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!
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!
I am so glad you stopped by today. Consider joining in by leaving a comment! The don’t miss a post by signing up for e-mail updates or getting my posts through your favorite RSS reader. I can’t wait to get to know you.
March 15, 2011 § 4 Comments
If God’s plans can’t be thwarted, if He is omniscient, if He is omnipotent, then why pray?
What difference does it really make?
Logically it doesn’t make sense. And yet:
God tells us to pray…
Ephesians 6:18 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
Luke 5:17 “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
So what does praying do? Why pray?
In this short blog post I can’t even begin to scratch the surface of prayer, but there are some simple things that God has been speaking to my heart about prayer…
1. True prayer changes the pray-er. Suddenly the person praying is no longer looking at his or her circumstances, he is no longer figuring out what he can do to fix things. Instead the he is humbling coming to the Father, the Almighty King, and laying his concerns at the feet of God. In order to pray the pray-er must admit things are beyond him and that things are not beyond God. So God is on the throne and the pray-er is on his knees. Check out 2 Chronicles 7:14
2. True prayer brings God near. Deuteronomy 4:7 says, “What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him?” So God is near us when we pray. Oh when He is near us we feel comfort, experience His peace, and can rest in His perfect weaving together of events (our sin, our obedience, others’ sins, others’ obedience, natural events) into His tapestry of grace and love. Working out good for those who love Him. Yes, when we pray we can see Him in our everything working out His perfect plan even when it doesn’t match our longings.
3. True prayer that changes hearts and brings God near brings peace that guards our hearts and minds. Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Because God is near, because we are humbled, then we can experience peace that guards our hearts and minds in Jesus! Oh that our hearts and minds would be guarded in Christ Jesus so we would obey Him, bring joy to Him, follow Him all the days of our lives! Amazing that God would bring that about when we pray!
Why do you pray? What have you learned about prayer? Share with me…
Join in and comment or consider signing up for e-mails or follow me on facebook! I can’t wait to connect with you all!
March 14, 2011 § 16 Comments
It came. The e-mail. The one I have been waiting over seven months for. The e-mail from the publisher.
You know the publisher who accepted my book proposal last July at the SheSpeaks (writing/speaking) conference. Yes that e-mail. The one in the first few weeks that I waited with bated breath to come. I would open my e-mail ten, twenty times a day praying for an answer. Then I began to relax a bit. I only looked for it about five times a day. Slowly I stopped really looking for it. I short of hoped it would come, but doubted it would. Seriously just this week I began to wonder if I accidentally deleted it.
But it did come, today. After writing and blogging about dreams and God’s direction and plan for them. After writing about wrestling with God. God prepared me for receiving that e-mail.
The editor who wrote said e-mail is a precious woman of God and I could not imagine a more gracious response. Bottom line, they are not looking for new authors. So no book deal.
Surprisingly I didn’t cry or tear up. I felt disappointed, but I felt peace. I remembered a quote (I have no idea who said this so sorry I can’t give credit), “Man’s rejection is God’s protection.” So begins my counting again.
276. God’s plans are better than mine.
277. Daffodils blooming in my yard.
278. My husband’s beautiful heart.
279. My little man’s laugh.
280. Chubby hands doing it “myself.”
281. Lots of windows in my kitchen when I broil steak and send plums of smoke into the house.
282. The steak was not burned.
283. My girls packed their own lunches for school tonight.
284. Sweet offerings of wild flowers from my girls when I was feeling under the weather today.
285. My little man brought me a blanket when I wasn’t feeling well.
286. God’s word easily accessible.
287. Scotch tape solves lots of issues for my kids.
289. Spring breezes through open windows.
290. March Madness…Rock Chalk Jayhawk KU! I LOVE basketball!
292. Three little voices raised in excitement.
293. My husband’s deep voice that reassures me, my kids, and his patients.
294. Hearing my husband being praised.
295. God is there in Japan, He is comforting, loving, and working in that country.
296. Friends who understand I do not have the organizing gene and don’t try to change me.
297. All you who read my blogs. You all bless me!
298. Learning to enjoy the process.
299. The smell of my washer after I use that washer cleaner in it.
300. Long distance friends…The kind that no matter how long it has been it seems like just yesterday.
What are you thankful for?
March 12, 2011 § 21 Comments
Facebook status: “My last ultrasound showed my baby was small, next test scheduled on Tuesday.”
I commented: “Praying for you.”
Facebook status: “My husband is going on his 50th job interview over the last nine months. Pray he gets this one.”
Many comment: “Praying”
The question is what does “praying for you” really mean? Do we really pray right then as we send our comment into cyberspace? Are we adding these people to our prayer lists (if we have them)? Or are we holding up our Christian card and keeping up appearances?
Or is it possible that “praying for you” is only another way of saying “hugs” or “thinking about you?” It is a comfort term rather than something we are actually doing? Does that term make us sound good and holy when we are not even bringing the concern to the Throne of Grace? Have we gotten too comfortable with praying that we don’t even realize we are addressing the God who created all things, the all-powerful One?
I admit it is easy to say, “praying for you,” and not really mean it. I pray that I never say/write it without actually praying for that person right then…Most often when I say/write it I mean I have prayed for you and as God brings you to mind I will pray for you again. I am not a list maker or a prayer journal-er. I sometimes aspire to be, but it is not the way I am wired.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, most of my prayer time is the “pray continually” kind. As I am wiping noses, observing children, washing dishes, driving, I am praying. So I have my mental list and my mental list may not be as “good” as it used to be. I am becoming more and more forgetful. Ok I admitted it, I like to blame it on my kids. I mean I have more brain cells dedicated to different people now than ever before…My point is that I may only “pray” for a situation rather than truly “praying.” Does the comment “praying for you” hold water when I only pray once?
I know what I think, but I want to know what you think.
What do you mean when you say/write, “praying for you?” What do you think others mean when they say/write, “praying for you?”
Jump in and join the discussion… And thank you Justin Voris for the idea that prompted this post!