April 15, 2011 § 4 Comments
I have been memorizing the book of James. I am slowing down a bit, but I am more than half-way done. WOO HOO! This book is a challenging book. It is full of truths that begged to be lived out. One of those truths I memorized in the first chapter it says:
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this, to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
I prefer to skip to keeping myself from being polluted by the world. It isn’t as messy as taking care of orphans and widows. It doesn’t involve child abusers, emotional issues, or grieving widows. But since I have been memorizing that verse it has been resonating in my heart and mind. What and how can I help take care of orphans and widows?
Then the C.A.L.L. (Children of Arkansas Loved for a Lifetime) came to our church. This organization mobilizes and equips the church to obey that verse in James. Jared Broyles, a C.A.L.L. representative, shared about these children in need. My heart broke for them and yearned for them and well I burst into tears.
Then a few days later I got together with a friend. Her family was trained by the C.A.L.L. and they are finishing up some final paperwork so they can begin to foster children. I am amazed at their heart!
I do not know what role my family and I will play with the C.A.L.L. They need foster homes, financial assistance, prayer warriors, social workers, teachers, CPR/First Aid trainers, fund-raisers, church recruitment facilitators. Their website is full of great information about fostering, adopting, and so much more. http://www.thecallinarkansas.org/
I want to encourage you to visit their website or find an agency like the C.A.L.L. in your area. God has called us to take care of orphans. Let us as the church step up and do our part.
What are you doing to take care of orphans and widows? I can’t wait to hear about what you are doing.
April 11, 2011 § 4 Comments
Sycamore trees fascinate me. We have several small ones in our front yard. Until about a week ago they held tight to their brown dead leaves – leaves that were once bright and green. Early last fall they turned a beautiful orange color and then they turned brown and drab. Those stubborn trees held tight to their dead leaves through fall, all of winter, and into spring. Finally last week during some unusually high winds, these trees finally let go of their dead leaves. It was at that point – when they had given up what they were comfortable with – that their spring buds for new leaves could form.
Those trees and I have a lot in common. I get used to the way I do things or how I do things. I get used to sin in my life and I cling to it. Even though it is brown and dead and nasty. I like it. Maybe it started as something I was doing for God, but it turned into something about me. Oh, but I cling to it. I cling to it because I remember what it once was. It was once beautiful and it even turned a glorious orange color for a short time. But God has other plans. In order for me to grow and change and stay healthy I have to be willing to let go. I like my trees have to give up what I am comfortable with so that God can grow me and change me.
Is that true in your life? Do you hang onto things God is calling you to let go so that He can do a work in your life? Would you share with me?
Here is what I am letting go of for God to do a work in me…It is also what begins my list of things I am thankful for:
381. God is tearing apart my little dreams that aren’t His and replacing them with buds of new dreams that are God-sized dreams.
383. My kids running and hollering together.
384. God is changing my heart
385. My supportive husband
386. God’s word (my breath of life)
387. Encouraging friends
388. God is making my heart teachable
389. Rejection that reminds me God has other plans
390. Nerf dart tag
391. Sound of laughter
392. Speaking truth into the lives of kids (mine and others)
395. My husband’s heart
396. Sweet friends who testify to my husband’s heart
397. Encouragement from others walking similar roads
398. That God would use even me
399. Forgiveness from my kids
400. Three blessings with their arms wrapped around their daddy.
401. I have an exciting free resource for you…Go to Resource page from the list on the left hand column. I pray it blesses you.
What are you thankful for? Leave a comment! I can’t wait to hear from you!
April 4, 2011 § 6 Comments
It isn’t easy being me. I don’t mean my life is harder than average. I mean it is exhausting being me.
One Saturday night my husband and I had an event to attend. I only had slight acquaintances with the attendees and a bad attitude. I didn’t want to go, I was uncomfortable, scared, and insecure. I am an awkward teenager again. The one who doesn’t know what to say, to wear, or to who she is. Mostly the awkward teenager in me fears she won’t be accepted.
About 24-hours later, we had another event to attend. This time I knew more of the attendees, I was confident, and excited about going. I had no doubts about what to wear, or say or do. What caused this severe case of social whip-lash? The ugly truth?
Sometimes I fear people more than I fear God. I am self-conscious instead of God-conscious. I want acceptance and I fear that I am not acceptable. So begins my list of things I am thankful for.
362. God’s forgiveness.
363. God refines me.
364. I enjoyed the event I dreaded.
366. Spring weather
367. Tears that cleanse
368. New doors opening
369. my husband
370. Nerf flag football
371. Nerf dart guns
372. the sound of my kids as they play together
374. friends who think, plan, and minister with
375. the girls I teach at church
377. God’s grace
378. worship music
379. worship living
380. time with my husband holding hands and dreaming dreams
What are you thankful for?
March 30, 2011 § 4 Comments
My pulse quickens and my mouth goes dry. I take a deep breath because I know I cannot trust my first response. I need to pray as I gather my breath, I need words to say, I need to not say what my heart is screaming.
My heart is twisting itself into knots, arching it’s back, and throwing a terrific fit. I don’t even want to consider options. I don’t want things to change and I don’t want to move. I like it here. I like our lifestyle. Why do we need to “think about options.” UGH!!!! I don’t want options, I want things to stay the same. We can clamp down, budget, make lifestyle changes. Just not too many and only ones I think are good.
God has always taken care of us before, so why wouldn’t He do it now? Oh, but the question still lingers…What if…
I have always thought of myself as sure of God’s provision. I trust that He will give us what we need. We are wise with our money. There is no reason to doubt God. Even Jesus tells us if He takes care of the lilies then why worry. (Matt 6) Most often I don’t.
Until the way God chooses to provide, the amount He chooses to provide, or even the where God chooses to provide changes. It is in that moment that my heart skips beats. It is there that my true colors show. I am a MESS. I don’t trust God, I trust “the way things are.”Ouch, I trust my circumstances to remain unchanged more than I trust God’s ordained bends in the road. Have you been there?
Can we really be like Abraham when God asked him to offer his son on the altar and say, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” Gen 22:8
Can we leave our hopes, dreams, plans, comfort on the altar trusting that God will provide regardless if He burns our offering to the ground?
Can we trust God’s provision for our hopes, dreams, finances even when He gives us unemployment, a drop in pay, or an unwanted move?
Simply yes. It takes dying to what we want and as trusting as Abraham did that God will provide.
Has God provided for you through an unexpected bend in the road? Have you seen God’s miraculous provision? Please share. I can’t wait to hear what He is doing for you.
March 24, 2011 § 4 Comments
If you have been reading my blog regularly, you know I am memorizing James and I am praying on my knees for at least 15 minutes a week. Are you joining me? Let me know by leaving a comment and telling me about where you are in James or what God has been doing in your prayer time.
Anyway, I have made it to James 3 and here came this verse:
We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. James 3:2
First I am struck with we all stumble…Not only do we stumble, but we stumble in many ways. OUCH! That is pretty harsh. I don’t like to admit that I stumble at all and now James is telling me that we all stumble in many ways. Then he mentions our words. Yes our words…If we are never at fault in what we say, we are perfect. Seems simple right?
So why is it so hard? Why can’t we never be at fault in what we say? Why do words matter so much that if we could keep our tongue in check we would be perfect?
Words…I want to use life-giving words. I want to pass on wise words, words of grace, words of truth. But too often my words are harsh, they tear down, they convey irritation.
Words are that important. Jesus confirms this when He says, “For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45b)
We speak what is in our hearts. If our hearts are in check our words will be in check…So our words are a good indicator of the condition of our hearts. Are we speaking in love and with patience or are we irritated and grumpy? God is more interested in our hearts than our actions. We can fake a lot of things, but our words often give away where our hearts are…
Let’s do some heart checks. We need to think about what we have said, ask others if what we say is harsh or said in love. We need to measure our words carefully. They are important.
What do you think? Are words really something that can “never hurt me” unlike sticks and stones? Is it possible that words are important and that they show the condition of our hearts? Do you have a story about that? I can’t wait to hear it!
Here is another post I did on the Word…Click here to read it.
March 22, 2011 § 2 Comments
This is a journal entry I wrote while at a ladies retreat. I was reflecting on the following verses:
1 As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
O Lord my soul does thirst for You, for You my bread, my air, my source of life.
That I would daily, moment by moment live with that in mind. Father that I would not be too easily satisfied. That I would stop trying to fill up on the things of this world and only turn to You.
Oh Father, thank You that I don’t have to wait like David did to meet You, but that You make Your home in me. In me the chief of sinners who does not deserve to dwell in Your outhouse. Yet You dwell in me!!
Oh Father that I would meet You there Lord. That I would moment by moment breathe You. Feasting on Your word. Praising Your name. Thanking You for all Your blessings!
Oh my God, forgive me for ignoring our abode, the one You promised to make in me.
May I hunger for You more. Thirst for You always and seek Your face in all that I say and do.
Well friends, what are we thirsting for? Are you thirsting for God? Are you longing for children? Are you hoping for a better job, nicer house, more status, a better car? Is there something you think will satisfy you instead of God?
When you long for something, and you feel that hunger and thirst rise up in your soul, let that be a reminder to pray. Lay your thirsts, your desires your cares at the feet of God. He is the only true bread and living water.
Friends it isn’t easy – this laying down my thirst for what I want in exchange for thirst for God. Oh, but God’s way is the only thing that can truly satisfy. No baby, no car, no job, no success, no dream fulfilled, no championship ring can satisfy. Only God can.
What am I doing to maintain my thirst for God? Memorizing His word, praying, reading His word, studying His word. What are you doing to remain thirsty for God? Can’t wait to hear!
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