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 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?
April 1, 2011 § 2 Comments
My blood pressure sky rockets as I say the same sentence for what feels like the millionth time. My words are unheeded. Water continues to fill the cup held by a small hand. The cup overflows. My floor is wet.
He didn’t pay attention.
As a rule we all need to pay attention or life can pass us by. One second we are sitting in high school waiting for life to begin and the next we are laying in a hospital bed wondering what happened in between.
As believers in Jesus, the God-man, the Word made flesh, our Passover Lamb, we are to pay attention as well. Hebrews 2:1 says, “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” Hebrews chapter one is all about who Jesus is. That He is the God-man, not an angel, but fully God and fully man. Already there were people who were trying misrepresent Jesus. They were trying to say He wasn’t God.
So the writer of Hebrews tells us to pay attention. He doesn’t say pay attention to all these great thinkers. These men who have wonderful ideas that “feel” right or fit your idea of how God would do things. No this writer tells us don’t focus on all the counterfeit arguments. Focus on what is real. The people who received this letter did not have a Bible like we do today. Most likely many couldn’t read, instead they heard the epistles (that fancy word for letters) and the gospels read aloud. Some of these ancient readers or listeners may have even known some of the disciples or apostles personally. So this writer is telling these people to pay attention to the truth.
Today we have God’s word bound in leather, cardboard, paper, or even unbound (electronically). So we need to pay attention to what we have heard in God’s word. Not some fancy speaker’s amazingly crafted speech or a pastor’s wonderfully worded book. No we need to pay MORE CAREFUL ATTENTION to God’s word. Why? So we don’t drift away. So we aren’t led astray. So we build our faith on true knowledge, on the truth of God’s word.
Are you distracted from God’s word? Are you focused on thoughts, ideas, figuring out God’s plan and redemption in your human mind? How do you think you can refocus on God’s word?
Are you paying attention to God’s word? What are you doing to “pay more careful attention” to His word? What can you do to help your attention span?
I can’t wait to hear from you all! Join in, comment, become a facebook fan, consider getting e-mail updates. Thanks for stopping by!
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 29, 2011 § 2 Comments
I got behind. Out of routine, out of time, out of sync.
Behind in my Chronological Bible reading. I needed to read half of the March 27th reading and all of March 28th reading on March 28th.
Reading the Bible in chronological order means I am in the Old Testament and will be for most of the year. The Old Testament is filled with genealogies, lists of names, strange geographical locations, and extensive descriptions of how to build a tabernacle. Don’t get me wrong, I know that all these things have meaning and reason and order. In fact, I ask God as I read these things to teach me what I need to learn.
Even so, the rebel sigh still escapes my lips as I see a mind numbing list of names I have no hope of pronouncing. So I closed my Bible in my fatigue on March 27th, wondering why I needed a recap of what I just read about who Israel had defeated in their conquest of the Promised Land.
Today as I wrestled with doubts, frustrations, wondering why God is bringing me down a certain road, pondering longing and it remaining unfulfilled, questioning my next steps, I opened my Bible to get caught up. Not only to say I had read my Bible for March 28th, but also to spend some quiet with my LORD. Oh how I needed quiet.
In that raw place I my eyes read Joshua 12 with the heading “A List of Defeated Kings.” My first inclination was to sigh, but my sigh caught in my throat as I came face to face with what I needed. What I need when doubt attempts to tie me down and fear attempts to turn me from my God ordained plow. I need a list. I need a list of kings defeated in my life – defeated only by God’s hand.
I need a list of sin I have overcome through God, of God ordained “coincidences,” of victories in my Spiritual Journey. I need a list. A list that I can bring out to remind myself what God has done and what He is doing in my life. A list that drives away doubt, that reminds me of God’s miraculous provision, that screams of God’s sovereignty during dark times, that recounts when God ordered my steps for His purposes. Yes I need a list in my life, a prayer journal full of God’s answers, a blog recounting what God has taught me, a friend or loved one who walked the road with me and can remind me of my list.
Do you have a list? How do you keep your list? Do you want to start one? I challenge you to start a list with me…Tuesdays at Rethinking My Thinking will become our List Days. Days to share what God is doing in our lives. I can’t wait to hear what He is doing in your lives!
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 23, 2011 § 2 Comments
“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.” Deuteronomy 31:8
What a great promise that God is there before us, is with us, and never leaves us. Do you know who is speaking these words? It is Moses, the man who talked to God as a man talks to his friends. He was the man that led the Israelites out of Egypt. He was talking to Joshua, the man who was going to lead these headstrong people into the promised land.
So you have a man who has walked with God, a man who has seen God work in his life. He has made mistakes and yet God continues to use him. He is building into the life of a younger man.
Are you a mentor for others? Are you like Moses experiencing God in your daily life, living for Him, and sharing what He is doing? Do you have a mentor? Are you watching someone who has walked through your stage of life? Do you have someone telling you wonderful truths about God and His grace and faithfulness?
I encourage you to share with others what God is teaching you through His word and to find someone who will encourage you in your relationship with God.
Consider praying that God gives you mentor and mentee opportunities in your life. Pray that God will give you eyes to see Him working in your life that you may share what He is doing.
If you have a mentor would you share how you developed that relationship? If you are a mentor would you also share how you developed the relationship?
I can’t wait to hear from you!