Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Homeschooling - Heart of the Matter Online

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I just love that homeschooling can be something the entire family can experience together.

familystream

Just as not all people are gifted in all things, so perhaps they should not teach all things.

In our home, I teach from a curriculum just because it helps me stay focused and accountable. I adore the privilege I have to teach my children. I teach them best the things I like the best. All individuals are limited in certain ways and that is why we absolutely need a whole family approach. Read more.

Halloween

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I love the fall. It is probably my favorite season. Yet there is one part of the season I dread. That is Halloween. Though I believe most participate in innocent fun, there is still a connection that this day has with evil. It is a very real evil that many of us fail to remember exists.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. ~Ephesians 6:12

My former pastor has written a great post on Halloween. What real evil is happening out there close to home. It is good info and a good read. Check it out here.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

God Confides in Me?

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Then the LORD said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?
~Genesis 18:17

Ponder that question? God came from Heaven with two other men to personally visit Abraham.
The purpose of this visit in the earlier verses was so that they could deliver the news that Abraham and Sarah were to have the child God promised this time next year.

What a personal God we serve! First He didn't have to deliver the news that way. He already told Abraham about 25 years ago when he made a covenant with him. Of course along the way and with too much waiting Sarah told Abraham to take her maidservant and have a child through her. That was not God's plan. They tried to rush it.

I like how normal Sarah and Abraham were. Don't we after all try to rush God as well. He has given us many promises and sometimes we think if we just help Him a bit then it will come to pass in our time frame. God is God. He doesn't need our help or us at all to accomplish anything. Yet the high honor is the He chooses to.

He delights in allowing us to partner with Him in His work. He delights in the personal relationship where He personally shares things with us. He delights in this. He created us for Himself. We are His children and what good-willed Father would not want to enjoy relationship their children?

Verse 17 above is God saying that He wanted to share His work with Abraham. He wanted to tell him what He was up to in the world. I am so baffled by that. God wants to share the things He is up to with us. Here is another verse I like regarding this then I want to get back to the amazing text on intercession.


The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.
~Psalm 25:14

The word for confides in the Hebrew text connotes the term in a way that a person would speak to a friend. I LOVE that. God as our Friend confides in those who fear Him. I believe Abraham had a great healthy fear of God. Was Abraham perfect? By no means. God is looking to people whose hearts are inclined toward Him. Abraham was one of those. He also feared God. The word for fear is simply the fact that we are so in awe of God. He could swish up like a bug but instead He chooses to make us His friend. It doesn't get anymore amazing than that. The God who places each star in place and tells the ocean where to stop. The God of all Creation. The God who raised Jesus from the dead wants to confine in us. He wants to be our Friend. Now that is something to really rejoice about.

Here is some more of the reason that God chose to share with Abraham.

18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him."
~Genesis 18:18-19

God knows the plans He has for us. It was through Abraham (and Jesus of course) that we became a part of this line of people. Galatians 3:29 says, "If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." So because of this he is part of our heritage and the blessings that come with it are also ours in a spiritual sense.

Then God tells Abraham the problem.

Then the LORD said, "The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know." ~Genesis 18:20-21

Why would God tell Abraham something so hard to hear? Why would He chose to share this with Abraham? Abraham wasn't the first man God shared hard things like this with. Psalm 106:23 tells us where Moses also plead before God about the people. So we see Abraham respond in a similar way.

Then Abraham approached him and said: "Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?"

The LORD said, "If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake."
~Genesis 18:23-26

Abraham is amazing to me. He knew God's heart. He knew He could approach God and ask Him questions about His ways. Abraham could not understand God's ways much like us. God's ways are God's ways, our minds are not like His to understand. Plus we do not see the entire picture that God does. But God loves our respectful questions. It is how we get to know Him better. To know His true heart. What bold question Abraham asked as well, "Will not the Judge of the earth do right?" Wow. That is a bold question. But I know he asked it in respect because he did not understand God's way.

I love God's response to Abraham. He did not have to change anything but for the sake of his intercession God does. Think on that for a second. Because Abraham stood in the gap for the city, God ceased to destroy it so quickly. God listened to Abraham and He did not have to. Yet He delighted in Abraham and His heart.

The rest of the passage Abraham continues to ask God about a smaller number of people by fives all the way until he gets to only 10 being left. God agrees in each request to not destroy it. When you read those remaining passages you get an even better glimpse of Abraham's heart and great fear of the Lord. At each new question he says, "though I am nothing but dust and ashes, what if" (v.27), and "may the Lord not be angry" (vv.30,32).

The last number they come to is if there are 10 righteous people left in the city it will not be destroyed. God is so good and merciful. We must understand thought that His ways are bigger than our ways. As it goes, the city was destroyed so there had to be less than 10 righteous there. I love though how God allowed Abraham to speak with Him and intercede for the people. It is an amazing privilege.

What people has God allowed you the privilege to lift before His throne?

Do you ever sense God sharing something with you that you know you need to bring before His throne? Ever been woken up in the middle of the night with someone on your mind? Pay attention to these cues, God may want to share something with you so you can stand in the gap in prayer for the person.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Redefining Beautiful - Jenna Lucado - Book Review

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Seeing how I love to work with youth, I was thrilled at the chance of reviewing Jenna Lucado's book, Redefining Beautiful. I have received a free copy of the book from the publisher for an honest review.

The book is about how God defines beauty. Our world, peers, and many other things influence our opinion on what beauty should look like but if you are a follower of Christ that definition of beauty is different.

Jenna does a great job in defining this God-defined beauty in several relevant life areas. As a bonus there are also great little snippets in the book from her dad, Max Lucado.

I think this is a great read or Bible study for young girls to do alone or with a group. Jenna does give you some questions to ponder all throughout the book as well that would be great for personal study and small group discussion.

To purchase a copy from the publisher go here.
To purchase a copy from Amazon go here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Walk It Out

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As Christians we have the power of Christ living in us. His Spirit full of all the same power that God used to raise Christ from the dead lives in our bodies. That overwhelms me. God's goodness in that is just too much for me to wrap my brain around. It is too much. Too amazing. But I accept it.

With the Spirit of God living in us we need to learn to walk in Him. That means completely surrendering our wants, wills, and desires to Him. Dying completely to ourselves and living completely for Him.

The fruit of the Spirit consists of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. All that is inside of us through the Spirit of the living God within us. It is what we should be able to walk out daily submitted to Him.

Now walking this thing out in surrender is not so hard when things are going well. Sure we can easily walk it out when things go our way. However, how do you walk in the Spirit when you are in excruciating pain? Isn't it justifiable to be grumpy, mean, and hateful? Maybe impatient or demanding? Wouldn't it be fair to act that way when we feel so bad?

The answer to all of those questions is no. If we truly desire to walk in the Spirit then we need to let God teach us to walk this thing out in the difficult times. That is where true maturity is formed. That is how we become mature and complete in Him. That is how He shines brightly through us most. It is easy to walk these things out when life is good. When things are bad however it is not so easy.

This is where I am right now. God is teaching me how to surrender all my pain to Him. He is teaching me a deeper level of walking this life out in His Spirit completely surrendered to Him. After all that is what I desire. That is what I want. Too look more and more like Him day by day.

I wish I could tell you that I am getting a perfect score in this school of walking in the Spirit. I am not! I lose it with the kids, lacking patience. I grumble because I am tired of feeling horrible all the time. I doubt God's faithfulness because He won't just give this girl a break? I lose self-control because I am so angry and frustrated with feeling like I cannot do anything anymore.

I fail often but that is how we best learn. We fall down but we get back up again with God's help. He sharpens us and we learn and grow each time. So if you find yourself in some sort of trial, walk it out in the Spirit. It brings the most honor to God that way. Let Him teach you how to walk it out and do not beat yourself up when you fail at it. His grace is amazing and in this classroom of life we are becoming more and more like Him through these lessons.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Letter to Satan - Inspired by Believing God

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Satan,
I must inform you that you are no longer welcome on my promise land. You had taken back possession of it for way to long now. It is my fault, I didn't guard it well enough and let you sneak in bit by bit.

Yes, you did scheme well, I got wrapped up in those lies and my mind ran away with those false things you spoke to me. Old companions came back. Bitterness, doubt, mediocrity, depression, and hate. They became my companions again. I let them live on my land. Your words are very convincing. This mind believed your lies and ran with them even further than I thought they would.

It is not right how you do not fight fair. But I have a word for you that is truth. You are a defeated foe. God has already beat you. I am more than a conquerer and overcomer because of who my Father is. I am building this house on the Rock of Him.

There will be no more threats, lies or deception allowed here. This is a good land where the Lord is building the house. He will never leave me or forsake me. He fights for me. He has allowed sifting but though you accused me, He continually is interceding for me.

He rejoices over me and cheers for me. For I belong to Him alone. He is my Savior. He has me in His hand. No one can snatch me out of that mighty and powerful hand.

So as God instructs, you gotta go. This ain't your ground and you don't belong here anymore. This is holy ground and we will not entertain you here any longer. Resist the devil and he will flee from you--you have been resisted, so goodbye.

Stay off this land it is holy ground. This is where I dwell richly in my Father's love. Where you tried to steal kill and destroy. God made this girl rich, alive, and stronger. This is abundant land and for the abundant life. STAY OFF MY LAND.

God's Girl.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Healing and Suffering

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In the business of healing there is no prescribed method. God is not our genie God who grants us our three wishes and poof they happen. God is our Healer. He is the one who heals us. Do not get me wrong, I do believe that. I do believe in miracles. Like I said in my last post, He has worked so many in my life I cannot even keep count any longer. I just hope that I have journaled them so I do not become a spoiled brat complaining over everything that comes my way that I do not like.

First, I do believe we are to ask God for anything. Nothing is too small or too big.

You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.~James 2b-3.

Now, the principal of this verse still applies to prayer though the situation they are dealing with is a big different in the text. However, I will never be found to not have something because I failed to ask. I am going to ask God for everything.

Four years ago God did heal me of these issues. He took them completely away. Not because I deserved it. Not because I have earned it. Simply because of His great grace. God does what He wants. God has His ways all to work out for His glory. Who are we to question Him?

All I know is that I want to know Him--to really know Him. If this is the case then I must also take into account in sharing in His life. This verse explains it well.

"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death" ~Philippians 3:10

I have seen and experienced that resurrection power in my body. I have witnessed many resurrection miracles in my life alone. I love the resurrection part. In fact that same resurrection power lives within us if we are His (Ephesians 1:19-20). We have that amazing power in us! In these decaying jars of clay. Is that not amazing?!

Yet, to truly know Him not only do we have the privilege of of participating and receiving His power we also get to share in the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming like Him in death. Oh now this is the part we do not like. We don't desire to suffer. But to really know Him is to share in His sufferings. How can we truly know our Savior if all we do is tap into His power and sufferings as He allows us to.

It is in sharing in the suffering where we truly are changed. We are transformed more into His image. We need to take hold of Him in this. We need to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, follow Him (Luke 9:23). This denying ourselves business is a death. It is a death to ourselves that allows us the privilege of becoming more like Him.

What are you suffering with today? Where are you participating in the sufferings of Christ? Take heart you are becoming more like Him and it is temporary. God allows all things in His timing. These things do not last forever.

16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. ~2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Exposed

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Today I was exposed. I was exposed of something I despise. My weakness. It is not like I try to hide it so much, I am open about it if I am asked about it. I just like to live like it really does not exist. Like it is not really there.

If we are all honest with ourselves I suppose many of us live that way. There is a thing in our lives that we do not want to be known for. Something we are not proud of. That thing that we do not want to be labeled.

Well, mine is and forever will be physical weakness. My body is weird and I could be on mystery diagnosis lots of episodes. No, I am not a hypochondriac. It is just part of how God made me. That is unless the Lord decides to do something otherwise with it, which I pray for everyday. Yet so far His answer has been no. I am fearfully and wonderfully made regardless.

We are at a new place now with new people. It is very hard for me to make friends because I am not a person who finds common conversation easy. I am the one who would rather sit quietly and listen to God and pray for each person in my eye sight. I am very fine with that except God is showing me that we are made for community. I need to make new friends. And this is struggle for me.

Talk to me about what God is doing in your life or ask me what He is doing in mine. Talk to me about the deeper issues of life and I am good. Yet, the surface stuff is what I am horrible at. It makes me completely awkward in making new friendships and makes me look a little snobby. Not only is this hard enough but then the thing I despise in my life shows up already, I do not want to be labeled it. I am not that. I am a child of the Most High God and a child of the light.

So I am exposing my ongoing struggle to the light. I struggle most daily with my health in someway or another. Some problems doctors figure out and some they do not. I have seen so many miracles in my body that I cannot even count them any longer. I know very personally that God is the God who Heals. He has a dozen or more times to me alone. Yet, these mysteries of weakness and weirdness persist. There is nothing that anyone can do about it but God Himself. So, far He chooses not to take it away completely.

As much pain it causes me and my family, we still chose to trust Him. He has a purpose. He is my King and Lord. It is Him I follow. I only pray it keeps me completely dependant on Him and makes me look more and more like Him as my true heart is exposed.

Today was a day of many tears. My stupid pride is there wanting to portray me as someone normal. I am not that. I never will be. Please do not judge me either if you are one who thinks that I just don't have enough faith or too much sin in my life for God to do anything. That is not how God works. I cannot name and claim anything. God is not my genie He is my LORD and Master. He does and allows what is best for me. I am not arrogant enough to decide what is best for me that is His job. Believe me I have more faith than I ever thought I would to even survive this far. As far as sin goes, I have looked under every rock and crevice. Everything exposed has been confessed. God has covered me with His blood therefore I am clean of all things past, present, and future.

I am just a girl at the mercy of a loving God. If my life best suites His glory in this way then so be it. I have never had nor ever will be loved the way I am with Him. I suppose I would not know some of that if it wasn't for the fire we have had to walk through together hand in hand quite often. And having been through stuff we have grown in love so deep together. His has always been there but mine is growing to match what He has for me until I get to be with Him forever in our Home.

So if you find yourself in my boat. Please be encouraged. These trials are temporary. There is a great glory to come. And it is great evidence of the great love that God has for you. He will never leave you or forsake you my friend, no matter what. Nothing can snatch you out of His loving hand-NOTHING.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Thorn

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Sometimes God allows things to come into our life that are beyond our understanding. Sometimes these things are things that we would not chose. These things though serve a greater purpose. They are allowed to bring us closer to Him.

"Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say.To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surprisingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." ~2 Corinthians 6-9

Paul's words say it all. I believe this can apply to us all who desire to grow more like Jesus. It is easy to become conceited when you become closer to Christ. When He reveals things to you it is a reason our flesh can take and become puffed up. Though glory ALWAYS should go to God in all things, yet as human it is easy to accept it for ourselves.

God admonishes us to be thankful in all things. In this present trial I am going to thank and praise Him. What is your present thorn? How are you responding to it? Let us encourage one another through these things. God is good. I rejoice that His great power rests on me not because of me but because of Him.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Marriage Monday - Extreme Makeover Edition

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1st Monday Every Month at Chrysalis


Want this button?


This edition is called How God Renewed Our Marriage Against All Odds.
Our example is such a perfect example for this. We were totally messed up people when we got together. Really we still are yet the difference is that we both have Christ not only as our personal Savior but our first and foremost priority in life. That is what makes us work.

We were like the broken house you often see on Extreme Home Makeover. Barely standing. Ready to fall at any moment. Then the Renovator came in and everything changed and was made new and clean.

When we met, I was a Christian (though you could not tell by my lifestyle) and my soon to be husband was not. The things we did left me with much guilt while he was fine. I had the Holy Spirit living in me and I was grieving Him deeply.

Because of our codependency we stayed together through all the hardships that we went through. Since neither of us was going anywhere else we decided to get married. Unequally yoked we were which is never suppose to work or ever God's plan.

Yet sometimes in God's amazing grace He can and does take these messed up, disobedient people (even though they run in a direction against His will) and pick them back up and turn them around. He can make them beautiful and make them into the thing He always meant for them to be. He can make them completely beautiful. That is what He did with us.

Over the 15 years we have been married we have been through hell and back. We have come from unhealthy in relationship to healthy. From selfish perspective to Godly perspective. It is a miracle that we stand where we do today. Whole, healed, and full of God's grace.

I can just look at where we have been and stand in awe of God's grace. He didn't have to save us or our marriage but He did. He did it while we were still sinners. There was nothing good in us yet He did it anyway. He saw what could be. He did it because of love.

See what others are saying here.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Get Registered for the Nurturing Creativity Conferencee

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THIS CONFERENCE HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL JAN. 25th 2010.




Nurturing Creativity

A Woman Inspired - Nurturing CreativitySpices and Herbs
October 5-9 2009

Have you been in touch with your inner creative diva? Do you want to learn to express yourself through paint mediums, culinary masterpieces, vibrant rooms or maybe through your own life as the canvas? Well, you can get inspired here.

Whether you feel stuck in a rut or just don’t know where to begin we can help. I’m confident that many of you have a pile of unfinished projects or maybe put off doing things simply because you feel you don’t have the time. We have all been there and can definitely relate. We would like you help get some momentum going so that you can begin to create and design no matter what your canvas preference is.

Learn how to:

  • develop your God given talents and gifts
  • push past creative blocks
  • further your education in the area of your choice (at no cost)
  • be more productive
  • be more focused
  • let your light shine!

Speakers include:

Tricia Goyer, author of Life Interrupted
Larissa Lam of Beautiful Faith, On the Way Up, and Larissa Lam.com
Karla Porter, of Modern Media Mom
Tania Willis, Pinecone Press scrapbook author
Rhoda, of Southern Hospitality
Carolyn J. Carleton, of Unlimited Potential International
Leslie Valeska, of Simple Journey Ministries
Kathryn Bonner, author of Confessions of a Pastor’s Wife
Kathryn Lang, of Successful Freelance Writer
Jill Novak, owner of Remembrance Press
Kris Rhoades, of The Well Ministries
Angela Parsley, of Refresh My Soul Ministries

 
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