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!