Tag Archives: ministry

Not Forsaking the Assembly

I feel like it’s been forever since my last post.  It also feels like forever since I’ve had a moment to myself.

November came and went, the following is an abbreviated version of last months happenings: First came my daughter’s annual costume (birthday) party, then prepping my hubbie for his 2 1/2 week trip out of the country,  next it was Thanksgiving, then remotely planning my brothers 30th birthday party and today I said goodbye to my last house guest.

Towards the end of this week, I began clamoring for my “closet” time.  I felt like I should have spent more time alone with God,  somehow I wanted to feel guilty for all the time I spent  with others, hosting, laughing, cleaning, dancing, playing games, planning, cooking, staying up late and sleeping in.  Although I didn’t feel wrong in my heart, my mind wanted to hold me captive.

This past week was the most fun, my girlfriend that I grew up with came to stay with me.  She usually comes for a week when my husband is out of town and it’s such a blessing because we have such a great time and it takes my mind off the fact that my best friend is 5,048.2 miles away.

As soon as she left, I spend a few moments alone in the quiet wondering if I had done enough.  I thought, Gosh we had so much fun but was God able to use me?  Usually when she comes we have these 4 hour deep, tear jerking,  life changing conversations and we didn’t have that this time.  Had I failed my friend?  Especially at a time where she’s going through a difficult transition?  Should I have skipped the nightly dance routines in my living room or the $57 sushi “snack” for two that we mistakenly ordered from a menu with no prices?

Oh my goodness, I’ve got to call her now and say something profound!

In the midst of my thoughts I caught a vision of God chuckling at me, but I paid no attention to it and continued to ask Him to give me the right words to say to my friend.  I spent some time reading the Word and then some time in prayer.  Afterwards, I called my friend as she was driving back home.  My time alone with the Lord gave me nothing “profound” to say, so when she answered the phone I began with an apology.  “Hey sis, I’m sorry that I didn’t have much to share with you this week, I asked the Lord to give me the words of encouragement and wisdom to share with you on your journey home, but I got nothing.”

The opposite side of the phone produced a hearty chuckle, one that I’m sure was my friend and God in unison.  She said what are you talking about? I was so encouraged by “this” and “that”…….she began reflecting on the small things I said in passing, the ways that I served her, the joy that she experienced through our silly adventures.  God had given her so much through us just spending time together.  My heart rejoiced.  We talked a little longer and I shared what her presence had done for me as well.

We hung up the phone,  THEN God decides he wants to speak to me (classic God timing)

He said, relationships are very important.  You must never forget that you have an amazing relationship with Me, so you can have an amazing relationship with others.  

He was absolutely right.  Ummm, I guess I didn’t need to say that.  But He showed me, to everything there is a season.  Sometimes we may be have tons of uninterrupted alone time with the Lord and other times, it is time for us to take what we’ve gained from our private time with Him and let it ooze out onto everyone else.

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,  not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Be Blessed.

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Stay Connected

Our responsibility as believers is to Abide (to stay or remain) in Christ and allow His word to Abide in us.  I’m so glad Jesus used illustrations and parables when he taught because I tend to be a visual learner.  In John 15: 1-11 Jesus talks about how He is the vine and we are the branches.  “He who abides in Me and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” When speaking of trees, vines and branches, it only makes sense that when the branch is connected to the tree it will produce, thrive and grow.  When a branch is disconnected from a vine it will eventually shrivel up and die.

Makes perfect sense in Nature.

Makes perfect sense in Parable Land.

I’ll even go as far as to say that it makes sense when we think in terms of Eternity.

But how much sense does it make on a subtle level?

What sparked this post was a T-shirt a lady was wearing at the gym.  I was sitting down doing lat pull downs and I felt kinda BLAH, like I was just going through the motions.  I couldn’t quite figure out the feeling.  Soon after, a lady passed by me wearing a pink tattered racer back tee that said, Abide in Me on the front.

One of those moments where you stop and think, God are you trying to tell me something?

This was around 9:15 a.m., my entire day began to flash before my eyes.  It started at 5:00 a.m. with me pressing snooze 3 times and trying to get a last snuggle in with my husband before he and my oldest daughter set off for her 5th grade trip to Tybee Island.  I dropped them off at 6:00 a.m., came back home and got my other 2 children ready to meet the school bus @ 7:00 a.m. Last but not least I had to deal with wardrobe malfunctions from a 3 year old  who said her socks were too slouchy and her shirt was and yes I quote, “not her style”.  8:20 a.m. we are off to the gym and almost an hour later I’m sitting there thinking…..

I’ve been up for 4 hours and I feel….. disconnected.

Now I did pray with my daughter before she left and my prayer was honest and sincere, but I believe I stopped at Amen.

I am in no way suggesting that I should have prayed a longer prayer.   What I am suggesting is that sometimes we can pray, or worship or whatever we do to connect with God and when we’re done we get off our knees and get on to our day.  Subconsciously, we leave God and His Presence right there until we come back to that spot next time.

Abiding in Him is so much more of a heart position than it is a check list type action.

To me Abiding is when my thoughts are linked to His Words.  It’s when the constant noise in my head is shut off and I’m in the moment enjoying life.  It’s when I feel like I’m not alone. Abiding for me is when I go through my day and I’m sure that somehow everything will fall in line. It’s when I laugh at something that should have made me upset and when I feel beautiful without a single compliment.

Abiding in Him produces much fruit, not only in our lives but in the lives of those around us.  Read John 15.  Discover all over again how much we need to stay connected.

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No Escape

Psalm 139:7-16 is such a beautiful passage.  Today I’m marveling in the fact that I literally can not escape God.  He knew me before I knew myself and His plans for us are sure.  Be encouraged…

Where can I go from your Spirit?

Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

if I settle on the far side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me,

your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me

and the light become night around me,”

even the darkness will not be dark to you;

the night will shine like the day,

for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place.

When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me

were written in your book

before one of them came to be.

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Trick or Treat?

For most today is Halloween, at my house it’s hump day.  A regular boring Wednesday, no candy, no costumes, no compromises.

As a family we have chosen not to celebrate Halloween.  Fear, even in its most subtle forms will never be welcomed in our home.  And we’ve been through enough to know that the spirit realm is real and evil is not something to be played with.

My husband and I have 4 children 10 and under (My, that sounds better than the times I used to say 4 children 6 and under).  For the most part my children understand the choices we make and why we make them.  My oldest has always done a very good job of leading the younger children.  Tonight was a little different,  it started around 3:00 she asked, “are we doing anything fun tonight?”  I didn’t quite pick up on her question until I was making dinner and she came in and asked, “did you celebrate Halloween when you were a kid?” “was it fun?” Now, I was aware of what was on her heart.  I answered honestly, “Yes I celebrated Halloween as a child and yes it was fun.”

I went on to tell her the funny things I dressed up as, the time I went to a haunted house and almost peed my pants because I could smell the gas from the chainsaw.  I told her how my mom would drive us to the “rich” part of town so that we could rack up on the King-Sized Snickers.

I also told her about the time my girlfriend and I spent hours decorating sheets of paper with bible scriptures on them to pass out instead of candy.  Even my mom thought I was weird! I was 16 when I had my first conviction about Halloween. I don’t know what sparked it, but I was convinced that everyone who came to my door that night was going to leave believing in Jesus.  The next morning we woke up and saw, I’m sure what was 90% of our lovely scriptures thrown on the grass or lining the streets with rest of the candy wrapper litter.

My daughter is getting to the point where things have to be real to and for her.  I can’t say, “Halloween’s Bad” like I can to my 3 year old and that be the end of it.  She’s dealing with feeling left out, missing out and wanting to experience what the masses and even some of her close christian friends are experiencing.  I understand that and it was written all over her face.

After we talked she walked away and I could tell our talk had not satisfied her.  Sure enough a few minutes later I heard a soft whimpering in the stairway.

I found her and held her. I said I want you to have fun, it hurts my heart that you may not have the opportunity to do some of the things I did as a child, but I am responsible to God for you and this is how I believe God wants our family to live.  We are set apart from certain things.  I held her a little tighter but I could tell she was still not convinced, I let her go and told her to ask God to reveal His plan to her.  She wiped her eyes and agreed.

The night went on like normal, we ate dinner, laughed and talked like we always do.  At bed time my husband requires that the kids read a chapter of Proverbs and do sit ups and push ups.  I told you in yesterday’s post, Running the Race he was a fitness guru!

Right around 8:30 the kids all rushed downstairs eager to share with us what they learned.  My 6 year old summed it up like this, “if you go left you’re wrong, if you go right you’re wrong.  If you make a U- Turn you might be ok just as long as you stay straight!”  I wanted to laugh so hard because I was wondering how he came to that conclusion.  It was so cute but I dare not insult him with laughter because he was serious about this revelation.  Everyone had a turn to share, I finally asked, “Umm, where exactly were you guys reading from?”  My oldest daughter brought clarity to it all.  She read Proverbs 4:25-27 from her Student Bible:

25 Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
26 Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.

She went on to explain that she has look straight ahead and think about the path that her is own path. Not the path of anyone else.  She understands why we don’t celebrate Halloween and she said now she believes she knows what God wants her to do.

Thank you Lord! You are a better parent than I could ever be.  My daughter was content, and I could not have given her that if I tried. What real a”KING-sized” treat. I was touched by her words and understanding and I pray you are too.

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Running The Race

My Husband surprised me with a new pair of Tennis Shoes, yesterday.  SOOO Sweet. Now he’s a fitness guru, he’s Mr. Consistent.  I on the other hand am pretty fit overall but I go through my seasons.  For the last few months I’ve been going to the gym regularly without a problem.   But the next few months ahead will test my diligence….the colder temps, the holidays (yummy), and the kids home from school, lets see what other excuses can I think of? 🙂

What my husband didn’t know, is that by giving me the shoes, he also gave me a little boost.

My mouth said, “Aww, thank you honey.” But my mind was thinking, “Shucks, now I have to keep working out, I cant let these shoes go to waste.”  (Scratch: “Shoes too old” off the excuse list)

God knows sometimes we need a little push.  I’m grateful for the encouragement and the reminder that consistency is the key.

Check out Fringe Girl, her post on running this race really blessed me.  31 Days of Living by Faith, Day 31 – Running The Race.

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Be Magnified

I say these words,”Lord Be Magnified” all the time. In some ways it’s a habit, it’s what I’m used to hearing.  It’s kind of like saying, “Hi, how are you?” to a passing stranger and not awaiting the response.  Most of the time we’re  not asking how the other person is really doing, it’s just something we’ve tacked on to the end of Hi because Hi was too short.  The same is true of religious sayings.

What does it mean for God to be Magnified?  As I was thinking about this, the only image that came to mind was a magnifying glass.  In my mind God is already big so I was a little confused about what it meant to magnify God.

Ding!  Imagine me with a light bulb on top of my head.

I got it. I realized that God was big to me in theory, but when I looked closely at my life there were many things that I had allowed to become bigger than Him.

This morning my sleep became bigger than Him. It’s just starting to get cold here and I figured instead of getting up to pray, I would meet God under my covers.  We could get nice and cozy, I’d close my eyes and we could talk there.  I’m sure you know the rest of the story….I went back to sleep.  I missed out on my time with Him and had to rush into my day.

On Tuesday I might let a financial worry become bigger than Him, on Wednesday it might be an emotional one.  At some point there is something in our lives that wants to parade itself bigger than God.  We get fooled into thinking that other things are more deserving of our time and attention.

I understand now that, “Be Magnified” is not just an endearing term, it is a reminder to us.  God is already enormous, so those words don’t make Him any bigger.  Instead they challenge us to make Him larger in our own lives.

Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;  And let those who love Your salvation say continually, “Let God be magnified!” Psalm 70:4 

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Stand

I had a friend who was incarcerated for two years, I won’t discuss the details of his case for obvious reasons, but he was imprisoned unjustly.  Now I’m not the type of person that says, he’s my friend and he didn’t do it,  he truly was innocent.  I had the opportunity to see first hand the corrupt justice system that plagues this nation.

Yes, I am grateful for the just judges and all those who strive to uphold the law. I also realize that relative to other countries we have it pretty good, but the fact is, the system can be shady.

At the time of arrest he was never read his rights, and over the course of two years he was never brought before a judge, never informed of his charges and was the only prisoner banned from going to the library.

I’m trying to remain calm…don’t get me started.

We spent countless hours and resources filing motions on his behalf, studying the system, visiting, praying, searching for anyone to answer, demanding just a basic level of accountability.  For two years the court was SILENT.

In the face of all this opposition my friend continued to stand.  He would not be moved.  He was offered several pleas, opportunities I can’t even say I would pass up if it meant that I could leave that place and return to the comfort of my home and family.

He would not bow to injustice, this inspired me I admired him and to be honest it made me think he was crazy sometimes.

He’s quite versed in the law…the REAL law, rights that were established and given to us under the constitution.  Not this newfangled stuff they are trying to pass over on us, bogus law disguised as “safety” but really its fear.  (but that’s another blog)

What surpassed his legal knowledge was his faith in God. He always believed that God would deliver him and he was committed to standing his ground until justice was served.

It makes me think of the scripture in Ephesians 6:13:

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand

This life unfortunately is not fair, and many times things happen that are outside of our control.  When trouble comes (and it will) we have to be prepared, equipped to fight the battle at hand.  Eph. 6:12 tells us that the battle that we fight is not a natural one but a spiritual one.  We don’t war in this dimension, but we can certainly fail in it if our Spirit Man is not strong, and we step out unprepared.

Take some time to read Ephesians Chapter 6 today. Learn what it means to be prepared.  If you’ve read it before refresh yourself.  It’s what I’m going to do, I want to be able to STAND no matter what I’m going through, much like my friend in this situation.

By the way, we got a phone call last week that he was released from prison and this morning we woke up to a text message saying that ALL (ambiguous) charges were dropped and everything he lost in the process has been restored.  Such an amazing testimony.  I haven’t done it justice because I can’t share all the details, but I hope it inspires you today to be ready, be prepared and having done all…continue to Stand.

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