Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christa]">[a] the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. ~~ Luke 2:8-20

Like the shepherds, we can glorify & praise God for all the things we have seen and heard regarding Jesus who lives today in our hearts.

I'll return to the blog in January. I pray each of you have a very blessed Christmas and New Year.

Monday, December 14, 2009

What We Don't See

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. ~~ Hebrews 11:1 NIV

For the past week or so, the skies in south Texas have been gray. The gray clouds create a barrier between us and the sun. Without the direct sunshine, it can bring on the winter blues. The medical field has studied seasonal affective disorder (SAD). In the studies they conclude that SAD may be associated by the amount of sunlight.

During the winter months, the days are shorter. Often the changes in weather also cause the day to be darker with clouds lingering around all day long. This combination can cause a change in the chemicals in the brain bringing on the winter blues.

The most common form of treatment according to is to get outside for a minimum of 30 minutes each day and to increase the indoor artificial lighting.

Sometimes, situations in our life hinder us from seeing the Son. The circumstances may cloud our vision where we do not see clearly. Often times, we know in our minds that the Son is on the other side, but we become blue not being able to feel the Son.

Like with the SAD, we need to get outside more. We can get outside our point of view. We choose our thoughts and we can redirect our attention to meeting the needs of someone else during the times we feel stuck under a blanket of clouds.

Though the clouds hinder our view of the sunshine, we know the sun is above the clouds. Most of us have flown on a cloudy day. When the plan rises above the clouds, we can see the sun, so we know it is there.

In our situations, we know the Son is there. He is working on our behalf on the other side of our clouded vision. He knows our prayers and petitions. Let’s get outside ourselves and read the Word to fill our lives with His light. We can trust in Him even though it is what we don’t see.

Monday, December 7, 2009

By God's Grace and for His Glory

By God’s grace, He allowed me to travel and visit a precious friend in the hospital who had surgery last week. What I saw is amazing witness for God’s glory.

Things did not go as hoped and prayed for, but God is in control of all circumstances. Mary’s spirit is strong and she trusts completely in God and what He is doing in and through her life.

A portion of the surgery was not as successful as hoped. They planned to remove all the cancer, but they found some more cancer. She’s been advised she has an aggressive type of cancer. She will be taking six rounds of chemo after being released from the hospital over the next four months. Her recovery time will be much longer than hoped.

The plastic surgeon, who claimed he never had a case fail, is disappointed in the results for he is used to success. Charles, Mary’s husband, informed me the plastic surgeon came to them and apologized. The surgeon doesn’t understand why this happened to them because they are good people. The surgeon said he had patients so mean and the surgery worked, but Charles and Mary are good people. This surgeon lamented with Charles and Mary over what appears to be a failure. Yet, Charles had the opportunity to sit down with this surgeon and explain to him about the Lord, Jesus and that things work out quoting Romans 8:28.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Charles and Mary are praying for the salvation of this doctor and thanking God for the opportunity to witness to him. He visits Mary more often than the standard protocol.

Also, the Lord has sent ministering servants to Charles for he is with Mary alone without family or friends. Christian people he does not know have come to visit him. Yet the bond of fellowship is strong from the people the Lord sent. It was encouraging to hear how the Lord looks after His people as He sent men to Charles to encourage and refresh his spirit and pray with them while at the hospital.

Today Charles and Mary will learn when she will be released to come home. It is a testimony of faith to see the couple who loves the Lord, praising Him for opportunities in the midst of pain. Never once did I hear my friend cry, “Why God?” By God’s grace, Mary is facing her trial with strength and dignity with the glory of the Lord all over her.

I’m thankful I got to hear and witness the testimony from Charles and Mary in the midst of this trial. By God’s grace and for His glory, I trust the Lord has some mighty plans for their lives when they pass this test.

Prayers for Mary, Charles and the salvation of the doctor are appreciated.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Sobered Up

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. ~~ Romans 12:3 NIV

I usually keep a clean house. I have a cleaning routine that I go through each week for each room of the house in order to maintain a state of cleanliness.

I thought that if cleanliness is next to godliness then I’m doing alright. I felt as I had conquered an area of my life—housekeeping. I have plenty of other areas to work on by now.

So those were my thoughts until this past week when the Lord sobered me up. My husband and I started “fall” cleaning so we can prepare our house to put on the market as he’s hoping for a transfer soon. Part of this process meant we packed up clutter and moved excess belongings to storage. We also painted a few walls to brighten things up.

In the process of cleaning, I had the vacuum cleaner out with an extension hose to clean the collected dust off of the ceiling fan. As I stepped back and looked, I saw dirt stuck in the “popcorn” texture of the ceiling paint, so I used the soft brush on the end of the vacuum extension and cleaned the dirt off the ceiling around the ceiling fan. I thought what a great job I’ve done.

But then, as I prepared to paint the walls, my husband stood at another place in the room and looked at the ceiling and said, “Now you can see the ceiling around the ceiling fan is white, but the rest of the ceiling is brown.”

I realized that even though I regularly picked up items, dusted the furniture, and vacuumed the floors, I never cleaned the ceiling. I confess, I do not normally look up to clean. With my husband’s help, it took about an hour to clean off the ceiling, little by little with the small brush attachment.

I felt the Lord sobered my judgment of myself through this experience. I’m not as good as a housekeeper as I thought I was. It took a lot of work to clean out our house this week. Through the house cleaning process, I realized I deceived myself.

If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. ~~Galatians 6:3 NIV

Deceit can creep in easily. I thank the Lord, He sobered me up. All that I have and all I do comes from Him. To Him be the glory!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Give Thanks

Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. ~~Psalm 106:1
Happy Thanksgiving! May all of you be blessed today beyond imagination. We all have something to be thankful for on this one day of the year set aside in America to be thankful for our God is good. His love endures forever.

I am thankful that our Lord provided a way for us to not suffer an eternal death by sending His Son, Jesus Christ.

I am thankful that we have the Word of God to read, learn and grow in the truth that sets us free in Christ our Lord.

I am thankful for family and friends who keep me on the right path of growing in the Lord.

There are so many things I can list to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day. Please share some of what you're thankful for today.

Blessings in Christ!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Open My Eyes

And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. ~~Luke 24:31 ESV

Have you ever cried out, “I just don’t understand?” Sometimes events unfold right in front of us and we do not understand the meaning of it.

Two men were walking on the road to Emmaus, which was about seven miles northwest from Jerusalem. They were talking about the crucifixion of Christ. They, like so many of the other people of the times hoped Jesus was the one to redeem Israel from the Roman rule. They were so caught up in the situation, they could not see past it.

Then the resurrected Jesus showed up and walked along side of these two men. ”And he said to them, ‘What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?’ Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, ‘Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?’”

Apparently the news of the crucifixion traveled very quickly among the people of the land, without the use of cell phones and email. They did not recognize Jesus and they thought he must be the only one who did not know what just took place. So they proceeded to explain it to Jesus. When they got to the part about the women who reported angels and an empty tomb, Jesus interrupted them.

"O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:25-27 ESV)

I can see myself explaining an event and Jesus interrupting me to tell me how foolish I am. We need to understand the Scriptures. It is so easy for me to talk about what is going on in our world today, and feel disgruntled like these men on their way to Emmaus. But what if I let Jesus explain the Scriptures to me?

Jesus stayed with the men for just a little bit longer. When Jesus broke bread with them and gave it to them, then their eyes were opened. They realized it was Jesus and He was alive! They had an “ah-ha” moment.

Jesus explained the Scriptures to them. Most of us have several copies of the Bible in our homes. There are several places on the internet to read the Bible. God’s word is readily available to us. Let’s read and study God’s word and ask Him to explain what it means to us and ask Him to open our eyes to see Him.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

For Our Veterans

I want to personally thank our veterans & service members for their faithful service to our country. It is your service and dedication that keeps us free. Thank you.

Monday, November 9, 2009

For the Joy

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. ~~ James 1:2-4 ESV

Last week I started a new exercise routine. Based on the results of a friend from church, I purchased a Jillian Michaels video. Since I very seldom watch television, I learned that she is the personal trainer on The Biggest Loser. And she’s known for getting results and that’s what I’m seeking—results.

Each workout in this video is only 20 minutes. When I started this workout last week, 20 minutes felt like a torture. I thought I was fit as I’m used to walking and jogging each morning. But I realized I haven’t really been working out after the first few days of this video. My body has been going through stress.

“We want your body to change as quickly as possible. In order to do that, we have to put stress on it. That’s how things change. By putting stress on your body, it’s going to adapt,” Jillian states as the workout really gets going.

Since the first time I heard those words “We have to put stress on it. That’s how things change,” it has resonated in my mind over and over again. Then in Sunday School we had a lesson on James 1:2-4 and thoughts started clicking in my mind.

If we’re too comfortable in a situation we’ll stay in it. Stress, trials, and tests all produce results. The various kinds of trials we face produces steadfastness, which according to means “unwavering, as resolution, faith, adherence, etc., firmly established, as an institution or a state of affairs, firmly fixed in place or position.”

We need to be firmly fixed in the Word of God through Jesus Christ. That makes us firmly established. Then steadfastness will work into us the perfection—the work that God started in us which He will complete. (Phil. 1:6) Then we’ll lack nothing because of our faith.

I think I’m starting to see a glimpse of why James said, “Count it all joy.” We must go through a process. My muscles scream, “OUCH!” But they are under stress now so they will have to change and adapt to this new routine as I persevere with it. Later these muscles of mine will be in better shape.

Now as I face the trials in my life, I realize that the Lord uses the stress to produce endurance so I’ll be firmly fixed in Christ. We can’t always understand the “why am I going through this?” But we can trust in the One who increases our endurance so we can be perfected. Let’s endure and mature for the joy!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Do You Know What You're Asking For?

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. "Teacher," they said, "we want you to do for us whatever we ask."

"What do you want me to do for you?" he asked.

They replied, "Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory."

"You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said. "Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?"

"We can," they answered. Jesus said to them, "You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared." ~~ Mark 10:35-40 NIV

“Mom, come outside and see what I found!”

I hurry through the house hearing some sense of urgency in Chase’s voice. As I step out through the glass door, I see the puppy.

“Mom, he followed me home while I was out riding my bike. Can I please keep him? It’s a boy, please.”

“That dog belongs to somebody and it’s so small it would need to be an inside dog. You can take care of him until we find the owner.”

“I promise I really will take care of him. Look he already likes me.”

Does my son really know what he’s asking for? I had him take care of the puppy that followed him home all through out the day, including cleaning up after its potty mess. He no longer was excited about keeping this dog.

Sometimes there are things in life that we think we really want. Naturally as humans, we want things, like a new puppy. But with those things comes something called – responsibility.

James and John asked Jesus to allow them to sit with Him in His glory. Jesus asked them if they could drink for the cup he would drink and be baptized with the baptism He had. They agreed they could. They thought it would be a great idea to have what Jesus had—glory. But Jesus told them that they did not know what they were asking for and they would drink from the cup and be baptized, but only the Father could decide where they sit.

Jesus suffered a death on the cross for the Father’s glory so that all men and women can be saved. Jesus asked James and John by asking if they could take the cup and the baptism which represented sufferings. They said they could and they did. James was the first apostle to be martyred by King Herod sword (See Acts 12:2). John was the last of the apostles to die, but he endured much tribulation and was placed in exile. Both of them suffered for the sake of Christ just as they asked.

When we ask for things, do we know what we’re asking? Once we receive it are we willing to see it through to the end? Whose glory are we seeking—our own or the Lord’s?

Chase allowed this puppy to follow him home, now he will take care of it until the owner can be found or it is placed in a home who wants it. He will need to see this through. When we ask the Lord for a thing, we need to be willing to see it through once He says yes. He will never give us more than we can bear.

Ask and it shall be given. But do you know what you’re asking for?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hear His Voice

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. ~~John 10:27 ESV

Children recognize the voice of their mother and fathers. I remember watching my boys when they were babies. I walked into the room talking and their heads turned toward me. I watched them as the watched me and listened to me talk to them. They cooed back to me as I held them in my lap and spoke to them.

Interestingly, on the flip side, I could recognize my baby’s cry out of all the other babies in the nursery. Or even when a group of children were playing together, I could hear the sound of my child’s voice in the group. The Lord gave parents an ability to distinguish their child from others.

I remember studying about zebras with my youngest last year when I homeschooled him. Each zebra has it’s own particular pattern of stripes. When the foal is born, the mother doesn’t let it see any other zebra’s except her until it can recognize the stripes and sound of it’s mother. Then she’ll let it wander in the group.

Jesus stated that He is the shepherd and we are the sheep. As His sheep, we recognize his voice. I do not know much about shepherding, but I gather that the shepherd spends much time with the sheep that they get to know his voice.

Are we spending enough time with our Shepherd that we know His voice? Voices can be deceptive. There are lots of voices vying for our attention. Competing with the Shepherd’s voice are the voices of others, our own voice and the voice of the enemy—the devil.

Why do we need to listen for the voice of our Good Shepherd, Jesus? He desires the best for us. As humans, our hearts are deceitful. We can fool ourselves into believing anything. And the enemy prowls around looking for someone to devour, so we must stand firm. Jesus is the Truth, the Way and the Life.

How do we listen to Him? First, I suggest reading the Bible daily for if we know what it says about matters, then we won’t be easily fooled. Second, I pray about everything asking the Lord for advice and answers. I pray about my schedule, which fruit to buy, if I should buy those pants or blouse. I pray before I take a test. I’m working at praying more before I spout out answers (as it does avert disagreements). And then I practice listening for His voice. Sometimes, it pops into my head as an idea or a thought. Other times, I’ll think of something, but dismiss it then to hear it on the radio, television or someone else later.

Our Lord speaks to us in a myriad of ways. If we spend time with Him then we will know His voice like our children know our voice and we know theirs. Take time daily to hear His voice.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Be Ready

And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. ~~ Matthew 25:10 ESV

Since I started taking college classes again now that my son returned to school, I have learned that I must be more prepared and organized to keep our lives functioning properly. For classes, I must keep track of assignments and when they are due. For the Bible study I must set aside time in my week to prepare the lessons. For my home, I must create lists of what needs to be done. I’ve even implemented an organization system so I can track the order of tasks to prioritize my time efficiently so I can be ready.

In the above Scripture, Jesus told a parable about the ten virgins. Five were wise and five were foolish. The foolish ones failed to think things through to be ready for the bridegroom’s arrival. Granted, they did not know when He would arrive, but they knew he would come. Since they did not have the needed oil to light their lamps, the wise virgins instructed the foolish ones to go buy their own oil for if they shared, there would not be enough for all of them.

When we’re preparing, some things we just cannot share. When I must take an exam in college, I cannot share the grade of another student. I must prepare for myself to have my own grade. Just like I know when a test is scheduled, the virgins knew the bridegroom could come at anytime. The wise virgins could not share with them.

As a result, by the time the foolish virgins arrived at the door, it was shut. Just as some instructors will not allow students in the classroom once a test begins. They’re locked out and fail the exam. The foolish virgins were locked out and failed to enjoy the marriage feast.

The marriage feast discussed in this passage is the marriage supper with the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. That is one feast we do not want to miss. It will be the best of the best and nothing on this earth can compare to it. We do not know exactly when the Bridegroom will come, but we know He is coming.

We need to be ready today for that feast. We cannot delay for “today is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). We need to be assured that we know the Bridegroom by accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, repenting of our sins and committing to live our life for Him.

If you’re not certain you’re ready for Christ’s return and join in the marriage feast, then say a prayer from your heart expressing your desire to admit you’re a sinner, believe in your heart and confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and commit to living a life for Christ. Then if He returns today, you’ll be ready and welcomed into the feast.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Find Rest in God

“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.” ~~ Psalm 62:1 (NIV)

This past month I found the pressures of being a wife, mother, college student and Bible study teacher more than fulfilling. After I started, I wondered if I would find the key to having balance in my life.

Before when I stayed home and homeschooled, my life seemed to be busy. But after my son started public school and I returned to college myself, I realized what a cozy life I had before. I felt like I went from zero to sixty in a minute flat. I felt like I was on a highway with no rest stops.

After the movie, Cars, came out I frequently sang the theme song by Rascal Flatts, Life is a Highway. The lyrics to the verse read, “Life is a highway, I wanna ride it all night long. If you’re goin’ my way, I wanna drive it all night long.” The other day I heard the song and I told my husband, “I want to find a rest stop! I don’t want to drive all night long!”

He knew what I meant. I needed a rest or waiting period. Building up to last Friday, I stressed myself by fretting about mid-term exams. Chase in his 12-year old relaxed, no worry straight A student tone said, “Mom, why do you stress? You know if you stress you won’t remember what you studied.” Friday I finished my mid-term exams, came home and rested all weekend. Needless to say, my soul found my rest stop in God.

This weekend, I found myself resting in the Lord. I have found comfort and peace with Him knowing that all I do, I must do for the glory of Him. I can do nothing in and of myself anyhow. Now that I’m rested, I do not feel stressed about what tasks lay before me. I have lots to do, but I will make my plans and ask the Lord to direct my steps. I will wait for Him to lead and guide.

I’m learning how to balance my life being outside the home more these days. I realize I must find my rest in the Lord. I understand a bit better why He commanded us to take a day to rest—for only in Him can we truly rest!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What is Your Driving Personality?

Today my Purely Personalities post published on Take Root and Write. Here's a sneak peek:

I've been driving in the rush hour traffic a lot more these days since both my son and I returned to school this fall. During this time, I've observed various driving styles. As I thought about it, driving styles could possibly reveal a person's personality type (at least the personality trait being displayed at that very moment as most of us have personality blends). The early morning and afternoon traffic times creates pressure on people when they're driving. I can now differentiate those drivers who are prepared to those who are not. Let's explore some of the possibilities of personalities while driving.

To read what each personality may look like while driving and see which personality you have while driving, click here.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A New Look

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. ~~ Isaiah 43:19 NIV

“Those were the good ol’ days!” Have you heard anyone make that declaration? I recall my grandfather used to tell me about his days in the Navy, remembering times that seemed to be better than the current moment.

As I’ve gotten a bit older, I’ve caught myself doing the same thing. But Scripture promises us that we will have better days ahead. Those who believe in Jesus Christ as Messiah have the hope of a glorious eternal future.

But for the here and now, we have God’s promises and hope of new life here on earth because we’re sealed with the Holy Spirit. (Eph. 1:13) The Holy Spirit guides us in our daily living. He leads us the way through “the desert and streams in the wasteland.”

When living in our “desert” and “wasteland,” it is a place where reliance and dependence on the Lord’s provision is the only option. He is our only source of provision and all things come from Him.

The Lord does new things for us along our journey. There have been times I read the above Scripture and cried out, “No! I can’t see it! I don’t perceive it. Please show me Lord!” But He is faithful to show us in His timing—it’s a matter of faith and trust.

Well the Lord is doing new things in my life. Things I only imagined and dreamt of before this year. In the years past, I felt the call to be a women’s teacher and speaker. Years I’ve worked in preparation for this year. Now I can see the new thing.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I’m teaching a weekly ladies Bible study that I am writing, and speaking at women’s conferences and retreats. And now the Lord blessed me with a new makeover on the blog as part of this new season in my life.

I want to thank the Lord for placing Crissy, a blog designer, in my life at precisely the right moment for I knew this meeting came from Him. Crissy captured my heart and the heart of the ministry I feel the Lord has entrusted to me. Crissy prayed for several days about how to design the blog. I felt so blessed by the Lord to guide me to such a prayerful blog designer.

As the Lord leads me in this new season, I now perceive it as He places the right people in my life at the right time for whatever it is I need. I can remember the “good ol’ days” but better yet, I can look forward to days yet to come as the Lord does a new thing!

Can you perceive the new things the Lord is doing in your life? Please share your thoughts in the comments. Also leave Crissy your thoughts on the new look too. Thank you Crissy!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I Will Follow Christ

Monday, September 28, 2009

Run the Race

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. ~~ 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, NIV

My son, Chase, runs on the cross country team. He’s been training since early October and working hard to win a prize. His coaches told me he has a lot of heart and works hard, but he has one drawback—his short legs.

Chase has not let his stature become a hindrance to him. He pursues his goal to win a prize as he thrives on competition. He enjoys sports and let's nothing deter him.

I was blessed to travel to the cross country meet this past Saturday on a ranch. What really blessed me was prior to his team’s start, the voluntarily boys huddled together in prayer. I overheard them reciting the Lord’s Prayer.

Then they lined up. On your mark, get set, GO! BAM the gun signaled the start of the race. Chase started off hard. The two-mile course on the rough terrain yielded rocks and low water crossings. About eleven minutes later, I saw the first blue/white shirts on the horizon. But where’s Chase?

I started to get a bit worried when some runners came in front of Chase as he’s usually in front of them. Finally here he came. Running with all his might, he came in and finished. He won a prize—a medal.

Chase showed me his skinned up knee. He fell on the course and he said he sat there for a little while, but then he decided to get up and finish the race. He did not want to ride in on the cart.

Isn’t that how we’re to be as believers in Christ? We prepare; we run. For our training, we study the Word of God, spend time in prayer and worship with our Lord. Then we go out and run our course.

When we run our race, we may fall down. Perhaps we said something we should not have said. Or watched a television show not meant for our eyes. There are a myriad of ways we can fall. Yet God’s word states, “for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again” (Proverbs 24:16 NIV). We can either let those things bring us down, or we can pick ourselves up and move forward. Let’s rise up like Chase did in this past race and finish the course.

Chase’s medal is only temporary, but the prize we run for “will last forever.” Run the race God set before you!

Friday, September 25, 2009

You're Right

One afternoon my husband, Eldon and I were out grocery shopping together. He saw a display of Trail Mix and decided that would make a great snack. Then he commented to me, "You'll probably eat all the M&M's and leave me only the nuts and raisins."

After a few days, Eldon sat down in his easy chair with the bag of trail mix he waited to enjoy. As he started snacking away on the nuts and raisins, he said, "All the M&M's are gone."

"You're right," I stated, "And since I want you to be right, I removed the M&M's and ate them."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday Worship--Indescribable

Monday, September 21, 2009

Amazing God

Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, "We have seen remarkable things today. ~~Luke 5:26, NIV

I attended the Living the Life women’s conference this past weekend in Corpus Christi, Texas. This event was AMAZING.

“Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God.” We were “fill with awe and said, ‘We have seen remarkable things today.’” God’s glory filled the Selena Auditorium this weekend. Women made decisions to follow Christ and draw closer to Him!

My friend, Esther and I traveled the five hours there on Friday. Esther drove the whole way. Once we arrived in Corpus, we checked into the hotel, freshened up and stopped at a fast food place to grab a bite before the evening conference started. Perhaps this next part was a clue to how the weekend would turn out. She pulled her van into the handicap parking, so being the good friend that I am stated, “Just because it says van accessible doesn’t mean you can park here.” Laughter burst out of both of us. We couldn’t contain ourselves. God is amazing!

The last speaker for the evening, Tonya Webber, spoke about Jesus as our playmate. The message was about having childlike faith and having fun in the Lord. We blew bubbles as we heard about the joy of the Lord. Esther had trouble with her bubbles, as they would not fly up, but fall to the floor. We rationalized that her bubbles were overweight. We couldn’t contain our laughter. God is amazing!

As an editor for Take Root and Write (TRW), I passed out flyers for our online magazine. After the evening session, a woman came up to me to ask about the flyer. I told her about it and she told me she was just accepted to write for Take Root and Write. Alisa Hope was so excited to meet me and I was excited to meet her. And I learned it is her twin sister, Crissy that is re-doing my blog! That was a kiss from God show each of us we were in the right place. God is amazing!

Saturday morning was just as phenomenal. We arrived, prayed with the Living the Life team. Then Esther and I went with Tonya to set up the PowerPoint for the breakout session. This session was on Vibrant Relationships where Rochelle, Tonya and I were speaking. Earlier this year while planning, Tonya wanted to use PowerPoint as she is a visual person and wanted others to see the presentation visually as well as hear us. So she procured the screen, projector and laptop. Thank God Esther was there as she’s learned in her new job how to use LCD projectors. Esther set up the screen, projector and made necessary adjustments for the presentation. Without her help, I don’t think the PowerPoint would have been used. Thank you Esther! Esther was meant to be there for “such a time as this.” God is amazing!

I needed to laugh. I needed the messages I heard. And I needed to see God work through others in such beautiful ways. There’s so much more, but don’t have the space to share here. I want to thank the LTL team, the James Roots band, and all the wonderful volunteers that worked so hard to make the conference a success! God is amazing!

We don’t have to go to a conference to see God do amazing things. We can be filled with awe as we see God work in our everyday lives. Please share your Amazing God stories in the comments.

Monday, September 14, 2009


“. . .When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:2, NIV).

In a matter of weeks, my lifestyle changed drastically. It’s not that it’s hard, I am just not used to working so much. I had become accustomed to having lots more leisure time and now that spare time is gone.

My youngest child returned to public school. I thought I would have lots more time, but I realize now after three weeks of school that it’s just as much effort as homeschooling (though in a different way with after school activities and homework).

I registered for college classes. The last time I took college classes, it was easy—that was about 15 years ago. I put off college to raise my boys. Now one is on his own, I thought the classes would be easy. What I didn’t consider was the fact that my memory retention isn’t what it used to be. I have to put much more effort into it now. But I quote scripture confessing that I have “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:16) and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13).

Writing a Bible study and teaching is my greatest passion. I have much more respect for Bible teachers who write their own curriculum as I pour my heart into this project. God’s word is life changing and I pray that those, to whom God allows me to minister, will soak in His Word and allow Him to change their lives.

Then I have the writing and editorial duties. I love it! God is so amazing at how He works through His people. Then I accepted another role as an editorial assistant. (You probably think I’m crazy by now, but I believe it’s my calling to accept.)

I realized with all these activities, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. I felt it last week, and I had to run to Christ—my Rock and Redeemer. We can become overwhelmed physically as well as in our innermost being—our hearts, the soul. I found my rest in Christ where He said, “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” (Matthew 11:28-20, NIV).

Only in Jesus, do we find rest and relief from the overwhelming situations. I found it meditating on His word and learning to take time to physically rest. When I tried to be like the Energizer Bunny, I broke down.

Let’s remember to run to the Rock higher than us; run to Jesus in Whom we find rest. He energizes our overwhelmed hearts.

Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11 Tribute

Today I selected a song by Daryl Worley titled "Have You Forgotten?" Let's always remember to pray for our nation and those who sacrifice their lives for our safety.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Hedge

Today you can find my Totally Transplanted post at Here's a sample:

Where I grew up in West Texas, a row of evergreen trees concealed the house on one side or perhaps all the way around it. These trees provided a wind break as strong winds are prevalent on the plains and those winds stir up lots of dust. Farmers plant these hedges to protect their homes. Most of the hedges I remember were much taller than the home itself, providing a barrier from the cold winds. Many hedges can grow so tall and dense that they’re impossible to penetrate. Smaller garden hedges repel small animals from consuming the foliage. Hedges are also a more attractive barrier than fences.

To live Totally Transplanted lives, we need hedges in our lives. Hedges provide protection in two ways. First, it keeps predators away from us. Animals such as rabbits and deer seek out food from gardens. If a hedge exists, they’ll look for a breach to break through in order to consume the plants. Our enemy, the devil seeks out ways to break through the hedge the Lord put around us to protect us.

Do you remember Job? In the first book of Job, Satan presented himself to God and God asked Satan if he considered His servant Job. Satan responded that Job feared God because of His wealth.

"So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land” (Job 1:9-10, NKJV).

To continue reading this column, click here.

Engrafted by His Grace--

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Back to School

Today you can find my Purely Personality Post at Here's the beginning:

Well, it's finally here! Back to school our children go. Some mothers are relieved as they will have time to make the hair and nail appointments they've put off to spend time with the kiddos. Other mom's will be missing their little ones throughout the day. Regardless of which one we are, the kids are back in school (unless you're a homeschooling mom then you're still with those little blessings all day).

After homeschooling my youngest son, Chase, for the past five years, he returned to the public school system for the seventh grade. He's very athletic and competitive. Our state does not allow homeschooled children to participate in University Interscholastic League (UIL). Because of that, we enrolled him in school so he could participate in UIL competitions.

Last week we attended orientation to be briefed on rules and, most importantly, receive the classroom schedule. Did he get the classes he signed up for? Yes! Except one, but we didn't request a change since all the important classes were fine. At the orientation, nearly one thousand students and parents filled the school. I loved watching how all the different personalities behaved.

To read my observations on each personality, click here.

Engrafted by His Grace--

Monday, August 31, 2009

Wisdom & Knowledge

My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. ~~ Proverbs 2:1-6 NIV

I’ve always enjoyed learning. Even as a child, I liked school when my classmates did not. Now, I confess by the time I reached high school, my interest in school started to wane as I found other teenage interests. But most of my life, I’ve actually enjoyed learning.

I like to read and study. If there’s something I don’t know and I want to know, I’ll look it up. It is so much easier now to research with the internet in our homes as gives us a wealth of information at our fingertips. Libraries have books and periodicals available online. I read a comment of a bloggy friend who said she was going to the library to research. I thought about it and I can’t remember the last time I actually went to the library. I’m certain my library card has expired. I prefer to buy books to create my own library than borrow books.

Though I like to learn, there are certain things I’m just not interested in, such as science and math. My youngest son really enjoys math and he can’t fathom my not liking it. God likes numbers as there is a book called Numbers; He counted and talks about multiplying throughout the scriptures. He even knows the number of hairs on our head, so numbers are important. But He also created many parts to one body and we each function differently.

Therefore, I believe my part in the body is to read, write, teach and speak. That’s what I enjoy. My heart’s desire it to first seek the Lord for from Him comes wisdom. Next is to serve my family and my church. Now that I am no longer homeschooling my youngest son, I’ve been afforded the opportunity to return to school myself and complete my education.

Years (many years) ago, I served in the U.S. Air Force to earn money for college. But then the boys came along and the Lord had me set that desire aside for a season. I lost the funds I contributed to the G.I. Bill as the time had lapsed. But then I found out (through the Lord guiding me) that my state, Texas, has financial aid for veterans. The financial aid package went through very quickly, I registered and I’m again a college student! I’m now pursuing a degree in English in order to enhance my writing and editing skills.

Besides gaining understanding through college coursework, I’m researching and writing a Bible study on Hosea that I’m presenting in my community. Lord willing, we’ll see what else He wants me to do with it after this.

I thank God He doesn’t give me any time to be bored. My life is very busy, but it is a good kind of busy as I want to turn my ear to wisdom and apply my heart to understanding.

Engrafted by His Grace--

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ready? Saddle up let's go!

To my friends & family,
We're on a great adventure with Christ. Let's saddle up & blaze our trails. I just love this song and it's come to my attention again this past week through my friend, Shona Neff. I want to share it with you!

Engrafted by His Grace--

Monday, August 17, 2009

Constant Reminders

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. ~~ Deuteronomy 6:5-9 NIV

Often I feel like a nagging mother. I’m constantly reminding my children of their chores. I’ve tried all the chore chart systems, star systems, rewards and allowances. Nothing seems to help them to remember what to do without my prompting them.

“Did you feed and water the dogs?”

“Did you remember to brush you teeth?”

“Did you put away your clothes? “

Over and over again, I’m repeating myself. I’ve thought of recording in the digital voice recorder, numbering my reminders and pressing play on the appropriate number when that particular task needs to be done.

But then I remembered the scripture from Deuteronomy 6. The Lord gives us the commandments that we’re to put upon our hearts, but then He directs us parents to “Impress them on your children.” According to, impress means “to affect deeply or strongly in mind or feelings; influence in opinion; to fix deeply or firmly on the mind or memory, as ideas or facts; to urge, as something to be remembered or done.”

How do we have something fixed deeply on the mind or memory? We must hear it over and over again. It struck me that’s how it is with our children, they must hear it over and over again. That’s why it states in Deuteronomy 6, “talk about them when. . .”

“You sit at home.” While we’re at home, we’re to teach our children the scriptures and how to follow the Word.

“When you walk along the road.” Grant it, we drive most places today. So while driving around on our errands, to and from practices, we should be giving our children instructions.

“When you lie down.” So as we put them to bed at night we need to remind them of the word of God, tell them what they do right and tell them how to correct what they did wrong.

“When you get up.” We need to model for them how to read the word and pray when they get up preparing for the day ahead.

I gather from this scripture, we’re to talk to our children all day to remind them of what to do. It’s a process to impress upon them God’s commandments. I wanted to tell them once and they remember it, but it has not happened that way for me. I think that’s why the rest of the scripture above tells us to put them on our hands, foreheads, doors and gates. We need constant reminding too. It’s a lifelong process.

If not already, let’s begin the daily process of getting in the Word of God all through out the day. We can use 3 X 5 note cards on our mirrors and refrigerator. I painted scripture in the skylight. Let’s talk about God’s commands all through out the day with each other and our children. Let’s see what a difference it will make for us. After all, we all need the constant reminders (especially when it comes to chores).

Engrafted by His Grace--

Monday, August 10, 2009

Be Persistent

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. ~~Luke 18:1 NIV

Each morning when I wake up, I sit on the couch with a cup of coffee to read the scriptures and pray. The other morning, my cat kept jumping up next to me, walking around me and meowing. This behavior was not typical, but I tried to dismiss it as I was attempting to have my “quiet time.” But she kept being persistent to the point that she jumped on the arm of the sofa, meowed, moved closer to my face, and swatted at my mouth with her paw. She gently tapped my lips whiling meowing. Not alert yet as I was still working on my first cup of coffee, I dismissed her odd behavior as cute.

However, when I got up to move about the house, she followed me to every room rubbing against my legs and meowing. I finally asked her what she wanted. (Yes, I believe we can talk to the animals and I do talk to mine.) As I walked to the kitchen to refill my coffee cup, she stopped by her water bowl and meowed. I keep the lights dim and the cat water bowl is dark blue, so I could not tell if water was available or not. Stooping over, I felt that the bowl was empty. “Oh, you need some water.” At the sound of running water, the other two cats showed up also. All that time, she was petitioning me for a drink of water. She knew what she needed and she knew who to ask.

We also have basic needs for food, water, clothing, shelter and good health. Just as the cat was persistent in asking me for her need, we need to be persistent in asking the Lord for our needs. I can’t explain the reason why sometimes He answers right away and other times He waits. He is sovereign and knows what is best. He never sleeps so He does not need the first cup of coffee. He simply knows what is best. And we’re to keep praying.

Jesus shared a parable in Luke 18 “to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” A persistent widow kept asking an unjust judge for justice against her adversary. Then Jesus said in Luke 18:6-8, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"

Will He find people praying? If an unjust judge will grant justice to a persistent widow, why would we not believe that God, the Father, the Just Judge see to it that we’re taken care of? HE will!

Like my cat petitioned on behalf of herself and her “roommates,” I’m petitioning our Father for our country, our families, our marriages, our health, and our finances. We have an adversary that roams around like a lion seeking someone to devour, so let’s be sober and vigilant (1 Peter 5:8). Let’s be persistent in prayer—not giving up.

Engrafted by His Grace--

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Relationship Rescue & Restoration

Now that I'm a Certified Personality Trainer, I'm writing a column once a month at Take Root and Write. Here's a sample:

When my husband, Eldon and I married over twenty years ago, we promised each other that the honeymoon would never end. We wanted to always be googly-eyed and kooky with each other. However, real life happened and we went to work to support our household. Then our first child was born, and that changed everything.

What used to be a fun and exciting life, turned into work (for me anyhow). Then later baby number two came along. More work. My husband and I did not see eye to eye on how things in our home should be handled.

Off and on for twenty years, we had our highs and lows. We sought out counseling from pastors (and we so exhausted a few of them that they finally retired). Then we tried licensed professional counselors. We applied the techniques we learned from these experiences, but none of the advice ever really stuck.

But, then I was introduced to The Personalities before a CLASS (Christian Leaders Authors and Speakers Services) speaking seminar. When I heard the CD's and took the personality profile, I wanted my family to take it also. When we learned about each others personalities, we were all amazed at how accurate the profile assessments were and how much better we started to understand each other.

To read the full column, jump over to Purely Personalities on Take Root and Write where Shona Neff and I share this bi-monthly column.

If you or your organization would like more information and/or training on The Personalities, please email me at shonda (at) engraftedbygrace (dot) com. I'm available for small groups, seminars and conferences.

Engrafted by His Grace--

Monday, July 27, 2009

Exceptional Drought

. . .till the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the desert becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field seems like a forest. ~~Isaiah 32:15 NIV

Hot and dry. That's what it is in south Texas. Those of us who live here are in extreme and exceptional drought conditions. Only a few more days and records will be set for the most number of days in a row for triple digit heat. This type of weather makes us long for rain.

Spiritually we can experience dry spells. However, the Lord, will pour out his Spirit upon us causing us to be fertile soil in a dry land. We may live in drought conditions, but our walk with the Lord does not have to reflect it.

We can live in such relationship with our Savior that the Holy Spirit keeps us and guides us and we live a life pleasing to our Lord. He's our source of nourishment. He's the only way we'll survive when the heat comes on us.

Tap into the power of the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ our Lord as He will make our desert a fertile field.

To read more about how to Stay Fertile in a Barren Land, read my Totally Transplanted Column this for this week at Take Root and Write.

Engrafted by His Grace--