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?
February 25, 2011 § 6 Comments
Honor has become an important word in my house. In fact it is a word that has changed how I parent, how I think, and how I view my life before God.
The idea started when I read a book, Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes in You and Your Kids by Turansky and Miller. They give a definition of honor that my kids can understand and now quote:
Honor: Treating others as special, doing more than what is expected, and having a good attitude.
I discovered that I should allow honor to shape all of my relationships and all of my actions. This was news to me, yes I am slow and stubborn so if this isn’t news to you please disregard or follow my thinking and laugh with me that I am slow… 😉
1. God’s laws should be followed
not as a religious check-list to prove how righteous I am…
not to show how smart I am that I figured out I needed God…
not so that I can get God’s blessings on my life…
We follow God’s laws as a way of honoring Him because He gave us eternal life, life, gifts to use, a purpose, all those gifts I am thankful for and more.
In fact Jesus tells us that, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.” (John 14:23)
2. Honor changes how I teach my kids.
I have been teaching my kids to honor each other, honor me and their dad, honor their teachers and friends. I have also been teaching them to honor God. Here is the hook…
I have to show my kids honor in order for them to honor me. Ok this is not revolutionary thinking, but let’s make it real…I need my kids to pick up their rooms. However they are deep in an imaginary world…How do I show them honor? “I will give you five minutes to finish what you are doing and then you need to pick up your room.” Honor. I don’t respond well if I am not being treated with honor, so how can I expect my kids to respond well if I don’t treat them with honor?
3. Honor is the backbone of the “Golden Rule.”
Matt 12:7 says, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” So loving, honoring, treating others as we want to be treated is the crux it binds up all the things God calls us to do and puts flesh on it. I ask this of myself and of my kids…“Would you want to be treated like that?” Often I have to be even more specific. “If someone said the same thing to you would you like it?” Ouch the words sting but my calloused heart starts to heal. It starts to bleed for the people I have wounded and it is then that I can ask forgiveness. It is in that moment that I can confess my sins and do what I can to reconcile.
What are your thoughts on honoring others? I hope you stick around and discuss this topic with me!
Consider joining in…Sign up to get each post in your e-mail box, or through an RSS reader. Do you use Networked Blogs on Facebook? Join me there…Follow me on Twitter…Or Like my Facebook fan page. So many ways to connect I can’t wait to get to know you all!
February 23, 2011 § 4 Comments
Last week I got a call from my sister. She was preparing a devotional talk for the inmates at a woman’s prison. She and several other women go to the jail to play basketball with the inmates and share Christ with them. She had a great idea about what to share, but needed some direction. So we began bouncing ideas around…Here is the general idea of her talk…
Everyone likes heroes. Little boys love super heroes. They are strong and tough. These heroes fight for what is right! Our society has lots of heroes. Sports heroes like A-Rod, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers who just won the Super Bowl. After 9-11 our society realized there are also everyday heroes. Firefighters, police men and women, EMT’s all who willingly laid down their lives for the sake of others.
Do you have a hero? What if someone came into this jail today and told you that he would serve the rest of your sentence? So that you can go free now. Would he be a hero to you?
I have a sentence against me. The Bible says, “the wages of sin is death,” (Romans 6:23) eternal separation from God. That is what I have earned for doing things that do not please God. But God sent His son Jesus, my hero. He took my sentence for me so that I can live in heaven with God forever! “For God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
I have a hero, and His name is Jesus. Do you want to know Him as your hero? Romans 10:9 says, “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Powerful stuff isn’t it? Jesus our SUPER HERO, our sentence bearer, God wrapped in flesh, died to make us His adopted children. It still amazes me. I pray I will never get tired of hearing this news and that each time I hear it, I will be more and more amazed by it.
Is Jesus your hero? Tell me what He is doing in your life or how He is amazing you. Have you asked Jesus to be your hero (or Savior)? Please consider praying this prayer:
Dear God, I know that I am a helpless sinner. Your word tells me that I have earned death – eternal separation from You – for the choices I have made that are not pleasing to you. Please forgive me for my sins. I thank You for sending Jesus to take my sentence so that I can live with You forever. I accept His offer to be my Hero, my Savior, my Lord. I give You my life from now on. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.
Now tell someone that you made this step of faith. Share it here so I can be praying for and with you.
February 20, 2011 § 9 Comments
My soul feels raw.
As if it had been drug down a carpeted hall at break-neck speed.
that hurts, hints, points and practically begs to be noticed…
Oh, but I am too busy.
Want to read the rest? It is over at (in)courage. I have the honor of being one of their daily guests today. Please hop on over there to read the rest and leave a comment for me…This is a big deal for me. I appreciate your support.
Have a BLESSED day today!
February 16, 2011 § 6 Comments
“EWWWWWWWW…MOOOOOOMMMMMYYYYY, J pooped,” her voice shakes the paintings on the walls as she flees her brother’s presence.
“J we don’t want to play with you when you stink,” his other sister chimes in with the painful truth. I wince to hear her shun her brother. Oh, but I understand why. In fact there is a part of me that wants to shoo the offender and the odor out the door. It is nasty.
The smell permeates the room, paint peels, the smell discolors the carpet (ok I exaggerate, but the smell does stick around for a long time). In fact it hangs in the air long after the diaper has been changed.
As I changed my son today, it hit me. Sin is so nasty, so stinky, so disgusting that God cannot have it in his presence. But it is the sin not the sinner He shuns. God doesn’t say stay away from the sinner with the poopy diaper. No, instead like a mother changing a nasty filthy diaper, God calls us near to Him. He draws us close and uses His Son’s blood to cleanse us. Just as we put a clean diaper on our child, God wraps us with His grace and love.
However the sin smell can linger. We humans don’t like the messiness of it all. We like nice explainable packages and clean good smelling people. So as my daughters did, we point our fingers, shun the sinner, and fail to extend grace.
When we remember that we have stinky poopy diapers and are in desperate need of grace, we are free to offer grace extravagantly to others. We can sit with our friend who has confessed their sin, the smell still hanging in the air, their rears chaffed by the rash it has caused, and we can love them through the pain. We can do this because we are painfully aware that without Christ our sin would still be filling our pants, the smell permeating our skin. Our offer of grace does not remove the consequences of their sin, it only reminds them that it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. It only echoes God’s response to us when we run to Him saying, “I pooped again. Change me please.” Amazingly God never runs out of Christ’s blood in which to cleanse us nor does He run out of grace in which to wrap us.
Oh the amazing love of Our Father. That we as cleansed and redeemed sons and daughters would extend His amazing grace to others!
Is grace difficult for you to share with others? What are your thoughts about God’s grace? I can’t wait to hear what you think. Jump in and leave a comment!
Now for your enjoyment a little silliness…This video always makes me smile…
December 9, 2010 § Leave a comment
I love the apostle Paul and the words God gave Him to write. He doesn’t beat about the bush. He gets to the heart of the matter and tells you exactly what is going on.
“Foolish Galatians…” he wrote in Galatians 3:1.
That comment makes me sit up a listen. I love to hear others chastised.
I mean I have to be smarter than the Galatians.
I have the whole Bible.
I have been a Christ follower for 27 years.
A few verses later I don’t feel so confident.
Paul continues his comments by saying,“Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit,are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3)
Ouch. Yes, I enjoy my flesh. I like to think I can do something for God.
I like to think I am smart enough to know God exists and to figure out I need Jesus as my savior.
I’m not so bad really. I’m not a murderer or an adulterer. I don’t curse (mostly). I do good things. Right?
Jesus really didn’t need to go to the cross for me.
Oh, but the truth, the ugly truth is that I am a murderer.
“Anyone who hates his brother or sister is a murderer…” 1 John 3:15
I am guilty of breaking all God’s perfect laws.
“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” James 2:10
The bottom line is that I am in desperate need of Jesus.
Apart from Him, I am selfish and a seeker of my own glory.
I may do things that look good, but I am doing them for me, not for His glory.
Oh foolish me.
Why would I put the weight of doing
it right and being good on my shoulders,
when Christ already won the victory for me? (Colossians 2:13-15)
Are you working to please God? Are you carrying a burden He never intended you to carry? Are you, like me, puffed up with your knowledge of Christ instead of humbled by your dependence on Him? If so join me as I pray:
Father God, I am amazed and humbled by Your sacrifice. That You sent Your son to die for my sins. Forgive me O Lord for thinking I can make myself worthy of Your gift. Forgive me for thinking I somehow was intelligent enough to figure out my need for a savior. Father I admit I am desperately in need of a savior. I confess I cannot do anything good apart from You. Help me to remember I am but a lame, blind, beggar in need of someone to carry me through the journey of life. Thank You for Jesus who died so that I could be healed of my sin disease and whom I desire to depend upon more and more every day. In His precious and Holy Name I pray. Amen.
I would love to hear from you. Are you amazed at His sacrifice? Are you in awe of His sufficiency? Is it hard to believe that God accomplished it without your help? Drop me a comment. I would love to hear from you.
September 8, 2010 § 2 Comments
Call me crazy, but I love food and I love to try different things. My kids have watched the movie Ratatouille more times than I can count and I decided I wanted to try to make it. Mind you, I didn’t want to make the difficult gourmet version as Remi did on the movie. No I found a simple recipe for ratatouille in the crock-pot. Yes, I said crock-pot. Did you hear that? It was all the true foodies around the world are groaning that I would put fresh vegetables and spices in a pot that is bound to cook them until mushy. Was it mushy? Yes. Was it delicious? The answer is yes. Did my kids hate it? Well, I got mixed reviews, but the kindest response I received came from my seven year-old. “This isn’t my favorite, mom, but I am going to eat it anyway.” That is code for, “I don’t really like it, but I will swallow enough so that I can have dessert.” The dessert was a baked strawberry pie for those who wanted to know. It was a pretty good motivator for her, but my other two sweet children, well that is another story completely. Without including all the details (I would hate to incriminate anyone), daddy had to dole out some tough love. In the midst of the post tough love debriefing daddy said, “Who made this food? Right mom. Would mom or I make you eat food that wasn’t good for you?” The answer was given, “no.” The food was begrudgingly swallowed with the appropriate about of water to wash it down, and our meal continued.
However the question was still ringing in my ears. As if God Himself was looking at me saying, “Angela, who brought you to this point in your life? Who gave you air to breathe; who makes your heart beat; who has provided food, shelter, clothes for you?”
Gulping I look up into His eyes. His eyes are tender, loving, but also full of sadness. “You,” quivers my tiny voice.
“Will I allow you to go somewhere I do not go with you? Do I not deliver you from trials, do I not hem you in? Then why do you struggle against what I am bringing into your life? Why do you seek your way, when My way is better?”
Yes, why must I have it my way? Maybe it is possible that I am high-strung a bit…Ok, I was on the debate team in High School. I like being right, to have it all together, to orchestrate my day, week, month, year, life. Admittedly I can be self-centered and God doesn’t really go for that. In fact the last time I checked the universe doesn’t exactly revolve around me. Nope, it is God who has it all spinning in the right direction. If I were to drop dead tomorrow, the sun would still shine. All my scheming and planning are exercises in futility. So why am I compelled to continue? I am a sinful selfish creature and I often do not trust God. Oh, I say I trust Him. I sing songs about His faithfulness, but then I get angry and bitter and frustrated when He makes ratatouille instead of pizza. Am I the only one?
Here is the amazing thing: God loves me anyway. God tells me in Deuteronomy 31:8, “The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” So God is there before I am. He is ahead of me, He knows what will happen and He is there. He isn’t only two steps or more in front of me, He is also with me. Always. He won’t desert me or forget me or leave me hanging in the wind. No, He is there. So I don’t have to be afraid or discouraged. I also don’t have to try to keep all the plates spinning in my perfectly choreographed life. God already knows where I am going, He is there. He is also with me now and He will never leave, even if I don’t want ratatouille.