Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Maintenance Cream

Did you put on your make-up this morning? Did you take time to try to make yourself look beautiful? Did you use that special cream on your face this morning or last night? Was it age defying? Rejuvenating? Revitalizing? Is it supposed to give your skin a lift? Feel refreshing?

As I was laying in bed this morning listening to the falling rain, I decided to take time to listen to God. He spoke to me about my maintenance routine. On my way to work every morning, I make sure I use my special face cream, brush on a little powder, and put on my lipstick. I don't go anywhere without it.

Conviction seeps into my heart this morning. What kind of spiritual maintenance am I so faithful about? Ouch! Think about your own life today. Do you need to be more beautiful in your actions? Do you need rejuvenated? Revitalized? Refreshed? Do you need a lift?

Maybe you and I both need to focus on our spiritual beauty as much as our physical beauty. Maybe we need to use that spiritual preventative cream a little more often. This is my challenge to you. As you put on your make-up every day, let it be a reminder..."Did I put on my spiritual make-up?" If you don't spend any other time with God in the day, take the moments that you are working so hard on your outer beauty and spend that time in prayer. We need our spiritual maintenance cream far more than anything physical. Take time to read and listen to God today...He is the secret to youth, because with Him... we never die!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Because I Said So!!!

Don't you remember hearing those words growing up? And it wasn't like you could actually hear them the first 2-3 times they were said. For some reason, those words had to be almost yelled in frustration, before the fact that you weren't going to get a real explanation actually sunk in.

I can remember as a teenager thinking, "I am NEVER going to say that to my kids!" YEAH RIGHT!!!! Are you with me?

The other day I spent about an hour trying to explain to my son why he needed to accept what I was saying just "because I said so." He couldn't grasp the concept... I shouldn't be surprised. I didn't either at his age. I wanted him to understand that sometimes we just have to accept authority without knowing the reasons for it.

But after some discussions with friends, some research I have been doing for a project, and a recent bible study... I wonder if that REALLY is a good, or even healthy way to respond to our kids. Especially when it comes to spiritual matters.

Our kids grow up being taught to trust us on every level. Even those four little words are an expectation of trust for our children to have faith in all we do. Just do it, "Because I said so!" Just trust God, "because the Bible says so." Just accept our beliefs are right, "because the pastor said so." Jonah was in the belly of a whale, "because your Sunday school teacher said so." Santa is real, "because I said so." Oops... first of all... is everything we are telling our children true? Secondly, do you know why you believe certain things about your doctrine, or the Bible?

Are you believing things, because someone "said so?"

I have recently started going back to Bible college and the one thing I love is that we have been encouraged to do as the scripture says in I Thessalonians 5:21 "Prove all things; holdfast that which is good." Do you make sure what you have heard on Sunday morning IS REALLY what the scripture says? Or do you just accept what the preacher says and go on?

Here is where this gets scary for our children. More and more, kids are being taught within the education system to prove theories, test judgements, have a reason for EVERYTHING they do and EVERY belief they have. They are literally being taught that they MUST "prove all things." It gets seriously more intense by the time they are in college and are actually scrutinized if they can not PROVE their beliefs.

Are we possibly doing our children a disservice by teaching them to accept the answer, "because I said so?" I know when it comes to parenting, sometimes circumstances just don't hold for explanation and kids need to learn authority. But I am talking about the beliefs and morals, the education on daily spiritual living. Are we teaching them to really search the scriptures and KNOW why they say and believe what we "said so"?

Here is an even more convicting question... what are you just accepting because someone "said so"? Are you being lazy and just listening to someone else? OR are you really digging in deep and obeying the scripture to "prove all things"?

As wonderful as it is to have spiritual leaders and mentors, we know that there are many false teachings in churches, just like there are on college campuses. How about being an example for your children now and teaching them how to search the scriptures and be able to prove their beliefs. Can you?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Are You Listening?

My kids get home and it is non-stop chattering hitting me from all directions. I am overwhelmed and tired from my day and their incessant talking just seems to slip from three individual conversations to one HUGE chaotic annoyance. I can't tell you how many times they have looked at me and said, "Are you listening?" At that point I have to stop, focus, and really create a desire in myself to know what they are saying. And boy! Do they know the difference when I am really listening, rather than nodding my head in acknowledgment they are speaking, but not really paying attention to what their true desires, feelings and experiences of the day have been.

Are you listening? Are you hearing what is going on around you? Do you hear chaos? Or do you hear GOD today?

I know that just a few minutes ago, God really spoke to me about just listening. I was making my mental list of all I need to do... where I should be... what the week has ahead for me. But God wants my undivided attention today. Take this day and just LISTEN to GOD. Whatever it is your doing, open your ears and listen to God as you go through your day today. He has already shown me so wonderful insights just because I decided to focus my attention on listening to Him today. I am sure he will do the same for you today.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Stick in the Spokes

I was talking with a friend yesterday and God blessed me with such a wonderful analogy I just had to share it with you. We were talking about circumstances that just seem to bring our lives to a screeching halt. You know what I am talking about. We have all had them... a death in the family, a major disappointment, kids turning away, marriages broken, job loss... too many to list. Sometimes the events are HUGE and other times they are small. Either way, they turn our life upside down.

Let's imagine for a moment... since this is written to mainly women.. I am going to talk as such. Close your eyes and think about learning to ride a bike. I see this little girl about five or six with a pink skirt right above her knees. She has on a crisp white T-shirt with lace edging around the collar and sleeves. Her long blond hair is tied up in pigtails complete with pink bows tied to perfection. She is so excited because she has just learned how to ride her bike all by herself. Can't you just see her?

She is riding up and down her little gravel driveway. Each trip she gets braver and braver, pedaling faster and faster, even standing up as she pumps the pedals and feels the wind whisking through her flying pigtails. Her dad is sitting on the back steps with a big grin on his face as she is calling to him, "Look daddy how fast I can go!"

Then suddenly, somehow she accidentally runs over a stick in the road, it kicks up and gets caught in her spokes. The bike instantly comes to a screeching halt and she flies over the handlebars only to have gravel dig into her pretty little knees and elbows. Her perfect pigtails droop more like a pitiful puppy dog.

Her dad, of course, was already running to her rescue because he saw the stick as it was stopping her and was up on his way to care for her before she was even hurt. She is sitting there on the gravel, tears rolling down her face. She has blood on her elbows just enough to stain her pretty white shirt and knees skinned up just enough to burn. As her dad gets to her, she reaches up for her "daddy" just waiting to be comforted.

Her dad grabs her up in one swoop and holds her close as he pats her back and stokes the blond bangs out of her eyes. "It will be ok honey. Let's go get you cleaned up." He pulls her close as her tears of disappointment, pain and fear flow down her cheek.

They go in the house, he cleans up the mess she has made of her knees and elbows and wipes the blood off her pretty little shirt. He gets the band-aides... more than she needs of course, but enough to make her feel secure... puts them on the cuts and even the little scrapes, and kisses each "boo boo" to make it better. He gives her another reassuring hug and tells her sometimes that happens and we just have to get up and try again. With another kiss to the forehead he goes back outside and this time holds the bike and walks with her until she gains the confidence she needs to ride free again.

Do you know what I just did? I just described what our Heavenly Father does when we get a stick in our spokes. YOU are that beautiful little girl. Yes, you may have just flown off the handlebars of life right now. You are sitting there in tears. You have cuts and wounds... some may even leave scars. You may have stained up the pretty white shirt you love to wear. But I want you to know right now that GOD is running to you! He saw you getting ready to fall. He is reaching out to you, ready to pick you up.

God is saying to you right now, "It's ok honey. Let's go get you cleaned up."

You know all you have to do is reach out your arms! Let God pull you in close to Him. Let him wipe away your tears. Let him give you more band-aides that you even need. Let him kiss your boo boos. Rest in His caring arms today!

Yes... you will have to get back on the bike and ride again. But God is going to be right by your side. He is going to hold the bike again. He is going to be right by your side while you learn to ride with confidence again.

Don't give up on riding! It won't be long until you are riding carefree enjoying the breeze whisking through your hair again. God loves you. Let Him comfort you today!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

God Doesn't Use Mapquest

Being the internet codependent junkie that I am, I always go online to get my mapquest directions when I am going somewhere unfamiliar. Whether it is a trip across town, or a long road trip, I just like to KNOW where I am going and HOW to get there.

This morning while praying about some "issues" life has thrown my way, I broke down in tears asking God for directions. I saw a HUGE green road sign as I was praying and said, "Lord why can't you just put a big green sign in front of my face like that, then I wouldn't be so confused on what path you want me to take." You see... I am so afraid of taking the wrong route that I am at the state of almost just being tormented.

At the moment the verses Proverbs 3:5-6 came to mind:
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not unto your own understand. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths."

I thought, "Well that is all good and all... and I do know you will direct my paths.. but how am I supposed to know where you are directing me?"

Once again, God quietly spoke to me. You see. I am sitting here looking for a big green sign on the highway of life. I want to stay in the fast lane and just breeze through every trial and tribulation. I want to quick way to arrive at my destination. But God showed me today that sometimes... probably most of the time, I am not looking at the right road signs. We are to take the narrow path. Think about it... how many of those little country side roads.. you know the narrow ones that aren't traveled by many... how many of those do you see on big green signs. Usually they are on a small little sign off the side of the road. You have to keep your eyes open and keep your speed down to see them.

OUCH!!!! Ok God! Ok! I hear ya! That was lesson #1. As I was wiping the tears away, in my complete frustration and desire to do God's will; follow His path, but not have to be in so much pain in the process; I asked God one more question: "But God... how do I know deal with the anxiety and fear of missing that small little road sign along the way?"

God in his graciousness touched my spirit and, of course, answered, "Stay close enough to me to feel my nudge as you come to the path I want you to take. There aren't any landmarks for me to give you, just listen closely."

Are you in the middle of a frustrating journey today? Are you like me and scared to take the wrong path? Are you in the fast lane and just begging God to flash some big green sign in front of your face? SLOW DOWN and LISTEN. Trust with ALL your heart. Quit trying to understand it ALL... HE WILL DIRECT YOUR PATHS... and mine too. Just remember to keep close enough to Him to feel His nudge when it is time to make a turn onto yet another narrow path.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Wallowing in Regret

How many of us have regrets in life? I wish I would have gone to school there instead. I should have chosen a different major. If only I would have taken that job. Why in the world did I choose to marry him? We should have bought the house in that neighborhood. I wish I wouldn't have said that to him. If only I hadn't gotten addicted to that.Yes, we all have regrets, wish I had have, and only if's in our life. Some more than others. Some more extreme than others... but we all have them.

My question for you today is how do you deal with your regrets? Are the consequences of bad decisions haunting you toward a life full of wallowing in regret? Are you consumed looking backwards instead of living in the present? Are you having a hard time forgiving other people in your life because you can't even forgive yourself?

I prayed this morning that God would give me words that SOMEONE needed to hear this morning. You see.. one of my regrets is that I have not been more faithful in this ministry that I know He has called me to. I can sit and be upset that I didn't follow through. I can spend hours worrying over doing the wrong thing.. but today is a time to stop looking backward and make one simple step forward TODAY! Today, I know that someone who is reading this needs to STOP wallowing in regret. Someone... maybe it is you, needs to remember that your slate is wiped clean and regret is only going to take up time that God could be using to reach another life for Him.

After I prayed I opened my Bible to Isaiah 44:21-22. It is underlined in my Bible and in the margin I have the words written, "Clean Slate." Today... YOU need to be reminded:

"...Take it seriously... that you're my servant. I made you and shaped you: You're my servant... I'll NEVER forget you. I've wiped the slate clean of ALL your wrongdoings. There's NOTHING left of your sins. Come back to me, come back. I've redeemed you."

If you are having regret... STOP. Hand it over to God. If you haven't repented, DO IT NOW! You cannot change the past, but you can change the course of today. Pick yourself up out of the pig pen of regret and come back to the reality of being wiped clean!

Take it seriously... you are God's servant. He shaped you. He knows about your past, it makes you who you are today. Take those regrets and turn them into reasons to minister to others today!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Blessed Be the Name

Blessed be the name of the Lord, blessed be your glorious name! I am on my way out the door to work and heard this song. What a beautiful thought! Living in an abundant land... streams flowing... everything going great! It is so easy to praise God when things are going great. We know all our blessings come from Him and it is easy to praise God for it.

What about when the darkness closes in? Is it still that easy? Do you still praise God? This morning I am not going to take much time, but I want you to think that even in "the road that is marked with suffering" there is "blessing in the offering!" God is a mighty God!

Yes, maybe he has taken some things from you today.. your job, a loved one, an ideal of the perfect mate... whatever it is! Let's make this vow together today. We are going to sing God's praises today. Let us CHOOSE to say today... blessed be the name of the Lord!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Why Choose the RIGHT Path?

I've been going through a bit of a pity party lately. It isn't anything new. It is that kind of party you wait to have until no one is available to come. You use all your energy planning, cooking, decorating... knowing full well no one will show up and you are going to be disappointed anyway. Why even throw the party in the first place... maybe it is so you have an EXCUSE to feel bad.

Anyway, things just seem to aggravate me. Nothing seems fair. It seems whether I try to do the right thing or not, something goes wrong and I ALWAYS seem to get hurt through it. I have been here before. Many times. Have you been there? Have you had those times where you just throw your hands up and say, "Why even try?"

The concept of "RIGHT" has really been on my mind lately. Unfortunately we are living in a day and age where "right" is a relative term. We choose the definition of right to be based on our own ideas and perspectives rather than it's true definition of "something true, correct, a fact". I am working on a project at work that is just an amazing grassroots initiative to improve global morality... what a job! But it has really had me thinking about why we choose to do right.

In my struggles lately, I have once again began to question God. "JESUS!!! Why choose to do right when I get hurt either way? If doing what is right feels like this.... I know doing wrong will hurt eventually too.. but at least I can enjoy a few moments of feeling good for a change." I tell the Lord, "I love you God. I want to do what is right. But it just HURTS SO BAD right now."

Now I know, from my past experiences, that doing wrong can feel WONDERFUL in the moment... but I also know the results are often MORE painful than I ever imagined. Have you ever noticed how pain is only an "in the moment" experience? Ladies, think about childbirth. We all know the pain! (Unless of course you had such a good epidural like me that you slept through the entire thing. SIDE NOTE: That was only with one child... I full well know the pain.) Anyway.. in the moment.. the pain is almost unbearable! But the result.. OH THE JOY OF THE RESULT!

I am maybe getting a bit off track today, but what I want you to see is something that God showed me yesterday when reading a VERY familiar scripture. Read Psalm 23. Verse 3 really hit me, "...he leadeth me in paths of righteousness for HIS name's sake." Why do we live a righteous life? Why do we chose what is right... EVEN when the moment of pain seems to great to bear? We do it for HIS name's sake!!! If there were ever a cause to promote, isn't it the name of Jesus? If childbirth is worth it for our own "name's sake".. our children.... then shouldn't we be able to bear this moment of pain for the one who gave His very life for us?

You know.. even Jesus wanted to avoid the pain. He spent hours in prayer, on His face before God, asking to have "this cup taken from me". He even said, "Father, Why have thou forsaken me?" It is okay to have the feelings you are having right now. IF JESUS in His Holiness had feelings like that, then why wouldn't you? BUT.... remember.... the pain is FOR HIS NAME SAKE!!!

(If you are interested in finding out more about choosing RIGHT and living a MORAL life. Look for information on MOMENT FOR MORALITY at Facebook.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Back to School... with Plenty to Learn

I don't know about you, but today is the first day back to school for the kids around here. Buses are lighting up the streets with their blue flashing lights and kids are sporting new shoes and crisp uniforms. It is a time for a fresh start for many starting their first day of high school or Kindergarten. Excitement and anticipation seems to fill the air like the humidity before the first spring shower.

As I started a new schedule with the kids this morning, I decided that they aren't the only ones with plenty to learn this year. Those of you following my blog... as sporadic as it has been.. know that consistency is not my strong suit. The 90 day reading challenge pretty much turned into a flop for me. In general, I feel like I let not only myself down, but everyone (or THE one) that actually read.

I am listening to a song as I write called "Daily Bread." The words are saying, "My hands are meant to serve you, my voice to sing your praises." It is time that I learn to let God be my DAILY bread. Obviously you can see from my blog that I have not been letting God's Word be my DAILY bread. I think as my kids start their new schedules and have plenty to learn, I need to learn as well.

Take a few minutes this morning and ask God what it is that you need to learn. There is SO much we just overlook. I have no excuse for not keeping up with at least a regular posting to this ministry blog. I may not do it every day, but there shouldn't be weeks and months between posts. IF this is the ministry God has told me it needs to be, then I need to show up. I would throw a fit if my kids missed turning in an assignment, like I miss my assignments from God.

Think about your daily time with God as well. As you expect your kids to attend classes every day so that they can learn as much as possible to better themselves... how much MORE important is it that we show up to class with God. We need to show up EVERY day to get our daily bread from Him. We need to "study to show ourselves approved"! Maybe reading through the Bible in 90 days is beyond your ability, but it isn't the quantity of the education, but the quality... RIGHT?

As each of us start this new school year, let's try to think of some ways to be more accountable in our own education opportunities. When you ask your kids in the evening if they have finished their homework...HAVE YOU FINISHED YOUR HOMEWORK... time with God? When we expect them to get up in time to have breakfast before they catch the bus... HAVE YOU ATE YOUR DAILY BREAD AND READ GOD'S WORD? Think of the expectations you have on your children... and ponder... WHAT DOES GOD EXPECT OF YOU... and ME?

I have PLENTY to learn... How about you?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

SHINE Challenge: Day... I HAVE NO IDEA

Yes, it is pitiful! You haven't heard from me in over a week and I really don't know what day of the challenge it is. 

Have I completely dropped out of the challenge? No, I am still reading. But as always, I am going to be honest... I have fallen so far behind. I haven't read every day. And, I have let so many other things that aren't important take up the time I should have spent with God. Am I the only one? Do you do this too? Is it just part of being human?

You know we are on a journey. We are not going to find perfection until we end up at the gates of heaven. One thing I have found with my Heavenly Father is that He is so forgiving and merciful. He wants us to just commune with Him. 

I was thinking about my youngest daughter this morning and it really convicted me in my spiritual life and my relationship with God. Every morning, before she will go get ready, she MUST have her "mommy time". She jumps up in bed with me, wraps her arms around me, and snuggles up close. It is normally followed with a big kiss and lots of I love you's. I absolutely ADORE this time with her. I miss it when something happens that we aren't able to have this special time in the mornings. It is one of the most precious treasures I will ever have.  And, one thing is for sure... whether it is for 2 minutes or 2 hours..... I treasure this time with all my heart and definitely am assured of my daughter's love for me.

I need to start my day with some "Daddy Time." Every day I need to snuggle up close to my Abba Father and relish in His love. If it is a 2 minute prayer of thanksgiving for the day, or a 2 hour pow-wow about all that life has that troubles me.... HE RELISHES THAT TIME WITH ME!

How many people do you know that just honestly want to give you their undivided attention 24/7? Are you like me and at times crave the attention of someone who truly loves you? Don't forget that someone is right by your side. He is just waiting for you to spend some "Daddy Time" with Him.

No, I am not doing great on my challenge... but I do intend to complete it. More importantly than that, I plan to spend a little bit of  "Daddy Time" with my Heavenly Father EVERY day! How about you?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

SHINE Challenge: Day 7

I can't believe a week has passed already! How are you doing with your reading?  I have been reading everyday, but once you fall behind, it seems almost impossible to catch up. Especially when you don't make it a priority. I need some encouragement to stick with it. Is anyone else feeling that way?

It isn't that I don't want to read... cause that I am enjoying so much! I think it is more the guilt of actually seeing how many things I can end up putting before my time with God. It can be very discouraging to realize that you could be putting forth a better effort to keep a commitment to God.

I just want you to know if I don't post in the next day or so, it isn't that I am not reading or I have given up. Apparently, someone opened my phone bill and didn't put it in my mailbox until late today and my bill is OVERDUE. Ugh! So first thing in the morning I have to hope and pray I get to it in time.

I want each of you to realize something that I am showing you the perfect example of... it doesn't matter what it is... if you are trying to do something for God, every distraction will suddenly appear in your life to throw you off track. Be prepared for that. Take on the full armor of God and plunge forward! (I am preaching to myself, by the way, if you haven't noticed.)

I look forward to hear what God is showing you through your reading! Let's keep encouraging each other.

Monday, May 25, 2009

SHINE Challenge: Day 6

And the downward spiral begins! Yes, the one thing I have promised to do is to be real with you through SHINE. It is now almost midnight and once again, I have not COMPLETED my allotted reading or made a video to post.

Today has been a very lazy day, so there really are no viable excuses. I did spend my morning in devotions. I read quite a bit of the challenge reading, but did not complete where I "should" be today. God showed me some neat things in my regular devotions that were very personal. I was able to spend some time in prayer that I normally tend to rush. So, I guess I am just still playing catch up to the schedule to complete my reading in the 90 days.

I don't want to let any of you down. I could have read everything tonight. I spent time on the computer.. yes FARM TOWN  conveniently has become addictive about the time this challenge begun. IMAGINE THAT!?!?! But don't think I sat on that all day. (Let me just justify myself a bit.. LOL

I was able to spend some one-on-one time with each of my kids today. I was discouraged because one-on-one time tends to become "let's argue about something" time with a teenager. But, God is helping me to take a deep breath when I would otherwise like to wring his (the teenager's, not God's) neck. 

So why didn't I finish? Well it is always interesting how something new comes along to take your attention when you are trying to do something for God. I just didn't prioritize my time like I should. I wonder if any of you struggle with that? It isn't that we consciously think someone or something else is more important than God, our time with Him, or our commitments to Him, but before we know it... the time has slipped away and He no longer ended up the priority on the list.

As I finish out this day, I hope to catch up on my reading so I won't be overwhelmed today. I also plan to really lay out this issue before God and ask for His help in making those moment decisions to put Him first. I think the thing to remember is that God just wants some time with us on a personal level. He wants us to love Him and make time for Him. Let's all try to do better at that this week.

God bless and let's keep shining! 

Sunday, May 24, 2009

SHINE Challenge: Day 5

No, you won't see a video today. Why? Cause I didn't take the time to do it like I should, and honestly... I am just too tired to post a video tonight... Besides, since this is a day of rest, I will give you a day of rest from seeing this ugly face!!! LOL

Seriously, it is almost midnight and I haven't read my 23 pages yet today. I have read.. just not the amount I need to on a daily basis. I was actually feeling defeated because I didn't read my allotted amount and then I was reminded of something. My goal wasn't to read 23 pages a day, but to read through the Bible in 90 days. The magic number of "23" is just to help me manage the time better to get through without getting overwhelmed and behind.

I have spent the day in God's presence. God's presence was in our church service today. I learned things through my scripture reading. And I had an AWESOME time sharing the things I have read with a friend who shared some insights God is revealing to her as well. 

Isn't that the goal? Not to read 12 or 23 or however many pages a day, but make a commitment to reading through the Bible in a short time period to really get the full effect of the scriptures and get closer to God.

I was going to push and try to stay up, finish my daily goal of 23 pages, and then push to make a video of how it went. Honestly, I think God will get more glory from me just being honest and telling you that I am going to bed and spending a little extra time to catch up what I didn't finish today and keep going. I would much rather be fresh and enjoy reading; gain perspectives on what is written; and truly hide God's word on my heart.

So, until tomorrow. Keep up the good work and enjoy the journey of drawing closer to Him!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

SHINE Challenge: Day 4

Day 4, only 86 more to go!!! I honestly am surprised to stay on track this long. I have always been bad at making commitments. PLEASE start leaving comments and let us know how you are doing. The more you participate, the more it will inspire us all to keep going.

Remember, this isn't a competition. We are here to encourage each other to keep the faith and grow closer to God as we learn more about Him in His word. Keep up the good work.

Follow Through

I can't tell you how good it feels to follow through. I posted a video earlier this evening even though I hadn't done my daily reading. I felt horrible. I didn't feel like reading and I knew my body was just exhausted. Do you ever feel like that? There is something you KNOW God wants you to do; but you are just so overwhelmed, tired, or even distracted that you find it impossible.

You know. A lot of times we make a commitment and then when we feel like we can't follow through we just give up. Tonight... I wanted to give up on my challenge. Just as I was being honest in my video about how I felt, I began to be charged about keeping my commitment. Was I still tired? YES!!! Did I still need to rest? YES!!! Did I have to make adjustments to my evening? YES!!! 

Here is what I want you to think about. We make lots of commitments in our lives. We make family commitments, work commitments, commitments at church, and commitments to God. I think sometimes we make so many commitments and get so overwhelmed with trying to follow through, that we kill ourselves and come to resent the very commitment we made.

As I thought about the chore of doing my reading tonight, I almost became angry that I had made another commitment knowing there was NO WAY I would ever be able to read this much in such a short time period. The more angry I became (and it was a self-anger) the worse I felt and the more I felt like giving up.

Now stop a minute and think. God loves us! What good is reading through the Bible in 90 days or anything else we may commit ourselves to if in the long run we resent it?!? It was ok for me to rest first. It was ok for me to have my kids fend for themselves for supper. It was ok for me to just go on to bed. It was ok for me to know my own limitations.

Here's where the commitment comes in. If I would have just done all those things and disregarded my commitment, THEN God would have been disappointed. But... I just had to find a way to make adaptations. I had to work a little harder at following through. I had to set my alarm for 10:30 to get up. I had to STOP pushing snooze. I had to get up out of the bed. I had to sit in front of the air conditioner to stay awake to read at first. I HAD TO MAKE AN EFFORT! and WANT to keep my commitment... even through the tough part.

You know what the coolest thing about it was? I ENJOYED IT!!!! I read my allotted pages in record time because I was enjoying so much. I even laughed out loud at some of the stories I read tonight! And to be honest, even though it is midnight, I may keep on reading. God's Word is becoming so interesting... even the genealogies!

I know this commitment isn't easy. Any commitment you make to God is going to be a challenge. WHY? Because Satan hates to see us keep our commitments to God and make Him happy! Keep hanging in there. Don't give yourself freedom to fail. As I laid down I prayed that I would have the will power to get up when my alarm sounded. I also proclaimed out loud the Word of God, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." Nothing defeats Satan more than speaking the Word of God against him.

It is time to Follow Through. Keep on reading and keep on SHINING!

Friday, May 22, 2009

SHINE Challenge: Day 3

OK.... I am tired! And NO, I haven't completed my reading yet... so what's the deal? Watch this video and find out more:

Thursday, May 21, 2009

SHINE Challenge: Day 2

Are you excited yet? Isn't it amazing what spending a little extra time with God can do for you? Yes, I know it takes time out of the day, but what a great time it is becoming! Here's my take on day two.

Repeat Offenders

Are you a repeat offender? Do you look down on those who are? You know, it is very easy for us to look at the lives of others and see all the areas where they continue to screw up. I know I have been guilty of looking at someone else and wonder how in the world they can continue to mess up over and over again in the same area... all the while, I do the exact same thing. 

Or maybe you are like me and just can't seem to forgive yourself when you struggle or slip in a specific area. "I should do better than that." "How can I claim to be a Christian and still struggle in that area?" "How can God forgive me when I continue to make the same mistakes?" "I'll never be what God intended for me to be!"

As I have started this 90 day reading challenge, it has been so exciting to see things that I had never really noticed before. I knew about Abram telling Sarai to say she was his sister when they were visiting Egypt; but I didn't realize this happened at another instance.  Abraham and Sara were actually repeat offenders. Later on in Genesis 20, Abraham and Sarah do the same thing with King Abimelech.

You know, I wouldn't have thought as much about this, except this instance was after God's covenant with Abraham. It was after their names had been changed. This was after Abraham believed God's promise and it was credited to him as righteousness! You see we aren't talking about a sinful man here. We aren't talking about someone choosing to live in sin. We are talking about a man who later on in the book of Hebrews is exemplified as great man of faith. 

Are you a repeat offender? Do you feel like you have fallen short and may never amount to anything because of your struggle with a particular sin? Does Satan try to convince you that you may as well give up?

If you are struggling with your own inadequacies, I want you to go and read the stories of Abraham in the Bible. Look at the ups and downs of his life and his obedience. Even after all this, Abraham is a considered a great man of faith. His story continues to be an example even after all these years. You are only as inadequate as Satan can make you feel.

If you are a repeat offender, take hold of your circumstances today. BELIEVE GOD, just like Abraham, and continue serving Him. Don't let Satan's lies keep you from finding strength in the faith of trusting God to forgive.

We all have areas where we struggle with sin. If you don't

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

SHINE Challenge: Day 1

Well, this post may not be on by midnight, but my reading was completed today. I can't wait to share some insights tomorrow. Maybe some of you will even beat me to it. Thanks for viewing and you join our cause on facebook now too!

SHINE: Challenge Intro

Get ready for something new on SHINE. Follow my progress, with the 90 reading challenge. Be sure to leave comments and share your experiences as well. Good luck and God Bless!!!

90 Day Challenge

Anyone up for a challenge? What's that? I hear  you sighing already... or wait I think that was me I heard. Yesterday my dear friend and I came across a new challenge that is beginning on June 1st and we have decided to take it to a new level. If I wait till June 1st, I will just put it off and do what I am famous for.... PROCRASTINATE!!!

If you notice, I put a new poll up the other day, which is so providential. I asked if you have ever read through the entire Bible. Honestly, I hate to admit, but I haven't. Not purposefully. Not cover to cover. Between growing up in a Christian home, going to a Christian high school, and graduating from Bible College, I may have read the entire Bible through the years. However, I have NEVER been able to finish purposefully reading through the entire Bible.

Well, here is my chance... and it's yours too! If you read just 12 pages a day, you can read the entire Bible in 90 days. Now for me, I have a parallel Bible, so I will have to read more like 24 pages, but that still isn't that bad. If you want an exact number of pages you will need to read your particular Bible, just take the page number on the last page of Revelations and divide it by 90. It really isn't that bad.

Now, are you feeling the anxiety I felt when I first decided to take this challenge? Well, welcome to the club! If Satan can defeat us before we even get started, then he has succeeded. I don't want that, do you?

Yes, I am afraid that just as I have done with this blog that things will get busy and I will just fall short and then not put the effort to complete my goal. Let's remind each other that the Bible tells us in Philippians 4:13 that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Did you get that? ALL THINGS... read your Bible cover to cover in 90 days is included in that!

I will be posting how it is going as well as any insights God shows me along the way. So... not only am I committing to doing the reading, but to spend more time with you on SHINE. Are ready for a challenge? Will you start the race with me? Let's keep our eyes on the prize. I want to hide God's word in my heart that I will no longer sin against Him, how about you?

Let's pray for God to bless this endeavor and let it be a great way to SHINE for Him:

Dear Lord,

You of all people know my shortcomings. You know where I slack, where I tend to give up, and my overall lack of discipline. I pray that you give me the strength to complete this challenge, not just for the sake of a challenge, but to truly hide YOUR word in my heart so that I will not continue to sin against you. Let this be the beginning of a walk closer to you than ever before.

For those who are willing to take on the challenge with me, I pray that you give them determination and encouragement. Let the things you show me to share be an encouragement. Prod them to share comments on this very site to encourage one another and to share the blessings you bring out when we dedicate ourselves to your word.

Thank you for what you are getting ready to do. We are looking forward to great and mighty things. Reveal to us the things that we have allowed to be hidden for so long by just not spending time with you like we should. Thank you for we know that in 90 days, we will no longer feel challenged, but changed!

In your precious and Holy name,

OK... no ready.... get set.....GO!!!!! Start reading and look back late tonight for how the first day of the challenge went for me! Until then....

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Looking back

Let's not even talk about how long it has been since my last post. If you are learning anything about my humanity, it is that I am NOT very consistent. Good thing I am not getting paid to be routine with this... boy would I be in trouble! We'll talk about what God just said to me about that another time... Man is He good at convicting us in a heartbeat!

Facebook has been a great way for so many of us to WASTE hours and hours! Do I hear an AMEN? But, the one nice thing about it is finding old friends. This week a dear friend from elementary school found me. It is amazing how we can just pick up right where we left off. I am not so sure her husband is glad she found me, cause I think she may have woke him up laughing at my report of some past shenanigans. We were able to give each other a little history of all the things that have happened to us: marriage, kids, what we are doing, spiritual life. It was so nice to feel that connection again.

As we were talking about some things, talk of our past mistakes and orneriness came up. I know, I know... it is so hard to imagine me being ornery! (Did you just roll your eyes?) Anyway... it brought to mind an important lesson. The statement was made about wishing we could go back and change those mistakes.

So many people waste time dwelling on their past mistakes. Why did I do that? How could I be so stupid? Whether the mistake was 18 years ago or 18 minutes ago, we seem to carry that weight with us forever. God has given me such a peace lately about my mistakes. Yes, there are times I wish I could change them. I wonder how much happier I would be. I wonder how much more successful I would be. I wonder if!  But IF I had been different, I wouldn't be the person I am today and no one can tell if that would be a better new me or a worse new me.

God is so generous in His love for us that he "works all things out for the glory of those that love God." - even our mistakes, our regrets, and our failures! That isn't an excuse to keep on failing, but it is a freedom to move forward and stop dwelling on our past.  

You know what is so cool about Jesus? He is better than those old friends we find on facebook. We can start back right where we left off with Him... and we don't even have to catch up. He knows everything that has happened in between our mistakes. When we take the time to come back and get back in touch with Him, He is right there to start right where we left off.

I don't know where you are today. But if you are living in a "What if I would have..." state of mind. You need to quit looking behind and start thinking about what you can do with your life now. You know, my mistakes are the things that seem to make my testimony the most real-not just to other people, but to me. Start letting God show you how He is working the "mistakes" in your life out for good. You may just be surprised to see all God can do with a little ole  "failure" like you and me!

Friday, March 13, 2009

At Least God is Consistent

I am not the most consistent person in the world.  I am scattered, definitely a bit ADD, forgetful, and unmotivated at times. I tend to get a great idea and start it... but many times fail to finish. I see my more disciplined friends and get discouraged at times. I look back on how long it has been since I have used this medium to "SHINE" and cringe at my inconsistency.

Isn't it nice to know that we have a God who is consistent? Not only is He consistent, but faithful. One of the things that has just blown me away over the past few years is how God's consistency isn't based on us. It doesn't matter if we work out butts off, or fail over and over again. God is consistent through it all. Sometimes His consistency involves discipline, sometimes it involves heart ache... but through it all his provision and love is consistent as well.

My kids fuss at me on numerous occasions about "not keeping my promises." They of course think any time I say we will do something it is set in stone, not understanding that sometimes things come up and we can't keep the plans. The biggest complaint I have comes from my teenager when I have told him he can use the phone, etc. then I punish him by taking away his privileges... "But you SAID I could.. you lied," he will say. He just doesn't want to make the connection that HE is the one that changed the plans by his behavior... not me.

I love the scripture in Isaiah 48 (The Message) that says, " I've said it, and I'll most certainly do it. I've planned it, so it is as good as done." When God starts something... you can bet HE WILL FINISH IT! When God tells us He is going to do something, He will be SURE to do it. 

I am so glad God is consistent. I am so glad I can depend on Him when I can depend on no one else. Remember, you may mess up... you will mess up; you may be undisciplined... you will be undisciplined; but no matter what, God will be faithful and GOD IS FAITHFUL and CONSISTENT!