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Monthly Archives: January 2011

Mary…The chosen Mother.

It’s been just over a month since we celebrated the birth of Jesus come to earth.
I have been mulling over this thought all month.
Maybe it’s because Christmas came on the heels of my adventure to Alabama where I heard wonderful teaching and inspirational women. I came home feeling encouraged.
But part of me often feels like I am so inferior to so many other women.
My thoughts can move very quickly to this…I need to do more.
I should be smarter.
 Or more disciplined.
I  often feel like I don’t “do” enough.
On our family’s night Celebrating Christmas we read the Story of the birth of Jesus  from Luke’s Gospel.
Freshman asked a question that started me thinking…
“Do you think this is Mary’s account of the story?
Maybe she had remembered these things and years later recounted them to Luke”
Mary Pondered these things in her heart
It is so profoundly discreet.
If Mary had lived today would she have written a book?
Would she have told us the secret life of the mother of Jesus Christ.
A “how to” book on obedience in the face of the biggest challenge any would face.
I wonder.
Do I ponder?
Do I treasure?
When Something special happens do I just quietly remember?
I have a tendency to forget. And writing it down helps me to look back and remember.
Sometimes I am given permission to share my lessons with others. But at times he wants me to just treasure it up in my heart.
 Those Things that should not be shared right now.
What I love is that Mary didn’t take the credit that God the Father, had chosen her to be the  Mother of his Son.
He looked down on all the women and chose Mary.
That certainly would qualify her to teach a Bible Study or speak on the subject of “purity in heart”.
 We would surely say The Anointing was on her.
What was it about Mary?
Was is that she was so gifted?
Did she draw thousands and minister to them through Bible teaching?
Did she have musical ability?
Was she head of local charities and organizations?
Was she a wise older woman?
She was a teenager.
And she was pure of heart.
God saw her heart.
Not her achievements.
How do I look for favor from the almighty?
Is it through quiet devotion?
Private worship?
Sitting at his feet?
Or is it through public demonstrations of goodness?
Or Bible Knowledge?
I have been moved by this picture of God’s favored one.
It inspires me to be that kind of woman. 
A woman who desires his praise more than mans.
If I focus on being that kind of girl…I will indeed be highly esteemed to the one who matters most!

One of my Favorite Salads

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Yes this is one of Jason and my favorites!

It’s so simple!

1 head of cabbage

1 head of cauliflower or Broccoli chopped

Fry slivered almonds and Ramen noodles(chopped) in a skillet with EVOO.

When its brown add the chicken season packet over noodles.

Let cool and then top on your salad. Mix well.

Right before you serve add dressing.

1 C. Oil

1/4 C. Vinegar

1/2 C. Sugar

1 TBSP Soy Sauce

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp paprika

I put this dressing in  a canning jar and shake it up real good. I like to do it this way so if I have leftover dressing I can keep it for a number of weeks right in the jar. 

If you haven’t tried this I think today’s the day!

Referee or Coach

Yesterday pastor taught out of John 6.  He asked us to think about Jesus in terms of today’s leaders. Jesus still had many followers. Thousands in fact. He had been giving them what they wanted but at this point in his ministry Jesus threw his disciples a curve ball. He was not focused on his numbers to the point of compromise. He loved people too much to just give them half of who he was. He was slowly giving them the full enchilada.(my words not case you wondered if you missed that portion in your translation:))

Truth vs Grace. The full scope of who our Father is. He is not one or the other but the perfect balance of both.

The question is who doesn’t love to think of their God as merciful when we are in such desperate need of someone to save us? But who really likes to think of the hard word of God? We live in a world that needs both. And it’s easy for us to take up residence in one camp or the other.

God says the truth…”You have sinned”.  But.. His grace says…”I will forgive you”. 

 Do we?

Or Is it this…”you have sinned….So…You are not worthy of my love”. Truth without Grace.

Maybe it’s this…”I can not judge that you have sinned because I don’t want you to judge my sin”. Grace without the truth.

I was thinking about this more and this is the word picture I came up with.

Do you think of  God as more of a  coach or the referee?

 In a game the ref is running around pointing out the faults of the players. Making sure justice is served and the game is played fairly. He doesn’t typically call the player over and kindly point out  what he has done incorrectly. It’s just a shrill tweet with the penalty stated to the stats table. Then it is broadcast to the entire stadium who the rule breaker was. His name and Number.

A good coach will call his player over when the individual has fouled and tells him what he has done wrong. And how he can change that. He may have to penalize the player, if the player needs it, by sitting him out awhile. But the point is the coach is for the player. The coach desires the team to win. Sometimes the Coach intercedes if he believes the call from the ref was incorrect.  The coach tells his players the truth about what they need to improve in. But he encourages them to do their best. To play to their full potential.

God has our best in mind.

 He wants us to be successful!

He is For YOU!

So when he tells us the truth about something it’s for our benefit.

Truth and Grace.

A mixture that makes me thankful to be on his team.

Are you feeling like you need one or both of these today?

He will give you what you need. Press into his word.

 Know him. He already knows you fully. And he loves you too much to let you go.

Dressing for Battle

This week has been one of those weeks.

One of those weeks that I have been breaking out some clothes that were hanging in my closet. Some of those garments are kind of new and I’m trying them out. And then some of them are well-worn and I know exactly how to wear them and how they fit.
That’s right I’m speaking metaphorically.
I’m talking about dressing for spiritual battle.

 That enemy of ours is pretty clever, I’ll give him that. He knows he can’t have my soul since it’s already signed and sealed but he will try every stinkin trick to hold me in captivity.
I’m so on to him!
He comes at the most random times and hits me between the eyes with his lies. When I’m lying in bed. When I have just been in the presence of my Savior. When I’m in a crowd. Or alone.

He doesn’t care…He wants my mind  captive and my emotions out of control. He wants me trapped in paralyzing fear and tormented with “what ifs”  and  thoughts of regret. He likes it if I compare myself…because he knows I will never, ever think I’m good enough. And it will make me jealous of others and discontent with who I was created to be. 
I’m not completely surprised by this new onslaught because recently I have been saying yes to some very scary things that God is asking me to walk in. I feel underqualified and weak. I don’t think I can do it. And I question whether I will be able to accomplish the task. I feel much like Moses …ME? I am not the one you want. Aaron, Now He’s your guy!
And that dratted serpent knows me. He knows my vulnerabilities and he is vicious!
But you know what? I know his weak spots too!
I have been “putting on the belt of truth”. When he speaks his lies I tell him the truth of God’s word. Because I know what God says about me and it’s along the lines of love and redemption. It’s compassion and forgiveness. It’s blessing and honor.

He dances over us with singing, for goodness sake!!

And The Father Loves to see his kids living joyful, victorious, full lives. Just as we love to see our children succeed and live fully free!
And my shoes( How I love them shoes…love them!) need  to be prepared to walk in obedience. Not just knowing the Word but prepared in the Word.  I remember when Malaina was just a little thing she Loved to walk around in her daddy’s big shoes. That’s the picture I have,  slipping on my daddy’s shoes. Walking in the protection of his big shoes surrounding my frail feet. And then Living the thing out.
The breastplate of righteousness…To protect my heart from attacks. Believing that because of Jesus and his righteousness   I am forgiven and made righteous.

The sword of Faith…The temptations and trials that Satan throws at me must be met with Faith. I  believe there is an unseen army cheering me on. I  believe that my Savior sees if I have wielded the sword of Faith and shook the enemy to his knees.

And the helmet of Salvation…Protecting my mind from his slimy thoughts. Renewing it in the Word. Instant reaction when he starts his condemning and destructive thoughts… Adoration and Praise for the MOST High. Not always in song. Sometimes it’s speaking the Word out loud. Remember He can not read our thoughts. He just reads our actions and words.. It is ridiculous how fast he scuttles off to the corner!

He’s creative but we have been made MORE than Over comers!

He’s sly but we have been BOUGHT through the life-giving blood. 

And “He can’t touch this”. 

He is the defeated one.

We are not. 

And Finally Prayer. Praying for each other is key. He hates to see us bringing each other to Jesus.  Pray for strength to stand firm. For zeal to be bold. For endurance to run fast when we need to flee. And for the veil to be lifted where we have been blind. Praying for wisdom to know God’s plan and courage to follow it. Our Dad just loves when we ask these thing for each other and ourselves. 

Satan hates us!

But he really hates Jesus.

Remember Jesus kicked him in the teeth? Well he hasn’t forgotten that either.

 And he knows that his time is getting very short.

Ephesians 6 tells us to…13-18Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. ~ The Message~

Remember this…When you press in deeper  he will get meaner. He does it every time. When we become a more formidable threat he gets very nervous….and obnoxiously mean. If we live in defeat he’s got us right where he wants us, but if we are serious about this walk we had better get those clothes on and then get ready.

How about it…. I got your back…you have mine.

 Together we can stand strong dressed for battle!

Why I Write?

I have always been drawn to words. Even as a tiny girl. When I look back at my diary I laugh as I see the important things I would jot down.  I wrote about the weather,boys,roller skating parties, my feelings,or friends I saw that day. It was all very deep.  

And when I turned 13 I started writing music. I will never forget that feeling the first time I wrote. I may not remember all the lyrics but I remember what prompted me. I had been looking through my dad’s subscription of News Week. There I saw a picture that moved me to an emotion that had to be dealt with. It was painted out right in front of my innocent adolescent wide eyes. The picture of a man with deep sunken eyes. He looked scruffy and void of hope. He was sitting on a curb holding a child. They were both dirty with messy hair. No shelter. No food. Nothing.  Growing up in a sheltered, television free home, I had never seen anything like it. And I was beyond appalled.

I wrote that first time because an emotion was evoked with in me. I knew if I didn’t write it down I would burst. It was a matter of necessity.

And so it is still. I write because something is stirred in me. Sometimes it’s out of conviction, or compulsion. Sometimes I write to record so I don’t forget. At times I write to bring laughter. I write when I’m happy and when I have tears burning my eyes and running off my fingertips down onto the keys. I write to heal and encourage.  And often I write not even knowing what all is going to come out of me. It’s a journey I take and when I’m finished I look back and touch up or add more. I read it out loud to make sure it’s what I wanted to say. Or I sing the lyric over and over until the children are begging me to write a new song.

I write because something in me is pleading to be released. A word is running around in my head and unless I set it free I will not rest. 
When I look back over my almost 40 years of life I can tell who I was by what was written down. I forget what it was like to be a child, a teen, a newly wed, a young mom, but when I reflect, I see the faithfulness Of God’s hand. I recall those days. I laugh. I cry. I ponder. I am grateful.
And then I write once again.
Someday I will look back reminding myself of 40. 

Why do you write?

I’m linking up with Anne VosKamp and Holley. Some of the most inspirational writers I have read! Make sure you visit them.

  • Say Shibboleth

    There is a need in all of us to find belonging.

    A place where we can kick our shoes off and sit reclining with our feet  up on the coffee table. A setting that feels as much like home as our own dwelling does. A refuge that makes us feel like we can be ourselves without an ounce of pretense or pose.

    And God gave each of us a desire to be part of something bigger than ourselves. A community in which we feel safe and valued. We look for this in many different ways. Some people find this in their work or club. Sometimes people find this with their school or church. Sometimes people look for this in dangerous places like gangs or in shady business associates.

    But why are people driven to look for community away from the positive elements of what it can be?

    In Judges 12 there is a story that talks about a group of people called the Ephramites. They had fought a war against the Gileadites. The Gileadites had captured a section of the Jordan that led to Ephraim, and so whenever an Ephramim would ask to cross over the men of Gilead would ask, “are you an Ephramite”? If he replied “no”, they said, “all right, say Shibboleth.” Because they knew that Ephramites could not pronounce the “h” because of the different region they lived  their accent was slightly different. So if the man said “Sibboleth” they would kill him. The story says they killed 42,000 Ephraimites at that time.

    How often do we require certain things of people in order for them to join our community. Do we judge others because they don’t know our “lingo”. How many times have we rejected because others have not met our requirements? What is it about us that wants everyone to look and act like us? Why do we withhold love simply because someone doesn’t pronounce “Shibboleth” correctly?

    I am reminded of the old Dr Seus book. “The Sneetches”. The star belly sneetches thought they were so much better than the plain belly sneetches. The ones who had “no stars upon thar’s”.

    What lengths do we go to in our community to reach the ones who have no stars upon thar’s?

    Do we like the Gileadites reject and perhaps even kill with our words and lack of love? Maybe it’s not always intentional. Maybe it’s just ignorance. 

    But I think I must learn to be more proactive in this area. Because if others  don’t find community with me, a sense of belonging here, they will look for it somewhere else. And if I profess to be the hands and feet of Jesus I should be  thinking about how those hands and feet look to those around me.  

    Are they warm and inviting?

     Are they tender and open?

     Are they serving and sacrificial?

    Christian Community should be a place where all are invited in.

    Come as you are put your feet up on the furniture and leave with your heart a little larger to give to others out of what you have received.

    To The River….

    ~Happy Sunday~