Monday, March 31, 2008

Don't Rock The Boat,Baby!

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Is life rocking your boat?
Are the winds of change positively feeling a little hurricane like?
Yeah, I know, Dramamine just doesn't do it for me either!
Well, I've been thinking about these two different parts of scripture,
with regards to our rocking, blowing weather.
Check this out:
"And a furious storm of wind [of hurricane proportions] arose,
and the waves kept beating into the boat, so that it was already becoming filled.
But He Himself was in the stern [of the boat], asleep on the [leather] cushion; and they awoke Him and said to Him, Master, do You not care that we are perishing?
And He arose and rebuked the wind and said to the sea,
Hush now! Be still (muzzled)!
And the wind ceased (sank to rest as if exhausted by its beating)
and there was [immediately] a great calm (a perfect peacefulness).
He said to them, Why are you so timid and fearful?
How is it that you have no faith (no firmly relying trust)?"
Mark 4:37-40
Now this:
"If any of you is deficient in wisdom,
let him ask of the giving God
[Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly,
without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.
Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering
(no hesitating, no doubting).
For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts)
is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither
and tossed by the wind.
For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything
[he asks for] from the Lord,
[For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute),
[he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything
[he thinks, feels, decides]."
James 1:5-8


Where I am going with this, isn't something I can say is in my heart yet (more like head knowledge). And I usually don't post about something unless it's already in my heart. But I'm making an exception, this time. Because I am hopeful this will help me to process it, and carve it on the tablets of my heart. Who knows, maybe someone else needs this as much as I do?

Where I'm at right now, is that often when the winds of change blow, we struggle with not knowing what to do, and seeking God for wisdom. We may feel like He has failed us or that we have failed to hear Him, because we feel like we have NOTHING in the way of confidence or wisdom to light the way.

So, I am choosing to believe Him at His Word, because He's not a man that He should lie!

"The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day." Proverbs 4:18

How does this help me?

  • It means I pray for (among other things) wisdom!
  • And I believe Him to day by day (the day by day part is what trips me - I want to see far down the road! or at least to say, next week?) to guide us through the channel with the rocky waves and winds.
  • I won't add to those waves with mental wavering and doubting if what we decide is right.
  • I will believe, that regardless of the results, we did, and we do, the best we know to do, as He makes us able.
  • I will keep my eyes on my constant: My source, My Father, and My Hope, My North Star, My Lighthouse in the Storm!
  • He will keep me in His perfect peace, and those I love.


"You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.
So trust in the Lord (commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently in Him) forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages]."

Isaiah 26:3-4

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Keep your eyes on Him! After a while the waves seem to die down...so far so good!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Happy Hollisters and Chocolate Souffle's



You ever follow a special recipe so very carefully, you know, how you get the specific ingredients, and then mix it just so, and bake it at just the right temperature?
Well, this is about what happens when you take out your Chocolate Souffle' and it looks like, tastes like, and smells like scrambled eggs with sausage and bell-peppers.
When I was a little girl I loved to read. That hasn't changed.

One of the book series I LOVED was "The Happy Hollisters".

It was about this wonderful family, set in something like the 1940s or so. They took wonderful family vacations, and always stumbled across mysteries to solve on their trips.
It just met all my needs!

Travel, adventure and idyllic family life!

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Somehow even though those memories were left far behind, and even though I became something of a cynic, and much of a rebel, once I could grasp what Jesus meant for me,

I began to seriously pursue a goal that will continue throughout my life.

Which is to live my life in a way that is pleasing to God, and to the best of my understanding and my ability at any given time, to let Him live in me.

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Not a bad thing at all. The Happy Hollisters aren't bad either. But what IS dangerous is when somehow we unconciously fill in the future we are working towards and dreaming of with sanitary, picture book, happy endings.
Real life, real faith is messy, is hard work, is EXTREMELY unsanitary! It's unplanned, improvised, surprising, and somtimes tragic.

A very wise woman (my mother) once told me that pretty was a face that had perfect porportions, pleasing to the eye. But, that true beauty, was a face that was striking, and would have to have some sort of imperfection that made the face even more satisfying to the eye.

Hopefully that makes sense the way I explained it! The point is, God uses our fallicies, our failures, rebellion and detours, even the tragedies that befall us. For GOOD.

He is not surprised by the u-turns we make. He's not overwhelmed by our rebelliousness.
The Bible is full of stories that should be a strong caution to us, that the road to the Promised Land, is filled with desert. It's filled with giants, and lots and lots of "ites" (think Hittites, etc.).

The path we take in the pursuit of the dream He places in our heart, is filled with pit-falls we seem to dig our ownselves.

Think Abraham + Sarah + a perceived delay = + Hagar = Ishmael
(my version of Bible algebra!)

"And Sarai said unto Abram,
Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. and Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. (no kidding!) ...And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes."
Yeah, not such a great idea...
And God was still able to fulfill His promise to Abraham and Sarah, even after this!
Then there's how He makes good come out of our perceived foibles...like so:

How about Paul and Barnabas disagreeing about the departure of John Mark? Their polite agreement to disagree resulted in them splitting, to go in different areas for mission work.

Now twice the area is covered. Not bad, eh?

Saul thought he was serving God, as he zealously persecuted Christians. He was practically a fire-breathing monster on the trail to hunt them down. He was hot on the path when Jesus stopped him in his tracks. When Jesus temporarily closed his natural eyes, his spiritual eyes were forever opened. He was transformed by that encounter with Jesus, to a church planting, disciple making man of God. God was able to meet him in his misconceptions and sin.

Seeming Tragedy Turned to Heroine at Work!

When little Hadassah, raised as a Hebrew, was called to the King's Palace, to participate in a year long regime of beauty treatments and whatever else was required in the pagan environment, it was not looking like this could ever be something the would be pleasing to God.

To put her environment in perspective, it would be something like a young Amish girl being sent, in answer to a call by the President, for all young, single, beautiful women to be sent to the Harem Headquarters for an Extreme Makeover, while filmed on the reality show Real World, and then at the end of the season participating in The Bacherlorette and then Bridezilla.

Well, you get the idea. This was an extreme culture shock, and wouldn't have looked or felt anything like the hand of God at work in her life.Yet, Hadassah became Esther, and she saved her whole people through her humility, purity, wisdom and bravery!

God is sovereign. He has taken into account our carnal nature, even while making provision for us to live according to our regenerated spiritual nature.

What does this mean to me? To you?

It means we as parents, often try too hard (many times thinking we aren't) to follow a Christian Recipe to get an expected "product". When the dish (our children) we worked so hard on, thinking it would be a chocolate souffle', turns out to be scrambled eggs with bell peppers and sausage, we are so shocked and panic stricken.

We think, "But that is not what I prepared! How could this be? What have I done?"

But, as much as scrambled eggs with sausage and bell-peppers look, smell and taste very different from a chocolate souffle' - there is just as much pleasure for some, in eating one as the other.

This post comes from many thoughts this week, as I have considered how two children, who are great young men, that both love the Lord, have charted VERY different courses for their lives than I pictured in the rosy gardens of my mind.

Each of them as they became young men, transformed into people we no longer recognized, from the squeaky-clean, little, bright-eyed boys we raised.

They are still very young, their futures stretch out in front of them. It's a little misty on the path, and none of us can see the horizon.

But, I am encouraged that God has gone before them. He has charted a path for them, that will incorporate all their quirks, strengths, desires, weaknesses to create a Masterpiece for each of them. Because, Master that He is, He will be glorified in their lives.

It's been hard not to listen to the sly voice that wants to say - "I can't think of any other family that has put the effort into raising their children that you have - that got results that looked like this or sounded like this...what have you done wrong?"

We love our sons AND we are humbled to be their parents, to be enstrusted with that privlege. God uses them each in unique ways. They reach people I am ill equipped to converse with, much less inspire, or lead to Christ. Where I have been unsuccessful at evangelizing, my sons seem to do it seemingly by accident, (it's not really, but it sorta seems that way).

Earlier in the week, I shared a portion of scripture that was my devotional reading Monday morning. Hebrews 3:7-8. It led me to read all of Chapter 3 & 4. I am very familiar with these chapters, and have studied them often. I knew what I was being impressed at that moment. Those verse are about BELIEVING God for His promise to us, entering into His rest, against all odds, no matter what current circumstances look like. He was reminding me that in my prayer the night before, I had decided to hold fast to my belief in Him on a very unlikely issue.

Later in the week, I was given the opportunity, many, many times to come back to those scriptures and just believe Him. It is my hope that struggles you may be having, that look messy, and that are faith challenging, can be looked at in light of the ability and propensity of God to do the unexpected, the grand, the sublime, the beautiful instead of the pretty!

I really like the idea of a chocolate souffle', but I've never had one. I think scrambled eggs and sausage might be better for me.

"But Christ the Messiah was faithful over His own Father's house as a Son and Master of it. And it is we who are now members of this house, if we hold fast and firm to the end our joyful and exultant confidence and sense of triumph in our hope in Christ."

Hebrews 3:6

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Endings and Beginnings

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Last night at Bible Study, we got to talking about the inevitable
need in our lives for change.

About how the need for change sometimes shows up,
as a feeling of getting stagnant or stale.
The feeling that we don't have to think hard to do what we do anymore,
because we are no longer truly challenged.

For instance one of the ladies, who already helps run her family business,
is getting her business degree now!

She loves this.
Her son (an Honors student) is helping her with Algebra.

If God made us for anything, it certainly must be for challenge!
He is not a God of the comfortable.
The contented yes, comfortable, not so much!

Of course, there are lots of other indicators, besides the feeling of being stagnant,
but for a room of 40 something year old women,
this is a likely symptom.
We got to talking about being at the stage in life,
where we are almost done raising our children.
Because most of us have our kids about grown.
So there is a sense of a need to change gears.
And we are perhaps already (for some of us)
and anticipating (for others)
starting to reap some of what we have sown.
We have invested in our families, and will continue to.

But we reach a place where we will grow stagnant
if we do not catch the change in the direction the wind is blowing.

The wind of change.

While we desire comfort, most often comfort doesn't lead to a fullfilling, disciplined life.
We have moments of comfort, surrounded by sowing, reaping, threshing...
Speaking of threshing -
after all the work to sow, grow and tend a crop, look at these pictures...

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See all this wonderful bounty we have grown...

Now, see what is required to fully appreciate the benefits of the bounty...


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Harsh, huh? Sorry, this picture just fit what I had in my mind.

Seasons changing can at times be jarring.

But, if we remember the purpose behind the shaking, the threshing,


we will not lose hope (at least that's what I'm telling myself!)


:)

We will not grow weary. We will not faint.

"While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease."

Genesis 8:22

Newness of Life

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Something is calling to me lately.

I keep having thoughts about the early morning.

The dew, the mist, the delicate freshness of the waiting day.

I wish I was the sort of writer who could bust out the pen,
and pad and do the pictures in my mind justice!


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I looked for the "right" verse that spoke something of what was on my mind,
and I found this in Isaiah, and though that is a favorite book of mine,
I am not familiar with this verse.
"With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea,
with my spirit within me will I seek thee early:
for when thy judgments are in the earth,
the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness."
Isaiah 26:9

As things will happen, the perfect poem, showed up in an S.E. Hinton book,
("The Outsiders"), which I was pre-reading for my son, before he dives in.
I had read it as a young person and really loved it,
and now I want him to have that opportunity.

Now this poem is by Robert Frost, and while it's not about the dawn,
it does speak to what is in my heart.

It's about the innocence of youth.

And in my tangled spaghetti plate mind, these things all relate!
Early morning dawn, innocence of youth,
I think the underlying factor in my heart right now
is newness of life!
I hope you enjoy it!

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Nothing Gold Can Stay
by Robert Frost

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.


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Monday, March 24, 2008

Food for Thought!

Hi, All!
I hope your family had a splendid Easter holiday!
This Resurrection Weekend
was different from any other for me and for our family.
But, it was definitely good!
My youngest niece had her first birthday celebration on Saturday.
It was so much fun to see all the beautiful children laughing,
playing and having a great time!
I don't get to see my wonderful nieces and nephew enough!
Everyone one of them are like a different jewel;
spectacular and wonderful in their own unique way!
(Yes, I know, I am not an unbiased source,
but they really are Da Bom, Baby!)
We have so much to be thankful for!
And remember how I had told you all that we haven't
had my husband home on Easter for 14 years?
Guess what? They moved the parade this year outside the city limits!
Yeah boy! He was off! :) Yippee!
This year I didn't do Easter baskets and such, much as I would have liked.
I had my reasons for not.
Just doing some things different!
I DID implement a couple of things I picked up from the books,
"Boundaries for Teens"
(which I am still reading and enjoying VERY much),
from "5 Love Languages for Teens".
Very successful and satisfying results!
I have Bible Study tonight, so I might not be able to do any other posts today.
But, I know I will be around tomorrow!
Until then, I leave you with a question. Just curious....
Hear is an excerpt from my morning devotional.
"Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts,
as [happened] in the rebellion [of Israel]
and their provocation and embitterment [of Me]
in the day of testing in the wilderness,"
Hebrews 3:7-8
I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on them,
if you felt like sharing them.
If not, cool, no sweat!
Maybe it will inspire you to read more of Hebrews 3,
and even onto Hebrews 4. It's great stuff!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Saturday's Song!


This song best fits my mood today!
I think I am finally grateful my children are growing up.
I didn't realize until yesterday that, it wasn't just,
that I'm not running around harried trying to get stuff
to build Easter baskets and color eggs, and such.
(why did I do that?)
But, BECAUSE I am not doing that,
I am now free to truly think
on what the whole thing means to me and for us all.
The Last supper, the Foot Washing, The Betrayal,
The False Accusations, The Crucifixation,
The Tomb and The Resurrection!
Hallelujah!
Please Enjoy Wes King singing I Believe!



Friday, March 21, 2008

Turning the Tables! Part 2


Here's the deal.
Today is the day we honor the memory
of what Jesus suffered on our behalf.
He took the blame for something He didn't do.
He who knew no sin, became sin for us.
So that we might be made the righteousness of God,
through our faith in Him.
That's all that is required for us to have the fellowship of righteousness with our Father,
and our Savior. Only believe. Only believe that Christ died for our sins.
Once and for all.
He was betrayed by a trusted friend. He was then abandonded
by more of His closest friends,
and denied by one of them, not once, but three times.
These are the painful reasons we can rejoice.
Because He spoiled the plans of the enemy.
He conquored sin, death and the grave.
It is also the day of Purim.
The day Hebrew people celebrate the fact,
that the plans of the enemy to kill them, and take all they had,
were turned back around on the enemy.
Because of Queen Esther's bravery in going to the King and interceeding for her people,
the Hebrew people were given The Word from the King,
("Then the king Ahasuerus said unto Esther the queen and to Mordecai the Jew, Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman,
and him they have hanged upon the gallows,
cause he laid his hand upon the Jews.
Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king's name, and seal it with the king's ring: for the writing which is written in the king's name, and sealed with the king's ring, may no man reverse."
Esther 8:7-8)
that they may fight the enemy and defend themselves.
They did, and they lived to tell about it!
They lived to remember the victory that God gave them.
The favor the King had for them.
The story in Esther is rich in both historical fact,
and wonderful spiritual parallels. I hope to do some piece by piece follow-up posts to show you some kingdom principals portrayed by type in the story of Esther.
But, for today, I want us to understand that those Hebrew people,
back in the day, celebrated the fact that The King had given His Word,
that they may fight their enemy. They did, and God gave them the victory.
Today we remember that God gave us His Son, The Living Word,
that we may join Him in a spiritual battle.
The victory is ours for the taking, the battle is His.
We have been given life. Death has no hold on us.
We have been given spiritual renewal,
that sin may not keep us against our will.


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These two holidays do not always fall at the exact same time.
I just felt such a giddy joy when I discovered they do this year,
because it was right in the middle of the Lord teaching me about the fact
that God sits on His throne and laughs at the wicked,
because He KNOWS their day is coming.
I LOVE, love, love that He is THAT kind of God!
That's the only kind for me!
(what can I say, Ya'll? I have two sons, and a cave man for a husband!
I love football! I LIKE a He-Man God!)
"The wicked plotteth against the just,
and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.
The LORD shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming."
Psalms 37:12-13
"But we speak the wisdom of God...
which God ordained before the world
unto our glory:
Which none of the princes of this world knew:
for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory."
1 Corinthians 2:7-8
I believe Purim is a based on a real, historical event.
I also believes it is a lovely "type" of a victory that would yet come,
that another enemy, a bigger threat,
would one day have his plans turned back on him.
Today we remember the victory
that caused the head of the enemy to be bruised.
"And the LORD God said unto the serpent,
Because thou hast done this... And I will put enmity between thee and the woman,
and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head,
and thou shalt bruise his heel."
Genesis 3:14-15
"Christ purchased our freedom [redeeming us]
from the curse (doom) of the Law [and its condemnation]
by [Himself] becoming a curse for us, for it is written [in the Scriptures],
Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree (is crucified);
To the end that through [their receiving] Christ Jesus,
the blessing [promised] to Abraham
might come upon the Gentiles,
so that we through faith might [all]
receive [the realization of] the promise of the [Holy] Spirit."
Galatians 3:13-14
"And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh,
hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us,
which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way,
nailing it to his cross;
And having spoiled principalities and powers,
he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it."
Colossians 2:13-15

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Enemy Plots With a Bitter Heart - Part 1


" Then went Haman forth that day joyful and with a glad heart: but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, that he stood not up, nor moved for him, he was full of indignation against Mordecai.

Nevertheless Haman refrained himself: and when he came home, he sent and called for his friends, and Zeresh his wife.
And Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his children,and all the things wherein the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the princes and servants of the king.

Haman said moreover, Yea, Esther the queen did let no man come in with the king unto the banquet that she had prepared but myself;
and to morrow am I invited unto her also with the king.
Yet all this availeth me NOTHING
so long as I see Mordecai the Jew
sitting at the king's gate.
Then said Zeresh his wife and all his friends unto him, Let a gallows be made of fifty cubits high, and to morrow speak thou unto the king that Mordecai may be hanged thereon: then go thou in merrily with the king unto the banquet. And the thing pleased Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made."
Esther 5:9-14

"The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.
The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged"
Psalm 37:32-33

"Then from that day forth they took counsel together
for to put him to death."
John 11:53

"Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,
And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you?
And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.
And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him."
Matthew 26:14-16
"And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him;"
John 13:2


About a month ago at Bible Study, one of my dear friends started crying.

She was crying hot, angry tears.
You couldn't help but cry tears with her.
She recently has gone through an unexpected and unwanted divorce.
She's really been so brave through it all.
This particular week,
she was being hit hard with waves of feelings of injustice.

We all listened to her, because that's often the best medicine.
But, when we got to the study of The Word, I showed her somethings in Psalms 37,
because I have been comforted through it.
It bears reading on your own.

I showed her that no matter what it looks like, those who do wrong,
who pursue a selfish agenda,
though they might look like they succeed for a time, it won't last.
Pay day comes.
Our God IS a just God.
While we count on His mercy, we do well to remember that He is just as well.
The scripture is very clear in pattern after pattern, and assurance after assurance
that those that are haughty, those that plan and plot evil against the righteous,
they will end up caught in their own trap.
We are all familiar with this feeling of betrayal.
When we feel betrayed.
When we feel like those that betrayed us
are doing better than we are. Like the ones who betrayed us, (us as the children of the Most High God), aren't suffering at all.

We struggle with our flesh burning, and pride hurting,
because we want to see ourselves vindicated.
Since that night, the scriptures have just opened up into a panoramic,
2,500 piece jig-saw puzzle.

A puzzle that shows God has, God will and God does vindicate.
And He does mete out justice to those that plot to do evil.

We see above Haman so taken with envy and hate against Mordecai the Jew,
that he plotted to have a gallows built.
He had the favor of the King. That wasn't enough.
He already had plotted to have all the Hebrews killed.
That wasn't enough.
Judas had the favor of the King.
It wasn't enough.

Judas envied and resented the gift of the alabaster box,
the precious ointment bestowed on our Lord. (John 12:3-6)

Haman hated the Hebrew people. He is both an individual and also a "type" of Judas.

Judas envied and begrudged Jesus and the attention bestowed Him.
They both devised a wicked plot to "hang" the person of their animosity.
Both of their plans came to naught.
Haman ends up hung on the very gallows that he had made for Mordecai.
Talk about poetic justice!
Judas? Hangs himself.

I am going to leave you with a bit more scripture,
because it can say it much better than I.

But in the morning I am going to post the punchline, the joy! Please don't miss it!

"Fret not thyself because of evildoers,
neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
"For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb....
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
For evildoers shall be cut off:
but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.
For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be:
Yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. "
Psalms 37:1-2,8-10

Congratulations & Thanks to Sharon & Leslie!


There is apparently a Top Five contest going on,

and Sharon and Leslie have both been among some of the many nominees!

Congratulations to them!
They are both terrific ladies, who somehow carve out the time to consistently post
for our benefit. Sometimes for entertainment, and always for encouragement.
I am so glad to see them choosen.
They have both shared the love with me, and I am truly honored that either of them would think of me, when there are so many wonderful bloggers out here.
I wish I could name more, like 10-15, or at least 7! :)
But, I must follow the rules. Yuk!
Ok, here are the rules, and my Top 5 Nominees are listed at the end.
1. Simply choose five blogs you want to be included in your “top five list”.
2. Give a short line or explanation why you put them on your list. One explanation for each blog.
3. Now tag as many blogs as you want. You can also tag those blogs you have listed in your TOP FIVE….you can also put your own blog in your list if you want.
4. For those who have been tagged, you can also vote for a blog that has been nominated already (besides, this is what this meme is intended for, to know how many bloggers will nominate your blog)
5. Submit your TOP FIVE HOTTEST BLOG ENTRY here.
Submitted blogs will be the only one to be included in the tally
6. Remember: Submissions of entries starts from MARCH 1 2008 to MARCH 25 2008
and top five hottest blog winners will be announced on MARCH 29 20087.
Enjoy listing your top five!!!
***end copy here***
My Top 5
1. Leslie @ Do You Weary Like I Do? - Because she daily points me to Christ, to joy , truth and hope in life! She authentically and transparently respresents Christ in all her blogging and I am sure her life. She encourages and soothes, and somehow manages to be Mary & Martha all rolled into one!
2. Sharon @ Sit With Me Awhile - Because she is like the love hub on the internet! She always shows love and community through Christ in all that she does on the internet. She builds people.
3. Nicki @ Three Girly Girlz - Because she is an awesome young wife and mother, who Christ has such a hold on it is encouraging and inspiring to behold.
4. Karen @ Karen's Ramblings - Because she is a terrific eclectic blogger, with a combination of pretty photos, prophetic dreams and scriptural teachings.
5. Melissa @ Mel's World - Because she is a fun loving, wife, mom and teacher, who always has something illuminating going on!
I am tagging everyone on the blogroll on the side bar, and anyone else who comments!
Tag you're it!
Thanks all! And Congratulations again to Leslie and Sharon!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Keep Going! (Helium Head Part Deux)

"Now when the time was almost come for Jesus to be received up [to heaven],
He steadfastly and determinedly set His face to go to Jerusalem."
Luke 9:51 (Amplified Bible)

Have you read the book "Lord of the Flies"?
It's a gloomy, dark book, but an important one to read.
It does a great job of helping a young person come to terms with the beast within us all.
The author relentlessly pursues the reader around every bush, and every rock,
refusing to allow us to hide from the dark potential within us.

My mom thought is was important for me to read. And I made sure to do the same for my son. He pretty much hated it. Because he is passionate about evil and injustice.
But what I didn't know until two weeks ago, is that the author wasn't published,
until after being turned down more than 20 times!
Imagine being rejected over 20 times!
And getting back up and trying again!
What if he had not submitted the 22nd time?

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And keep in mind, that his first book published was the classic, "Lord of the Flies".
So, this classic, that has been required reading for countless, countless
well-read, young people was rejected over 20 times!
Unthinkable, huh?

In the pursuit of the desires of our hearts, our hopes and our dreams,
we have several obstacles.
But, we can not rest on the laurels of our faith,
and not prepare for success.
Jesus said that it was good for us that He go,
because He would send us the Comforter,
who would lead us into all truth.
As we are led by His Holy Spirit, we will know when our part is to pray and wait,
(but never just wait, never wait without prayer, and expectancy,
always consider Today Could Be The Day)
and when to take action.

Sometimes that action is preparation for the success.
Sometimes it's our outright pursuit of it.
Like the author of "Lord of the Flies".

Many times, we hesitate, we don't want to get ahead of God. That is worthy thinking.
But, consider, we are His sheep, He Knows us.
That means He knows what it takes for us to hear Him.
That gives me confidence.
Confidence that I will not be deceived as I fully rely and put my trust in Him.
John 10 (read for yourself, please) assures me that I will listen to Him!

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If we have prayed and believed only to be disappointed, then we aren't finished yet.
We must keep going.
If we have tried and failed, then we aren't finished yet,
We must Keep Going!
Keep Going!
We aren't finished yet!

Trust me, I know that many of us have blisters on our hearts
from carrying around these same dreams.
Year in, year out.
I'm right in there with you to say,
recently God has been encouraging me to take steady, forward action.
Do not cease to move forward.
I want to share something that I have mentioned in comments recently to a couple of you, my friends on the Blog-o-sphere.

"He leadeth me beside the still waters."
Psalm 23:2b

Strong's Concordance shows us that "leadeth", as used here means to
"run with a sparkle",
to flow, to conduct, to protect, to sustain, carry, feed, guide, lead gently.
His Word is incredibly full of exhortation and promise!

Now, let's back up, to consider the boogey monster of fear of failure.
"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. "
Psalm 23:1

To say in the Hebrew "I shall not want" means I shall not fail,
I shall not decrease,
I shall not fall backward, I shall not be empty or in vain.
That means, because He IS my Shepherd, and
He leads and guides me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake,
I can know that my efforts are not empty or in vain,
so that even what looks like failure He will cause to bring me more success in the long run.
He will train me, teach me, and empty me, so that He can in turn fill me.
If my motives need purifying, He'll do it. If my vision needs enlarging, He'll do it!
He causes me to run with a sparkle! By rivers of His Living Water!

Remember today, Jesus setting his jaw and with great determination pursuing
His destiny in Jerusalem.
And remember that faith without works is dead, (See James 2).
And I looked up works. Guess what it means?
Work. Toil.

Let's Keep Going!

(If you want to read Part One, about hopes and dreams click Helium Head)


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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sorry, Not Up to Par


Good morning! I have been trying to post here and there.
But I just can't think - fuzzy thinking when you have the bug.
Soon as I can I will be back on. I have a couple of Easter theme posts, I still want to do.
Have a great day, God bless!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Holding It All Together!

How's Easter going for you?
This year, I am unusually aware of the approach of Holy Week.
Now you know I am a Christmas girl at heart.
While Easter is where "the rubber hits the road" for our faith,
Christmas just appeals to the child, and the homebody in me.

But this year is special, there is a holy reverance
growing in my heart as Holy Week approaches.

Maybe it's just part of getting closer to an empty nest, here at the Ponderosa.
Now I don't have Easter eggs to dye, and all the other sorts of things that accompany that.
If you do, you are probably feeling like I often did;
harried, rushed and in much danger of losing the whole point of Easter.
Don't be discouraged. He is a good God and will meet you right where you're at today.
He wants you to know that though you may feel like you're falling to pieces,
You Won't !
He's holding you and holding me together, from the inside out!
He's holding all the presidential candidates all together! He's holding together your granchildren, your nieces and nephews. He's holding your neighbors, your bosses, your co-workers together!

"Explain yourself, Maria," you say.
About a month ago, my church showed this wonderful DVD,
WONDERFUL!
It was all truly inspiring and wonderful.
But the punch line for me was this:


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There is this little protein that works something like a glue
that holds us all together on the inside of our bodies. The way the integral parts string together forms a cross on the inside of the protein!
Here's part of what Wikipedia had to say "They are a family of glycoproteins that are an integral part of the structural scaffolding of basement membranes in almost every animal tissue. Laminins are secreted and incorporated into cell-associated extracellular matrices. They are shaped like a cross."
How cool is THAT? He's an awesome God truly!
And apparently He leaves His trademark on His work!
He must think we're something special to do that!
If He sees to such intricate details as this, need we think He is not aware that we need brakes? Or to pay our property taxes? Or for the lab work to be better numbers this time? Or maybe for the trip to rehab to be successful this time, and the new diet to become a permanent life style change?

The cross on the INSIDE of us. Holding us together as GLUE!

"For it was in Him that all things were created,
in heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen,
whether thrones, dominions, rulers, or authorities;
all things were created and exist through Him
[by His service, intervention] and in and for Him.
And He Himself existed before all things,
and in Him all things consist
(cohere, are held together)."
Colossians 1:16-17

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Year of Romance - March!


Mmmm good!
Can I say that after more than 24 years of marriage,
and over 26 years knowing and growing in love with my husband,
I am such a HUGE fan of his?
And a HUGE fan of marriage, and family.
Family is the building block of society.
So goes the family, so goes the nation.

It's my sincere hope and prayer that we will let God work in our hearts to make His Word come alive with regards to this month's topic.

It's appropriate as we approach Easter that we consider Jesus

and His relationship with His Beloved Church.

Further, how that relationship is SUPPOSED to be lived out in this earth in a picture format through marriage and family life.

I want to focus this month on the essential ingredients of servanthood and submission.

No marriage will be healthy without it. It also brings such satisfaction, peace, and joy into your family, into your household. I wonder if our children, nieces and nephews could all grow up in families where the parents put each other first, how different would the world be?

I will be the first to admit, that when I was younger, though I understood a bit of servanthood, because of how I was raised (thanks Mom & Dad!), I did not have a clue about the need for the word many of you may have feared I would come to one day!

Submission!

I think they work hand in hand. True servanthood submits.

There is a give and take, we both knock ourselves out for the other.

But, someone has to have the last word.

That's not us, ladies! :)

I want to clear up some mystery about this topic.

Biblical submission is lovely, sweet and rewarding.

I don't believe "submission" the way the world that is lost understands it, is healthy or helpful. I also don't believe we can submit in the wholesome, winsome way we are intended to, outside of the resurrection power of God living inside of us. I just don't believe it. Our carnal selves will do it for manipulation, fear, and convenience. None of these motives are life giving, and empowered by Christ. If you have never lived this in your marriage, all I can say is don't knock it till you try it! And I say that in love! I have had my marriage both ways, and we are both (and everyone around us) INFINITELY more filled with joy, peace and contentment this way. I realize that many people are in marriages where they feel they can't trust their mate with their hearts and livelihoods. I once was one of those people. I was wrong. On the other hand, some of you have mates where you have to walk a fine line. Because you are unequally yoked. I don't care if he goes to church, that doesn't make him a christian or you either. What worked for me as we made a transition in our spiritual lives, is in the matters I differed with him on (because biblical principals permeate ALL of our everyday lives), I leaned into God, and trusted Him as my mate, to make things right, in my heart and in my husband's heart so we would be in unity. That just grew and grew and continues to this day, only now we are most always "in synch". We do learn! The nutshell caveat is submit where you can, lean hard into God for the areas you have to make a stand, trust HIM day by day and see where YOUR journey takes you. There is NOT a cookie cutter recipe for faith. You must seek God for yourself. I can only share my experiences and hope they inspire you to pursue your own journey!


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When I finally came to understand who Christ really, truly was to me, 1993, I immediately got my swimmies on and began diving into the Word in my baby steps. It wasn't long before I saw that part of what my heart longed for, was put there by Christ, (and part of it I shed, because it was just foolish, worldly values, which I had outgrown). Which is to say, I desired to be cherished, protected and provided for. I don't know if I can properly convey what a strong work ethic I had at this time. What was a strength had grown a bit out of control. And I was diligently working to make my husband obsolete. Uuugghhh! It sounds so ugly to say. And in all truth, I didn't KNOW that I was doing that. I was just so focused on the next step, the next task, and the next want, so it never occured to me (prior to my conversion) to slow down, and consider what he thought about things, much less what God might have to say.


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When I began to know God through His Word,
I began to know myself and my husband much better! I can't tell you the sweetness that came to our marriage, from the time that we had literal "pillow talk" about the verses that God had shown me to be foundational to a mariage. I still can picture the grin he got (he is such a kid, Ya'll!) from that moment on (some 12 years or so ago) it has been a much blessed journey together.

Now, don't get me wrong. To this day I learn to die to self, I struggle, I fail. I repent, get back up again and keep moving forward.

As I changed, he changed. As God grew in me, God wooed him. Now we share faith.

As we both learn to die, my life, our life becomes richer, sweeter and more fruitful. The old Bible saying is so true, Ya'll! You gotta die to live!

I want to close urging you to please do yourself a favor, click on this and read the whole of Chapter 5 in Ephesians. I will close with a portion, but it is much more meaningful, if you read the verses preceeding this, to take it in context.

"Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,

singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands,

as unto the Lord.
For the husband is the head of the wife,

even as Christ is the head of the church:

and he is the saviour of the body.
Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ,

so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
Husbands, love your wives,

even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.


So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies.

He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
For no man ever yet hated his own flesh;

but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother,

and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself;

and the wife see that she reverence her husband."

Ephesians 5:19-33

I hope you will consider visiting some of these other sites listed,
and if you like, chime in with your own contribution to
bringing on the Romance in your marriage! See this post for the rules!





Friday, March 14, 2008

Feeling Powerless?

Find out what female superhero you are, and have a laugh!
I know I spoke of a Part Deux yesterday,
but it's just not through percolating in me yet!
So, in light of all the stuff I know many of you are dealing with out there,
and the stuff I don't know that you are dealing with,
I just thought being Friday and all, a little levity is a good thing!
So check this out and have a chuckle!
Have a good weekend, Ya'll! It's been quite a week!

Which Female Action Hero Are You?

You are Wonder Woman. You have a powerful and strong personality, and you use your persuasiveness and wisdom to keep firm control over your world. You are hard to break.

Find your character at: BrainFall.com

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Helium Head!


I got a mental picture last week of something,
that I want to attempt to share with Ya'll!
I was thinking of how important it is to have hope, to have dreams.
How we can't let that die.
And I got this clear picture of a man on a side walk, in an average suit,
with concrete boots
(I know, not realistic, but, work with me,
you won't be sorry!),
anyway, concrete boots and a HELIUM Balloon HEAD!


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(the closet thing I know to concrete boots!
Isn't she adorable? Photobucket image, of course!)

I don't remember ever not having something,
even if it was ridiculous
(you know those ones of childhood and youth)
to dream about, and to hope for.
As I matured (really, I did Ya'll!)
I understood the need to work hard, to plan, to reassess
to make those things happen, or exchange them for an updated
or even completely different dream.

There is so much in the way of profundity on this topic,
that I am NOT equipped to attempt.
What I got was a simple picture of the fact, that dreams keep our head up!
That while we are to be anchored in Christ, anchored in reality,
living and working, laughing and loving here in this world,
we need our hope, we need our dreams,
they keep our head up.
Like a helium filled balloon!

The work, the surviving, the getting back up again,
the not giving up, and not quitting, THAT is our concrete boots.

Pardon Me a Little Paraphrasing:

We are to be "rooted and grounded in Christ",
We are to count the cost,
We are to count it all glory,
We are to press on,
We are to write the vision down and make it plain,
We are to think on whatever is noble, whatever is pure...
We are to keep our minds on Him
We are not to look back,
We are not to get weary or faint
We are to wait on the Lord
We are to be of good courage

The visual was so clear, and with it the realization,
WE COULDN'T LIFT OUR HEADS UP
to look and move forward
without dreams, without hope.
Dreams keep us going.
That's our Helium Head!

Dreams and hope;
hope in the unfailing love of our Father,
faith in the perfect love of Jesus,
these things keep our head up!
And remember, if the Bible IS our road map,
then nobody dreamed small in there.
It's ALL big, Ya'll! It's ALL big!

His mercies are NEW EVERY morning
,
Great is His faithfullness,
How about yours?!
There's a Part Deux, hopefully tomorrow.

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And feet on the ground!

What Does it Mean Anyway? "Free to Fly"...

Well, it's like this: Here are some of the Webster's Dictionary definitions of Free: a : having the legal and political rights of a citizen b : enjoying civil and political liberty c : enjoying political independence or freedom from outside domination d : enjoying personal freedom : not subject to the control or domination of another2 a : not determined by anything beyond its own nature or being : choosing or capable of choosing for itself...having a scope not restricted by qualification 7 a : not obstructed, restricted, or impeded ...Now, here are some of the Webster's Dictionary definitions of Fly:1 a : to move in or pass through the air with wings b : to move through the air or before the wind or through outer space c : to float, wave, or soar in the air ... a : to take flight ...6 : to work successfully ...Examples which apply from Websters: fly high : to be elated - fly in the face of or fly in the teeth of : to stand or act forthrightly or brazenly in defiance or contradiction of

What does this mean in my life? This means that in life we are meant to be free. While historically mankind has not always enjoyed the opportunity to fully appreciate what that means, we are so indescribably fortunate as to live in a time of the greatest spiritual, physical, financial and political freedom ever known. Freedom doesn't come cheap, nor does it come easy. But the best things in life don't come that way do they? As I write this I am struck by how this sounds like a political statement, and for me this is much more of a spiritual thing, but, same goes for that (political that is). Freedom doesn't come easy. And it's worth whatever fight you have to make to overcome in your life in order to live a life that succeeds. Now the questions is - what is success for you? What is your standard? In my mind what is needed is a definite target - because you can't hit and maintain a moving target. A stable, rock-solid, anchor with no variable, yet multi-faceted. Something pure, just and worthy. If you look at any web page of news you can see that our society is certainly lacking in this area. What a great time to live as a rebel! Nowadays to be a rebel, all you have to do is be willing to engage in the battle of life, while anchored to Christ!