Friday, February 27, 2009

Say What?

One evening while holding our cat, Midnight, Chase stated, "Wow, she's in vibrate mode."
Later that evening while trying to explain a situation in detail to my husband, he looked at our son holding the cat in vibrate mode and said, "She hasn't used up her rollover words yet."

Say what?

Engrafted by His Grace--

Monday, February 23, 2009

What to Pray

"This, then, is how you should pray: " 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name..” ~~Matthew 6:9 NIV

Each morning, I prayed giving the Lord my to-do list. I asked the Lord to change my husband, to change my children, to take care of situations. I started losing reverence for the Lord. He is holy. I had set up rules and regulations in my own life that the Lord does not abide by.

I’m to be molded into the image of Christ, not attempt to mold the Lord into me. It won’t work as it only leads to frustration. Trust me, I’ve been frustrated. Living in frustration is not living a life in the Spirit of the Lord.

Jesus taught us how to pray. The first words out of my mouth should be reverence for our Father in heaven. His name is sacred and should be treated as so. We’re to enter into relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ.

I realized that I’ve been spending more time asking the Lord to do more for me than I ask Him what I can do for Him. John F. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” So what about applying that principle to the body of Christ? Therefore, starting today, I’m asking the Lord, “What can I do for You today? How can I serve You better?”

Lord, You are holy and worthy to be praised. Lord, hallowed by Your name. Lord, I seek forgiveness for selfishness and self-centeredness in my life. I’ve been focused on myself and not about You and Your kingdom. Lord, I ask You today, what can I do for You? What can I do in service for the Kingdom of God today? Lord, I ask You to guide my steps and establish the work of my hands. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Engrafted by His Grace--

Friday, February 20, 2009

Patience Paid Off

We treat our heeler dogs like family. Okay, they’re spoiled. Yes we feed them table scraps. One evening after our family meal of BBQ chicken wings, my beloved went outside to share the bones. Now when my husband does this, he spreads them out or takes turns with the dogs. The alpha male, Banjo becomes very greedy at these times and doesn’t want to share with Zoe. Therefore, Zoe usually just sits and waits her turn knowing she’ll receive food from “daddy.”

Well, my husband threw some pieces out into the yard for Banjo to go fetch. Eldon then set the bowl down for Zoe to enjoy. Banjo realized he’d been had, so he went over to Zoe and picked up the bowl in his mouth. He proceeded to carry off the bowl toward the tree. All the way to the tree, the bones fell out leaving a trail. When Banjo arrived next to the tree, he set the bowl down to enjoy his booty. But then he discovered that all the bones were gone. In the meantime, Zoe started behind him cleaning up his mess.

Patience paid off.

Engrafted by His Grace--

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Word Study Wednesday -- Perseverance

… we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. ~Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)

Paul listed perseverance as the first trait produced from sufferings.

According to, perseverance means “steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., esp. in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.”

The Greek word used for perseverance is hupomone, which most often translates as patience. To persevere is to have patience under trials.

Often times when I’m facing a situation, I want it resolved instantly. But in the midst of those trials is when I receive the training I need to develop in my walk with Christ. Training comes in steady, controlled increments.

Let’s seek the Lord in all situations allowing Him to develop in us the perseverance (a.k.a. patience) we need to be shaped and molded more each day in His image. Let’s not ever give up or quit in this process. Hang onto Christ and we’ll persevere.

Engrafted by His Grace--

Monday, February 16, 2009

More Than a Wish

Some days I wish I could wake up made up, ready for my day like the women on television. I don’t like taking the time each morning to shower, and using all the chemicals on the face and hair to look presentable. I think it takes up too much time to go through the process. On the other hand, I do not want to go out without makeup and my hair done. I wish for some way to avoid the process it takes to get the end result.

I wish I did not say the wrong thing when someone upsets me. I wish I could be a picture perfect Christian woman like I see in the ads of magazines. I wish I didn’t envy the other woman wearing a dress I wish I could wear because the color or the style is not right for my type of body. I wish I didn’t brag about my latest accomplishment. I wish I made the right choice, but now I’m living with the consequences.

A baby does not just start walking. He goes through the process of scooting, crawling, standing, and then taking a few steps. He did not start talking with complete sentences. He babbled sounds, made syllables, formed words, and finally said a complete sentence.

Reality check—wishes require actions to come true. In order to be presentable I must spend the half hour to hour of time to achieve the end result. Our character development as believers in Christ necessitates a process. It is impossible to wish we had character. The process usually comes through a series of testing and passing of time.

Testing shows up in a variety of forms, some more severe than others. Some face serious illness, others face having to wait longer than expected at the traffic light. However our trials show up in our lives, it develops our character. We choose how it shapes us. We can be better or bitter. Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans that:

… we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. ~Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)

Our trials, or sufferings, produce perseverance, character and hope. The hope we have in Christ our Lord will never fail us. We have the deposit of the Holy Spirit who empowers us to go through the process. Henry D. Thoreau said, “You cannot dream yourself into a character: you must hammer and forge yourself into one.” So by the power of the Holy Spirit, let us persevere by hammering and forging ourselves, and enduring the process it takes to reach the end result.

Engrafted by His Grace--

Friday, February 13, 2009

Church Stimulus Plan

Used by permission.

Engrafted by His Grace--

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Strong Conviction

Have you ever felt a strong conviction to accomplish a certain goal? Last year I had such a conviction for my son’s high school graduation party. I envisioned playing a DVD slide show. I had chosen the songs and the pictures from all his growing years. I knew exactly how I wanted it to turn out. Yet, problem after problem kept popping up. As soon as I resolved one issue, another one came. Well meaning family members told me it would be okay. We didn’t have to have the presentation. I tried to set it aside, but it kept gnawing at me. The conviction to finish what I started was stronger than the opposition.

Nehemiah, who lived in exile, received a report from Jerusalem that the exiles who survived were in trouble. The wall was broken down and the gates destroyed by fire. This news grieved Nehemiah. He prayed earnestly to the Lord with weeping, mourning and fasting. His prayer is recorded in Nehemiah 1.

The last sentence of the prayer reads:

“O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man." ~~Nehemiah 1:11 ESV

After repenting for the sins of his forefathers and his sins, Nehemiah reminded the Lord of His covenant with His people. Then Nehemiah boldly asked the Lord to hear his prayer, give him success and grant him mercy. Nehemiah felt the call from God to do something about the broken wall. Nehemiah knew that success only comes from God. So he asked for it.

Afterwards, in the next chapter, the king grants Nehemiah’s request to return to Jerusalem to repair the wall, gives him the necessary letters and financing. Nehemiah busied himself with the work the Lord sent him to do.

But before the work was completed, the enemy tried to distract Nehemiah. (Find this in Nehemiah 6.) However, his conviction was so strong; Nehemiah maintained his focus and would not leave the work unfinished. He submitted himself to the Lord, resisted the devil and he completed the task of rebuilding the wall.

Success comes from the Lord through a strong conviction to accomplish the task. Some tasks are short term, like the slide show presentation for my son’s graduation. I persevered as the Lord granted me favor with technical support for the software I used. The presentation was completed only hours before the graduation party. I achieved success in the presentation by the grace of God.

Other projects take more time to complete. I know of two areas at this in my life where I must submit myself to the Lord and the strong conviction He placed on my heart in order to complete these long-term projects. The first of the two projects is to chose a healthy lifestyle and live it out day by day. The second project is writing a book and/or Bible study. I cannot escape it for it is not complete. The enemy has distracted me. I’ve delayed and procrastinated. But the strong conviction to complete it by the grace of God is stronger. I’m moving forward toward the success I believe the Lord has for me.

Please share if you have a strong conviction from the Lord that you must finish? Let’s pray with fervor and conviction that what the Lord calls us to accomplish, no matter what distractions the enemy brings, by His grace we will achieve success for God's glory.

Engrafted by His Grace--

Friday, February 6, 2009

What Not to Wear

Last Sunday morning as I rushed to get ready for church, I sprinkled some powder to stay fresh then put on my black, poly-rayon blend slacks with a jacket and rushed out the door. My 11 year old time keeper taunting my habitual tardiness proclaimed, "It's a miracle, we're leaving the house five minutes after class started." I attempt to leave at 9:28 which is two minutes before class starts for we only live two blocks from church. But I always seem to be behind.

I parked. My son headed for his class, and off I walked proudly as I thought I'll still make it in time for praise reports. After class, I spoke to people in the hall before service. Then during the service, I made my way all about the sanctuary greeting many people hugging necks, grinning ear to ear during the meet and greet portion of worship. I took my seat, never noticing a white puff of glory that must have shown about me.

Upon conclusion of the service, I spoke with many people being my friendly, chatty self. My son and I returned home as usual. But as I exchanged my Sunday morning attire for my comfy Sunday afternoon threads I became horrified at what I saw--a big white circle of powder on the seat of my black pants!

Grant it, everyone was so polite to me, but I wonder how many snickers I got off that one? Anyhow, I learned what not to wear--white powder with black pants.

Engrafted by His Grace--

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wednesday Word Study -- Cleanse

Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word. ~~Ephesians 5:25b-26 NIV

Focusing on cleanse or cleansing as stated in the New International Version means “to make clean, to purge, to purify” according to the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.

I’m taking a Bible study at my church called Restore My Heart by Denise Glenn. This study compares the traditional Jewish wedding to bride of Christ. Those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior are considered to be His bride. The more I understand the Hebrew culture, the more the Word of God comes alive. The symbolisms used from Hebrew culture lined up with scripture paints a beautiful portrait of what is to come. Something we can only imagine until the day Christ returns for His glorious church. While we’re waiting for Him, there is work to do.

For a Jewish bride to prepare for her wedding day, she enters a mikvah or a special bath. According to Glenn, it is a “ritual bath, ritual immersion in ‘living’ water, i.e. running water as opposed to stagnate water. Fundamentally, mikvah is not about ‘uncleanness’ but about human encounters with the power of the holy.”

The first step in this process is the bath where the bride will soak for a time. Then after bathing, the woman stands and cleans herself in a shower scrubbing every part of her body thoroughly. Finally after being thoroughly cleaned, the bride enters the mikvah, which is always in running water or “living water.” The immersion in living water symbolizes an immersion into life and not death. Most synagogues have small pools with moving water. However, a river is the most natural source of running water.

In the mikvah, the bride enters into the water, relaxes her body, and then immerses herself completely in the position of a fetus. Next she rises up from the water and recites a blessing. She repeats this process several times. This symbolizes the leaving of the old life behind and entering into a new life as a wife.

That’s the illustration I see now when I read the above scripture. Christ cleanses us thoroughly, deep cleaned and scrubbed down from the inside out. Then He washes us. The meaning for washing is “to take a bath like a baptism.” An immersion of the whole person, not just parts of the body.

Glenn wrote, “The baptism that Christ offers me is purification by complete immersion in His life and in His word.”

As we’re here waiting for His return, we experience the spiritual mikvah. We are being cleansed and washed in His Word anticipating His return for a glorious bride.

Engrafted by His Grace--

Source for the above info: Restore My Heart by Denise Glenn.

Monday, February 2, 2009


The first month of the year bounced out quickly. The good news for me--I made it!

Let me explain. I felt a strong, urgent prompting from the Lord to choose a new dietary lifestyle this year. Not a fad diet, but a permanent lifestyle change. The Lord has been dealing with me on this issue for many, many years. I’ll start out obedient, but relapse. So here I start again this year with a resolve in my heart like Daniel’s resolve not to eat the king’s delicacies.

I started easing into my new lifestyle choices after Christmas. One of the first choices I made was to cut out obvious sugar. Then at the beginning of January, I eliminated all sugars from my life. I’m 32 days sugar-free. What I learned to eat and enjoy are fresh lean meats, fresh and/or frozen fruits and vegetables. Simple.

As I started this process, blogging and twitter friends, Duong Sheahan and Noelle Mena invited me to participate in a body cleanse with products developed by Jordan Rubin. I agreed. I ordered the products and his latest book, Perfect Weight America. When I started the cleansing and reading Rubin’s book it confirmed this was the direction the Lord wanted me to take.

Due to a healthy dietary change, toxins were purged from my body. My skin changed as pimples showed up. I felt drowsy and irritable. But I must confess; now I feel so much better. I no longer desire sodas, candy, chips or the previous “regular” foods I was accustomed to consuming. My skin cleared up. I have more energy than before. I have more focus and clarity of thought.

I believe the Lord desires for me, and all of us, to experience good health by choosing to eat healthy foods. Toxins had to be purged from my body before I felt better. Toxins enter into our bodies through a myriad of means, but must be cleansed from our bodies on regular intervals.

Like toxins, sin enters our lives regularly. We must take time with the Lord to purge sin from our lives.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. ~~Ephesians 5:27-27 NIV

The word cleansing is deep scrubbing, not just a washing of the hands. The kind of scrub we give our toddler after he rolled around in a mud puddle. Inside each ear, behind each ear, between each toe, finger, everywhere scrubbed thoroughly in the bath. I can recall how my son screamed. I remember his declarations of torture during this type of bath. But oh how he smelled so clean; looked so clean and how much more I enjoyed holding him afterwards.

As a child of God, we’re to be cleansed by the washing of water through the word. The Word of God changes our lives as we get a good scrub down. Usually what I go through physically, I also go through spiritually. Last week I got a good spiritual scrub down. I screamed, bawled and cried like a toddler. I didn’t want to go through the process, but now that I have, I feel better as sin has been removed from my life. I smell better and I’m behaving better.

I thank my Father that He loves me and each of us enough that He won’t leave mud caked on us from the mud puddle allowing toxins to soak into our lives. But He takes us, bathes us and cleanses us in the Living Water, Christ our Lord. I’m revigorated in my body, soul and spirit.

What about you; have you had a good cleansing lately?

Engrafted by His Grace--