Saturday, April 30, 2011

Come to Jesus



The answer to your question...Jesus. There is a time for everything under the sun. May all things in your life (the good, the bad and the ugly) point you back to HIM.

Give me Jesus

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Poll results: Age you accepted Jesus into your heart

Question asked:
How old were you when you decided to accept Jesus into your heart?


Poll left up for one week, leading up to Easter.
49 answers were given.
Answers reflect the kind of people that I attract to my site more than anything else. Here are the results:

Answers given with their totals:
2-5 years= 7 (14%)
6-10 years= 9 (18%)
11-20 years= 20 (40%)
21-50 years= 10 (20%)
51 or over= 0 (0%)
I am still seeking answers at this point= 2 (4%)
I don't know what I believe anymore= 0 (0%)
I am an atheist= 1 (2%)

To get a more accurate, world-wide picture of where the percentages fall you can refer to the research statistics and analysis done by the Barna Research Group out of Ventura, California. The company’s nationwide surveys have determined the probability of a person accepting Christ as their savior in relation to a person’s age.

The statistics shows that if a person has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior before the age of 14, the likelihood that they ever will decreases significantly. In fact, in the years prior to age 12 are the prime years for reaching a person for making a commitment to Jesus Christ.

Here are their statistics:

• (43%) Nearly half of all Americans who accept Jesus Christ as their savior do so before reaching the age of 13.
• (64%) That is two out of three born again Christians accepted Jesus Christ as their savior before their 18th birthday.
• (13%) After that it gets harder; one out of eight born again people made their profession of faith while 18 to 21 years old.

If you are a parent who cares about the spiritual well-being of your children I would conclude that it is in their best interest that you do them a favor and start them in the church while they are young.

Trusting God to be at work in your life.

I would like to encourage you to jump on over at Susie Larson's blog post for the week. I am quite certain that you will agree with me that she is marvelous. Her words are uplifting and strength-building. I hope you love this one as much as I do. Here is a little tidbit of her blog entry...

We need time for our faith to grow. When we plant seeds, we can't repeatedly dig them up and pull them out of the ground to see if they are growing. We have to leave them in the ground. Those planted seeds (that we can no longer see) need to be watered by our faith. During the process we must learn to be content with seeing nothing while knowing that God holds everything in His hands, and that He moves on every act prompted by our faith, as the Scripture says.


Don't you love that!?! I know, me too. Click here to read more on this topic.

Friday, April 22, 2011

What my last three posts have to do with Easter!


All of the interactions we read about of Jesus interacting with people are true. They happened. All of them point us back to the cross. The cross is the place where all of things Jesus had been talking about come together and make sense. Jesus was God in the form of man. He came to teach us how to live, but also that we may have life and life more abundantly. We can stop sizing ourselves up against those around us when we look into the compassionate, forgiving eyes of Jesus. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection we are able to be forgiven, become clean, and become a new person. Jesus coming into the world, and dying on the cross allows us to have an intimate relationship with the God who created us. We are given the invitation to be free from the judgment of man...not just in Heaven, but now too. We see our worth in His eyes, and can accept who we are because He accepts who we are. His assessment of us is the only one that matters, and there can be joy in your life when you choose to accept that. To live for this world, and its immediate rewards and consequences is to live a life in bondage. Jesus provided a way that you could be free from the bondage of sin, both now and in even more so, in eternity.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What does God have to say to those who are hurting inside?



This is a continuation from my last post.

How about the hurting? The ones who have not done any great sin, but have been the victim of sin? What about the ones who faithfully serve God, without seeing any major healing with their own personal issues, and are wondering why they have struggled for so long? What about the people who are looked down on for not being talented enough, pretty enough, charming enough, or smart enough? What does Jesus say to those people???

Mark 5:24-34 tells us a different kind of story. It’s a story of a woman who was also looked down on. Instead of having a reputation for being “overtouched”, as was the case of the prostitute, she had a reputation of being “untouchable”. She was hemorrhaging. She was considered “unclean” which was a polite way of saying, “untouchable, without a cure, hopeless, isolated, cast out and worthless to society”. After 12 years of being ashamed of whom she was, spending all the money that she had looking for a cure, and continually getting worse in spite of the doctor’s efforts, she gained the courage to find Jesus in a crowd. She thought if she could just touch his clothes than she would be healed, and nobody would have to know that she touched him. Tired, but determined, she made her way through the crowd and caught up to him. She grabbed for his cloak and immediately her bleeding and suffering stopped. (vs. 29) For her to be in the crowd was actually unacceptable, and yet Jesus calls her out right in front of all her critics. “Who touched my clothes?” he asks. Afraid, she slinks back as people act like it’s no big deal and he should just move on. He is indignant. “Who touched me?” he asks again, looking around. The woman fell at his feet, scared, and trembling. She told him her story. He listened to her story. She mattered to him. In a crowd of people who wanted nothing to do with her, he put the spotlight on her, and cared about her. When she was done speaking, he cut through the chaos of the crowd and referred to her with an endearing term, “daughter”, that meant that she had a special place in his heart, and was like family to him. With one word he answered the question closest to her heart. The one that she gave up long ago, “Am I worthy that anyone would associate with me ever again?” He goes on to say, “Your faith has healed you”. This statement meant that what she had done was not only acknowledged and acceptable, but blessed and admirable. It was her courageous faith that healed her. He says this right in front of all of her critics, as a way to put her mind at ease, and to establish a new identity for her. Then, he gives her his blessing, giving her permission to be a new person, “Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” From this day forward she was a new person. FREEDOM. This is how Jesus sees you when you come to Him, asking for love and acceptance and healing. You are a new person. You have been healed. After years and years of anguish, He says to you, “Go in peace.” Jesus offers freedom, love, acceptance, and peace. He looks at you with unconditional love that no person on earth can offer and says to you, “Your faith has healed you.”

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What does God have to say to those who are not just a little bad, but REALLY bad??


“We can understand why Jesus loved Mary. Look at how she worshipped. We can understand why Jesus loved Martha. Look at how she served…

-Joanna Weaver

I love that quote. What about people like us though? What does God do with people who are self-absorbed on occasion, loving things we know they shouldn’t, trying hard at times, but always falling short, and getting further in the “hole”? Can God love a prostitute, a gold digger, a porn addict, a drug addict, a politician who got roped into a scheme that left many people hurt, upset or without jobs? What does God do with these people???

Luke 7:36-50 tells us about a sinful woman, a prostitute to be more exact, who comes weeping to Jesus over her sins, in front of the Pharisees. Jesus anoints her in the midst of all of her critics. Her critics on this particular day were men. These men knew of her reputation. These men carried a high status, according to the society in that time. Their opinion mattered to most people. They were important men, who were thought to be older and wiser than the prostitute, who was considered to be the lowest of lows. The men mocked those who did not carry their status, knowledge and wisdom, on a regular basis. They were mocking her in their heads, and then questioned Jesus out loud for allowing her to touch him. All the while, she continued to offer her sacrifice to Jesus, weeping. She expressed her love to Jesus as best she knew how. Jesus corrected the men’s thinking by giving them a lesson right in front of her (for her benefit as much as theirs, I am sure) and then he turned to her, saying, “Your sins are forgiven.” He shoots straight to the heart of the issue, and manages to answer the very question I am sure she was begging to ask but did not have the courage to ask, “Is this sacrifice good enough to heal my brokenness?” Then he offered a blessing over here, again, right in front of the very men who were clearly not appreciating his lack of discernment. Boldly he says to her, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Choosing to build her up, he suggests, again, that what she did was not just acknowledged and accepted, but praiseworthy. He busts through all of the distractions in that moment, and again manages to answer another question that undoubtedly was on her mind, “Is it okay that I am doing what I am doing?” In two sentences he manages to put all of her fears to rest, blesses her, builds her up among her critics, and then sends her out with permission to live a life of peace from now on. This is how Jesus sees you when you come to Him, asking for forgiveness. Your sins are forgiven. You are made clean. You are a new person. After years and years of anguish, He says to you, “Go in peace.” Peace was a feeling you could not possess on your own, and He offers it to you because He loves you. He offers you freedom, love, acceptance, and peace. He looks at you with unconditional love that no person on earth can offer and says to you, “Your faith has saved you.”

Trusting that God is at work in your life.

"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
-Ephesians 2:10


Isn't it good to know that God is at work in your life? You are uniquely designed. You have a specific purpose for being here right now, in this moment. Live in faith that God is at work even when you don't feel it. He's on the move. If He wasn't he would not speak so boldly a claim. God does have a plan for you, and you ARE inadequate to carry out that plan on your own. This is good news. Lean on His strength and trust Him with your life...one little choice at a time. He calls you to significant things in this world, that will require His strength. You don't have to have the whole picture. God has it. Trust Him with the little stuff.

"You are invaluable and irreplacable-- that is a testament to God; not to you."
-Mark Batterson

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Seeking God's best in your life.

"Your life is meant to be ever growing in its influence and impact. May your heart sing and your life explode with the joys of living in the fullness that lies potentially before you."
-Pastor Mark Spencer

"...making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."
-Ephesians 5:16

...no more sorrow, no more pain...



Eternity sounds better everyday. The more experiences I have of being blessed by God here on earth, and the more hurt I see and experience here on earth, the more Heaven sounds like a really great deal! No more sorrow, no more pain. Thank you, Abby Schnepp, for reminding me of this incredible song!

Friday, April 15, 2011

How God sees you: Part Three

GOD SAYS YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL...

It's been an interesting night for me. The very LAST word I would use to describe myself today is beautiful. None the less, the Lord who created us, and knows everything about us, has something else to say about that...

Psalm 139:14

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

What it means: You are created in the image of God! Like a snowflake, every person is unique. No two are the same. God sees you as a masterpiece; and when you look in the mirror, He wants you to "know that full well." You are more than your reflection in the mirror. You are made just the way you are for a reason. No need for alterations. You are wonderfully made.

1 Samuel 16:7

But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

What it means: God cares much more that you do great things with pure motives, than He cares about how you looked while you did those things.


Proverbs 31:3

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

What it means: Beauty fades with age, so if you are more concerned with your outer appearance, you will be unhappy when the wrinkles come, the gray hairs pop straight up out of nowhere, and the number on the scale goes up. If you stand two girls next to each other and one is Miss Teen USA whose beauty is limited to physical beauty, and the other young lady is a more average-looking girl who loves the Lord more than anything, she is the more beautiful girl in the eyes of God.

1 Peter 3:3-4

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.

What it means: This does not mean it's wrong to curl/straighten your hair or wear nice clothes and jewelry. The verse was written to warn women not to follow the customs of some of the Egyptian women who, during that time period, spent hours and hours working on their hair, makeup, and finding the perfect outfit. God would rather see women work on becoming beautiful on the inside — the kind of beauty that lasts forever.

1 Timothy 4:8

Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next.

What it means: I can devote all of my time to getting all of my curves in all the right places, but all that work would be in vain in the end. It is good for us to take care of our bodies, but it is not to be what our lives are centered around.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Looking to Jesus.

A POEM

"So man, why do you fret and run to and fro
Frantically searching for which way to go
Staying up late, planning your life
Worrying about money, living in strife.

Thinking you’re un-worthy, filled with doubt
Feeling boxed in and seeing no way out
Holding onto the past with its burdens and pain
Letting go of hope that you’ll ever smile again.

All you need do when things are looking so dim
Is to read His word and trust in Him.
He has a plan all worked out for you,
And there’s nothing better that you could do.

So why not just seek His purpose and plan
Let Him order your steps as only He can
And enjoy living a life of hope and peace
Confident His work in you will never cease."

--Orginal poem by: Leona J. Atkinson 2008

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

May the words of my mouth give grace to those who hear them.

"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."

Ephesians 4:29 ESV

May the words of my mouth bring healing, in Your Holy name. Amen.

"There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."

Proverbs 12:18 ESV

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"All I want to do is give this life to you and let your will be done until it's all I want to do."

Ginny Owens has been one of my favorite music artists for half of my life now. I love EVERY single song she writes/sings. Her heart is amazingly pure. Be refreshed and inspired.

How we are empowered when our hope, will, and strength is in the Lord.


Twice a month , a group of amazing women all gather at my church in the foyer. Last week I had the opportunity to listen to some of their hearts. The conversation started with how to deal with a child who is being bullied verbally at school, and ended with the power of speaking blessings over our children. There were all kinds of great ideas sandwiched in between there. Here's just a glimpse of where my mind went on that Thursday morning...

DAMAGING WORDS

Have you ever had someone say something cruel to you, call you something negative or demeaning, or blurt out an insult that just crushed your spirit?? Most of us can think of an instance when an insult carried a lot of weight on how we saw ourselves...more than it should have. When this happens, we need to be intentional about healing that hurt. We need to ask the Lord, "Is this thought from you"? If it isn't then it needs to be corrected, immediately, before too much damage takes root in our hearts and minds. Pray and ask God to show you what HIS truth is about who you are. If the thought does not jive with the fact that God loves you, it is an incorrect thought. Replace it with what God wants to say to you.

HEALING WORDS BRING NEW IDENTITY IN CHRIST

God gave new names to people in the Bible to establish a new identity that called them to a higher standard and a special purpose in this world.

God changed Abram’s "high father" name to Abraham "father of multitude".
God changed his wife's name from Sarai “my princess,” to Sarah “mother of nations”.

We know, now, from history that it was God's plan that the descendants of Abraham and Sarah would form many nations, including the Jews and Muslims.

God changed Jacob’s "supplanter" name to Israel “having power with God” .
He changed Simon’s "God has heard" name to Peter "rock" .

We find in the Bible that Jesus occasionally called Peter “Simon” after He had changed His name to Peter. This might have been because Simon sometimes acted like his old self instead of the rock God called him to be...something we are all prone to do, I think. The same is true for Jacob. God continued to call him Jacob to remind him of his past and to remind him to depend on God’s strength.

WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS?

We must continue to remind ourselves day after day, hour after hour, who God says we are in Him. (It's where we find our purpose) Life has a way of tearing us down and building us back up, but who God says we are is what really matters. I'm sure that there were plenty of times when Simon Peter looked at his reflection and thought, "I FEEL like a Simon, but JESUS SAYS I'm a Peter!" We must trust our feelings less, and our God more.

I have been doing a lot of posts on edification (building each other up). We are all on our own spiritual journey, and must offer one another grace as we continue to learn more about who God calls us to be. Grace is freeing and that's empowering, but grace without conviction keeps us stuck where we are. Edification takes it one step further. Edification says, "I see where you are, and you are loved just as you are... but I also see where you could be, and I want to encourage that in you". Grace combined with conviction and edification from Christ gives strong and continual power to every believer. Learn who you are in Christ, develop confidence in what He is able to do in and through you. As you learn to do this, you will become a person who demands respect, without ever having to ask for it.

WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH THIS THOUGHT IMMEDIATELY?

What are you saying about, and to, the people around you in their presence and in their absence? Are you speaking empowering words of spiritual healing and restoration?

-Or-

Are you adding salt to an open wound, with damaging words, and constant reminders of how they have failed in your opinion?

Find a piece of God in the people around you and offer words that encourage your brothers and sisters to embrace that part of themselves. Each person is born in the image of Christ, but it has been masked by sin. The damage (and sometimes the scar) of the sin still remains. Even THIS can be used to God's glory! Encourage, build one another up in Christ.

I want to hear from you. Have any of you been offered a compliment that changed who you were, even just for a day? What did that look like for you? How did it empower you?

Post a comment, share your story, and doing so, encourage someone else to speak words of edification to those around them. There is power in Jesus' name...and we can tap into that power when we choose to accept the name Jesus gives to us.

A question to ask yourself when seeking God's will.


"Is this going to make me a more loving person, or is this going to make me a less loving person?"

-Geri Scazzero, author of I Quit!

Friday, April 8, 2011

There is a hope that you can hold onto.



LOVE THIS SONG! You don't have to do this life alone. There is a hope that you can hold onto. My hope is in the Lord...through good and bad...ups and downs...sunshine and rain...when I am rich and when I am poor...There is a way, the truth, and the Life, and the way... There is HOPE! Thank you Lord. Amen.

Tomorrow brings wholeness and healing...

Beauty for Ashes-Crystal Lewis. One of my FAVORITE songs about my God who redeems, restores, heals, comforts, and makes your tomorrow better than your today! Amen!



Thank you Crystal Lewis!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Permission to speak about God, in a society that is less than supportive.



If you ever felt like you needed permission from God to go out and boldly speak your testimony, trusting Him to be at work through you, here it is...

2 Timothy 4:1-5

"In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry."
There ya go. Speak boldly, and humbly God's truth in your life. Build up your faith and speak it over the people around you. Once you decide to put yourself out there, and you see God at work it will stir up an excitement in you, and will renew your energy so you can go out and do more work for Him. Empower your spiritual muscles. Share the love of God, share your faith. Don't wait for 2 or 3 degrees before you impart the good news to those around you. "You keep your head, and go out and be an evangelist!" Permission granted.


Another one of many amazing lessons I learned from Susie Larson that has empowered me and put me into a new frame of mind spiritually. Hope this does for you what it does for me. I needed permission. How about you?

All along He hears each desparate plea.

My friend posted this song on facebook today and I wanted to get it on my blog.



What if trials of this life are your mercies in disguise?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Keeping up with the Jones', and other really bad ideas, Part Two.

I am working on a topic for my Mom to Mom group....Keeping up with the Jones': How to deal with a kid who wants "it all"...(or at least the thing that ALL his friends have)

Start with validating your child's feelings.
Tip One.
Relate to how your child is feeling.
Use words like, "I understand" and "OH, I know! I've felt like that before". Share a time when you really wanted something that you knew you were not going to be able to get.

Tip Two.
If your child is young give them words to describe how they are feeling.
Say, "I can tell you are really frustrated/ upset/ anxious/ disappointed..." or "It must be really (blank) to know that you can't have this toy right now."

Choose if they can get the toy or not, and pick one of these approaches...
1. Let's come up with a way that you can get that toy...(chores, as an incentive, Birthday money coming up, money already saved, something along those lines)
-or-
2. Let's talk about why you want that toy so bad...(open up discussion for why it is not a good idea. i.e. "That toy is actually for kids who are ten and over, so you should probably wait to get that", or "I had that toy when I was a kid and it broke the same day I got it...slinky's do that")
-or-
3. WE (your father and I) would like to get you that, but not now. Let me talk with daddy later on tonight, and see when would be a better time to get that...

NEXT, decide what your goal is.
Decide what your stance on that toy is. Decide what their urgency is. Do you want the child to have the toy? Is there a reason why you don't ever want your child to have that particular toy? Are they just too young? Is there not money for the toy? Do they already have 20 Lightning McQueen cars? From there, decide what lesson should be learned. There are many lessons you may choose to focus on when you are dealing with a child who wants many things, and feels entitled to those things. Here are just a handful of them.

1. CHORES. Lesson: You work hard, and you are rewarded. You have a way you can earn things in this world, so get off of you butt if you really want the thing. :)
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Colossians 3:23-24

2. DISCIPLINE and RESTRAINT. Lesson: Teach your children to practice restraint, as a discipline. Here's one of my favorite quotes from Susie Larson's "Growing Grateful Kids" book:
"When we grab for ourselves because we think God won't come through for us, we miss out on a perfect opportunity to see just how good He is. When we overindulge our kids because it seems easier than dealing with their selfishness, everybody loses. And when we pamper ourselves as a way of life, we weaken our character and starve the soul."
"A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls." Proverbs 25:28
3. CHARITY. Lesson: When we take the time to bless other people with our resources, it blesses God. If we have $20 to spend this week, we can get one toy, or we can help the family across the street. Which do you think we should do this week? Allow the child to see that using what we have to help other people is much more fulfilling that when we try to get more stuff for ourselves. If you present the option as a question, though, and your kid decides to get the toy anyway, just know that you gave him/her the option, so you should not be mad at them if they pick the toy. If you have already decided that you want to help someone with the money, do not pose this as a question, but rather, as a statement.
"Honor one another above yourself." Romans 12:10
"God loves a cheerful giver." 2 Corinthians 9:7

4. SATISFACTION. Lesson: The things of earth will not bring satisfaction.
"Do not love the things of this world. Those who covet will find no satisfaction." 1 John 2:15

5. PATIENCE. Lesson: Teach your child to wait and see if they still want the thing two days later. How many times have you seen something in the store that you HAD to have, but then you left without buying it because you couldn't afford it, and an hour later you had forgotten all about it?
"It is better to be patient than powerful; it is better to have self-control than to conquer a city." Proverbs 16:32

Finally, and most importantly, practice what you preach.

"If a child sees his parents day in and day out living without self-restraint or self-discipline, then he will come in the deepest fibers of his being to believe that that is the way to live." -Scott Peck
In Susie Larson's Growing Grateful Kids book she says it this way, "You cannot impart what you do not possess".

This is the book of all books if you are a parent wanting to teach your kids to be grateful. The approach of this book is actually to teach you how to be a grateful parent, so that you can pass down genuine gratitude onto your kids. You won't be the same person after reading it...and you kids will not be the same either. For one of my favorite excerpts from her book, you can go here.

Keeping up with the Jones', and other really bad ideas.

"There's one good thing about snow, it makes your lawn look as nice as your neighbor's."
~Clyde Moore

I went outside with my kids today to enjoy the beautiful weather. We were kicking balls, and picking up sticks when I noticed that my pebble area was full of last year's leaves that had yet to be raked up. DOGGONE! I'm going to have to go and rake those muddy things up now! The snow is gone. It's all melted. This is that special time of the year when you can see what did not get done last year. :)

We have AWESOME neighbors. They are so very opposite of me when it comes to taking care of their yard. If there is a weed in their yard, they bend over and pull the thing, because why would you leave a weed in your yard? My approach is usually more like this, "Well, there is a weed, but there are so many weeds really. If I pull that one I have to pull all the others. If I don't pull all the others, what difference does it make if I pull that one?" Deep thoughts, I know.

Sometimes my neighbors, who are really awesome, finish everything in their yard, and it dawns on them, "Hey! It's not dark yet. I think I will go take care of Alisha's yard." Not even kidding you. They don't do it every day, but they have done it on more than one occasion! The wife comes over and serves us by picking our weeds sometimes! The husband shakes his head with embarrassment, and says, "Just tell her to get out of your yard!". Of course, my response is always, "HECK NO! I hate pulling weeds. I think I'll just make her cookies and ask her to stay." He has had his share of helping us too, actually. When we first moved here and did not have a lawn mower yet, he surprised us by showing up in our backyard with his riding lawn mower and knocking it out one night. I was so impressed! I was shocked, actually, and then I was really impressed. How nice!

My neighbor is a doll. I love her. You would too. She is fit, and beautiful. She works hard, and takes delight in her work. She takes joy in working her yard! (exclamation point) THEN, she takes joy in serving us by working our yard. (EXCLAMATION POINT!) Unbelievable, right? So, why do I tell you all of this. Two reasons:

1. So you can get a laugh.

2. To make you think.

There are so many places I could go with this, actually. I could probably do a whole series called, "Things I learned from my neighbor". Maybe I will someday. I could also do a series called, "Things not to do in your yard." Not today though.

Today, my point is this. Have you ever been the one who needed help? I mean, have you ever been in a place where you really just could not keep up with all the demands before you? I have/am. Don't you just wish you could be the type that has all the weeds perfectly plucked? I do. I want to keep up. I want to have a beautiful yard. I like Winter, because the snow makes my yard look as good as my neighbors. But, then comes Spring, and all it's foliage....and weeds. Are you depressed yet? :) I am reminded of the things I did not get to last year. I am reminded of the leaves that need to be raked, and the sticks I failed to pick up...and how did that poop get there? We don't even have a dog. (no, really, who's poop is that?)

Hahaha...anyway, where was I? OH yes! When we first moved here I felt significant pressure to keep up with my neighbors. I knew nothing about working a yard. We didn't even have our own lawn mower, for crying out loud! I didn't know the difference between a weed and a thing worth keeping. I was totally clueless. Now, I know some things, but I lack the zeal for keeping it up, and there are still many things I don't know. I get tired, overwhelmed, and hungry. I'm basically always hungry. Am I annoying you yet? :) I want to keep up with everyone around me, but I just can't seem to do it. I keep trying anyway, but at some point I had to come to terms with the idea that we would never have a yard that looked THAT amazing. Not in a "I just don't care" kind of way, but more of a "I just can't be stressed out about that when I need to be dealing with my baby and I can't afford all the cool gadgets to make my yard do THAT". I had to choose what to pour my energy into. Those kinds of decisions are hard to make, aren't they? If I can't do it all by myself, does that make me a failure? Sometimes I tell myself I am a failure if I can't do "it all". I can start beating myself up, and sizing myself up to all of the people around me...not just in my yard, but in every area of my life. I can stand with pride and say, "NO! I don't need help! Get out of my yard!" The truth is, though, I need help. My neighbor took time to show me how to do some things in my yard. She trimmed down a bush I didn't even know you could trim down. She gave me the idea to cut off a massive branch of a giant tree that had broken and died in a storm. From there I realized I could trim other branches that needed trimming. She actually bought me some grass shears because I thought hers were so cool! So, what do I do with that? LOVE her. That's what I do.

Are you help-able these days? It's actually God's design that you help and be helped. Are you stopping someone from helping you because you are feeling proud? Let someone be a blessing to you. It's okay. What's holding you back? Whatever it is, pray it out, and ask God to take that from you. Are you helping others? I may not be able to help people with their yard, but certainly I have something worthwhile to give. If you are not currently helping people around you, pray and ask God to give you eyes to see someone around you who needs you. He'll honor that prayer.

The body of Christ. I love the body of Christ. Bless and be blessed. Do not be so proud that you cannot accept help, and do not be so busy that you cannot pour into the lives of those around you. It is not God's plan that you isolate and work really hard to keep up with everyone around you on your own. Get your focus off of keeping up with everyone. It only leads to judgment and jealousy...both are quite ugly. God's plan is that you have a family of believers to walk alongside of you and cheer for you when you are down. It is not His plan that you point out all of the people who are failing to keep up, and then throw yourself a pity party every time you fail to keep up.

Do you need help right now? Pray. Seek help. Ask God to show you where you can get the help you need, or ask for His strength as you attempt at tackling the things He is calling you to.

Is someone on your heart today? Pray. Ask if you can help that person. Give them the blessing of knowing that they are not alone. They will love you for it, but even if they don't, you are obedient...and that's really all that matters. God can take it from there.

And a little more on this topic of seeking God's will.


Holy crazy cow!! Susie Larson just took on the very topic I tried to make some sense of last night, and she tackled it in a mighty powerful way. Check out her post today...

http://susielarsonblog.typepad.com/susie_larsons_blog/2011/04/an-atmosphere-for-answered-prayer.html

This is why I love her! Seriously...wow. In fewer words, and making way more sense than my last post...I'm always blown away by the way God speaks to me through her. Okay, who is joining the Susie Larson fan club with me? :)

I didn't get to listen to her interview yesterday on Praying Big, but it sounds like I am going to need to.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Seeking God's will in your Life. Part Two

You know my story. 3 kids under 5 years old. One is over-ambitious. Another is over-reluctant. The baby is "in between"...not too hot, not too cold...just right. On a typical day, I'm pulling one, dragging another, and yelling out to one, "Hey! Keep up!". Each child was born so very different from the other two.

OUR RESPONSE TO GOD'S CALL IN OUR LIVES
I believe that we are all born with a natural tendency to go in one direction more than the other, by default. Either we tend to jump forward without much thought when an idea hits us (that would be me) or we sit on a thought for ages, until the opportunity has passed. (I might be married to someone with this tendency...I'll just leave you guessing) There are a few of us who are blessed with the perfect "in-between"(must be nice, right?). Many of us will weave from one side of the spectrum to the other based off of how we are feeling from one moment to the next. On a good day we are pumped up for Jesus, and on a bad day, we're lucky to feed the kids cereal. (In extreme cases of high highs, and low lows...there could be more to your story... please read the post on depression. I don't not suggest this with a tone of condemnation, but rather, as someone who has been there and lived to tell about it)

GOD MAKES ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE.
Message to over-ambitious people...stop for a minute. Pray more. Talk less. :) This is my message to myself. God wants to do great things with you, but it is not up to you to do them. Does that make sense? Give room for God to be at work. When you have a nudge you believe is from the Lord be willing to stop and pray before you take action. At the end of the day you want to know that it was God at work and not you just carrying out your own plans.

Message to over-reluctant people...stop stopping. :) Take a leap of faith. Pray and then move into action, trust God with the things you don't have figured out. There is an element of "God is just going to have to work out the things I don't have all figured out". That's okay. He can handle it. Trust that if He is calling you to step out in faith, that He will cover the areas you don't have tackled.

Message to in-between people...HALLELUJAH for people like you! :) Help the people around you. There is power in numbers. Team up with the over-ambitious, and over-reluctant people. Create harmony, and work together for God's purposes. If we can look at each other with eyes of grace, and get all different types of people to come together, using their God-given strengths to carry out a common goal, in God's name...phew...watch out!

MY PRAYER, as a stay-at-home mom.
Dear God, thank you for this day. Thank you for this season of my life that feels quite mundane, at times. I appreciate this season of refining, and re-building. I am aware that every season of my life will have its blessings and its struggles. I am also aware that if I stay faithful to you in the season I am in, seeking you with all of my heart, I will see you at work and the blessings will carry over into the next season of life. Thank you for this time with my little kids who make us laugh every day. Thank you for this season of life when the things I say and do only affect a few people, giving me some room to work out some of the disaster areas in my life that need your redemptive touch still. Thank you for your grace, and that my kids won't remember everything. :) Someday my kids will grow up and make good choices on their own, for now I will ask you for daily wisdom in dealing with them. I trust that you are using these days to build into me and into my children. I trust that the work that is done now will not be in vain...that you will use this time of instruction so that we can accomplish your will in our lives later when you send us out into a great big ocean of possibilities. Your love is deep. Your love is wide. You do not hold anything good from those who love you. Thank you for your patience as we seek you. Thank you for the way you call us to something greater than we would ever attempt on our own. May these days be a blessing to you Lord, but may they also set us up for the next place you are wanting to take us. Your ways are higher than our own. We trust you, knowing that whatever you call us to is our "best case scenario". Yours truly, Alisha.