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Friday, February 29, 2008

Random stuff!

Well, my friend Cindy is headed off for a cruise tomorrow. I am only a little jealous. She and her sisters go every year and she has been working out with us in the weight room. I mean she is a model for Pete's sake! She is tall and slim and really very attractive. AND she loves Jesus so that makes it even worse. I mean better. :) I have been getting to know her over the hours of treadmill/elliptical torture. I mean exercise. We have talked about lots of stuff. From kids to recipes to Bible studies and books we like to read. Anyway, I hope she has fun. Sort of.


AND we are starting our 3rd week of Bible study with girls in my SS class and I am loving it!! The Lord really spoke through Beth Moore last night as she talked about singing (we are doing the Psalms of Ascent) songs in worship and REALLY meaning what we sing. Oh, now THERE is some conviction for ya! This weekend is our missions week at church and Sunday night we are singing some great stuff!! I just know now that every time we sing I am going to have to really pay attention to the words and whether or not I am REALLY meaning all that I am saying. Quite a challenge because sometimes my mood does not match my heart. I think they both need some work!! So I am loving it!! The challenge and the growth that I know is taking place among all of us... Oh I can't wait to see us climb the ascent with the Lord.



AND our friends got back safely with their newly adopted little boy!! They had a little detour in Florida to stop for gas so their plane was later than planned, but they are here and fine and THRILLED! It has been a long road of prayer and anticipation for them and our church and friends so this is a HUGE prayer that has been answered. HUGE! I have not seen him yet, but I know he is precious from the photos that they have sent through out the process. My friend Valarie (valariekelswick@blogspot.com) got some folks together to go to the airport to support them, and she said that he was so precious and seemed excited to see everyone. Oh, I can't wait to see him!

Well, today is grandparent's chapel too. Mom and dad are on their way as I type and I am pretty sure my husband's parents will come as well. I am excited to see mom and dad and I know my Caroline will be thrilled to see them all. It is always a little tense when they are all in the same room because Caroline does not see my parents as much and my mother is ALL (and I do mean ALL!) about Caroline, and so Caroline is ALL about her Mimi. That means that most of the time they are just a carryin' on and Steve's mom kind of watches. I HATE IT! I always try my hardest to get his mom into the "carryin' on" but she ain't the "carryin' on" type... can you say uncomfortable?? Anyway, it's hard and I don't know how to fix it so I just pray. Only Jesus can make this one better, girls.

Ok, enough of the random stuff. Just here... waiting on the grandparents and thought I would kill some time. Have a good weekend. Go get you some praise on at church this week! He is SO amazingly worthy of it. I mean, the mere fact that we are breathing and alive is enough to sing a praise song about! Think about what you sing too. Mean it. Close your eyes and think about the incredible gift He has given you in this life. Especially, oh sisters, ESPECIALLY if He has saved you. That might be worth a hand raise or a shout, now!

Love you!
Wednesday, February 27, 2008

In Search of Wisdom

My husband and I have been asked to lead a "Nearly Wed" class tonight on finances. I remember being where these folks are 11.5 years ago and being SO sure that I knew exactly what I was getting into. I remember going to those premarital classes and thinking that I really just had this marriage thing figured out and I just needed to meet the church's requirement before getting married. I mean, how hard can it be!?!?!

For heaven's sake. I was a complete and total idiot.

I am really praying that God shows up tonight because 11.5 years later I have come to realize that I don't know DIDDLY! Especially in the area of finances! I mean we are doing ok, but to give someone else wisdom? YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME! As a matter of fact, my husband and I decided to divide up what we will say, and I am first. My very first planned sentence is "PLEASE know. We do not have this figured out! We STILL don't know what we are doing here folks! Only God Himself keeps us going in this area. CLING TO HIM! NOW!! " Won't that be encouraging? Maybe they will rethink marriage after we are done with them!

So we will have 4 couples (from what we hear) and we are their 4th class... like they have met 3 times already to discuss other topics in a series of marriage topics. I don't think I know these sweet new little baby couples, and I really hope we don't make them think that marriage is just a skip through the park! IT AIN'T! It's work and it is challenging and it's maddening sometimes for both parties involved. Oh, LORD! Why did we agree to this? (Teaching the class... not marriage!)

At least we are not teaching on SEX! Oh, I don't know if we would survive.

I DO love my husband and I would marry him 10 times over. He is precious and good to me and he loves Jesus very much! I am extremely blessed and would never trade what I have. I just know that this has not been the easiest thing I have ever done. It has been work to live with my complete opposite (and he would SO definitely say the same thing) and it has been challenging to make my opinions and ideas mesh with his since we are two complete and total opposites. ( Did i mention that we are opposites?)

So, off we go. Oh, pray for these precious ones. They are seeking wisdom from the wrong tank!
Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Hurting

Everywhere I go someone is hurting. There is some unexpected circumstance. There is some hurdle that can't be overcome. There is some pain that others are inflicting or a pain from within. There are questions that are unanswered and answers that are not understood. It's hard.

Today we read about Ruth in Sunday school. We saw that her mother-in-law, Naomi, was stripped of her family. Her husband and two sons died and all she had left were two daughters-in-law that were not of her native land nor of her faith. The question was asked, "How would you have responded? Is it ok to question God?"

Several months ago a very close friend and I had this very conversation. We were talking about whether it is ok to go before God and just bold face ask "WHAT'S THE DEAL?" We, by no means, want to be disrespectful before the God of the Universe. We do not want to seem like children who have no respect or honor for their Abba Father (Daddy). But the hurt is still there!! The questions are still unanswered and it is hard to move on when you feel stuck in your circumstances.

My response? He IS God of the Universe! He IS our Abba Father and if we can't come to Him with our very real, very hard and very painful hurts, where can we go?? He is a BIG God with BIG arms and a heart big enough to send His own Son to die for us. Certainly He can handle the hurts and hurt feelings that we have! Certainly He can handle a little emotion on our part as we seek to come to terms with the hurt.

I believe Beth Moore said it... or maybe it was someone else... but it is a quote that I love. They said to go ahead and fight it out with God! At least in the fight He still has His hands on you! At least in the fight you have not run away and you are not alone, but you are struggling through and seeking Him with all that you have. I think that is so true! He wants us to have such a relationship with Him that we can say anything. Mad, sad, hurt, happy, eager uncertainties. They are all important to Him!

Sometimes Steve and I will get into a tiff. It does not happen a lot, but when it does happen it's hard. Sometimes I feel insecure or get tired of something that is going on and need a change. Sometimes we go through hard things that neither of us understand. It gets hard, but it does not mean that we give up. It does not mean that it's ok for me to run from my marriage or from God, but I have to stay and fight it out until it is resolved. Sometimes the resolution isn't immediate. It takes time to talk and hear the other person's side. It does not help for me to blame him, but it does help for me to say that I am mad or hurt so that he knows how I feel.

Maybe you are in a tiff with God. Maybe something is going on that is just not fair!! Maybe He has allowed something in your life that is really hurting and you have not talked it out with Him. Perhaps there is a circumstance that you just don't understand.

TALK TO HIM! He is here. He listens and He cares. He knows you are hurting. It will not surprise Him or catch Him off guard!Yell it if you need to!! He can handle it. He can see the pain and knows the hurt more intimately than you do because He created you. He created your feelings and the very voice that you cry out to Him with!!

Oh, Lord. I cry out to you on behalf of my hurting friends. Lord there are people facing some serious things. They need a touch from You. They need an arm around them and a listening ear. Draw them close, Lord. Keep them close, Lord. Give me words to say to encourage them. Show others how to reach out and help. Give us the courage to come before you with honest and real hearts Lord. Be our Abba Father. Give us stamina to face another day in our circumstance and still live this life for You, Lord. Bind the broken hearted and protect the fragile hearts that are trying to heal. Lord, we need you. This sinful world is so broken, and we live here! We need you!! Be our refuge and our strength! Amen.
Friday, February 22, 2008

Walking With God

It's what I feel like I am doing... just walking with Him. And I am in complete and total awe. I do not know how to explain this feeling.

I am overwhelmed.

His favor on my life is undeserved.

His answer to my prayers is not what I asked for, but more... different than what I thought it would be, but still an answer that only He can give.

I am learning to want nothing but Him. Nothing but a word from Him. Nothing but to worship. Nothing but to see His hand and know His ways and be in His presence. I do not want to move. I just want to stay here. I want my husband here with me and my sweet Caroline. I want my friends here... in His presence and I want us to worship with full abandon. I want everyone to know what it means to walk with Him like never before. To know His hope and His goodness. To know His promises. I know Him...

He gave me a scripture in the prayer room the other day. 1 Chronicles 29: 17-18 "I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly people who are here have given to you. O LORD, God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep this desire in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you. "

It's what I want. I want Him to see me and my family, friends, and church as people who give willingly with honest intent. I want Him to keep this desire in our hearts forever. Loyalty to Him and His name will be honored. I want Him to see integrity when He tests our hearts... and I want it to start with me. I pray that it will start with me.

Walking with God. It is unlike anything I have ever known. He is changing me. I don't know how to thank Him. I don't know how to show Him my gratitude. I just want to tell others that He is real, He is working and He is faithful.

"Praise be to you, O LORD, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Your, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; You are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from You; You are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks and praise your glorious name. " 1 Chronicles 29:10-13
Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Oops! Yikes, again!

Ha! Somehow I hit some key and "Yikes" got published all by itself! Actually, it's a great entry! I think I will leave it. It is the truest word for what I am feeling. (Is "truest" a word?OH, Yea... like the color blue in it's "truest form..." It IS a word.)

So tomorrow... OH my goodness... TOMORROW is the first Mustard Seed meeting. I am just amazed at how God is working and confirming in me that this is what He has laid out for me. I do not know what it means. It's like stepping off of a cliff and having the faith that His enormous hand is there to catch me as I continue the steps.

As I look into His Word and see the way that he healed those with leprosy, demons, and others with exceptional needs it is just more confirmation that we, the church body, have the same responsibility. Not only to those who deal with the disabilities, but also to their families. We have the responsiblity to go to the Father on their behalf as the friends and family members of the Bible did. We also have the responsibility to introduce them to Jesus... just like the friends and family of the Bible did.

I read about sons being afflicted and fathers pursuing Jesus and His healing power on his son's behalf. I read about friends who tore tiles off of a roof so that their needy friend could be lowered down to the feet of Jesus as He taught in the town. I read about men bringing their friend that was paralyzed on a mat to the feet of Jesus. In each situation Jesus wanted to be sure that they understood that His primary reason for coming was so they could know that their sins are forgiven. THAT is our calling.

I am excited. I am nervous. I am eager and yet trying to be calm. I want to see Jesus do a work in the lives of these sweet kids and their families like never before. I hope they see hope. I want them to find rest. I pray that they are encouraged. I pray that the lives of those who step up to volunteer are changed forever by the blessing that they receive by being obedient. There are so many prayers that I want to see answered. He is more than able to handle them all!!

What does God have for you to do? If you are not sure... begin to pray! Ask the Lord to be so crystal clear that there is NO mistaking His call. It is like no adventure you have ever known!! It is exciting to see His hand and will in your life. There is anticipation, mystery and excitement that is different from any that I have known. When people claim that the Christian faith is boring... well, have I got news for them! I have never known such excitement and purpose in my heart. His plans ARE higher and His ways ARE greater than we can fathom. In seeking Him we find rest, but we also find purpose and that is such a blessing. It's not an empty promise of purpose either... it's heavenly purpose...kingdom purpose!!

Lord, give us eyes to see and a heart to know Your perfect will for each of our lives. Provide for us and help us to see You so clearly that there is no mistaking the next steps that we are to take. Give us Your eyes. Show us how to love others the way You would have us to. Help us to step out in obedience and let you carry us!! Thank you for being a God that keeps His promises. You have not left us! You do give direction and we are thankful for Your goodness. How can we ever be the same once we commit to whole heartedly follow you?? Help us to always seek You and Your will for us! I love you Jesus!

YIKES!

Friday, February 15, 2008

It's My Birthday!!

And I ain't proud! It is a big deal at our house when it's someone's big day! I mean, when I was growing up my mom would make toast and put a candle in it. We started celebrating the minute we woke up and didn't stop until we went to bed. When I was in college my poor roommates had to continue the tradition for me. My mother would send a muffin or something to school with a candle and ask my room mates to light the candle when I got up so that we could begin the celebration!!

Sad people. Really sad.

SO now I expect nothing less. Yes, you can begin to pray for Steve. I make it very clear that YESTERDAY was Valentine's day. Today is a NEW day with a NEW reason to celebrate. Now, don't get me wrong... we are certainly allowed to celebrate as long as the man can put up with me. I like my friend Valarie's description.. The Ten Days of Melissa. (Well, she calls hers the Ten Days of Valarie, but you get the point.)

I have to say that my birthday does make me reflect on things a bit. I begin to look at where I am headed and how the Lord is working. It really is a great thing to see where He is leading and how far He has brought me. I just love that He also reminds me that HE is still God. Not me. I have no control over this life.. including getting older! It is up to me though to take care of the temple that He has given me and to seek Him daily. So I use my birthday to recommit to Him each year. I also try to recommit to do something for myself to make me stronger and better in the coming year. Last year I committed to work out more and it took me a while, but I finally started working out everyday. I want to keep that commitment and then add better eating habits so that hopefully some weight will come off.

ANYWAY, it's my birthday. I am a year older, but hopefully a little wiser and more of who God is calling me to be. I am thankful that I have lived another year to enjoy my family and make new friends. I am glad that the Lord has brought some old friendships into better view and He has allowed some closeness to occur that has been really sweet. He has allowed me to see some things of my past come full circle as I see what His plan is for those things... I love that! I am looking forward to seeing those things unfold. I am thankful for my church and the blessing of God's presence in that place. I have never known worship on a weekly basis like this in my life. I have seen that hand of God in the lives of others and I am so thankful to see Him at work.

Wonder what I will get? I love presents too. Like I said.. it's sad people. I fluxuate between being thankful and full of perspective to being really surface and "Bring on the CAKE!" in two point three seconds. That's 2.3! Make it a cute cake too. I like cute.

Spoiled. I tell you. SPOILED.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008

How Great is Our God?


I just can't praise Him enough!


We are starting this new ministry at church called The Mustard Seed Project and it is for special needs kids/adults. We got our creative team at the church to create a logo, began to promote it and oh. my. word! People are just a coming! It is like we just opened the floodgates and said, "Come on in, ya'll!"


Don't get me wrong. It's not like there are thousands of people with disabilities that are coming to participate, but there are people that we never anticipated that are stepping out and saying that they want to attend an informational meeting to see how they can help or have their child involved. I mean it is like the Lord has just dropped this in the lap of our church for the taking! It is just an honor to see a population that is being under served become active and begin to form. The coolest part... I have had nothing to do with it!!


Joni and Friends is a national ministry that helps churches get this type of thing organized. They offer training and tips on how to organize things so that those starting from scratch (that would be me! and Amy Grayson... who has been amazingly supportive and helpful and awesome) will have an inkling of a direction.

Let me just stop here and say that my spell check has stopped working and I am the worst speller ever!! I mean, I could have a learning disability in spelling... so if you are scratching your head about my spelling abilities in these latest blogs...well, that would be why!


Ok, onward.


Joni and Friends has a really great ministry where they help churches (called Through the Roof) and they also do summer camps and Wheel Chairs to the World (where they deliver wheel chairs to 3rd world countries... oh my word.. those pictures will just send you right over the edge. I mean sob for days!). Well, they are sending this really great guy to come help with our meeting for the volunteers and I am just so excited about it. He is in a wheelchair himself and the fact that he is coming to talk about the needs of people with needs like his helps these families to see that we are really trying to go about this in the right way. That we are trying to connect with them where they are, and that Jesus has a plan for them and their child.

So, I am praising God today! I know that this will probably not be the easiest thing I have ever done, but nothing worth doing is really easy. I pray that He will bless our attempts to reach out to this community that is largely unreached. and that He will use our church to meet their spiritual needs. It is so exciting!! I can't wait to see what He does!!


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Too Much of a Good Thing

Let's think about some good things... things that are good for us.

Water. That's really good for us. Keeps us healthy and hydrated.

Work. Another good thing with a reward.

Marriage. According to the world's standards this one might meet some opposition, but over all this is a very good thing. It is part of God's plan for man and woman and it brings many rewards.

Children. They are precious, innocent and what keeps the world going round. They make us into different families than we were before they came along.

Friends. Friends are invaluable. My friends make me laugh. They challenge me to be someone better than I am. They are funny and fun to be with. They are not family so I get to pick who I hang out with. They are a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on.

Now all of these things are really good, but sometimes we get too much of a good thing and the result... well, not always so good.

Too much water will drown us. While it is essential to our well being physically, you get too much water and it can be detrimental. It can destroy and it can overwhelm.

Work is another thing that can drown us. Maybe not a physical drowning, but an emotional or mental drowning. Too much work and not enough play can really cause someone to become disconnected with family and friends and with the real world. While the money can be good (and is necessary for our survival in today's world) if we work too much it can really cause problems in our families, our friendships and our physical well being. Balance is so important when it comes to work and when we get out of balance... well, it can sometimes be difficult to regain the healthy balanced state that we need.

Marriage is awesome. I treasure this partnership and love how the Lord uses my husband to bring strengths into my home that I do not possess. He is fun and so much my opposite that he brings a totally different perspective to most things in life. Marriage is also hard. It is work. Those differences can become walls that divide and those perspectives can be areas of conflict. Sometimes a step back or a step in is necessary to regain our focus and that requires cooperation and communication from both parties involved.


Children truly are a gift from God. It is those times when they have been bored for FAR too long or when they are hitting a rebellious streak when they can become overwhelming. OR when there are 21 children in a classroom... while each are precious in their own right when you get all of the precious ones together... one could easily run from the building. Screaming. Naked. Naked and screaming from a building that one could consider setting on fire.

Friends are also a gift from God. The Lord puts these precious people in our paths to encourage us. He sometimes gives us friends for a lifetime and sometimes they are in our lives for a season. The hard thing comes when mulitiple friends come with different backgrounds, beliefs and expectations. Those things collide and somehow feelings are hurt, words are spoken and hearts are broken and friendships get so hard that they are hard to maintain. While it is never the goal to hurt someone it sometimes just happens because we are all sinners and we are all different. Wounds get deep and are hard to heal at times.

Each of these things are things that we deal with on a daily basis. Our health, our relationships and our families are all things that affect us in one way or another. Sometimes we get it right. It seems that we just click along in each of these and things go smoothly for a while. Sometimes we get it wrong. One or more of these things get out of whack and we can just go into a tailspin.

One thing that we can not get too much of, however, is Jesus. I did not say church. I said Jesus. He is the one who has a plan for our lives that is better than any plan that we could ever create. He is concerned about every aspect of our lives and wants us to live by His plan. The reason He gives us Sunday is so that we can worship and rest.

Rest. He knows that we need to recouperate and recover each week as we face the difficulties of the GOOD things in our lives. The bad things that happen come along and they just compound the good things and then we really get overwhelmed. According to God's plan we are to rest and we are to lay these things at His feet. He wants such an intimate relationship with each of us that we bring each of the good (and bad) things to Him and ask that His will be done. He also wants us to listen as He instructs us on how to live this life.

There are many good things in our world. It's just that when we get too much of a good thing it's not such a good thing. Balance is essential and without a relationship with Christ balance is almost impossible. Even WITH that relationship it can be hard.

Lord, help us to balance the things that you bless us with. Give us the ability to sense when we need rest and then act on it. Help us to not be so out of balance that we miss the blessings in the good things that you bring our way. Give us discernment when things are getting too busy for our own good and help us to lay our lives down before You. If we let You, You will rescue us from ourselves! Please Lord! Rescue us!
Thursday, February 7, 2008

What Breaks My Heart

As we live in this broken world there are so many things that break my heart. I really am a pretty positive person and I try really hard to give people the benefit of the doubt. There are times that I just see things around me and hear things that make me so sad.

This entry isn't intended to make us sad. The reality is that when I am faced with something that bothers me I just can't always let it go. It stays with me. I think about the people involved and I pray for them. I try to figure out ways to help or think about what I would do if I were in the situation. Sometimes that thought is just too scary and I would never, ever want to face the things that I see. Again, the reality is that we are all human and whether we know Christ as Savior or not, we all are apt to face trials and difficulties that we never intended to face.

In the last several months I have had three different ladies share with me that they are living in terrible circumstances in their homes. I have never faced the troubles they face and really do not know how to respond, but for some reason the Lord has allowed them to share with ME! For days I did not know what to do. I didn't know if I should talk with them and give what little advice I did have or if I should even try with them simply because I have no point of reference. All I know to do is pray! I did remember, however, that I prayed a while back that the Lord would allow me to help someone. I asked Him to bring someone into my life that I might encourage. He answered!! Three different times!! It just breaks my heart to see fear on someone that I care for. They each are so desperate to be rescued, and yet I do not know how to help them other than to cry out to our Strong Tower on their behalf. It really breaks my heart.

We are also starting a special needs ministry at our church. I am excited to see what all the Lord has in store for us and yet I see children in such need of help. I see families that are exhausted from trying to care for their special loved one. I see moms with tears in their eyes as they try to imagine what the future looks like for their child. It just breaks my heart.

Last week I took Caroline to Little Gym. As the kids played in the gym the parents stood outside watching through a window. A mom sat in a chair and a dad stood at the back of the room. There were only the three of us in the room and there was total silence. As the children finished and came out to leave a little boy ran to the mom. She hugged him so tight. He said, "Please go slow so I don't have to say bye." And then it hit me. They were divorced. The dad had custody and the mom was there to see her little one at his gym class. As they left the building the little boy got into his dad's car and watched his mom drive away. I am fighting tears now just retelling what I saw. OH! It was so painful even for me!

Sisters! I know I don't have to tell you, but we live in a hurting world. Jesus calls us to be hands and feet to those who are hurting. We do not always know what to say. We do not know what to do when situations seem impossible, but we DO know the One who is bigger than ANY problem we face. We know the One who died so that the sin in our lives will not take us to hell. We know the One who can heal broken dreams and broken hearts. We know the One who can restore peace and bring hope to our broken world.

What are we doing to share this hope? Do we allow fear to strangle His good news from our lips? Do we boldly pray on their behalf or do we allow their situations to scare us from even trying? When words do not come and decisions are hard to discern we can at LEAST get into God's Word and pray scripture over and for those in need.

Heaven forbid that we are ever in a time of distress and no one comes to our aid!
Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Ya'll!

I thought I had seen it all until today! I brought the Caroline home from school and she asked if she could go jump on her trampoline. Being a warm day and all... I said yes! Well, she rounds the back of the house as I walk into the kitchen where I can see her from our bay window. I see her for one second. Then she turns around and starts running towards the house. She comes in the door.

"Mom, that big dog back there is out!"

I go look at the dog that our backdoor neighbor has and sure enough, he's out. And he's a pit bull.
(just a tiny detail)

I notice though that the dog is not running around but he is on the outside of his fence with his front paws on the fence. He's just standing on his back legs and he's barking.

Time passes. We have snack, I take a phone call, we get settled to do homework and I look out the window. He's still standing there. Paws on the fence.

I go out into my backyard and he hears me so he turns and starts barking. The idiot dog is chained inside the fence, but he has jumped the fence and has no choice but to stand on his hind legs!!!!! He almost hung his fool self!!!!!!!! If that chain had been one or two links shorter he would be hanging from a noose! Oh my word!!

I went next door to get my neighbor because their kids know the dog owner's kids. He walks back with me and would not dare go near the dog. Turns out the owner isn't home from work yet. Well, it's 5:15 and that poor dog is just out there... paws on the fence... barking his fool head off.. and won't let anyone go near him. I really feel sorry for him.

Did I mention he's a pit bull? I ain't goin' near him.
Monday, February 4, 2008

Joshua's Obedience

Our church is collectively going through a book in Sunday school called Divine Encounters in the Old Testament. I love it because people all over our church are studying the same thing and it is really great to have so many people on the same page, so to speak.

This week we looked at Joshua and as we studied the Lord's commands for him and the Israelites to walk around Jerico there is one common theme. Obedience.

Here are God's people. They have wandered for 40 years. 40 YEARS, people! Not 40 days. 40 years!! It's is longer than I have been alive. (well, not by much. but still.) So Josh (as I like to affectionately call him) is at the place where he REALLY needs to listen to God's voice and obey. The other guys didn't trust God and so God decided to let them wander around until the unbeliveing generation died off.

Let me just stop and say that we are in the unbeliving generation. It is not a pretty sight and we are definitely being judged by God in our time for the unbelief. Our families are dying, there is disease, drought, famine and people falling away from God all around us. Unbelief can destroy. It does destroy. I just wonder if you are choosing to be a Joshua in this time of unbelief?

So Josh is getting ready to enter the Promised Land and God gives Josh some pretty odd ways of defeating the enemy and then taking the land that He has promised. They are simply to walk. Walk around the walls for seven days in silence. Then on the seventh day they are to walk seven times. After they walk they are to blow trumpets and then yell, and the walls will fall down flat.

"When the trumpets sounded, and the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and they took the city. They devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it..." Joshua 6:20-21

The things that I noticed about Joshua is that as soon as God told him what to do... he did it. He had immeditate obedience. Then when it came time to actually perform the task he did it completely. Joshua did not add his own spin to it or leave out a step. He had complete obedience. Then to be sure that the people did not go against what Joshua KNEW the Lord had spoken to him he commanded the people to do exactly what God had commanded. He had careful obedience.

Joshua was leading the people by obeying God. He was tired of the wandering due to lack of obedience. He was tired of the people complaining when God had promised that He would provide. He didn't question God's commands. He didn't listen to the voices of others telling him that walking around a city was a silly plan. He did what God said. He just did it.

My Caroline had been in trouble with me for weeks. She was not listening at home or at school and I really had to be very consistent each time she broke a rule to discipline her with the consequences that I had promised. It was SO hard. She was in her room for a few days straight just because she chose not to obey. I hated having to discipline her, but I knew that if I didn't things would only get worse and we had to get these behaviors under control.

One day last week (after finally having a few GOOD days in a row) she was getting ready for her bath. I always remind her to get a towel, wash cloth, undies and PJ's before going in to get in the tub. She was headed upstairs and I started with my, " Don't forget... " and she said, "I know mom. I need to get... " and she named off every item. I told her that I was so proud of her and that she was growing so much. She replied, "I know mom. I really want to do everything that you and God tell me to do so that I am not in trouble any more."

I think that is where Joshua was. He was tired of wandering in that hot desert, eating manna and complaining. None of those were what God wanted for His children, but until they listened they would suffer the consequences.

I just wonder who is suffering consequences just because we are choosing not to listen? Many times people will say that they know God told them to do something, but they just didn't see how it would work or they didn't have time and so they didn't pursue it. I wonder what consequences they are suffering for not listening? Wandering around with no direction? Spiritual needs not being met? I don't know. But one thing I do know is that until we listen the consequences will not change. God's way is best. It is His plan and we have such a finite view of our lives that we don't really know how to fight the battles before us. Only God has the eternal view, and until we listen and do as He says.. well, we will just be wandering around.
Friday, February 1, 2008

The Sweetest Things!

Last weekend while singing in the choir I was watching the congregation worship as we sang.It was really a sweet time and sort of emotional as we recently got the news that our pastor's wife would start chemo the next day for recurring cancer.

We started singing that new version of Amazing Grace, and while we were singing I noticed the sweetest little man on the second row in the middle of the church. He was older and had a hard time standing, but he grabbed the pew in front of him and stood. All by himself. He stood and put one feeble hand up in worship. Eyes closed and mouth moving to the words this precious man stood on wabbly knees and worshipped his God. It was absolutely precious.

But, the next thing he did almost took me to my knees. He reached back and grabbed the hand of his precious wife and helped her to stand as well!! Both of them stood together, unashamedly, in praise of their God and Savior. It was almost more than I could take. Tears began to stream down my face.

I wondered how long they had been married. How long they had worshipped together. They were the only two standing for a minute and then the rest of the congregation followed. I wondered how long they have stood together for our Lord. How long he had been the spiritual leader of their home and marriage. It was the most amazing and wonderful sight and I could not help but to follow their lead.

Just tonight while putting our daughter to bed her daddy prayed and then she prayed. Oh my goodness! I do not know when I have heard a little girl pray like that! She never prays with ME like that, but when her daddy is in the room and he prays and then asks her to and oh. my. word. Tears again!! Just the fact that this sweet girl is learning to go to the feet of the Father and pray earnest prayers for her family and friends just makes me want to weep!

Just yesterday a friend called and asked me to meet her at the prayer room. She wanted to spend part of her day in intercession for those of our church and nation who are hurting. She wanted to cry out to the Father on behalf of our families and friends. It was an absolutely precious and sweet time of prayer and worship. It was priceless, and I am forever grateful that the Lord has brought her into my life just to show me what friendship in the Lord means. I can only hope that I would bring others to the feet of Jesus the way that she is.

It is the most wonderful thing to be a follower of Christ. Our lives are not easier than anyone else's, and our problems are not diminished just because we choose to trust Jesus as our Savior. But one thing is true! We know that He loves us in spite of our problems. We know that He carries us when things get hard. There is peace when we trust that He will provide and there is worship... true, amazing, heart felt worship that comes out of our love for Him. I can not imagine my life without His hand on me. I do not ever want Him to leave me and He promises in His Word that if we seek Him we will find Him.

Lord, please help me to seek you daily. Thank you so much for saving even me. I am so unworthy of Your love and yet You give it freely. Please, Lord, never remove Your powerful hand of mercy and peace from my life. I never want to take one step without Your direction. I never want to stand in a worship service again and miss the blessing of Your presence because I am so caught up in my own life. Lord, help me to lay it down. Help me to see Your face and hear Your voice and obey You. Lord, help me to love others the way that You would have me to. Show me how to love when I don't know how. Give me words to encourage others to follow You. Help me to be honest and real about who I am and who You are. Lord, nothing that I have and nothing that I am is because of me. You have blessed me beyond belief and I thank you Father. Thank you Jesus. I love you Lord. Amen...