Monday, November 19, 2012

In Everything Give Thanks...

I'm using one post to catch up on a month's worth of pictures.

What a fall!

It has crept up on me so fast this year!
When I heard there was a holiday coming up I almost got my Red White and Blue table cloth out thinking it must be about July, but no, it is not July but November. So I exchanged the fireworks for giving my ferns permission to die. After all brown is in this time of year.

We've had happy and sad.
This was one of the happy's.
Benji came home after too many months down at Riley! We are so so happy he can be here for Thanksgiving and Christmas!!
Another happy.
In October for our kids party at church we had trunk or treat. Although it was too cold and rainy to actually do it from our trunks it was still so much fun.
We did it in the lobby which was warm and dry and perfect.
I decided to make a photo booth. It was so much fun taking pictures.

 I just thought these boys were so very cute~!
 And then there was this guy.... :)

These are normally the days I relish. I like to make lots of good memories for my kids. But this year I'm afraid the only memory will be that of packing boxes and frantically trying to paint an entire house. We hope to be in the dwelling the first of January.
 It's a hope. Not a promise.

But the drywall is up.
The mudding is being done.
Can I get an Amen!!
The well is dug and gas is to be hooked up tomorrow.

But it kind of wrecks the fantasy of a home filled with Christmas ornaments, manger scenes, Christmas cookies and greens. It's going to be different. I asked the little one if she would mind waiting until January so we could  celebrate properly.

She said it wasn't an option.

* Sigh*.
This guy turned 45. We celebrated with our little family around dinner and a black forest cake, as requested by my chocolate loving guy.

He has just been such an incredible gift to my life. I feel so fortunate to have him leading us. He has worked day and night trying to accomplish such a huge task!

This month, as you can tell by my last few posts has been a little heavy.
I have friends and family that are just really hurting and as I listen and cry with them and over their situations, I am reminded that there is so much to be thankful for.  I pour it all out to the one who can change the situation, or change us in the process.

So today I am posting this small clip on Thanksgiving.
It's a time to reflect how we can give thanks in the joy and in the pain.
In Everything Give Thanks! (You will have to turn off my music on the sidebar)

You give and take away.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Dear God...

Dear God,

 Tonight I am coming before you with a heart that feels like it may not be able to take another painful reminder that we live in a world of hurt. Sin has caused so much turmoil.

 I know I pray often to have a heart that breaks for the things that breaks yours but I am not sure how much more heartbreak I can take. I don't even know how to pray any longer and so I've taken to just praying your Word. I'm asking for grace over people who need your touch. Healing and restoration of bodies and relationships. A little Joy in the middle of darkness.

 I can't understand your plan. I don't have a clue what you are up to.
 I just believe that in this process something good will take place if I choose to praise you.

 I look at some of these things that are happening and want to remind you that it doesn't look fair.
 I know that you understand that because you walked here, and that wasn't very fair either. The Son of God who was praised as the centerpiece of creation, walked on dusty streets and had no place to lay his head. You know what it's like to be us. And that gives me reassurance that I'm not just doing this without you.

I remember the story of your friend who was very sick. His sisters, who you were also so close to, begged you to come save their brother. But you waited and did not leave right away. Upon your arrival you were accused of not working in the correct time because their brother had already died. You cried as you looked sin and death in the face and felt the sting of the loss and the intense pain that sin had brought onto your earth. And then you spoke exactly when you knew it was the ordained time and you called out to your friend to come forth from that grave. And he did.
He did!!
He came forth. And many people celebrated you.

 But there were those who hated you more.
 Sometimes it helps me just to remember that.
How you were hated for doing the right thing. Even what I would consider an exceptionally glorious miracle.

 Sometimes I remind myself of how you just loved people in spite of their skepticism and anger toward you. And I really like to think about the way you hated death and sickness just as much as I do and how you cried with your friends over it.
 I like to read about how you stood over your city and prayed for the peace of Jerusalem. And spoke of your love for her. I still pray today Lord for that peace over your city.

 If we've ever needed you Lord it's now.
 I ask for your face to shine on us and bring us peace. I don't mean you have to make it all go away. But I do ask for peace. 
Peace to crowd out the doubts that threaten to overwhelm.
 Peace to bathe in as we rest knowing you are in control.
 Peace to live in the middle of all circumstances we face.

And now, I will be still, and know you are God.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Did God lose the election?

Well, it's all over.
 The people spoke and the winner is... President Obama.

 The day after the election found many people who had prayed and fasted for weeks and months or even longer completely devastated and shaken to the core. One of my Godly older friends who I respect so much, a man who is full of love for people and is filled with the Holy Spirit, had been praying consistently for several years for this election. So you can imagine and probably experienced  yourself as you have felt or witnessed people with strong feelings on either side that there was both great disappointment and great elation in the outcome.

On Wednesday Face Book was crowded with many tearful, wistful posts. I spoke with some people who felt  let down. Some abandoned by God. Others fearful for the future. Many astonished at the division. Some tears and frustration were expressed by the defeated.

 How could God have lost the election? (please know that I am saying this tongue in cheek)

 So many had prayed. So many had strong faith believing it was going to be a different outcome. Believing with great confidence that God was behind them in praying for the new guy's arrival to the White House.
He was so presidential and promising.
And yet, God did not move that way.

From my little finite perspective..............Here are some of my thoughts as to why the election may have turned out the way it did.

1. It made me fall to my knees.  I worshiped and cried out to God in a way I may not have done if things had turned out differently. Adversity has a way of making me crawl to the foot of the cross and beg for mercy. Victory and Good times, while they make me feel good, also sometimes allow me to forget I need a Savior.

 2. America is not my home. When life is good here, who needs a better place? But with a failing economy, moral decline and tons of skepticism I don't feel like this is a comfy home for me. I'm ready to move on up and out. It's where my heart should always be but with things looking less than promising it makes me excited about my future in a heavenly kingdom.

 3. We will reap what we sow. And even if we think we have been faithful,are following the Word of God and walking in obedience, just as Daniel and his friends, I may be taken into physical captivity along with my people if my country continues  to call good what God has called evil. And Evil what God calls good.

 4. God will not share his glory with another. When the children of Israel cried out to God to give them a king, he told them he was the King but they wanted to be like their neighboring countries. So God, the perfect king, let them have what they wanted... but we all know how that turned out. So too, I think when we put too much confidence in a man, we can easily lose sight of who the real redeemer and king is. We make an idol out of a man. "We bow our hearts, we bend our knees, O Lord we cast down our idols"....

 5. I cannot know the mind of God. His ways are higher than mine. His thoughts are higher than mine. I can only know his heart.I have No earthly idea what God has up his sleeve.

6. We are all a bit blind. I mean that with complete respect and love. We are. We cannot see the whole picture. I have no idea what Governor Romney would have done in office if he would have gotten the job I only could see and trust what he said he was going to do. God knows the beginning from the end. He has a plan.

 7. Me and my children may know persecution. Right now you may be scratching your head. I know, I know, none of us wants this for our children. But God has been showing me something. I have been praying that my children be strong. I have told them for many years that we are preparing them...including scripture memorization..And sound doctrine.. for a time when they will have to stand like they never thought possible. Our kids need us as parents to step up to the plate and quit filling their schedules so full of other things that take them away from what will help them stand in the face of a persecuted church. And believe me, that day is fast approaching. The assault that is happening on souls everywhere is astonishing. It's scary but this is the exciting part.. The church in hiding is the most alive, vibrant, Spirit filled, loving church of Jesus.   I want to look like that church.

8. The more the country divides itself from the Church the more the Church must decide if it will look like the world or will follow Christ. The issues we are dealing with are making people choose a side. I believe there are many believers who support a different political view.
However, when it comes to the truth of God's word and what it says, there are not 2 sides. There is one. His Word is the standard. I will not apologize for what He has said. II Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.(E) Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.(F) 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 

9. Character counts.I think God cares about us intimately. But our circumstances are never as important to him as our responses. We work very hard at helping our children understand how to be good losers and gracious winners. I hope we can be this way as adults as well.

10. We reap what we sow.
I know. I know. I said it already... I'm jus' sayin. It's an important one.

Can I also just add that I don't believe that a man can change the morality of this nation. Sin would have continued to happen no matter who sits in the oval office. The only thing that can change the world Is a man that came a long time ago. The world rejected him then, and still does today. However, he is the only one that changes lives.

Finally, I understand there were many people praying that President Obama would retain the office of president as well. And perhaps you are reading this and are one of those people. I do know that if you follow Jesus and the teachings of his Word then you and I, we are brothers or sisters.

 If you don't follow him I want you to know that there is no one who will love you more or has loved you more than he does. I want you to know him because he has rocked my world and made me a different person. He gives me hope when I can't find any on my own. He whispers love to me when others have rejected me. He is my rescue. He forgives me when I really mess it up bad.
 He promised me that one day he will come again and take me to a kingdom where there will be peace and laughter, and the place  he's taking me will never, ever have one sad day in it.

Life here has gotten pretty complicated but he is going to change all that when he comes to get us.
I want you to be there with me.
Please email me if you want to know more directly how to find his peace in your heart.
I would love to tell you about what a change he made in mine and how he wants to do the same in yours!

I am very thankful tonight that God of  Heaven and  Earth can never lose an election. No one decides if he is in or out. He is the Judge. The Ruler. The Creator of all. He came to earth not to sit on an earthly throne but to reign on an eternal one.
He is the same yesterday, today and forever... To him be the power, glory and honor forever. Amen.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Why should I fear man?

I am a pleaser. I don't know why he impresses on me the need to share it except maybe I will speak to someone else who struggles with this. Maybe he wants to set you free as well.Perhaps it's for my children to read about one day. Or Maybe it's part of walking humbly with my God.

I remember repenting of it as a young girl. And as a teen. And in college I went forward to ask God to take it away. But it rages against me. It beats me up and laughs at me calling me coward and weak.
I think I have it conquered. That it's dead and gone. And then boom I see it once again. 

I am so thankful for a merciful God who sees my weakness and loves me any way. 
A Father who knows how I am formed and is still working on shaping me.
He strips me of it through adversity.
And I am free.
Then somehow I find I pick it up and carry it again.. 

The battle rages on. And I will fight. I cannot stop the fight.
I wish I could write that I used to struggle with this and I no longer do.
That I could give you a 10 step program on what to do to find a cure.
But this is all I got.
The testimony of a girl who with tear stained cheeks tells you the behind the smile look at life.

 I am a pleaser. A man pleaser. And honestly that may sound so nice. Who doesn't want a pleaser around? But really it's ugly. And self driven. 
Pleasers want to be liked. And so we please. We accomidate. We say yes when we should say no. We worry that our friends will one day walk away if we don't say the right thing or give the right gift or spend enough time or help them when they need it. We worry that we will be bad mom's if we don't do for our kids. Or bad wives if we aren't the virtuous women we think we ought to be.We worry that people will find us offensive or that we will let them down..and we eventually do because sometimes we just fail. And when we do fail we beat ourselves up because we should have been better pleasers. It's a vicious cycle and exhausting. And when we get on the crazy train it's hard to get off.
Sometimes pleasers think we have overcome because we don't care anymore what "they" think. Only to find that we have found a new group to please. We carry a lot of "should's and should not's" on our shoulders.

Jesus was pretty clear of his thoughts of man pleasers... One of the characteristics of the Pharisee's was that they loved praise from men more than praise from God.(John 12:43) 

I was recently reading a book by Brother Yun. 
Brother Yun is a preacher and Evangelist from China. He had this to say about praise of man.
"I faced a new kind of problem after moving to the West.While I was in prison in China, I found it easy to praise the Lord because everyone hated me except Jesus. After  I started traveling and speaking around the world, however, I found there were many brothers and sisters who clapped and cheered everywhere I spoke, and they always said nice things to me. This was a new kind of temptation - the praise of men. It is a dangerous minefield that every preacher(or person) must walk very carefully through, making sure he gives all glory to God and doesn't take any of it into his own heart. To do so brings bondage and a spiritual imprisonment  I have found that the secret to unlocking this freedom in Christ is to praise God wholeheartedly for God is spirit and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth. John 4:24. Whether we are being persecuted and tortured or receiving the adulation of men, the solution is the same-praise and worship of our heavenly Father."

And so I am.
 I am praising God and giving him glory for what he has done in my life. 
He is the one from whom I long to gain approval.
He is much easier to please. He doesn't have a long list of expectations I have to perform to be acceptable.
 I'm not "in" with him  one day, until I fail or until he gets done with me then I'm "out". He always loves me. 
And in the end he is the one I will stand before and give an account to for what I have done with what he has given me. 
I am his. And  often I risk looking like a fool but it's okay because I want to fear God alone.   

As I seek him I am learning to quiet myself before him listening to his voice instead of the voices around me. That's when I can hear what he wants from me.  In spite of what else may be calling my name. I want him more.

I often blog heartfelt things.
This is not out of my wanting to please man.... because actually I'm not really sure it does...but my need to be obedient to him.

This is one of those times.
I choose him.
And it feels really good.