Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Monday, June 27, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
I have the privilege of going to a speaking seminar this week with one of my mentors. I will be in Grand Rapids, Michigan at the "SPEAK-UP WITH CONFIDENCE SEMINAR" where I will be critiqued and will have the honor of fellowshipping with other women who are influencing people in their own unique way. I have a lot of mixed emotions about it all right now because I am painfully aware of all of my many shortcomings, but I am trusting that God can do good things through me in spite of me and I am trusting that He has something to show me through this seminar that will matter in the future. I am hoping to have all kinds of exciting nuggets of wisdom to share with you all by the time I get back. If you are a friend of mine, would you please be in prayer with me that this week be a time of God speaking clearly to my heart and pray for my sweet husband who is taking time off of work to tend to our three rascals?? :) In the meantime, here is one of the messages I have prepared and plan to share in the time that I am there...
I think that sometimes if we can just label a person it helps us to feel better about ourselves. Our words have power. If I can just label someone as being “stupid” for instance, then I might be able to convince myself that it’s their fault for anything that they do that I do not like, so I don’t have to take any kind of blame at all for them being the way they are. If I told you that a girl was forced to sell her body in an effort to feed her starving brothers and sisters…well, then, you kind of feel like you have to care about that girl, don’t you? But, what if I told you that there was woman who was proud to be a prostitute? She sleeps with as many men as she can possibly find-and whether those men were married or not makes no difference to her, well…then what? You might have a word you’d like to call her, don’t you think?
Luke 7:36-50 tells us about a sinful woman, a prostitute to be exact, who came weeping to Jesus over her past sins. She came to him at a time when he was with the Pharisees. These men knew all about her reputation, and carried strong opinions about her. They also carried a high status, according to the society in that time. They were thought to be very wise and dignified, and she was considered to be one of the lowest of lows. If anyone was going to be labeled anything you can bet it was her! The Pharisees mocked people on a regular basis who did not carry their status, knowledge and wisdom. When they saw what was going on they questioned Jesus out loud. All the while, she continued to offer her sacrifice to Jesus, weeping. He saw her heart. He knew her hurts, her questions, her doubts without her actually saying a word. His heart went out to her. The Pharisees thought he lacked discernment and questioned that if he truly was the Jesus they thought he was he would not be allowing her to touch him like that. Jesus didn’t fear them. He fears God only. God’s assessment is the only one that matters, and Jesus knew that. Jesus turned to the woman, and boldly and unapologetically spoke God’s message to her. In doing so, he answered the questions heavy on her heart that day that she had yet to voice. His message to her was this, “Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Mark 5:24-34 tells us a different kind of story. It’s a story of a woman who was also looked down on, but for different reasons. Instead of having a reputation for being “overtouched”, as was the case of the prostitute, she had a reputation of being “untouchable”. She was labeled “unclean”. She was hemorrhaging. By giving her a term “unclean” it gave the rest of society permission to avoid her at all costs. After 12 years of being ashamed of who 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 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 stopped everything and listened to her story. She mattered to him. In a crowd of people who considered her a nuisance, 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 asking long ago, “Am I worthy that anyone would associate with me ever again?” He goes on to say, “Your faith has healed you”. In front of all those who had been judging her, he not only accepts her, but says that what she has done is blessed and admirable. It was her courageous faith that healed her. He establishes a new identity for her. “Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
In both of these stories Jesus cuts through the noise of all of those around him and he focuses on the one person who was coming to him in faith, asking for the freedom that only he could give. In both stories his point was clear, “I see you. I get you. I know you're not stupid, crazy, or useless. It’s going to be okay because you came to me in faith. From this day forward, you are a new person.” He turns to you now and speaks that same message over you, “When you come to me in faith, I wipe away your past. I give you permission to grab hold of that right this minute, to carry yourself with pride and dignity from this day forward, even when other people tell you that you’re a disappointment or a lost cause. Don’t listen to those guys. I’ll deal with them. YOUR faith has saved you. YOU have been remade. And from now on, YOU may go in peace.”
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
How do you know when God has a promise for you that you are supposed to pray over, and when you are supposed to be still and wait on him?
1.) Humble yourself before the Living God. Then make time and space to hear from Him. He will speak to you about His desires for you.
2.) Pray and believe that His Word is true and that His promises are backed by the honor of His name. How often do we pray without engaging any of our faith muscles? You know the difference between rote prayers and faith-powered prayers! Once God has revealed His promise to you, be bold like David and lay hold of it through prayer!
3.) Give thanks and embrace contentment for your current lot and your daily blessings. There's much to thank Him for today! He has blessed you today! Stay in the moment while believing Him for the future.
4.) Stay in the Word and trust Him to confirm His way for you through His Word.
5.) Refuse an unbelieving heart or a striving spirit. When you catch yourself living in reaction to these things, get back to that place of peace. Be still and know that HE is God! (Ps. 46:10).
6.) Trust His timing and process in this matter. He knows best and works all things together for the good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28).
7.) Remember that every promise He makes has eternity written all over it. In other words, His blessings to us are for more than just us. His promises to us are meant to spill over onto others and to create a ripple effect that we will carry with into eternity. No matter how we choose to view our hearts' desires, there will always be a broader perspective to gain and a bigger picture to see, because when we fully lay hold of His promises for us, our breakthrough will deeply impact and bless others. That's why things take time. And it's always worth it to wait for God's best.
"He is always good and He puts certain desires in our hearts that we might pray them into fruition. Of course I'm not talking about 'name it claim it' theology, but I am saying that God sets eternity into the heart of man. He drops desires into our hearts because He intends to fulfill them. We must pay attention to the longings of our hearts. Sure, at first they may be unrefined or misdirected, but as we dare to place our hearts' desires before the Living God, He will shape, fill, and bring clarity to His desires for us." -Susie Larson
Isn't that great news? For somebody today that is great news! Has God given you a promise in your life? Don't give up. Keep your faith strong by bringing that thing back to him and thanking him for it. Do not be side-tracked by lesser things in your waiting. He is a good God. This is the verse Susie ended her post with- Isaiah 64:4. I just love this statement that presents itself as one of God's faith-building promises...
I put my trust in you being who you say you are. Amen.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Over and over and over again. (all day, every day)
My answer: "What do you do if your needs are not being met?" TRUST. and then trust some more.
I am not a super star mom with the power to know all things, and I cannot do all things well. I make mistakes every single day in parenting. I tell my children to trust me because I know more than them on most things, but sometimes I have to recognize the fact that I am not all-knowing and that there are times I have be vulnerable enough to let them teach me something. (I hate those times) :)
God, on the other hand, is ALL-KNOWING! There is NOTHING hidden from Him. You CAN trust Him! He sees you. He has not forgotten about you. You are precious to him. He knows all of the intricate details of your life...the good, the bad, the ugly.
He does ALL THINGS well. Lean on HIM!
You don't have to wonder if he is up to something good. You don't have to wonder if he just doesn't know what he is doing. He sees the whole picture. Where I, as a parent, might just not understand the situation accurately, or might be driven by my own selfish motives from time to time, God is not. He has HIS best interests in mind, but they always coincide with YOUR best interests. He sees your situation much better than you ever can. He sees through the eyes of eternity. You can always trust Him to have the big picture in mind. Even if you die in an effort to obey what He was calling you to do, you can rest assured that God will use all you did to His glory in the future generations. Others will be blessed by the choices you make, and nothing you do for the Lord will ever be done in vain. Also, a little concept that we trust to be true even when we can't wrap our brains around it is that "your reward will be in Heaven". You can trust Him with your life.
Let me back up here.
(I made Keely oatmeal this morning and she chose not to eat it. The oatmeal was cold and had formed into a solid mass of by this time. I knew she was still hungry because she hadn't touched it.)
Okay, now back to my story. I explained that she would not be eating the whipped topping for breakfast and I gave her the option of cottage cheese or yogurt instead. She picked yogurt. I put it in a Barbie bowl and set it on the table. She began crying and barked out, "NO... STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE!" and pointed to the cupboard. (she didn't want the BARBIE bowl...duh! What was I thinking!?!)
(As a mom I am aware that my job goes beyond simply feeding mouths, but that I must also manage to lovingly teach my children lessons in life that will need to learn before adulthood if they are going to keep a job someday!) :)
I figured I had been more than fair with Keely up until this point, considering that I really just wanted to tell her to pick up the clump of oatmeal and eat it like an oatmeal cookie after I saw her grabbing out the whipped topping without asking. :) I figured it would be in her favor, in the long run, that I teach her to be grateful for what she has rather than to cater to her every little desire...
"KEELY!" I said forcefully, "Go to your room now! When you are done whining and feeling sorry for yourself the yogurt will still be here and you can eat it. Do not come back until you are done whining!"
She came back 2 minutes later, still declaring that she wished to have "Strawberry Shortcake".
"NOPE!" (I stood my ground.) "I've already poured your yogurt into the Barbie bowl! Take it or leave it!" and I turned to finish making my coffee.
Now at this point it was truly up to her if she was going to spend the rest of the day being upset about the bowl I gave her, or if she would move on. If she wanted to sit and mope at the table all day, daydreaming about how nice it would be to have the strawberry shortcake bowl that is up to her! (I thought) I'm a good mom. (I thought to myself, at the time) Hmmm... So there! I'm moving on with my day. I will be more stubborn than she is, and that is that! I am mom! Hear me roar! (self talk) :)
By the way, this stuff happens in my house every day. You would think they would learn. Mom always wins! Someday they will understand. Until then, I am trying to consistently deliver these same two messages day after day:
2."I love you and care about you, which is why I will not allow you to stay stuck in your self-centered ways. My ways are higher than your own. :) Just trust me."
Do you know what I realized later that night? We don't even have a strawberry shortcake bowl. It was the cup she wanted. She was okay with the Barbie bowl. She was crying because she wanted a drink to go with her yogurt; she just wasn't communicating it well because she doesn't always use complete sentences, and I kept cutting her off short when she tried! :)
Communication break-down. hahaha...oops. My bad. And the MOM OF THE YEAR award goes to....
welp, not me I guess. ;)
Poor thing. My poor children deal with so much every day in this house! :)
2. I'll tell you the other lesson in my next post.
(cliffhanger: Sorry Cindy. I know how you love cliffhangers.)
Monday, June 13, 2011
Saturday, June 11, 2011
If you have joined me in thinking on my topic the last couple of days you might be thinking, "OKAY, now what? Thanks for the guilt trip, Alisha. I think I will just go mow my yard now, because it is Saturday and Saturday is my day to mow the lawn. The only difference now is that I will feel bad for mowing my lawn instead of feeling good for taking care of the things God has blessed me with. Real cool, jerk face!" (sarcasm font)
What did I do today? I took a bunch of our stuff to a friend's house with the hopes that it would be sold at their garage sale while my kids played with their kids, and I loved it. I made a little over $30 and I had a great time doing it. Chances are good that you do not fly to Liberia today because of the video you watched yesterday. So, the question must be asked, "Where do we go from here!?!
A few things I want to briefly bullet point.
1. My passion for this topic is very small compared to Tim Ludy, whose videos I showed. I am not here to make myself out to be some sort of hero. I know I am not. I know I have not done my fair share to help with this problem. My approach is not the same as Tim's. I do not advocate that you not sleep well until ever child in Liberia has 3 square meals a day. I want you to sleep! Every single day if you can! :) All joking aside, I must say I do admire his passion, and his willingness to call believers to a higher standard of living. I showed his videos because I agree with him even if I don't have all the answers, the enthusiasm he has, or a grand plan to solve the monstrous problem at hand.
2. We cannot fix everyone's problems, and to try to do so will only wear us out until we have nothing left to give. We are not God, but we can be instruments for God to use. God is not calling his people to run themselves into the ground. He does not have an expectation of you that you would solve ALL of the world's problems. He will call you to do one thing, and he will call another believer to do something else. The fact still remains, SOMEONE must help the child in Liberia! He loves to call believers together to tackle a major issue...to join in unity and do much more good than if each person tried to work alone. He loves for the passion of one believer to spur on the passion of other believers. (you know, his idea of the church and all)
3. To avoid his nudges when he offers you practical things YOU can do to love on his children, might be a deliberate act of disobedience. This is between you and God. You know what indifference looks like in your realm of influence. I am not here to judge you. YOU are loved no matter what. This does not change God's love for you. He loves you so much! He knows that YOUR life will be better, more richly blessed, when you GIVE your life away to the cause of helping others, and so he wants that for you. He loves you and because he loves you he invites you to join him in carrying out his big plan and to experience the joy and the thrill of knowing you got to be part of what the God of the UNIVERSE is up to!
4. We must wait on God to give us our "marching orders". (this is a term I have heard Susie Larson use many times before, and I love it) Susie often times says this, "An un-appointed work is an un-annointed work". If God is not calling you to a thing and you jump forward and take action just so you can feel like you are doing something, the thing(s) you set out to do will not be blessed. You are not doing yourself, or anyone else, any favors by working ahead of God's timing.
5. We need to wait on God to give us our marching orders, but then, when he gives them to us we jump on them! God's good news to you is this: He has already planned good things for you to do with your life. He already has a purpose for you. You just walk in it. Who you are is unique and what he has for you to do is unique! I have been intentionally vague in these past two posts for that very reason. Check out these two verses, and see if it calms your spirit just a tad:
6. Draw close to God and he will draw close to you. You want to know what is weighing on God's heart? Draw close to him. What does that look like? Prayer, reading your Bible, asking God to reveal his plan for you, seeking Him, seeking opportunities to serve him, and boldly moving forward when he calls you to. It starts with prayer, quiet time, being alone with him and acknowledging where he is already at work. If you are feeling stuck, I will share my prayer so that you can make it your own if you wish, or tweak it to fit what your heart is trying to cry out to God right now:
"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
"Your hands have made me and fashioned me." - Job 10:8
Dear God,It's a start. You gotta start somewhere, right?
I very much want to be a part of your big plan here on earth. I want to know that my life meant something to the lives you allowed me to be a part of. I do not want to stay focused on all my worries to the point that I do nothing to help others who are so much worse off than I am. I want to be a vessel that you can pour out of. Pour your love out of me so the people I touch will know you are a God that loves them. If there is something specific you want me to be doing for someone across the world, open my eyes and my heart to that person (or those people) and their situation(s). Give me eyes to see the broken-hearted, the hurting, the abused, the neglected, and the lost. Give me a heart that breaks for them and reaches out to them...both near and far. Give me my unique marching orders in my life. Teach me what it means to be your hands and feet in this world. I cannot take on all the problems of this world, but I am more than happy to join you in managing my one little tiny part of your great big plan. Bless what little I have to give and make it much. Draw me away from anything that would be a distraction to your bigger plan. Bring people around me who I can join with to make a bigger impact for your kingdom, Lord. Keep me far from the lusts of this world that give empty promises of instant satisfaction only to leave me feeling disappointed, ashamed, lost, lonely, and confused. Give me a greater cause-- one that I can be proud of, and one that brings greater fulfillment when I find my peace, joy, comfort, strength, hope and divine purpose in YOU, Lord! Amen.
If you are EAGER to get started in doing your part I want to throw out one option that is easy, quick, and very manageable for most people in the United States. I am a fan of Compassion International. I have heard enough stories to know that this organization is completely legitimate in what it sets out to do. You get to choose a child, by picture, whom you would like to sponsor. By sponsoring, you are agreeing to make a tax-deductible contribution of just $38 a month. Your money connects your child with this loving, church-based child sponsorship program that provides:
- Food and clean water
- Medical care
- Educational opportunities
- Important life-skills training
- Most important of all, your sponsored child will hear about Jesus Christ and be encouraged to develop a lifelong relationship with God.
What to do if you are the one whose needs are not being met!
Friday, June 10, 2011
There was a child screaming in a room with the door shut. There were sounds of the child being hit and yelled at. I was sitting on a couch in the living room, and I could hear what was going on in the other room. I yelled through the door frantically, asking if the child was okay. The boy was not yelling back to me. I figured he was afraid to say anything. The beating stopped and a big angry man stormed out of the room and was yelling at me. He seemed huge and his anger was fierce and I was afraid of him. Meanwhile, the child yelled from the bedroom, "I'm not okay Alisha! Help me!" Then, I woke up, stunned, and unable to sleep.
Woah. Tears come to my eyes and my heart hurts when I think about that boys voice saying those words...
"I'm not okay Alisha! Help me!"
In the dream I stood ready to face whatever this man was going to throw my way as long as I did not leave the boy alone there, but I was very scared. Then I woke up. I hadn't taken any action in the dream, but I woke up wishing I could. I wanted so much to figure out who that boy was! Was this a specific person around me that God wanted to lay on my heart? Lord, I am willing! Take me to him please!
Check out one of Eric Ludy's other videos on intercession.
Okay, so I need to talk. In the bible (I've been doing the 30 min. with God thing) and I was reading in Matthew where it talks about worry. It says, "Do the birds worry what they will wear or about food? Don't you know your father in heaven cares more for you?" and in Philippians it talks about God supplying for all our needs. Okay, when I think of basic needs I think of food, shelter, water, and love. So then my mind goes to the people in third world countries like Africa, and I wonder,"Okay, so if God supplies for all our needs why are their basic needs for food, water, shelter, etc. not met?"
This is a huge question. I don't mean to make it small and act like it is easy to answer, but I want to throw out some thoughts to get you thinking about what YOU can do to answer this question in your own life. I'm going to answer this question with a quote I stole from Eric Ludy's interview with Susie Larson, and a video that he made to drive home his point. I LOVE THIS because it presents this message in a way that makes so much sense to me, and I hope it will help you too.
"God is a father to the fatherless through His body (Christians) so if His body doesn't use their hands, their feet, their eyes, their homes, as the very answer to that orphan prayer and that orphan is crying out, "Is there a God? Please Help me." ....We are His body! 148 millions orphans!! How does this change? It changes one Christian at a time, saying, "I'm willing God, to be the answer to that orphan's prayer."Watch this heart-stirring video and be moved...
OH DEAR GOD! My house is a mess, but at least I have a house. My children whine for food, but I thank you that they are not starving. Get us out of our house, Lord. There is so much more you want us to be doing than to just manage to keep up our house and yard! There are others DESPERATE for their basic needs to be met. Dying. Hurting. In agony! Stir up the hearts of thousands of Christians. Give us a taste for more than what is in front of us. Make us hunger for more than just food, but for righteousness. Make us die to ourselves and our own desires more that we might find satisfaction in helping others who NEED you, Lord. WE are YOUR body, here to work out YOUR purposes here on earth. Use US, Lord, to establish your will on earth as it is in Heaven! What a bold thing to ask. We don't ask this lightly. You tell us to ask for it, so we do, knowing that it will require us to take action. We ask this in your Holy name, Amen.
"...and don't forget to wipe your butt!"
"Keely! Get off him!"
"Mayeee...Mayeeee....Mommmma?" (Kipton needing my attention)
"Can we have a snack?" (5 minutes after lunch)
"Can we eat at a place?" (referring to eating out rather than enjoying the meal I just made that they do not want to eat)
"Dabba dabba doh Dowa!" (Kipton singing his version of the Dora song)
"Nummies?" (Kipton asking for a snack)
"Not right now; maybe in a little bit" (me...all day long)
"Pah yay!" (Kipton saying he wants to go potty)
"Pett-en!" (Kipton saying his brother's name, Preston)
"Choooom! Choom! Ffff..Chooooooooooom" (Preston running around the house pretending to be something he is not)
"This thing is turning off and on" (referring to the lights in our basement, or the reception on our TV depending on what day it is)
and "You're a good girl mommy" (when I do what the children have requested) Oh dear. :)
Hope your home is as fun as mine today! :)
Monday, June 6, 2011
Are you someone others can trust?
How can you tell if you are or not?
Here are just a couple of questions to get you thinking...
How do people come to you?
Reluctant, or open?
How do people leave after talking to you?
Worried or Encouraged?
What is your goal when asking questions?
To help the person you are talking to or to help yourself?
What is the first thing you do after someone opens up to you?
Blast it out on your social media of choice or take it to the Lord in prayer?
(ahem...careful with this one)
What do you do with the information you are given?
Draw conclusions about that person based on the little knowledge you have or do you trust that there is more to the circumstance than you know anything about and give it over to the Lord?
A handful of habits of a trustworthy person:
1. Listen with your eyes and your ears.
2. Care about what your friend is trying to communicate to you.
3. Encourage your friend if he/she is seeking it.
4. Build a reputation of being someone who can be trusted to acknowledge the wishes of those you are talking to, while caring enough about them to tell the truth in love, when necessary. Don't gossip.
5. Be a person of integrity in your everyday life. When you set out to do things, do them correctly and with good moral discernment. People will see that they can trust with you with little things and will be more likely to trust you with big things. This principle applies with God as well. Prove yourself faithful and trustworthy with the little things and one day you will be rewarded with the big things. Read the following verse.
"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much."
In an effort to be concise, here are a few other verses that shoot straight to the heart of this issue...
"A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of birth." Ecclesiastes 7:1
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." Exodus 20:16
"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant." 1 Corinthians 13:4
"To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved."
- George MacDonald
Sunday, June 5, 2011
I believe in every single word of this song. What a great testimony. You will never regret any time you spent pouring your life out to Christ.
This is my anthem. This is my song. The theme of the stories we've heard for so long. God has been faithful. We will meet again. His loving compassion knows no end. All I have needed His hand will provide. He's always been faithful to me.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
1 Corinthians 13:12
Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
Someday you will see the whole picture with perfect clarity. I would like to think that I will be laughing, crying, and be in awe when my day comes. And then laughing really hard. There I was thinking out of my disbelief, when all along you were up to THIS! OH GREAT GOD! What a silly girl I was. Look at how everything in life pointed us back to you. You are worthy of ALL our praise!!
Rest in His love for you. Cry out to Him when you are grieving. Put love into action when He places it on your heart. Trust Him to direct your paths and straighten out the things that have been made crooked. Have faith. God is a good God, He loves you, and He is up to something even when you can't see it or feel it, and even when you want to do anything but acknowledge it.
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.