Monday, December 6, 2010

Justice

This morning I was thinking of Lady Justice. She stand in front of courthouses all over the world holding a sword and the balancing scales. One other key to this statue and symbol of justice is the blindfold that covers her eyes. The blindfold represents objectivity, ruling out identity, money, power, or weakness... simply looking into the heart of an individual for who they are.



As I pondered this, I thought about how God looks past myself, my actions, and anything external. He looks into my heart. (1 Sam 16:7) And the most amazing part of that is HE LOVES ME ANYWAY. (Romans 5:8) He loves me completely. Regardless. Faithfully. Always.

And thinking even further, as He looks into me, He doesn't see Christie - He sees Jesus, the One whom I invited to live in my heart. I AM SANCTIFIED. Covered. Washed whiter than snow.

Justice, for me, was taken care of at the cross. Nothing I can be, or say, or do matters for my salvation. It is a finished work in HIM ALONE.

GRACE


Friday, October 29, 2010

TRUTHCARDS

After my last blog I must share with you a testimony to a new tool I have gotten a hold of. To check it out, click here...
http://www.truthcards.org/about-testimonials.html

Yup... Truthcards rock! Everyone should have a set!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

His Word, My Children... A GREAT Combination

Back in 2009, the Lord revealed to me the importance of sharing HIS Word with my children ...

2 Tim 3:15 - "and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus."

I want that for Caleb and I think I have a plan. I want Caleb to love God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength. God's Word tell us...

John 14:21 (The Message) - "The person who knows my commandments and keeps them, that's who loves me. And the person who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and make myself plain to him."

But the hard part is keeping those commands. However, God's Word has a solution for that too...

Psalm 119:11 (NIV)- "I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you."

Therefore, I need Caleb to be memorizing God's Word more.



Who's with me???????????

(taken from Facebook Notes, Sept 2009)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Let's Make a Deal - Game Over!

I have this funny feeling I'm not the only one that has a mini human with requests that tend to get repeated... am I?

Yesterday, Caleb was watching the movie Cars as I was finishing up dinner. Occasionally, when my hard working husband gets stuck at work late, I will make it a treat for Caleb and let him watch a movie while we enjoy dinner. However, last night, Mark was not running late. In fact, he was coming home early to watch the kiddos while I went to a Pampered Chef meeting. To make his life a tad bit easier, I decided to have the boys fed, or at least mostly fed, when he walked in the door. So in fact, we were simply eating early. Once the food was on the table, I called for Caleb to turn off the TV and join me. This is when the game started. First came Caleb's request to continue watching Cars during our meal. I sweetly responded, "No, Buddy." Then came a plea, "Please, Mommy???" (whine included)  to which I almost sweetly responded, "No, Caleb. Daddy is coming home in just a bit, and I don't want the TV blaring when he walks in." Then came Caleb's plea bargain, "Well, how about we watch it now and when the garage door opens I will run and shut it off?"

...Before I continue with the story, can I not take a minute to stand in amazement at the Let's Make a Deal game consistently played in our homes? If only we could better steer our children to problem solve life, sibling arguments, sharing, and even homework, we'd be raising little geniuses. Anyone with me?....

At that very moment (Praise Jesus!), the Lord brought to my memory a scripture I had taught to Caleb when I first had a problem with the consistent nag of a request. Matthew 5:37 states "Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one." I definitely do not want my little one having anything coming from the evil one, so I implored to him, "Caleb, can you please let my yes be yes and my no be no? That's what God wants and I do not want to sin." I have found it to be amazing that my son cannot argue with scripture. He simply stops. I am so happy I did not have to get nagged to death, nor raise my voice in frustration. We got to sit down and enjoy our dinner. Dad got to come home to peace and quiet, and most importantly, we honored God.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Completely Abandoned in Unabashed Worship

This past week I had the incredible opportunity to give praise where it was due - to God! (Love Seacoast's First Wednesday service) I know this sounds like no big deal, especially for those of us that live in the "Bible Belt," but it is a big deal! The cool thing [that I often take for granted] is that I get this opportunity all the time - at church, in my car, at home - where ever, when ever! Well, this past week's time during worship was extra special to me. I found myself completely absorbed in God - praising his holy name. Again, completely absorbed in God.
You see, for me this is usually a challenge. I start my praise with the best of intentions, but I often find myself wandering... not it body - I'm present, but in mind, soul, and spirit - totally not present. My mind often starts to drift and thoughts of the day that just past or the day ahead starts to spin... challenges, needs, desires, random thoughts - anything and everything. I immediately pray and give those things to God, then I ask God's help to clear my mind and help me put my focus on Him. And He does, but it doesn't take a song or two later for everything but my physical body to be elsewhere again.
At this past Wednesday's service, something was different. Every moment my heart was crying out to God with utter praise. Not one request was on my heart. Not one thought filled my mind. I was abandoned. It was awesome!
After service I reflected on what was different and I felt that still soft voice whisper, "I've got it!" I was able to pin back most of those moments of distraction to worry. Yet, that very day I was filled with complete trust that I didn't have to have a thought in my head because HE, the God of this universe, Creator of all things, Omni everything, has my life in His hands. He's got it! I didn't even need to think about it. I just needed to release it.
I wish I could say worship has never been the same again, but I can't. But I am so thankful that I am aware of it. I can release my worries, my concerns, my thoughts and praise the One who is truly worthy.

I dare not let the enemy steal my praise any longer. I am completely abandoned in unabashed worship to the King of all Kings!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

DEALS

For those of you that know me, you know I <3 a good deal. So, here's a list of where I get them. Enjoy!

Here are some sites I love for daily deals...
http://www.babysteals.com/
http://www.kidsteals.com/
http://www.mamabargains.com/
http://www.woot.com/
http://kids.woot.com/
http://www.babyhalfoff.com/

Some other good sites...
http://www.southernsavers.com/
http://www.dealwisemommy.net/
http://www.babycheapskate.com/
http://www.restaurant.com/
http://www.groupon.com/
http://livingsocial.com/
http://www.couponsuzy.com/

Great site to find coupon codes:
http://www.retailmenot.com/

Make sure you are getting the best deal for you on a few other things:
http://www.billshrink.com/

Not a deal, just really cute stuff for babies and kids...
http://www.etsy.com/

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Windows and Doors

I feel like it's been forever since I've blogged, but not really. God has been showing me so much these past few weeks, but I'm never near a computer or naptime when it occurs. I must say I am so thankful for that still small voice that speaks to me on a consistent basis. I am even more thankful that I now recognize it.

This weekend I was supposed to be "home sweet home" - in NY, visiting with family and friends. While I made my plans, God directed my steps - down a different path. My flight got cancelled! I must admit, although I was so so SO disappointed, I was actually thankful that the Lord closed the door. God made His will for my weekend crystal clear and NY was not a part of it. I'm also super thankful because it has opened a great window that Mark and I are considering - Christmas in NY. Ahhhh - the possibilities... a white Christmas, the tree at Rockefeller Center, and a huge celebration with family.

In addition to the possibilities ahead, this weekend has panned out to be delightful. Friday night we went downtown as a family. We had dinner on Market Street followed by a stroll through Waterfront Park. I even went wading in the Pineapple Fountain. I started this morning back in the city at Marion Square's Farmers Market. It has been just gorgeous as we head into fall. Our night was topped off with dinner and church with family and friends.

Things don't always go the way we plan, but that's okay. It's much better to leave these things in the hands of the One who knows us best and wants the best for us.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Safe in His Arms

Today was one of those days... you know, a day where your life turns upside down and God then has to turn in right side up again. I cried and threw a pity party for a good 20 minutes, but then I got off the emotional train and started reminding myself of TRUTH. You see, I have this amazing love letter, written to me from the Lover of my soul, the One who made me, my Creator. I can share all the dramatic details, but I have already been asked to write a book by many friends, but not by a publisher, so instead I will just share the most important part - what I have learned....

1. RUN to God! (don't walk or crawl - run)
- After I got this most disturbing phone call, I hung up and literally burst into tears. My next normal step would have been to phone a friend, but I didn't. I cried out to God. Although the comfort of friends is amazing (and I'll get to that), nothing beats the whisper "I'm right here" from the One who knows the beginning to the end and is in control of all things.

2. Emotion is okay, but don't stay there
- When I say cry, I mean weep. I know when God made me, He didn't mess up when He gave me tear ducts or emotions, so it was okay to feel sad and angry and scared and frustrated. But once I started to breathe, I realized that I needed to RESPOND. I refused to stay angry and scared and frustrated and decided to lead my heart to truth. God's Word. I started to quote scripture and slowly, very slowly, the truth set me free. His Word is the ultimate truth that we can choose to believe or we can believe the whispering of the enemy. I chose truth... eventually my heart and emotions followed.

3. Relinquish Control... and leave it there
- Me and control - a constant battle. I'll conquer for a moment or for a specific area of my life, but I am quickly learning that I need to do this daily in all areas. I may think I'm in control of some situations, but I'm really not anyway. So easy to say, so hard to do... but so necessary, and freeing. I know the God of the universe has got it. He promises He has great plans for me and for all those who love Him. He promises to work all things out for good. I kept reminding myself that I cannot see all and know all, but HE can. I just need to trust.

4. God's Love is Poured Out Through People
- When I finally made a call, it was to Mark. I left a message on His vm, but due to the crying he couldn't understand it. So, our already planned lunch date (thank you Jesus for knowing I would need my husband at exactly 1 pm today and already settting aside time for us). He just sat there and listened and prayed. I then talked to two of the amazing Women's Pastors at Seacoast, and they, too, listened and prayed. Then, several awesome family/friends in my life just happened by in person and via the phone. Again, more love and prayers. It was amazing that I ran to God and He sent people... People to point me right back to Him. Ahhhh, such assurance. I do appreciate any person in my life who tells me it's going to be okay, but often people that don't truly know the amazing God that runs the universe say that with empty hope, versus knowing that they can have true hope in the Word of the One who loves us more than we'll ever know.

5. GRACE for the Moment
- My "through the Bible in a year" Bible is by Max Lucado and entitled "Grace for the Moment Bible." That is exactly how I felt today. At some point in my day I got the picture of a storm, a down pour, a hurricane, a miserable storm. When it's dark and raining that hard you cannot see far ahead or move fast or barely breathe, but if you take it step by step, breath by breath, moment by moment, you make it through the storm. Today, grace was given to me moment by moment. I felt the prayers of the few family and friends that "happened" to call or that I specifically went to for prayer. That peace that doesn't make sense was on me and still is. I feel great.

6. Do Good
- As the day went on I started to feel better and better mostly because I stood on the truth that God loves me and has totally got this as a part of His plan. I don't need to understand "Why." I just need to trust and respond as He calls me to. So, with this news I've decided to do good to the one who is causing harm in my life right now. I've been thinking up gifts all evening and am actually smiling and getting excited about it.

Long story short - I'd rather be in GOD's will than resisting it, so if this is part of God's plan and I really do trust Him, I want to be IN IT! So, here I am... broken, hurt, running to God, trusting, forgiving, praying, relinquishing myself and jumping into His plan. Here I am Lord, use me!

Philippians 1:21 - "...To live is Christ..."


Don't Just Pass By

Over the past 2 years I have been faced with the reality that our plates are all very full and time is a true commodity. As much as that is a good thing it can also be a bad thing. During this two year stretch I have reached out to several leaders to either get a very very delayed response or no response at all. I understand that we are all very busy people and have too much to do in too little time, but this raised a question in my heart. I have gone straight to the Lord on this topic and He reminded me of a story.... The Good Samaritan.

Simple version of it that can apply to any century or time period - There was a guy who was who was hurting and had a need. He was put in the path of three men. The first two passer bys where the religious leaders. They did nothing. Then there was a Good Samaritan. He saw the need that was right in front of his face and he STOPPED. Yes, he stopped. He then helped. In fact, he went above and beyond in the helping.

As I was reminded of this story I had to look introspectively. Have I always stopped? No, I have failed. I can share the time that I was driving out of JFK airport in NY the night after Christmas and a car overturned in front of me. I raced to pull 1 Mom and two baby girls out of the upside down, smoking car. Covered in blood, I took them into the warmth of my car, comforted them, and tried to stop the bleeding while we waiting for the FDNY to respond. So, should I consider myself the Good Samaritan and call it quits? No way!

Every day I am presented with people who need help. It may be a car accident, or it may be an email or phone call. This is where I need to just keep my eyes open. I am so so thankful for all these serving opportunities presented before me, but what about the person with the need that God put in my path? I am sure those two religious leaders in the story of the Good Samaritan where on their way to some great church function, but they missed it! They missed the need God put right in their path because it wasn't on their agenda. So, with that, if YOU have ever crossed my path with a need and I didn't stop, I ask right now - please forgive me??



Let's lay aside OUR agenda, our full plates, our time and keep our eyes open to what GOD puts in our path. Let's replace the "our" with "HIS." Glory to God!


Friday, August 27, 2010

Do and Teach, Hand in Hand

"Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."                              Matthew 5:19

Just read Matthew 5 today and two words connected by the word "and" stuck out to me...


DO and TEACH


You can't have one without the other.Obey God and teach obedience.

Lead by example.

Share by lifestyle and by word.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Married the Author 3 Years Later

Three years ago today I received an email that would change my life forever. It simply said, "Is Charleston too far?" Yup, that's how he won me over. Today I am married to the author - my sweet husband, Mark. He is definitely not a charmer, but an honest, sincere man of integrity that I am more in love with today... and with each passing day. I had dated enough to have poems and song, flowers and gifts, romantic and creative dates... but this one was different. He was a man who loved God, served God, and lived his life in such a way that it was evident to me. Single Ladies - avoid the charmers! Sure it's nice to hear you are adored, but you won't be so adoring 9 months pregnant, the size of an elephant, a swollen face, house a mess, dinner not made and so on - you need a guy who goes beyond that! Look for the honest man of integrity, whose reputation proceeds him.

Here I am, three years later, and life is great! By this time in my first marriage, I was drowning with a husband who was addicted to porn, had already kissed another woman, was working 80 hours a week, and so on. So, what's the difference? I could write a book on this, but they say blogs are supposed to be short and sweet so I'll just give 3 things that I believe are strengthening our marriage.

1. PRAYER
Mark and I are consistent in not only our prayers for each other, but with each other. I always heard the saying, "Families that pray together, stay together," and thought it was cute, but it's so much more than cute - it's true! There's no better feeling than waking up, having Mark spoon with me, and ask if he can pray over me and my day. I get to wake up feeling not only loved, but protected personally and with all the day has in store. This protection in not only in the fact that I know Mark cares because he is praying for me, but because we have placed my life and it's craziness in the hands of the Creator - the One who holds the whole world in His hands. I love returning the favor and praying over Mark and his day - his concerns, his job, his relationships, life. There's something so honest, so transparent, so intimate about this time together.
In addition to our morning prayers, each night, a part of our family bedtime routine is for all of us to crawl onto our couch in a cuddly fashion and pray as an entire family, each getting our turn. Our prayers cover anything, everyone, and all things in between. We all love this time together, and I am so confident it makes us stronger.

2. ENCOURAGEMENT
In a world where "You're way, right away" has become the motto, when things don't go exactly the way we picture and expect, it is very easy to focus on the bad stuff. It is so hard, but necessary that we change our way of thinking to the positive. Marriage is a sinner committing to another sinner. Sin definitely needs to be addressed, however, the focus needs to be on the good in your spouse. I pride myself in the fact that Mark calls me his biggest cheerleader. I purpose ( it won't happen on accident) to find things to build him up. My dear friend Ruth Clow once gave me the BEST marriage advice that I try to share with all, "Before saying or doing something in relation to your spouse, ask yourself, 'Is what I am going to do/say going to build my spouse up or tear him down?' Act accordingly."
There are two things I think about this. First, the world does an awfully good job and tearing people down. According to everything we see and hear we are not good enough, skinny enough, fast enough, perfect enough. So after the wear of the day, who is going to remind your spouse that they are created by God with purpose in life? Second, with the fully co-ed offices around town, I can almost guarantee someone is pouring life into your spouse... just a little innocent flirting here or there? Hmmmm... Not a good start if you are tearing down and someone else is building up. I love to flirt with Mark. Texting is my favorite form and occasionally email. Stuff that is immoral outside of marriage is totally kosher within those bonds of commitment - go for it! I also have these little coupon books that I occasionally pack in his lunch- HOT! If anyone in Hollywood ever got a hold of Mark's phone, email, or even lunch box they would have more than enough material for an R-rated movie... that and our time in the woods ;-)

3. MAKE THE CHOICE
Marriage is tough. There will be days where it is hard - so hard you will want to yell, shout, scream, run, cry, pout, and make them pay. CHOOSE to love. Don't trust your heart, don't trust your feelings. They will lead your astray. Don't even put all your trust and hope in your spouse - they are human, and they will fail you. But you CAN trust the God of this universe who put you together to see you through and give you the strength to do what is right. Have an over abundance of forgiveness and have an over abundance of selfless love... you know, the unconditional type. It's not based on them - just your choice to love no matter what... to forgive no matter what. The type God has for us!

Three years later I am SO happy! Not because Mark is perfect or because my marriage is perfect, but because I make choices to love him through the good and and bad, sickness and health, till death. My happiness comes from the joy of pouring out the love that GOD has put into me. It's a never ending waterfall if I continue to allow HIM to pour in and me to pour out.

Our 1st Date

P.S. - Oh - and for more great info on marriage, my pastor Greg Surratt of Seacoast church happens to be in the middle of an awesome series called "Love Songs." Come to church the next few weeks to check it out or keep checking here: http://www.seacoast.org/messagearchive and it will be posted shortly.


All smiles

Captivated

Mark always says He should have proposed this night because it was perfect - but who needs perfect?
We've got each other!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Be Sure to Read All the Fine Print... If There is Any

Those of you that know me, know I am always up for a good deal. I don't like cheap things... but I like getting nice things for cheapER! One thing that I find frustrating when finding a deal is all that fine print... you know the itty bitty words at the bottom with all the exclusions and rules that are added? However, it's there so I must read it and follow it.

I once heard a dear friend of mine talking about his marriage. At the time, it was a mess - a horrible situation. And let me tell you, it wasn't him. I truly believe in most cases it takes two to tango, and although he was not perfect, this time it was her! Well, his attitude was amazing. He simply stated that no matter what his marriage was like, God called him to love his wife. He also shared that there was no "fine print" that made exceptions or exclusion or placed anything to what God was calling him to do. No excuses.

There are so many times we, as Christians, add this "fine print" to scripture. We will see something and then say "But..." and give ourselves exclusions and exceptions to what God is calling us to do. Can I challenge you along with myself - NO MORE EXCUSES! Let's step it up a notch and do what God is calling us to. Let's not look at others, but just ourselves and see where we need to improve or keep pressing on. Let's not add any fine print - if God wanted it there, He would have put it there Himself.


2 Tim 3:16-17
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

John 13:34
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Is Someone Behind You?

Driving home from church tonight there was one topic on my heart - leadership! One thing I have learned from my home church, Seacoast, is that everyone is a leader - whether your leading a corporation or your family - someone is following your example. After all, that is leadership, right? If someone is leading, someone must be following. If there is no one following then you are not really leading, are you?

There are two examples of leadership that I was thinking about tonight. First was Peter. He was quite the disciple. He was the go getter, the all or nothing, the pedal to the metal kind guy. Christ told Peter that on him, he would build the church. That is quite the calling. God has amazing plans for Peter and gave him the personality for it. However, when God gives us talents and we run with them, it doesn't always go so smoothly. In the four gospels, there are many objects lessons that revolve around this same disciple, Peter. He was always getting himself into trouble. He jumped out on water (Matt 14:22-33) but then almost drowned, he said he would never deny Christ yet it happened thrice before that crow of the cock (Mark 14:66-72), and the guy even cut off a soldier's ear (Matt 26:47-56). He seemed to have the best intentions, but lacked self control and most importantly, humility. It was his way or the highway and nothing was going to stop him. Every one these stories has happy ending as Jesus steps in.

And speaking of leadership - I would say the King of Kings is a good example to follow. Jesus was an amazing leader. He started his ministry by reaching out to 12. Yup, just 12. He befriended them and established a relationship with each them. At some point Jesus spoke to a crowd of 5k, but most often you find him gathered in a house reaching out relationally.

This evening God put three traits of Jesus on my heart in regards to leadership. The first is that Jesus was a servant. He was selfless, changing lives one at a time. The other trait is meekness. I once heard meekness defined as "strength and power under control." Jesus is a true example of that. The God of the universe and all the power that be, contained in a man that was nailed to a cross. Wow! Lastly, but just as important, Jesus led by example. He didn't stand on a stage and/or organize others to do - He did. He poured out - no task too great or too small. He got his hands dirty!

A few lessons I learned through  this...
1. Thank God for the personality He gave me - He has great plans for me and will use me
2. Be meek! Get some self control and under control. I need to not jump on my own, in my own power, at my own time, in my own strength, in my own way - The theme word here is "MY," but I want the theme to be "HIS." If I do things my way instead of HIS way, I may personally wind up as the object lesson. :-(
3. Lead relationally - I may one day get to speak to a crowd, but miracles really happen one-on-one
4. Be a servant - that is true leadership!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wanting All the Answers



Today was the second day of torture - for the both of us. Yes, folks... school's back in session down here in the South and where there's school, there's homework. I remember back in my teaching days I did give some, but barely... because I completely understood who really did the homework - the parents! Well, not in this household. I know as a parents we must choose our battles and to me, this one is worth it - or so I thought.

So, it all started great today. Question 1 on his ditto - "What is your favorite subject?" Caleb asks, "Mommy, how do you spell Science?" Well, this is where the torture... I mean fun begins. My response, "Caleb, SSSSScience - what is that first sound?" And it was all down hill from there. Long story short and an hour and half later, we finished the homework. Throughout this hour and a half Caleb kept saying, "Mommy if you loved me you would just give me the answer," and I would keep responding, "Buddy, it's because I love you that I'm not just giving you the answer, but I'm here to help you every step of the way."

Dinner tonight was a special treat. My dear Aunt Linda is visiting us down here in SC, so we went to one of my favorite restaurants, Queen Anne's Revenge. Between, my aunt, that restaurant, and my Daddy treating it was great! During dinner our homework adventure came up and my parents tried to explain to Caleb that it would have been easier for me to just tell him the answers, but I didn't because I love him.

Well, this evening I had the opportunity to share this story with someone I love so dearly and felt prompted to share it with all my blogging friends as well. Life is not always easy - and God does not promise for it to be easy - but he does promise to be with us every step of the way.
Deut 31:6 - "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
As I shared with Caleb how I was allowing him to struggle because it was what was best for him I can't help but relate that back to our loving Heavenly Father sharing that with us. He doesn't want us to struggle, but He allows it because it is what is best for us. Would it really be love to just give Caleb all the answers and be done with homework in 10 minutes? Or is it better I work with him every step of the way teaching him to do it on his own? God could zap all our trials away - and sometimes He does - but only if it is best for us. If he allows us to go through something, there is a purpose there and we need to trust him. Caleb's 7 year old mind could not grasp that I was doing what was best and that he could trust me, just as our minds cannot grasp the mind of GOD - we just need to trust that He is doing what is BEST for us. It was so easy for my parents to see this as it sometimes is for outsiders in life, but when you are in the midst of the storm, it's not so easy to see... or to trust. That's where FAITH come in. We cannot always get all of our "why's" answered. We just need to have faith in the God of this universe, who knit us together, knows our comings and our goings, and has a plan for our lives. We may not have all the answers handed to us (especially the "why's"), but we can trust that He IS there with us every step of the way!

Trust Him!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Christie in the Kitchen

In addition to this blog I have started another one. Check it out and let me know what you think...
http://christieinthekitchen.blogspot.com/



Now there are two blogs from me to read... just depends on if you want food for your tummy or food for your soul as which page to check that day. ;-)

Monday, July 19, 2010

My Mom and Mercy

I love my Mom! For those of you that know her, I think we can all agree that she is one of the sweetest ladies on Earth. I especially love one thing about my Mom - the gift of MERCY that God has given her. There are so many times I can be so logical in life, so judgemental and I leave out this important gift that should out way the others. Well, my Mom was so gently reminding me of this word and it's meaning the other day, and I so appreciate her and her wisdom in my life as to help me on something that does not come naturally to me.

My Mom shared one scripture on this topic that truly stood out to me...

James 2:13 - because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!


Wow! I know there are days I need mercy. I stumble. I fall. I fail. I need it! In fact, when I researched the word "mercy" in His Word, most instances are found where men of God are crying out for mercy. The prideful may hold out, but the more you know God and the closer you get to Him, the more you realize just how much mercy you really need. Dare I be the one to hold back mercy on another? Not when I am in need of so much myself.

I wish this came as naturally to me as it does for my Mom. Jesus (such a powerful name) is not known for His success here on Earth, or how He got a good deal, He is not known for His beautiful house or fancy car - He is known for His GREAT MERCY that He showed to the sinner, each one of us, by dying in our place - for our sin. I need His mercy - in me and flowing out of me.



My Sweet Mama

Matthew 5:7 - Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Matthew 9:13 - But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.

Matthew 18:33 - Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?'

Romans 9:15 - For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."


Romans 9:16 - It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy.

James 2:13 - because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!

Jude 1:2 - Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

All the Single Ladies... (Oh, and Men)

I must say that I do not envy the single. I am so happily married and enjoy keeping the flame alive in the marriage the Lord has blessed me with instead of trying to start a flame or find an old flame. I do remember those days though and the battle of "who" and "when." I specifically remember dating a guy who I thought may have been the one, but I wasn't sure. I sat down with my dear friend (and godly example) Theresa and asking her how she knew her husband Tony was "The One." She said when it's him and it's time - you will know. That right there should have told me this guy wasn't "the one," but that break up didn't come until a few months later. Theresa could not have been more right. When I met Mark, it didn't take long to know, without a shadow of a doubt, that he was "The One."

This past weekend I enjoyed the company of another dear friend, and I was able to put into words what I pray will offer a snippet of wisdom for all the single ladies (and men) out there. I remember dating guys and my heart would say "yes" and my head would say "no way!" ...and then there were other guys where my head said, "perfect" but my heart just was not in it. There were battles with my spirit, and other days where my emotional side kicked in. But here it is.... when I met Mark, the man God ordained for me - my heart, my head, my emotions, and my spirit all lined up and said, "Yes, he is The One!"

So, if there is a battle within you over the one you love, step back and pray, seek some godly counsel, and be patient until all of you is in agreement. Trust me, it is totally worth the wait!!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The First to be Invited

Tonight's dinner conversation was led by Caleb. At a mere 7 years old, he clearly had the mic... jumping from topic to topic he finally settled on one which was started by part of his day's events. He was swimming in Meme and Pappy's community pool with some friends of ours who happen to have a little girl around Caleb's age. Caleb said, "I think [girl] "l-i-k-e-s" me," as he spelled out the word "like." (Too funny - the spelling thing. He just cracks me up.) He told us how he came to this conclusion, and I am pretty sure he is accurate.

I didn't think this topic would approach till the teens years, but it's never to young to teach - right? So I shared with Caleb that if he is aware a young girl like him he must be extra careful to protect her heart. That her heart belongs to Jesus until He specifically tell her who she should give it to when He wants her to marry. Mark chimed in and together we explained how NOT to lead a girl on or foster feelings. I wonder how many hearts would not be broken if guys (and girls) learned this at an early age.

Caleb understood what he could of it and then said, "Well, if we are still neighbors when I grow up, I will invite her to my wedding." Mark and I chuckled. Off this topic, he then started sharing how he would be sending out his wedding invitations and said that the first wedding invitation he wanted to send out would go to God, then to Mark and me, and then to his dear friends Anthony and Alaina.

WOW - How profound - the first to be invited to his wedding will be God. That sounds like a great start to an incredible marriage if you ask me.

At some point most of us have or will step foot into a church and stand before God and recite vows to another, but do we really INVITE Him? Is He invited to our wedding on that first day and then into our marriage for every day to come? To reign over it as Lord? I wonder how marriages would change if God truly was the first one invited to the wedding.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Learning New Dance Moves - from the 3-Step to the 2-Step

Over the past two or three weeks my husband and I have experienced two moments of my what pastor calls "intense fellowship" - a.k.a. a fight. It's good to have a fight once in a while and these two were extra special to me, looking back on them of course. It has taken me a long time, but I have gotten much better at my fighting. I have some general rules that I attempt to go by as I use much self-control as possible: The "No's" - no yelling, no name calling, no negating the other's feelings, absolutely no threat of divorce; The "Needs" - praying, holding hands, saying I love you, reminding each other that we are on the same team, remind my mate that we WILL work it out and our marriage will be stronger for it, reminding my mate that I accept him with all imperfections and will be his helpmate through it all no matter what. I feel those rules have really helped me through our fights. Now if only I could stop rolling my eyes. Hee hee
In the first moments of each time of "intense fellowship," I started off with my usual dance steps: defend, justify, and blame. The walls go up and I attempt to stand in my perfection - how ridiculous! Why is it so hard to just admit that we are human, that we mess up, and that we need a Savior? Why is it so hard to be unselfish and get the focus off of our "rightness" and put it on the feelings of another? I haven't figured out the "why," but I am so happy I have recognized these few things.
Well, in looking back, I was able to change my "dance steps," and I hope to stick with the new ones I have learned: ask for forgiveness and change my ways.
The first fight I can't even remember... isn't that usually the case. However, what I do remember is the moment I recognized that my action was not the real problem. The real problem was how I was making my husband feel - hurt. When I reflected on it, I believed that it was actually rooted in disrespect - the biggest command I am given by God to do for my husband. With tears I sought Marks forgiveness and God's as I truly recognize the importance of respecting my husband.
The second time of intense fellowship involved our finances. (Insert fact: did you know that the top three issues in a marriage are finances, communication, and sex? If you have any "intense fellowship" in these areas, you are normal. lol) My husband gently pointed out that I have spent a bit too much on Daniel's clothing this month. After completing my first 3 dance steps (Defend: It really wasn't that much; Justify: He really did need a few more bibs and now we save money on laundry since I can last longer between loads; Blame: Daniel just looked so cute in them), I decided to switch my rhythm and went to my 2-Step, "Mark, you are right. I am so sorry. Do you forgive me? And can you help me as I do struggle with having a new baby to buy stuff for? Can you give me an envelope with a set amount so I do go overboard?"
Wow - such freedom! Yes, FREEDOM! Freedom: noun, the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint. Ahhhhhh! So I guess the other why I have is - why has it taken me so long to form a habit of the 2-Step. I wish I applied it to all of our intense fellowship in the past. It's so good to be forgiven!



Romans 4:7
"Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered."

1 John 1:9
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

Colossians 3:13
"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."

Matthew 6:14-15
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."

Saturday, May 22, 2010

How to Get Oil and Water to Mix

With Caleb's 7th birthday party less than 24 hours away, it was time to start on my traditional Checkerboard Cake. It takes a bit of work, but is always a hit at the party. I was in a rush as we had dinner plans with some friends, so I was doing my best to multitask the baking process. I measured out the water and oil in two separate measuring cups, but poured them into the bowl together. Despite the mixing flow, they quickly divided back to their individual substances. As we all know, oil and water don't mix. However, when I added a third substance, the cake mix, all items blended perfectly to form a ideal mixture that would soon become a delicious birthday cake.


As I was creating this masterpiece I heard that still small voice. Our marriages are often like this oil and water. You know what they say - opposites attract. Shortly after the honeymoon, the differences between us and our spouses suddenly seem to pop up.

When we try to mix together, we quickly divide again - unless we add a third entity that can perfectly blend us - GOD.

HE can take us, the ingredients, mix us together to make something exquisite. So the next time you and your spouse are mixing as well as oil and water, be sure to mix in that essential "ingredient" to make your marriage a masterpiece.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Things to do this Summer

Two phrases I refuse to tolerate from my son (or students when I am teaching) is "I'm bored" or "It's not fair!" I could go on and on about the later phrase and how "fair" does not mean "equal" or "the same" but rather what is best for each child. However, I will save that for another day and address the "bored" issue.

When giving a "rule," which I now expect my son to obey, I try to also keep him from temptation and do my best to help him be an obeyer. So, since I told him he will get a consequence if he says "I'm bored" this summer, I thought I better help equip him not to say that. Caleb can be very creative himself, but to assist even further, we sat down today and together came up with a list of summer activities.

One list is stuff we can do together. Some of it is free and other things cost money. I have listed those seperately. Then, there is a list of things that he can do alone (appropriate for a 7 year old). The best part about this list is that when he is feeling bored he can go right to the list and pick something to do. I think children often say they are bored when they can't think of something to do, so hopefully this will help. We have sat down and discussed this thoroughly so he is aware of my expectations.

The last list is things that he can do to be a helper for me. This is in addition to his regular chores that he does as a member of our family, so with these he can earn some summer money. I have specified that is he does the things thoroughly and with a good attitude he will get paid.

Below I have included the list to help any other Moms that need some ideas for summer.

**In addition, please ADD your own ideas to this list in the comment section. I would love to expand my list even further.***

Hope you all have a happy, safe, and FUN summer!



THINGS TO DO THIS SUMMER

TOGETHER
(Free Stuff)
Pool
Water Park (Passes)
Free Movies
Free Bowling
Picnic
Beach – ride the waves
Bake
Have a playdate
Play a board game
Play cards
Library – Summer Reading Program


TOGETHER
(Costs Money)
Pottery
Mini Golf
Be a Tourist
Go to the Zoo
Go a Museum
Go to Aquarium
House of Bounce
Go to a sporting event
Make a garden


ALONE (or Together)
Work on Scripture Memory
Practice a Sport
Work on Summer Scapbook
Take some pictures
Make a picture
Draw with chalk
Make a card for someone
Write a letter
Write a poem
Write a song
Send an email to a relative or friend
Read a book or a chapter
Read to a sibling
Clean your room
Call a relative
Play a computer game
Play on Swing Set
Play on Trampoline
Give the dog a bath
Play Fetch with the dog
Wash the car
Build an indoor fort
Make something out of Recycle Bin
Playdough – make it & play with it
Ride your bike
Ride your scooter
Watch a TV show
Watch a DVD
Go on a treasure hunt in the backyard
Make a movie
Make a collage from old magazines
Play with your toys


HELP MOMMY
(You can earn $.25 for each chore you complete thoroughly and with a good attitude)
Load dishwasher
Empty dishwasher
Vacuum
Swiffer
Do laundry
Fold laundry
Dust
Wash windows and mirror
Put away groceries

Resources:
http://www.homeschool.com/articles/101thingstodothissummer/default.asp
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0IBX/is_6_9/ai_102658366/

Monday, May 10, 2010

Just Because I Love You

Tonight was Caleb's Birthday Eve. As bedtime approached, you could sense the excitement for the big day tomorrow - his 7th birthday. In addition to sensing it, we all knew it from the silliness emanating from my boy. Long story short, the sillies came out a bit too much and a consequence had to be given - off to bed he went. After a long day of diapers, baking cupcakes, baseballs games, cleaning, cooking, and more, I was relieved to relax on my couch and put my feet up. However, I could hear a quiet whimper travelling from the direction of his room. My Mommy break was over; I headed his way.
When I got to his room, I sat on his bed and leaned over my "big boy" who was laying tummy down. I was suddenly sharing his tears as I pressed my cheek to his. He peered up and said, "I don't deserve any birthday presents!" It was late; I was tired; however, I dare not miss this opportunity for a teachable moment. I could have gone down the road of pride with the little pity party; I could have agreed in a frustration and anger; I could have stayed silent... but I didn't. I said, "Buddy, I am not giving you presents because of what you do, but because I love you... and I don't love you based on what you do... I love you because you are my son. I am giving you presents to show you my love."
As those words rang back in my own ears, I could hear my Heavenly Father repeat those same words. God doesn't love us because of what we do - nope, can't earn His love. And He doesn't stop loving us when we mess up. He loves us because we are His children. And to show us that love, He gave us the ultimate present - eternity in Heaven with Him when you accept his gift of grace. It's offered through the death of Jesus on the cross when He paid the penalty for our sin.
As Caleb accepts all his birthday presents tomorrow, I hope he truly feels my love for him.


Monday, April 26, 2010

HIS Love = My Security

This weekend I was incredibly blessed while dealing with my insecurities thanks to Beth Moore's Simulcast... "So Long, Insecurity!" There were six points she made:
S - Saved from Herself
E - Entitled to Truth
C - Clothes with Intention
U - Upended by Grace
R - Rebounded by Love
E - Exceptional in Life

But the thing that struck me most through the day was God's overwhelming, undying love for me. I've always known about God's love for me... enough that He would send His only Son to die in my place. However, this weekend the one fact became so real to me - no matter what I've done, no matter I do, HE WILL NEVER STOP LOVING ME! I have heard the term unconditional love before and have even been told I possess some of it, but let me tell you - I don't have it for everyone. There are certain things that people do that I choose not to love them. Yet, I serve this God who has an unconditional, never-ending love for every one of us, His creation, that no matter what will always be available. I find this love to be indescribable.
I have discovered this weekend that, if nothing else, I can have full security in love. The next time someone does something to you that cause you to choose not to love... or next time you do something that makes you momentarily not the easiest to love, know that there is a God that never stops loving YOU!

Some other highlights from Beth...
  • HE is the wildest ride you will ever take!
  • Victory or defeat resides in the mind
  • HE has proven.
  • Put off old, put on new
  • Our biggest enemy is often our own insecurity
  • Insecurity is a form of pride
  • I am loved, valued, and esteemed by God!
  • Don't manage a stronghold in your life - Be FREE!
  • If you have a heart that does not heal, it hardens
  • You cannot run Him off!
  • Everything always comes back to love
  • We have a need for significance
  • Be the exception!!
And one more personal thought from me... If God wanted us to consistently look at our outward selves, He would have created us with a built in mirror. Instead see yourself through the Creator's eyes!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Half a Christian

Caleb came home from school today with a new book from the school library entitled Twisted Journeys.

 Upon first glance I was not too thrilled, but you know what they say - never judge a book by it's cover. So, I started to flip through and look at the content. Well, my assumption was correct. Although this book was written for his age and reading level it was filled with evil. I asked Caleb if the book would make Jesus happy and he said, "No." I then told him he could not read the book. He then explained that a friend of his at school was reading another book in the series and that they were going to switch when they were done. I explained to Caleb that he could ask the boy to read a different series like Magic Tree House, but Caleb shared that he had already asked about that series and the little boy insisted on this one. I explained to Caleb that we are supposed to be a light to those that are not Christians. He then shared that this boy was a Christian. So I questioned him by asking, "How do we know someone is a Christian?" and since there was no answer I explained that we know that by their actions. Caleb then said, "I think he is half a Christian."

I pondered this statement for a moment. I wonder how many people in our lives see us as "half a Christian." Do we live completely sold out for the Lord? Can everyone in our lives see Jesus in us all the time - or just half of it? Do the decisions we make - big or little ones - shine a light? Specifically, does our media intake - books, tv, music, movies, etc - say that we are half a Christian?

"So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth." Revelation 3:16

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Three Small Rings, Ponies, Clowns, Elephants, and Thongs???

Last night we took Caleb to the Circus. Three small rings, ponies, clowns, elephants, and thongs??? So we were sitting at the far side... right under the trapeze. The three girls climbed the ladder to take their place in preparation for flying feats, but they revealed a whole new side - literally! Their bottoms! So Caleb turns to me and says something along the lines of...
"Mommy! Can you see that? Their butts are hanging out! I feel like I need to put gum over my eyes."
At that point, I thought is best to explain that it was a costume and just like we wear bathing suits for swimming, acrobats wear costumes to do their flips. He settled a little bit, but I could see how uncomfortable he was. He kept turning, and he knew in his spirit that something was wrong. I turned to my friend and said, "Who would have thought that my son ould be defiled at the Circus!?!" But then I thought more - was it me? I then continued to say with humor and a touch of seriousness, "I guess the bubble I have put him in has popped!" 

So is this it for my 6, almost 7, year old boy? Will he become immune to it? Sensitive to it? Every day men are faced with this challenge as modesty is definitely not a standard in many women. Some have been so exposed to it, they think nothing of it. Others give in and take it to new levels in their mind. Many know my past and how sexual addictions have personally affected me... and I pray that stronghold is broken over my son. So what is best?

Mark and I chatted a bit in bed this morning. I think this may be a good opportunity to teach our son respect for women and how to bounce his eyes. (http://lifestrategies.thingseternal.com/relationships/men/everymansbattle.html) As Mama, I would prefer the bubble, but I know it's best to arm my son with tools to maintain a high standard. I want the best for him! I want him to have a respect for women, and clean mind, and a pure heart!

Monday, March 22, 2010

There's Just Something About That Name

Today was a day I recognized as a challenge. I did my best to lean on my Savior's all sufficient grace and rest peacefully that the sun would come out tomorrow. After a trip to the doctor for both boys and a diagnosis of Strep Throat in Caleb, we headed to the pharmacy where we were faced with insurance mix-ups. I had a hungry infant on one side of the back seat and a 6 year old crying in pain from him inflamed throat on the other side of the back seat. This was no time to be delayed at the pharmacy.

In the midst of all of this I was listening to "His Radio" and the DJ started praying for some prayer requests submitted to the station. Every other line he would say a name of our God - Lord, Father God, etc. I started to think about that and wonder why we do that in our prayers. I know I do the same when I pray and consistently insert the names of my Lord. Then I thought about when I talk to Mark I don't say his name a bunch of times in the same thought - maybe once at the beginning to get his attention... and maybe once more to keep his attention (hee hee), but that's about it. As these thoughts were running through my head, God spoke in His still small voice...
"Because there is POWER in MY NAME."
I think each time I pray and say HIS NAME I will think of it in a new way - I get to say the Name above all names, the Name with power. As the day continued, I found myself humming a familiar tune...

Something About That Name 
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
There's just something about that name
Master, Savior, Jesus
Like the fragrance after the rain

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
There's just something about that name
Master, Savior, Jesus
Like the fragrance after the rain

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
Let all heaven and earth proclaim

Kings and kingdoms will all pass away
But there's just something about that name  

Saturday, February 20, 2010

It's All in the Name

Sorry for the delay in my blogging. Being 9 months pregnant and sick with a sore throat/cough/cold can take a bit out of you. Whew! But now that I'm feeling better, I am ready and anticipating the arrival of Baby Daniel.

I was laying in bed the other day pondering the meaning of our expected little one's name in relation to the Daniel in the Bible. After digging deep into the book of Daniel through Beth Moore's study (amazing study, btw), there are so many words I would link with that name. The first one would be "integrity." Was Daniel not the most upright man (aside form Jesus, of course)? Although I am sure he had faults, as well all do, I don't think one is recorded anywhere. The other word I was thinking was "faithful." No matter what this man faced, he did not waver in his faith. The list of words can continue... courageous, prayerful, wise, discerning, obedient, and so on. Wow! But do you know what the actual meaning of the name Daniel is?

"God is My Judge"

After thinking about it some more, I thought of how amazing it truly is... Daniel did what he did for ONE - God alone! His integrity was not for the King, his faithfulness was not for his peers from Israel that were dragged to Babylon with him, his courage, his prayers, his obedience - it was all for God alone, his Judge.

I can't help but look at my character and question if my heart is always in the right place. Is who I am because of God alone? I have always loved this quote on character:

"Character is who we are and how we act when no one is watching"

My prayer is that God alone is my focus, the One I desire to please. He is my Judge as well.


Friday, February 5, 2010

HIS Voice... Anticipated

"I will climb up to my watchtower
      and stand at my guardpost.
   There I will wait to see what the Lord says
      and how he will answer my complaint."
                                                          Habakkuk 2:1

So I am one week into my new Women's Bible Study "Discerning the Voice of God" by Priscilla Shrier. I feel like I have learned so much and am excited about what God will do in my heart over the next 5 weeks. The first day of study challenged us with the question, "Do we anticipate the voice of God?" Wow, was I convicted. Where was my faith? There were so many times in my life, or when I was priviledged to share the burden in someone's else's life, that I stood confident on God's promises to work all things out for good. I knew that He was doing something... that it would be for my good... that it would be for His glory... and I just had to be patient and trust. (Romans 8:28, Genesis 50:20, Jeremiah 29:11)  So why have I never stood on every scripture that He would speak to me? For years I have been missing out due to my own lack of faith.

As I read through the rest of the week's studies and learned more and more about this, my desire grew and grew. I kept thinking that my wonderful husband, Mark, wouldn't go even just one day without speaking to me... how much more does my Lord love me and want to speak to me every day!


As my small group (love those girls) gathered to discuss this, someone shared how often we expect the voice of God to be this thunder in our lives and how we can miss His gentle whispers. I couldn't help but think of God's chosen people, Israel, anticipating their Savior, the King of kings, returning to save them - but they put God in a box... a big beautiful box of royalty, but still a box... by expecting this powerful King to sweep in from the heavens. However, they missed Him... the babe born in a manger, raised as a carpenter's son, spent his days with fisherman, and then humbly dies on a cross. I don't want to miss Him too! It makes me more aware to stand on that watch tower, not as concerned by the armies thundering towards me, but the gentle breeze of HIS VOICE.


Lord, I will wait patiently for You to speak to me... 
with faith that You will, 
ready to listen, 
ready to respond and obey.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

No Smell of Smoke Over Here

This past week we started up our new semester of Women's Small Groups at Seacoast, and I was so excited to dive right in. I love my Thursday morning fix of God's Word and fellowship - can't beat that combo! ;-) I am starting a new study entitled "Discerning the Voice of God" by Priscilla Shrier and was challenged by the question, "Do I truly anticipate hearing from God?" - but that's a blog for another day.
Another question that was passed around our table to get to know our new groups was "What season of life are you in?" As I contemplated my answer, I was truly jumping through a year of seasons trying to figure out where I really was. I was brought back to a scripture that touched me over a year ago when I did Beth Moore's Study on Daniel. We were looking at the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 3. In this story, these 3 men refused to bow down and worship a golden idol and their punishment - the fiery furnace. All 3 were bound up and tossed in the fire after the King had it heated 7 times hotter than usual. They had an amazing attitude - willingness to lose their life for the Lord yet faith that He could save them. Long story short, when the King peered into the furnace they saw 4 men in there - all untouched. The scripture that bounced off the page to me is the one that came to mind as I shared my season of life at the moment:
Daniel 3:27 "...there was no smell of fire on them."
 There are many times in my life where I have gone through trials, and I have the scars to prove it. They serve as reminders to me of God's faithfulness. But my most recent challenge has left me in the state of two seasons - my life situation bellows of winter, yet my soul steadies in the season of summer. I truly feel that although the cold of winter is all around me, I can feel the warmth of God's love, protection, peace and grace cover me. It's so amazing, because in "Christie's World" I would have been tossed as a wave of the sea, but by the grace of God, I am steadied by HIS hand. As this trial comes to an ever so slow close, I feel as if I am walking out of the fire without even a smell of fire upon me.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Is Your Trust in Something with a Bad Reputation?

Mark and I have been walking alongside several friends with struggling marriages over the past year. It has brought pain, tears, and increased faith for all, or should I say most, along this dark road. Having both been there at one point ourselves, we know this road well and where it can lead, and have learned much along our travels. One important lesson...
Don't trust your feelings over truth!

I want to first acknowledge that feelings are a part of us, created by God. There are times in life when we have a feeling or instinct that we do need to trust, but FIRST consider your heart and look for truth. God's Word in Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?" Is that something you want to just put full trust in when it's reputation is not the best? Here is another thought - feelings fluctuate as much as the waves of the sea and may change with the wind. If you go to a party, you are feeling happy. If at that party you find out your dog died, you suddenly feel sad. Feeling will come and go, but you need something to steady you through them - TRUTH, your compass.

When you have a feeling, before you run with it, check it against God's Word - the standard for truth. It offers peace despite a circumstance or feeling. This is true of any circumstance you are facing, but allow me a moment to apply it to these marriages. For those who are struggling with a feeling (anger, lust for another that is not your spouse, hurt, pain, etc.) that may draw you away from your spouse, do not trust that feeling! Trust the Truth! The truth is that you committed to that spouse for better or worse. Invest in them! Love them unconditionally! That feeling may soon change. Feelings follow our choices, not the other way around. Choose first - don't allow your feelings to choose for you. If you are at a point where your feelings are all over the place and you don't know what to do, pray and seek counsel from trusted friends. They may tell you something that you don't want to hear (because you don't feel like it), but go with it and your feelings will follow.

God's Word promises in Romans 8:28 to work all things out for good if you love God - trust that promise...
and    h o l d    o n    f o r    t h e    r i d e.

Some other scriptures to think on:


  • No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so that you may obey it. (De 30:14)



  • Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart. (Job 22:22)




  • May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Ps 19:14)




  • The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly. (Pr 15:14)




  • But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man `unclean'. (Mt 15:18)




  • "What comes out of a man is what makes him `unclean'. For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man `unclean'." (MA 7:20-23)




  • The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. (Lu 6:45)




  • As water reflects a face, so a man's heart reflects the man. (Pr 27:19)




  • Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. (Pr 4:23)


Monday, January 18, 2010

A Shining Light

Yesterday a few of my cousins were inquiring as to Caleb's good behavior. They wanted to know why he was such a good boy. I started rattling off the names of Christian parenting books, the "firm, fair, and consistent" motto I learned in college for Elementary Education, and an array of philosophies I try to live by as I parent him. I was hoping it was helpful to the inquirers.

As the day went on, I couldn't get the question out of my head though. Finally it hit me - I missed the point. They were seeing JESUS in Caleb. That was the difference. This boy has the Holy Spirit living in him to guide him and convict him. My little one was shining his light. It's amazing that even at such a young age there is a recognizable difference between one with Christ living in their heart and without. So, before you run out and grab those books, try out that motto, or put your own philosophy into practice, check out the saving grace of Jesus Christ that transforms lives - little or big.