In prayer we don't change God's mind and conform Him to our will.  We worship Him and He changes our heart to His.  He conforms us to His image.  That is the goal of this Christian life.  Jesus is making us like Him.  Sometimes I get caught up in a problem or burden and I lose sight of Christ in praying for or through the situation.  In some sense I feel it is my responsibility to pray or the situation will because worse and out of God's control.  I don't consciously think this way but in reality I find myself here.

I find myself miserable.  I can't sleep, I eat everything in sight.  I'm undisciplined and I am going through the motions.  It seems everything I say is wrong in the sight of others and I find myself sitting in criticism.  I am not complaining here.  I see this as incredible mercy.  Otherwise I would continue going in my own direction.  If I was not miserable, I would never look up.  I am too self sufficient for that. 

So I am sitting in mercy today. Writing this blog has helped.  I will share with you because I don't believe I am alone in this struggle of control.  I believe some of you struggle as well and maybe you do not know the reason of your misery. 

We serve a good God, who will not allow us to continue going in our own direction.  Many times we think direction is a physical thing but with me it is always a way of thinking.  Sin always begins in our thoughts.  Once we believe a lie with our mind, our hearts grab onto the thought and our feet carry it out.  What incredible mercy for God to make us miserable before our feet carry out our plans. 

The answer is simple..coming to the end of our self.  Crying out for mercy and waiting for Him to bring His presence.  God does not turn away a humble heart. 

He gives each of us a gift and we are to use those gifts.  He has given me the gift of discernment and encouragement.  I love using my gifts.  I love pouring out on others and seeing them succeed..  What incredible joy that is!  What a joy to see the Lord being glorified in another life.  What privilege to see potential in another and point them in that direction.  What a thrill beyond understanding to see them glorying God and walking with Him.  That is shouting to my soul! 

I get discouraged when I start believing I am responsible for this situation.  What a lie from the enemy and what a weakness in my flesh.  We are responsible for nothing except our humble relationship with the Lord. 

The LORD your God is in your midst, the Mighty One, will save.  He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

Can you rest in that today?  I know I can! 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Tragedy and Forgiveness

"How do Jesus' words and actions on the cross encourage and challenge my own forgiveness of others?" 
"Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do." Luke 23:34
This has been a very difficult week of tragedy in the United States.  People have hidden in their homes as law enforcement officers search for dangerous criminals.  There have been explosions, gun fire, murders in neighborhoods and in public places. The shocking events we have seen played out on television have been in our own back yards. My heart breaks as I am reminded of the people killed in the OKC bombing and the terrorist attacks in New York on 9/11.  I cry when I remember the children killed in the safety of their classrooms. People have gone crazy and are doing some evil things to others.  These tragedies make me sick.  We cry out for justice and rightly so.  God has appointed law enforcement officers to capture and punish criminals who break our laws.  "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God (Romans 13:1-2)."  I am thankful for these men and women who sacrifice their lives as an authority from God to execute wrath on him who practices evil (Romans 13:4).  Yes, I am thankful justice will be done.
These tragic situations leave us with many heartbroken and hurting families, families who have lost children, spouse, and friends.  Families who must continue to live in a whole new capacity.  Families who are experiencing grief, pain, anger, and hatred toward the individuals who have committed the crimes against children and their families. I wonder how do these people continue forward?  I believe the only hope is to look at the words of Christ upon the cross.
"Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do."
None of us are immune to tragedy.  We lose our jobs.  Our children get sick and die.  We are mocked and make fun of.  We are judged for doing right and we are judged for doing wrong.  We are betrayed by close friends and rejected by others.  We allow our hearts to be vulnerable to love and we hurt deeply when things go a different direction then we hoped.  We are a people living in a fallen world.  How do we survive.  Do we have One who can lift our heads?

When tragedy hits in any form it leaves us in a prison.  It is a prison of emotional and/or physical hurts.  This prison is a cold concrete cell.  We lay naked upon the concrete floor with a broken and hemorrhaging heart.  The enemy stands outside the bars to throw insults and accusations toward us.  We lay and look outside the walls to see others who seem to be doing evil and yet received all the blessings this world has to offer.  We are jealous, angry, self-centered, and hurt. We shake our fists at God and wonder why?  We strike out in our thoughts, words, and actions toward others. Where/who do we turn to when we are in prison? "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do"  This was prayed for you and me as well.

Jesus is to be our example.  Let us look to Him. Jesus was stripped naked.  He was beaten. He was emotional abused.  He was ridiculed.  He was mocked. He was shunned. His possessions were gambled away. He was blasphemed.  People would stop stare at the cross wagging their heads saying, "You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself!  If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross."  Jesus was misunderstood.  Yet, His words to the crowds, to the soldiers, to His abusers, and to us was, "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do." 
Father, forgive them.  Jesus is more than an example to the believer.  He gives us His very life.  We have the Holy Spirit, the comforter, living within us.  We have the same power running through our veins that raised Christ from the dead (Eph. 1:19-20).  We are not left as orphans with a list of rules to obey.  Forgiveness and obedience  is impossible outside of the Holy Spirit. 
I believe our one job as a believer is to believe/trust Christ.  We have two choices as we lay in our prison cell.  We can wallow in our self-pity or we cry out to God through the compassion of Christ.  We are yet hopeless unless God moves in His mercy to allow us to forgive those who have sinned against us.  Forgiveness is the key to opening the prison gate.  Really, forgiveness is the key to demolishing the prison walls.  Forgiveness is the key to hope, peace, and healing in your heart.  We need forgiveness from God and we need to extend that forgiveness to others.
Jesus' actions encourage and challenge me to realize I am really no different than the man planting bombs in Boston.  My sin may look different.  I may have it decorated, perfumed, and tied up in a neat bow but it is still sin. Scripture says:
There is none who does good, no not one.
Romans 3:12
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
Romans 3:23
Friends, think about this.  If the officer who was killed by the evil man did not know Christ in an intimate personal way, if his sins were not forgiven, he is facing the same judgment as the man who killed the children in the marathon race.  As each of us stand before God at the great judgement we will each be condemned not by our actions but by our heart condition.  We will be condemned due to the fact of rejecting Christ or embracing His work upon the cross.  The officer's life, the criminals life, and our life all depends upon our trust and faith upon Christ's work on the cross.  When we realize how evil our own hearts are, when we realize how Christ took our own punishment upon Himself, when we realize we deserve hell the same as the murder of children, we can cry out "Father, forgive me and Father forgive them for they do know know what they do." (Just a side note, Jesus did not need forgivenss.  We do!)
One thing I remind myself daily is to extend the same amount of grace to others that God has extended to me.  This is only possible because the love of Christ flows through my veins.  My heart hurts for the victims of these senseless crimes and my heart aches for the damnation people will face who reject God's Son and provision for sins.  I'll leave you with one passage of Scripture to ponder:
  Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!
23 “Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. 24 In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. 25 He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt.
26 “But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ 27 Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.
28 “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment.
29 “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. 30 But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.
31 “When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. 32 Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ 34 Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.
35 “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”   Matthew 18:21-25



Wednesday, April 10, 2013

All Knowing God

Because I know Jesus is in charge of every detail of my life I can rest assured that nothing that ever happens to me is by accident.  I can praise the ONE sovereign God as Job praised:

Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The LORD gives and the LORD takes away;
Blessed be the name of the LORD
Job 1:20

The preparations of the heart belong to man,
But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
Prov. 16:1

My heart may plan my way but the Lord directs my steps (Prov. 16:9). Every detail that happens to me is subject to God’s absolute sovereignty. He is in control of all things.  He rules over all kingdoms of the nations and in His hand is power and might so that no one is able to withstand Him (2 Chron 20:4-6). God gives me eternal life and I shall never perish, neither shall anyone snatch me out of God’s hand (John 10:28).

When I come to believe these truths, I can rest assured that I am safe regardless of the circumstances around me.  I can have peace in the midst of the storm because I know God is walking through the storm with me (Is. 43:1-2)

I can praise knowing that all things will work out for good because I love God and I am called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28).  I know I've been called and created by God for good works before the foundation of the world (Eph. 2:10).  I know I have a living hope through the resurrection of Christ (1Peter 1:3).  I know no matter what happens to me here that this earth is passing away and this is not my home.  I know I have an inheritance waiting for me in heaven (1 Peter 3:1). I know because of this inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled, an inheritance that does not fade away I can greatly rejoice though I have trials and hardships. I am convinced that the genuineness of my faith must be tested and found to praise, honor, and glorify God.  This is not always easy. I don’t believe faith is ever easy. We are a people who do not believe unless we see. We depend on our senses.Faith goes against our senses.  But faith is not something we stir up ourselves. Faith is a gift from God.

You might believe this life is way too hard, and I agree at times it is. But Jesus does not leave you alone. He was tempted and tested just as you are. He comes beside you to comfort you (2 Cor 1:4). Think of the passage regarding the man with an ill child. Jesus said all things are possible if you believe. The man replied, “I believe. Help my unbelief.” I believe the most God-honoring faith is when we come to God in honesty and humility sharing with Him exactly how we feel. It's okay that our faith wavers just as long as we come back to Him to strengthen and encourage us. He pours out His grace upon us.

My soul melts from heaviness;
Strengthen me according to Your word.
Ps. 119:28

Unless Your law had been my delight,
I would then have perished in my afflictions.

God is a God of love. I can be sure of His love as I look to the cross. At one time I was an enemy of God. I was fulfilling my own desires.  I was walking in my own truth and using God as a magical genie in the sky. I was the one in charge and He was to perform for me whenever I called upon Him. And yet in the middle of my rebellion He laid down His life for me. He endured the agony of the cross. He took upon Himself God’s wrath that was meant for me. I deserve death and I get life.  Jesus walked this earth and was tempted and tested in every way that I am tempted and tested. He understands my struggles and fears. If He loved me so to endure the wrath of God and the agony of the cross, why would He leave me now?

People, we must understand the great love of God. We must trust His love.

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because He trusts in You.
Isaiah 26:3

*This post is the answer to a challenge. Yesterday, Aaron Matthews (A Disciple's Guide To Common Sense) and I decided to write a blog based on a single question (How does the knowledge that Jesus is in charge of the details of your life encourage you today?). This question comes from Mike McKinley's incredible book "Passion: How Christ's Final Day Changes Your Every Day". We had one day to complete it. I would encourage you to read Aaron's blog as well.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Good Question!

Will you follow me?
             Even if it hurts?                                                                     
                   Even if it is uncomfortable?
                         Even if you have to start all over?
                               Even if you go alone?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


In the deep heart of the man was a shrine where none but God was worthy to come.  Within him was God; without, a thousand gifts which God had showered upon him. We have taken His blessings and made them idols of my heart.  For God's gifts have taken the place of God.  "The Pursuit of God" A.W. Tozer
One thing we lack is to set still before the Lord in His presence attempting to ask for nothing of His hand.  It is a great pleasure to learn to enjoy Him and not always be seeking Him for a need to be met.  Enroll in the school of intimacy with the Lord. 

The way to deeper knowledge of God is through the lonely valleys of soul poverty and abnegation of all things. Take your biggest concern, confess it before the Lord, allowing Him to search your heart of any concern that has taken the rightful place of His Lordship. Beg God to remove it from your heart and allow Him to reign in power there.
The most amazing thing is we don't have to make it go away.  All we do is confess and sit at His feet.  I don't understand but GRACE is amazing, don't you think!

Monday, April 1, 2013


I waited three long years for God to answer a specific prayer.  He is faithful. He not only answered my prayer, but He taught me many things during my wait. 

In my wait, He brought me to a place of absolute desperation.  I falsely believed my greatest need was for Him to answer my request - to give me what I thought I wanted/needed and I was desperate for Him to do that. I wanted a rescue.  I wanted a quick fix to my pain. This is the place many of you find yourself today.  You have a need and you are asking God to provide for this need.  I'm thankful you are going to Him for an answer. He is faithful and He desires to hear from His children.  But I wonder what blessing we miss when we are asking for a rescue or a quick fix to our problem.  God uses the situations we find ourselves in to perfect us.  He is working to make us in the image of Christ.  This happens many times through the struggles and trials we find ourselves in. 

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4

God did bring me to a place of absolute desperation.  In my struggle of wrestling with God in prayer, I learned my greatest need was not my prayer being answered but for the very presence of God to invade my life.  I had become so accustomed to asking to be rescued from my problem that I failed to recognize my greatest need was the manifest presence of Jesus Christ Himself.  My greatest need was to let the King of the Universe quiet my trembling heart.  My need was to rest in His sovereignty and goodness.  My need was to come to understand He is in control of my situation and loves me dearly. 

  Healing will come when the presence of God invades our life. God will bring us to a place where we are emotionally okay even if He continues to tarry in His answer of our original prayer. He will bring you to a place where the waiting is sweet and His presence is enough.  Listed are some verses of promises to cling to as we wait.

Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD.
Psalm 27:14

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in His word I do hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning-
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.
Psalm 130:5-6

Through the LORD'S mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassion's fail not. 
They are new every morning,
Great is Your faithfulness.
The LORD is my portion, says my soul,
Therefore I hope in Him!
The Lord is good to those who
wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him. 
It is good that on should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the LORD.
Lamentations 3:22-27

Guess what when He does answer our is so much more than we could even imagine.

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.
1 Corinthians 2:9

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Resurrection Day

Happy Easter to all!  We had a great service today at the Farmer's Market (Train Depot) in Alma.   Southside Alma combined services with a non-denominational church in our area.  It was fun to worship outside and with another body of believers.  We also had several people from the neighborhood join us today.  I was told by one lady, who lives close to the church but does not attend, that she had been waiting for an outdoors service to attend.  We had several of our van ministry children bring their parents.  These children were so excited to introduce their parents to us. 

Aaron Matthews (Pastor Southside) and Bryan Tabakian (Pastor Genesis Fellowship) tag teamed to share the hope found in the gospel message.  This hope is only found in the resurrection of Christ.  Because Christ is risen we have hope.  Because He is risen we have salvation.  Because He is risen we have peace. 

Saturday was our Spring Festival.  The plan was to set up inflatables, egg hunt, food, and games.  The down pour of rain changed these plans.  We contemplated canceling the festival but the Lord led us to hold the activity in the gym.  Several people brought their kids for the games and food.  We were able to invite them to our worship service at the Farmer's Market and several of them attended.  Being in the gym seemed more personable to me, it was easier to visit with the people. 
This holiday weekend held another celebration.  Today March 31 is Kolby 19th birthday.  It seems like yesterday that I was in labor delivering that black haired baby.  She has grown into a devoted godly woman.  Kolby was our "surprise" child.  There are ten years between Kolby and my oldest child.  We were so busy with a nine and a five year old during my pregnancy that I forgot I was pregnant many times.  It was funny the words that came out of my mouth when I delivered her, "I really was pregnant!!!"  Todd almost passed out and needed to sit down.  I don't believe this was due to the birth process because he attended and participated the births of the other two children.  She was a great surprise and such a blessing.  We have all enjoyed our gift from the Lord.  He knew what He was doing when He gave us Kolby.  She is the most kind and tenderhearted of all my children.  Kolby loves the Lord.  Her relationship with Christ flows so easily out of her.  She is a fun loving girl, to know Kolby is to love her.  Really, when she walks into a room the whole atmosphere changes.  I love this girl!
After worship service today, we had lunch with some amazing people. I love the Battles' family.  Thank you, Jennifer for being diligent in continuing to invite us. Jennifer has been a great friend and she has loving ministered to me during this transitional time in my life.  Now if I start talking about people who I love and who the Lord has connected to my heart this blog will be way to long. so I'll leave you with this. 
But YOU, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious,
longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth. 
Oh, turn to me and have mercy on me! 
Give YOUR strength to Your servant
and save the son of Your maidservant. Ps. 86:15

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Undivided Heart

If we watch close enough our actions and behavior can reveal the condition of our heart.  If we are placing our self under the teaching of the Word, God is able to use both of these things (our actions and His truth) to reveal Himself in a fresh new way. 

"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil.  For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks."
 Luke 6:45
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

This plays true in my life often and I am thankful to a merciful and faithful God who desires to reveal Himself to me even in my rebellion.  I am thankful that I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, so that when I feast upon other things they become bitter in my mouth.  What is the natural response to tasting something bitter?  You spit it out. 

This is what needed to happen to me this week.  I realized by my actions and attitude that something had gone astray in my relationship with God.  God brought forth conviction to my heart as I sat under the teaching of His word.

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and mannon." Matt 6:24
Mammon could be money or really anything that captures your heart. This verse circled in my heart and mind all afternoon.  I questioned if this verse applied to me.  Really, could I be double minded?  Could I have a divided heart?  God is faithful in revealing truth and my actions proved my heart was unstable and double minded.  The bitterness was in my mouth and what must a girl do? 
You can choose to ignore the problem and continue chewing on the bitterness, many people do. But I promise if you choose to ignore the problem you will eventually vomit the bitterness all over someone else.  It is best to acknowledge it and spit it out. 
Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in rebellion. Hebrew 3:15
I chose to stay home Sunday evening and lay my heart bear before the Lord.  I found my heart to be very hard and God's word to be very dry.  Yet, another indicator of my heart being divided and feasting on lusts of the flesh.  God's word says,
Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8
Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth;
 Unite my heart to fear Your name. Psalm 86:11
Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully. Psalm 24:4
You may be thinking by these verses that this Christian life if hopeless.  Maybe you are aware that your heart is not pure.  You are aware that your heart is divided.  The enemy could be screaming lies to your heart as well, "You can never have a pure heart and clean hands. This is a hopeless walk, learn to enjoy the bitterness and continue on."  Friends, these thoughts are particle truths, on our own we can NEVER be pure in heart.  We can NEVER be righteous and have clean hands. True, but we are NOT without hope.  God is faithful and He does not leave us alone!  Once we understand that we cannot produce this purity, righteous, cleanliness on our own we are almost whole.  You see, Jesus did not die to make us better.  He did not die to give us a set of good moral behavior.  No, He died to make us alive.  We are dead without Christ.  A dead person cannot produce righteousness and purity.  Jesus came to raise us from the dead.  Jesus died to clean our hearts.  He came to make us pure, holy, and righteous.
I love to be given a step by step system to work a project.  It is comforting to have a set of rules. When we obey them we believe we are doing well but our Christian walk does not work that way, religion might, but a relationship never does.  How do you think your spouse would respond if you gave him/her a three step program on how to love you?  Do you think you would feel very loved?  Our Christian walk is not a three step program.  It is an persevering relationship with Christ that continues to the end of our life and all through eternity.

Not that I have already attained or am already perfected, but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Phil. 3:12
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Tim. 4:7

In saying that, I do have three things I can share that will help in your relationship with Christ.
 1) Confess to the Lord Jesus that your heart is impure.  Confess that your heart is divided.  Confess (acknowledge) your sin before Him.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

2) Look away from your self to Christ 
But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior. Titus 3:4
3) Wait and trust Him by faith.
My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.
Psalm 62:5
Unto You I lift my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, until He has mercy on us.
Psalm 123:1-2
You may not "feel" different at the very moment of confession but this is where waiting and faith comes into play.  Are you willing to wait until God comes in power and reveals Himself to your heart?  Are you able to walk in faith knowing His word is true and He will at His appointed time bring peace and hope to your heart? 
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 
Psalm 51:10
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
Psalm 51:12
My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast, I will sing and give praise.
Psalm 51:7

Monday, March 25, 2013


God is faithful. He is faithful to Himself and He cannot lie nor deny Himself. Because of this one truth our hearts can rest assured that what He has begun He will complete. Many times we find ourself in a struggle or a battle. Sometimes this battle is due to our own sin. Other times it is due to a spiritual attack or a pruning of the Lord. It really does not matter much the reason because the solution is the same. Confess, look away from yourself to your Savior, and wait upon His promise. The question comes do you trust Him? Can you trust God in the silence? Can you trust Him in the pain? Wherever you find yourself. God is faithful.
Psalm 33:4   4 For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.
Psalm 36:5
5 Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.
Psalm 86:15
15 But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
Psalm 89:1
1 I will sing of the LORD's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.
Psalm 89:8 
  8 O LORD God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O LORD, and your faithfulness surrounds you.
Psalm 91:3-6
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
Psalm 92:1-3
1 It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High, 2 to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, 3 to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp.
Psalm 108:4
4 For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Psalm 115:1
1 Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.
Psalm 143:1 
  1 O LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief
Lamentations 3:22-23
22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Romans 3:3-4
3 What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness? 4 Not at all!
1 Corinthians 1:9
9 God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.
1 Corinthians 10:13
13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
1 John 1:9 
  9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.