Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Open Up the Ear

When we adopted Midnight, our black new black cat (see photo in post below), we noticed that she didn’t hear very well. She slept so soundly and it was hard to wake her up. We’d call her but she would just look at us. Then one evening when my son was holding her he noticed something in her ear that he didn’t think belonged there. He was right—she had a large tick in her ear.

Midnight came from a farm and lived outside before moving to our home. So it didn’t surprise us that these parasites found their way to annoy her. After removing the one, we used medicine from the veterinarian. Eventually not liking the medicines, more ticks made their way up to the top of the ear canal. We removed about nine ticks from her ear.

After removing these blockages from her ear canal, we learned that she can hear just fine. She now responds to noises and when we call her name.

Just like we wanted to communicate with the cat, God wants to communicate with us. Sometimes, we can have stuff blocking us from hearing from Him. God made a way for us to communicate directly to Him through His Son, Jesus. When Jesus ascended, He sent the Holy Spirit. We hear the Lord through the Holy Spirit who speaks to our spirit, to our heart.

Look at the word heart. What word do you see in the middle? EAR. We have an ear in our heart. How does God talk to us through the Holy Spirit to our heart?

He speaks to us through HIS Word.

He speaks to us through other people (pastor, teacher, friend).

He speaks to us and we hear with our heart.

We have to have our hearts ready to hear from Him. All the blockages have to be removed so we can hear Him.

Isaiah 55:3 NKJV

Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—
The sure mercies of David.

To incline our ear means to learn to listen. I can be good at talking, but harder at listening. Ladies, I think you may know what I’m talking about here. We go to lunch with some friends and before she finishes, we’re already thinking about what we want to say. Yeah? Do we do that with our Lord too? Do we just say what we want to say during our prayer time and not be ready to hear from Him?

Come to me. We should set aside a time to meditate. A time to be romantically involved with our Lord. Early mornings are a great time to get up and meditate. (Isaiah 50:4-5) I set my alarm early in the morning and wake up several hours before anyone else. I meditate on His word and write in my prayer journal. Then I exercise. This is the way I set aside time for Him.

In Isaiah 55:3, there is a promise. A promise that our soul shall live. When we asked Jesus into our heart, the spirit was born again. But we also need life in our soulish area. I’m getting older. As gravity takes it toil, I know I need more of His life in the body. My mind goes places I don’t want it to go and it takes my emotions with it. However, His word gives His life to my mind. It needs renewing daily. (Romans 12:2)

Next after hearing from the Lord is being obedient to Him. Let’s obey HIM!

I pray we all open our ears and remove the “ticks” so we can hear Him.

Dear Lord, I praise You for Your grace and goodness. I thank You that You want to communicate with me. Lord, I pray that I open up my ears to hear what You have to say to me. I thank You Lord that You give me Your instructions through Your Word. Thank You Lord, that I can have a heart to hear You. Lord, I pray that I receive and obey Your instructions. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Blessings in Christ—

Note: The part of the above post is adapted from the teaching I heard presented on January 26, 2008 at a women’s conference by Billie Hunt of Billie Hunt Ministries, Houston, Texas. Used by permission.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Scaredy Cat

We adopted a new cat last month. We have one cat already, but we’ve always had two. We lost one last June. The boys named our new cat, Midnight. (Yeah—very common, but a very uncommon cat.)

When we brought this cat home, she was in a new environment and timid. Understandably so, not being familiar with her new environment. She’d hide under beds, in closets, and in bureaus. Finding a totally black cat in dark places is challenging. Only when she opened her eyes and they glowed like stars could we see her.

We would pull her out, hold her and comfort her. We want her to feel comfortable in our home. Angel, our other cat, did not give her a warm welcome and often unraveled our consolations. It took a while, but Angel now tolerates her and won’t run Midnight away.

Midnight is more comfortable now and comes out to visit more often. Mostly when she knows the boys wont run up and grab her. She is a very docile cat. The kind of lap cat that I wanted. The other night when my youngest went to get in bed, she was already in it and he didn’t see her. (He has black sheets on his bed.) But when he did see her, she was lying on her back with her head on a pillow and her paws in the air. I think she’s comfortable now.

Even though she’s comfortable, I see she is still a bit timid. She’ll cower down when someone starts to walk by. She’ll dash behind a chair or wall. She still has some uncertainty in her and doesn’t completely trust yet. Angel will not move out of your way when walking by. She knows that we’ll go around her. She knows us and trusts us.

I felt a nudge from the Lord that I can be like the scaredy cat, Midnight. Though I’m a believer, read the word, have faith, and have trust in areas, I am still afraid to let HIM have full control.

I cower down when certain situations arise that I am uncertain of. Or I’ll run and hide under the bed when I don’t want to face a situation. I’ll dash around the house trying to avoid other situations.

The Lord wants me to be more certain of Him—to know Him better and completely trust Him. He wants me to be more like the other cat, Angel, that just lays there when things come at her and lets it go around her. I have to trust Him that if I face circumstances head on that He will move it for me.

Like Angel who crawls up in my lap to establish a relationship with me. The Lord wants me to crawl up in His lap and have a more intimate relationship with Him. In that relationship, the trust builds.

It is a process, but I’m learning not to be a scaredy cat and to trust in the Lord no matter what I have to face.

2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Blessings in Christ--

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Blessed I Am!

Psalm 107:1-2a NIV

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the LORD say this—

Oh How wonderful is our Mighty God. He is so gracious. The saving power of Jesus Christ!!

I just have to tell how blessed I am!!

To keep this brief, I had my first mammogram yesterday. Not because I’m old enough (j/k), but because I felt a lump the other night. My doctor ordered a mammogram for me last year, but I dismissed it. Thinking yeah-yeah, whatever. I intentionally avoid unnecessary pain. Just 411—it hurts more to put on a sports bra than to get a mammogram. Go get it done please!!

After recognizing the lump, I wake up early the next day, find the expired order and go to the radiology lab. Through a bunch of red tape, which I’ll spare the space, I got an appointment the next day and my doctor wrote a new order.

I felt strong—initially—but when the obstacles started arising, I felt the strength leave me. I contacted Annie as I have read on her blog about some of her experiences with similar situations. She immediately went into prayer on my behalf. Thank you Annie!! She shared encouraging words with me.

I went in for the exam yesterday feeling the peace of the Lord. No anxiety, no worries. Before Christ made me a knew creature, I would have been flipping. The films returned with no lumps, no tumors, no cysts! Then to confirm, I had a sonogram. Same thing—no lumps, no tumors, no cysts. Praise the Lord!!

The lump is a fybrocyst which is caused by changes in hormones and/or caffeine. So do I have to give up coffee? I don’t know for sure yet, but I’m sure I’ll be healthier if I do. Coffee and tea are the only caffeine products I consume on a regular basis. The hormone issue is a long story which I’m praying the Lord will work out.

So I received blessings yesterday.

God’s peace that passes all understanding!

No tumor or cyst! Good health!

I made a new friend in town—the tech & I remembered meeting as our husbands work together and we plan to have lunch.

Annie confirmed with me that blogging friends are real people, believers who will be there when in need.

A praise report from another blog friend – Karen.

To top it off, I received email from another blog friend, Leah, who gave me this award!! Thank you Leah!

Thanks!! I never expected these authentic friendships that developed from blogging! God is incredible how He weaves our lives together. Each one of you are special!!

Now I want to give this award back out. I don’t know how many, but I want you to know that everyone I have visited has been special and deserves this award. Please take it!

Annie—my bff for praying and encouraging me especially this recent situation!!

Karen—my bff as I’ve been so encouraged through you.

Marina—my bff that I’ve actually met. I look forward to worshipping the Lord with you in two weeks at WoF!!

Bev—my bff that has encouraged me to read the Bible through this year. I have not completely read the Bible through and I’m looking forward to this journey.

And Leah—my bff right back at you. Your words minister to me!!

Psalm 107:21 NIV

Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men.

Blessings in Christ--

Monday, January 21, 2008

I Have a Dream

On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and rendered one of the most successful speeches in American history. He inspired and ignited dreams in Americans for equality. To truly have one nation under God, for all men who are created equal by God to exercise the rights promised by the founding father to guarantee the unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

King dreamed dreams bigger than he was, but he made a difference. Laws have been passed that guarantee that equality to all people in our country.

God gives us dreams and usually they are much bigger than we are. Our God is a big God and cannot be contained in our finite minds.

Isaiah 55:9 NIV
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

We don’t always understand what God is doing. God is so big. But here is an example I can grasp. With all the planes that fly around in the airspace, air traffic controllers have radars that can see and identify all the planes in that airspace. They can see the big picture of where the planes are and where they are going. When I was in the Air Force, I received what is called an “incentive flight” for a reward. I got to fly in a jet aircraft. While flying up in the airspace, the air traffic controller gave the pilot instructions. We were playing around and goofing off as he showed me different things they do while up in the sky (please pray for military pilots). Then the air traffic controller adamantly told the pilot to maintain a certain altitude and heading. At the urgent sound of the ATC’s voice, the pilot obeyed. Though we could not see what was above us or flying near us the air traffic controller saw it. I don’t even want to imagine what could have happened if the pilot had not obeyed. We finished our flight and landed safely.

God has the big picture of our lives. We don’t see the big picture and the things that are going on around us. But He gives each of us dreams to navigate us in the direction He wants us to go.

Psalm 34:7 NIV
Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

God puts the desires and dreams in our hearts. What we need to do is trust Him to bring it to pass.

Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.

I write this today to encourage myself in the Lord. I pray that it may encourage someone else as the Lord leads.

I have big dreams. Dreams that are bigger than me. Like Joseph who dreamed, many years passed before the dream came to pass. I can relate to that waiting time that Joseph experienced because that is where I feel I am at. I feel like I have been forgotten. The dreams God gave to Joseph came to pass in God’s timing for the good of all the people. I know who my God is and I know that in His timing His will for me, the dreams He has given to me shall come to pass in His timing for the good of others. His plans will not be impeded.

Job 42:1-6 NIV

1 Then Job replied to the LORD :
2 "I know that you can do all things;
no plan of yours can be thwarted.
3 You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?'
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.
4 "You said, 'Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.'
5 My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
6 Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes."

Perhaps Job had dreams of the way his life was to go. Then all those things went bad with him. But God knew what was going on the whole time. Job repented.

God gave Abraham and Sarah a dream that Abraham would be the father of many nations through Sarah. Sarah got to the point she didnt see how that would happen as she passed those child bearing years. But that dream God gave to them came to pass in His timing, not theirs. Abraham's faith was credited to him as righteousness.

Lord, I give You praise for this is the day that You have made and I shall rejoice and be glad in it. I thank You for Your mercies endure forever and are new every morning. Lord, You have plans and those plans cannot be hindered. I know it is not about me, but the bigger picture. Lord, I seek Your forgiveness for speaking and saying things of which I don’t understand. I pray that I listen now for Your voice so I may know Your will. Lord, I repent of pride and selfishness. I ask You create a clean heart in me. I pray that I serve You wholeheartedly where You place me. I pray that I trust in Your timing and not take matters into my own hands. In Jesus name, Amen.

Blessings in Christ--

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Remove the Scum

I pray when I clean. I learned to pray from the most beautiful housekeeper I had ever known. An all Titus 2 woman, she taught me to pray for the family and other things that come to my mind when I put away the dishes, pick up the dirty socks, wash their clothes, and make the beds. She has moved on, but what she taught me still remains.

While on my knees cleaning and praying, I worked hard to scrub the scum out of the tub. I skipped a couple of weeks of cleaning as it is my bathroom. I rationalized that only my husband and I use it. No big deal. But over those couple of weeks, lots of soap scum built up. I worked hard. The chemicals, Scotch-Brite® Pads, gloves, elbow grease and prayer were required to remove the scum that built up over those few weeks.

As I asked the Lord to help me remove the scum, I felt like He dropped a word in my heart about housecleaning. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. First Corinthians 6:19 (NIV) says, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” I felt convicted to keep my house—my temple for the Holy Spirit clean.

Like that scum on the bathtub that sat there for two weeks, sin will build up in our lives if not dealt with. The longer sin is allowed to go unchecked, the more difficult it is to remove.

As I have a daily housekeeping schedule, I was convicted that I also need a daily temple of the Holy Spirit cleansing schedule. If I clean out my temple on a regular basis and keep my heart before the Lord, then the scrubbing and removing sin from my life will be less painful.

David’s life has several examples of conviction of sin as he had a prophet to confront him. We have the Holy Spirit who convicts us. (John 6:18) If we seek the Lord daily and ask Him to reveal to us the areas that need cleansing, He will show us.

David was called a man after God’s own heart. Not because he did everything right, but because after the conviction, he confessed his sins. One of my favorite scriptures to pray is part of the prayer David prayed after he sinned with Bathsheba. Psalm 51:10-12 NIV says, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”

God is light and in order to walk in the light, we must be purified from all sin by the blood of Jesus. (1 John 1:7) Even though we have Jesus in our hearts, we still sin. First John 1:8-10 (NIV) says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.”

Oh how I long for all us to keep Him in our lives. I desire that fellowship with my Father, through Jesus. I am so thankful that He is faithful to forgive us from our sins when we’re willing to confess them.

Knowing the Lord made a way for us to have continual fellowship with Him, through His Son and the Holy Spirit; I desire to keep my temple of the Holy Spirit clean.

May we all remove the scum from our temples daily. No Scotch-Brite® Pads necessary!


Written by Shonda Whitworth. Word count: 655 words

Revised from January 16, 2008 post, otherwise, not previously published. Permission granted to be used by Proverbs 31 Ministries in the magazine and its promotion, as well as in other facets of the ministry, including radio programs and on the website. ******


Dear Blogging Friends, this is a revised repost from January 16, 2008 to enter a contest by Proverbs 31 Ministry. Visit Lysa TerKeurst for more information.

Blessings in Christ--

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Remove the Scum

I pray when I clean. Praying while cleaning is something I learned to do from the most beautiful housekeeper I’ve ever known. You can read what I learned from her by clicking here.

While on my knees cleaning the tub and praying, I worked hard to scrub the scum out of the tub. I skipped a couple of weeks as this is my bathroom and only my husband and I use it and didn’t think it would be a big deal. But over those couple of weeks, lots of soap scum built up. I worked hard. The chemicals, Scotch-Brite® Pads, gloves, elbow grease and prayer were required to remove the scum that built up over those few weeks.

As I asked the Lord to help me remove the scum, I felt like He dropped a message in my heart about housecleaning. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19). I felt convicted to keep my house—my temple for the Holy Spirit clean.

Like that scum on the bathtub that sat there for two weeks, sin will build up in our lives if not dealt with. The longer sin is allowed to go unchecked, the more difficult it is to remove. Then like scrubbing the scum from the bathtub, it will be hard work – not for God, but for us to overcome it.

I have a daily housekeeping schedule, I was convicted that I also need a daily temple of the Holy Spirit cleansing. If I clean out my temple on a regular schedule and keep my heart before the Lord, the scrubbing & removing sin will be less painful.

I like this prayer of David’s after he sinned with Bathsheba:

Psalm 51:1-12 NIV

1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.

4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge.

5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts [a] ;
you teach [b] me wisdom in the inmost place.

7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

The Lord knows our transgressions and He made a way for us through His Son, Jesus. May I be willing to confess my sins so I may be forgiven!

1 John 1:9 NIV

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Lord, I praise You for You are a Holy God. You said, “Be holy because I am holy.” Lord, I thank You that You made a way by the sacrifice of Your precious Son, Jesus. Lord, I know I have sinned against You and I ask You to forgive me. I want to keep my temple for the Holy Spirit clean. I ask You to create in me a clean and pure heart. I ask You for forgiveness and I desire to keep my temple clean for the Holy Spirit. I don’t want to live without Your presence in my life. I ask You to grant me a willing spirit and sustain me. In Jesus name, Amen.

Blessings in Christ--

Monday, January 14, 2008

Encouragement Dose

Today I am honored to announce that Angie awarded me The Daily Dose award that's been circulating. Thank you Angie that you like to stop by my blog and that somehow--by God's grace able to inspire you. I pray that I'm able to be some sort of inspiration by reflecting Jesus.

This award was created by a friend of Lisa, The Preacher's Wife. She describes the award this way:

So here's to all the blogs that you've discovered that you can't possibly live without. They make you laugh, cry, think and feel connected every time you read a post. They give you a thrill as you see them loading into your browser and you get an equally satisfying thrill when you see that they have commented on your blog

Now I'm to pass this award on to five of my daily reads. I don't or can't always read blogs daily, but I shall choose a few of my regulars. I've seen this award circulating around already for some time, so I'm going to choose those I like to visit that have not yet received the award. Please stop by and visit these lovely ladies and leave a kind comment.

Daughter of the King- Marina -- When I visit your blog, I like the way you can laugh at situations that normally would make a girl (woman) cry. I was so inspired by your last post about how we look at others and ourselves. I caught myself remembering what you wrote when I encountered a precious woman of God at church who had burn scars on her neck. Thank you.

The T.A.G. Blog- Karen -- I have been so moved by your testimony and your faith. Your transparency through your blog has so inspired me to walk my faith walk. I enjoy the weekly Sabbath Reflections. I enjoy reading the scriptures and being enlightened by the expositions you share, either your own or resources you have. Thank you.

The Point- Leah
-- I enjoy stopping by to get "the Point." I always feel like I'm pointed toward the Lord through what He reveals to you. I enjoy pondering on the post for several days. Thank you.

Jen's Blurbs- Jen -- I enjoy stopping by to see what the Lord is doing in you & through you. I love the stories about the boys. I also enjoy the enthusiasm you have when you learn from the Word. It keeps me excited and feeling young. Thank you.

Lisa's Memories - Lisa
-- Lisa we live in the same town and I shall make it a point to come by to meet you and visit you personally. The poetry always speaks to my heart when I stop by you blog. I pray that you will be inspired to keep writing. Thank you for writing faithfully.

There are many more of you whom I visit. I would love to visit and comment more than I do, but I have so many other duties that beckon my attention. I started blogging last June and I cant believe all the great and exciting friends I've made. I thank all of you and love you all. As Angie mentioned, I look forward to San Antonio. I hope to meet all of you blogging friends in real life. May you all be blessed!

Blessings in Christ--

Saturday, January 12, 2008

God First

Over this past few weeks I’ve noticed a recurring theme over and over again in myself and a few others I’m in contact with. Here are comments either myself or others have made:

“I wonder why [insert name] hasn’t called me. Did I do something to make her mad at me?”

“I sent an email to [insert name] and I have not got a reply. Why wont she email me back?”

“[Insert name] wont answer the phone. Why wont she speak to me or take my calls?”

“I went shopping and those dressed up ladies looked at me with disgust. I feel ugly and rejected.”

“Why wont more people leave a comment on my blog?”

The longer I entertain these types of thoughts, the more heavy laden and depressed I start to feel. But then I take it to the Lord in prayer.

Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

As I seek Him about the situation(s), I’m convicted about what I’m focusing my thoughts on.

Philippians 4:8 NIV

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Am I thinking lovely thoughts? No, I’m thinking thoughts that are depressing and most likely not even true! Perceptions are powerful and can appear to be real when they are actually false. The enemy can and will plant bad thoughts in our minds if we allow it. None of us should entertain ungodly thoughts. Scriptures tell us how to deal with it.

2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

How do we make our thoughts obedient to Christ? As it says in Philippians 4:8 above all, think about the things that are excellent or praiseworthy. What is excellent and praiseworthy? The Word of God. What does God’s word say about me?

It says I am created in His image and likeness. (Genesis 1:27)

It says that those who believe in Jesus are righteous and redeemed. (Romans 3:22-24)

It says we confess our sins we are forgiven. (1 John 1:9)

Let’s look up what God’s Word has to say about us and focus on what HE says.

The other thing I have asked the Lord, in the times these thoughts start to reign in my mind is “What do I need to focus on at this moment?”

Then I will see that I need to exercise, clean the house, read the Word, write an article or work on my book, prepare a lesson or speech, give the children or my husband my undivided attention, and so on and so on.

Am I seeking too much attention from others when God wants to bath me in HIM? Does He deny me the attention of others so perhaps I can focus on those who are in front of me or the task I need to complete? It’s during the times that I’m exercising, cleaning, spending time with my children, or just doing what He wants me to do that He shows me things—either approval or reprove. Either way I’m more the better for focusing on what He wants me to do. Put God first in all things!

Matthew 6:33 NIV

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Blessings in Christ--

Friday, January 11, 2008

Fun, Food, Fellowship

In July 2006, my son, Stephen, and I went on a short term missions trip to Cameroon, Africa with our dear friend, Romeo (who is from Cameroon) and team. While we were in Cameroon, we went to the capital city of Yaounde for a Campus Crusade for Christ movement. Romeo introduced us to his dear friend, Kennedy.

After the evening’s convention, we went to Kennedy’s home for dinner. We met his lovely wife and three precious children. They served us great Cameroon food. Kennedy is the Regional Coordinator of Campus Crusade for Christ, Francophone Africa, which means the coordinator for the French speaking countries in Africa. There are 17 French speaking countries on that continent. This picture below is Kennedy’s wife, Romeo and Kennedy in Kennedy’s home in Yaounde in 2006.

Last night I had the privilege of having Kennedy in my home for dinner. He is in the US for Campus Crusade for Christ conventions and internet speaking engagements. Romeo invited him to our home town and we had dinner. We invited all that participated in the team that went to Africa. Only a few team members were unable to come over for dinner. Kennedy shared how out of all the team members his family met that they remember my son, Stephen the most. He invited Stephen to go back to Cameroon with him today (I locked up his passport and he’s still here with me). Here’s a picture of Stephen and Mark in 2006 working with the children in Cameroon.

We had a great time of fun, food, and fellowship. Kennedy shared with us about the muslims and how they’re snatching people to their religion on the campuses and what Campus Crusade for Christ is doing as a counter. We heard stories of how much stronger the power of Christ through the Holy Spirit is and is drawing people to HIM. They are training local nationals to go into the areas highly populated by muslims and to share Christ with them. Christ is so much more powerful. Please pray for these disciples and missionaries though, as the enemy’s schemes do try to thwart the efforts to spread the gospel.

Here are a few pictures from the fellowship last night.

Romeo, Stephen (the grill cook), Luke, Shonda, Mark, Chase (the little guy), Kennedy, Charles, and Janeshka.

Kennedy, Chase (with our new kitten) and Romeo. Chase and Romeo are were the colors of Cameroon.

Matthew 28:19-20 NIV

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Blessings in Christ--

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bratty Child--Not Anymore!

Yesterday, I prepared for the day. Lesson plans all laid out. To do lists complete. Then emotions erupted in this home.

One of my children started laying out before me how unfair I treat him. How the other one gets away with EVERYTHING. How I treat him like a slave and the other one does nothing. How he NEVER gets to play because he’s always having to do chores or school. Crying and complaining about how bad his life is here. Crying that he wants another family.

All I wanted to do was to get through the checklist of the to do list. Then this tantrum happened and I thought I might as well forget the syllabus for now. I went to pray for wisdom for all wisdom and knowledge are the Lord’s (Rom. 11:33) and if we ask He will give wisdom to us (James 1:5). After praying I knew there had to be consequences for the explosion of emotions in the home as intentional provoking took place among siblings and toward me, the mother. How my heart grieved. How much I have done for the children and yet their heart is full of complaints toward me & now I have to impose consequences.

Then I saw it. The Israelites cried out to God to deliver them from the oppression of the Egyptians. Then complained when God delivered them and made a golden calf to worship instead of the One who delivered them. For forty years they cried, whined and complained to God. This grieved Him. He had done so much for them and all they could do was complain. The Lord could not let them go into the promise land—their consequence.

Seeing this in my children, I saw I have fallen into a complaining mode too. I also am a bratty child. I’ve complained about how unfair things are or appear to be. How I work like a slave to keep the house clean, pay the bills, do the grocery shopping, etc., etc. When I saw this I realized that it has to stop—starting with me. How it must grieve the Lord that I complain and He must impose consequences (Jer. 42:10). I must go into a thank You Lord mode. He blessed us with so much and done so much for us. I told the boys we need to be thankful.

God has done so much and will continue to do much for us. Thank You Lord! The problems or issues before can seem bigger than my God at times. But God is so much bigger than these things. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Romans 6:17-18

17But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. 18You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

Colossians 3:17
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Dear Lord, I give You all the honor and glory and praise. I thank You that You use my children to teach me lessons and to teach them. Lord, I seek Your forgiveness for whining and complaining about things and acting like a bratty child. Lord, I want to be thankful for You and all the mighty things You’ve done. I don’t want to act like that anymore. You alone, O God, are worthy of all the praise and honor and glory even in the trials and tests and circumstances. You alone, O God, are to be praised. I pray as for me and my home, we shall worship You and praise Your Holy name. Let me teach these boys to praise Your name and to be thankful to You. Praise be to the glory of God forever and ever! In Jesus name, Amen.

Blessings in Christ--

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I Don't Feel Like It

I tend to procrastinate. I can reason out every excuse not to do something until I just absolutely have to do it.

I prayed for five years for a desire I had on my heart. Five years seemed like a long time waiting for a dream to come to pass. Yet, this burden would not leave me. I asked the Lord that if the desire was not from Him to remove the desire from me. But He didn’t. Finally, four and a half years ago my desire and dream came to pass in HIS timing. I started home schooling my oldest child, then one year later my youngest.

This blessed me so much even through its ups and downs I kept pressing on with the journey. It was new and fresh. Therefore the challenges inspired me. And God put other home school moms in my path to encourage me.

I confess now four and half years into this journey, I wanted to quit. This past holiday break; we took almost three weeks off. We went skiing, came back home & celebrated Christmas and New Year’s. I fell out of routine, and I didn’t want to get back into it. I enjoyed sleeping in. I enjoyed indulging in fine confections. I enjoyed visiting with family and friends. I just didn’t want it to stop.

The home educator, the teacher in this situation, did not want to go back to school!

Quitting this journey is not an option. The job is not finished and I must press on. I know that in my heart.

I knew I needed to work on lesson plans to start back to school this past Monday. But I delayed and found other things to do. Finally Sunday night, I worked diligently to put together some plans. In the midst of it, the phone kept ringing, friends stopped by and other things happened so I only got one week’s worth of planning done (I normally plan out four weeks at a time). This week I have other things to work on as I’ll be hosting some special out of town (actually out of the country) guests.

Monday morning came and school started in our home. I had to do it anyway. To my surprise, things went well—just the usual stuff with the two boys—talking, bickering, some fussing about assignments, etc. (I said a prayer for the public & private school teachers that have 20+ students in their class.) Overall a good day. Yesterday was a good day.

I didn’t feel like going back to school. But I realized—routine is good. I learned through this that feelings are fickle and can’t be trusted. I have to do what the Lord has given me and entrusted to me in this season of my life. I must obey in spite of how I feel…

1 Samuel 15:22
…To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

Colossians 3:23
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,

I’m off to serve the Lord in my home with the children He entrusted to my care and instruction.

Lord, I praise You for You laid the foundations of the earth and the heavens are the work of Your hands. Lord, I thank You for Your Word that strengthens me and encourages me to press on in Your will. Lord, I thank You for these young lives that You have entrusted to my care. May I obey You and do what You have called me to do. Lord, I pray that I work for You and not for my own selfish desires. I pray I do my work as unto YOU and stop the procrastination. I pray that You lead me in giving these boys instruction. I pray that I train them in Your ways and Your truths so that when they are old that they wont depart from it. Lord, I bless Your Holy Name. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Blessings in Christ--

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Under Construction

I'm working on the look of this blog. I'd like to update it and create an inviting look. Comments about changes are welcome. I'm working on some templates and I'm talking bribing my teen computer guru to work on a template for me for a one of a kind look.

Please be patient as I experiment with the look.

Blessings in Christ--

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Share Our Comfort

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

Jesus said that in this world we will have trouble, but He overcame this world! (John 16:33) Those of us who have overcome trouble by the power of the blood of Jesus, we’re to share our comforts with those experiencing trouble. Share the hope & comfort we have in Jesus Christ.

I am comforted by the fact that when I’m going through trials and troubles that the Lord puts people in my life to comfort me. In turn, I’m to comfort others He puts in my path. That is the amazing way God works!

Yes, I do agree and understand that we can draw comfort from God alone and there are times for that. Yet, we’re not to live our lives isolated from others as the body of Christ needs each other.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…

That’s the purpose of this blog to encourage and build each other up.

My friend, Tiffane, shared with me a video that her 16 year old daughter, Alyssa, made with her friends. This video is set to the music by SuperChic[k] and the song is HERO. It about doing what is right and helping others. The teens in the video are friends of my teen son and the young boy in the video is the best friend of my youngest son. Seven of the children in this video are children of my friend and running partner Anna.

***Disclaimer*** The content of this video may not be appropriate for young children as there is adolescent and adult content. Please use discretion. I posted the video as the issues are real issues that God could possibly use any of us to be a "hero" in someone's life.

Hero Lyrics

No one sits with him, he doesn't fit in
But we feel like we do when we make fun of him
Cause you want to belong, do you go along?
Cause his pain is the price paid for you to belong
It's not like you hate him or want him to die
But maybe he goes home and thinks suicide
Or he comes back to school with a gun at his side
And a kindness from you might have saved his life
Heroes are made when you make a choice

You could be a hero - heroes do what's right
You could be a hero - you might save a life
You could be a hero- you could join the fight
For what's right, for what's right, for what's right

No one talks to her, she feels so alone
She's in too much pain to survive on her own
The hurt she can't handle overflows to a knife
She writes on her arm and wants to give up her life
Each day she goes on is a day that she's brave
Fighting the lie that giving up is the way
Each moment of courage her on life she saves
When she throws the pills out a hero is made
Heroes are made when you make a choice


No one talks to him about how he lives
He thinks that the choices he makes are just his
Doesn't know he's the leader with the way he behaves
And others will follow the choices he's made
He lives on the edge, he's old enough to decide
His brother who wants to be him is just nine
He can do what he wants because it's his right
The choices he makes change a nine-year-old's life


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

We Must Finish the Race!

In 1988, a team from Jamaica entered the Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada. This oddity received much criticism. Who thought that four men from an island could compete in a winter sport? The odds were stacked against them.

I first learned about this sporting team as I watched holiday movies with my family. I came across a movie called Cool Runnings with John Candy. This movie was inspired by the first Jamaican Bobsled team, but is not an accurate depiction of actual events. Yet a very motivational movie like Mighty Ducks and Rudy. I searched the internet (oh how I enjoy the convenience of research from my kitchen table) and found news articles that revealed the true story. The parts that I want to portray from the movie are factual.

Underdogs in the competition, this team had only three months to prepare; failed to find sponsors and adequate funding; and were definitely unaccustomed to the cold weather. But they had determination that drove them past the crude remarks and many other obstacles that came their way.

The team qualified in the time trials by overcoming one of the obstacles of learning how to run and push off on ice. When the team competed in the first heat, they ran a slow speed and came in last place. In the second run, the team had the fastest start time and finished in a very competitive time limit. Inspired and encouraged the team readied for the third run fully believing they would place high in the event. Disappointment came upon them only meters from the finish line when they crashed. Lying on the side on the ice one of the team members said, ”We have to finish the race.” The team got out and pushed the sled across the finish line (in the movie they carried it) in order to finish the race. Nevertheless, they came in last place but had earned the respect of the spectators who clapped, cheered and shook their hands.

As believers in the body of Christ, we are on the same team. Our lives in this world is a race we must run. We must run this race as if to win the prize and with strict training.

1 Cor. 9:24-25 (NIV)

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

Our trials and circumstances train us for what we’re to do for our Lord. The trials strengthen us and prepare us for what lays ahead. When life gets tough we need to be encouraged to finish the race. We may get knocked down, but we have to get up and finish the race and we will receive our reward. As Paul told Timothy:

2 Tim 4:7-8 NIV

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

I have been knocked down but had to choose to get up. If you get knocked down, choose to get up.

Proverbs 24:16 NIV

for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again,
but the wicked are brought down by calamity.

As team members let’s encourage one another in the body to get up so we can finish the race. Let’s get up again and again. As many times as it takes to finish the race.

As we start 2008, I want to encourage you (and myself) that when we get knocked down to get up as we must finish the race!

And I do believe that along the way before we receive our crowns that will last forever which we’ll cast upon our Savior’s feet, we will win other prizes along the way. See the post below for a prize I recently won. Our God is good and gracious to keep us encouraged in this race!

Happy New Year--2008!

Blessings in Christ--

Blessed with a Prize

Before Christmas I visited Joanne at The Simple Wife and entered to win a book cover that she was giving away. She held the drawing on December 21 and one of her sweet daughters randomly drew my name!!! I was just tickled so as I seldom win things!! I believe that was a sweet blessing from my Lord through Joanne! I received my prize on New Year's Eve. Below is a picture of the hand sewn book cover I won which fits the Beth Moore study books. Perfect as I'm facilitating another group in Beth Moore's latest release of Stepping Up starting in a few weeks. With this book cover no one will accidentally walk off with my study book again! Thanks Joanne!!

Also of note, my father-in-law gave me the Beth Moore's Jesus 90 Days with the One and Only for Christmas. What a treat to spend time with our Savior each day through this devotional. Thanks Dad!

I pray each of you have a healthy and prosperous New Year 2008!!

Blessings in Christ--