Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ready Yourselves

I know that without any doubt, hesitation or reservation that the end is drawing ever closer. I have within me a deep urgency to truly be the church and not just do church. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. Can anyone out their relate? It is a matter of life and death, eternal life and death and I do not want blood on my hands. Instead I want to be a partaker of the blessings in being God's messenger of hope. I have been personally called to take the key of Christ and unlock prison doors so that captives may know true freedom. Called to take the salve of Christ and place it on the scars of the wounded. Called to bring the Joy of the Lord to those in mourning and deep sorrow. Called to stitch up the broken hearts. May the Spirit of the Lord be upon us all to go out.

I truly believe even more than ever that God is up to something huge at my church, Jackson Park Baptist. Over and over again He has confirmed to me personally in our times together that the old things are gone behold a new thing is about to spring forth. I am so ready. He has also told me that I must be ready for the new thing. I am to ready myself for what He is bringing. Henry Blackaby says in Experiencing God, "I cannot stay where I am and go with God." I want to go with God. How about you?

A song that has reverberated with my soul in recent days is the new one by Casting Crowns. I love the words and they express so much better the battle cry I am sounding to my fellow servants of the Lord.



Lord I want to feel your heart
and see the world through your eyes
I want to be your hands and feet
I want to live a life that leads

chorus
ready yourselves
ready yourselves
Let us shine the light of Jesus in the darkest night
ready yourselves
ready yourselves
May the powers of darkness tremble as our praises rise
Until the whole world hears Lord we are calling out
Lifting up Your name for all to hear the sound
Like voices in the wilderness we're crying out
as the day draws near
we'll sing until the whole world hears

Lord let your sleeping giant arise
Catch the demons by surprise
Holy nation sanctified
Let this be our battle cry


chorus

we'll sing until the whole world hears
we'll sing until the whole world hears

Want to be your hands and feet
Want to be a life that leads
To see you set the captive free

Until the whole world hears
and I pray that they will see more of you and less of me
Lord I want my life to be the song You sing
Until the whole world hears Lord we are calling out
Lifting your name up for all to hear the sound
Like voices in the wilderness we're crying out
as the day draws near
we'll sing until the whole world hears
we'll sing until the whole world hears
we'll sing until the whole world hears
we'll sing until the whole world hears
we'll sing until the whole world hears
we'll sing until the whole world hears

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

SS After thoughts

Interesting that we just finished on faithfulness being a fruit of the Spirit. In my Quiet time a couple of verses stood out in relation to the lesson we had this past Sunday. Since they can also pertain to the previous blog I wanted to share them here as well as with my class (the most wonderful class ever)!


Isaiah 36:5 (NKJV)
I say you speak of having plans and power for war; but they are mere words. Now in whom do you trust, that you rebel against me?

We that have been give the truth are now accountable to and responsible for the truth given. We cannot just let these truths of God shared become just mere words because God clearly says that would be a personal rebellion against Him. I don't want to go there do you? We must BELIEVE GOD. It is not enough to recognize we are in a battle and to agree that it isn't easy nor just plan on ignoring it. We must enter into the battle with our shield of faith, BELIEVING GOD for the victory and the conquering of the kingdom that stands against God.


Ephes. 1:19 (NKJV)
and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power

We are not in this battle alone. Do you see the promise here for those of who are willing to take God at His word and believe it so that it changes the way we behave and think? Exceeding great power toward us. I could use more of His power in my life and circumstances what about you? Let's BELIEVE GOD.

Remember that we have to go "through" and not around. We don't want to take the long way around nor do we want to give up because there is so much at stake. Look at this verse and see what is at the other end of the battle:


Psalm 66:12 (NKJV)
You have caused men to ride over our heads;
We went through fire and through water;
But You brought us out to rich fulfillment.

Rich fulfillment...it has the meaning of satisfaction and running over

What shall be our battle cry? God be glorified, Jesus exalted and the Spirit manifested! Who is ready to fight?

Shield of Faith

The first piece of armor that our young people are to put on is their 'shield of faith". Note that I said their "shield of faith." Our young people cannot ride the faith of their parents. Even in battles where the shield was used it was made to cover one person and each person going to battle had to pick up their own personal shield to be covered. You didn't go into battle without one hoping if the arrows came your way you could jump behind someone's shield and find safety; there would not be room for two because it is a personal shield. Just as each person must individually take responsibility for their own sins and seek personal forgiveness so each person must have their own personal faith.

More about faith in a minute. The shield that was used most in biblical times was a large shield around 4ft tall and 2ft wide. Some were even curved to give the most coverage of protection. Scripture tells us that God is our shield! He is our coverage of protection but we must seek His refuge when the enemy comes at us. The shield was often covered with linen and leather which had been saturated so that when the flaming arrows were hurled they would be quickly extinguished.

Let me give an analogy; God Himself is our shield, the saturated linen and leather is the truth of God. Having them in our arsenal is great but unless we know how to use them we are in trouble. A Scripture God showed me in preparation for my SS lesson shows this:

"When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, "If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt. So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle."

They were armed for battle...just as we have been fully given every piece of armor we need for battle. But having armor doesn't mean we are fit for battle nor that we know how to skillfully use the armor. We need (parents, grandparents...) to know how to use the armor and then train our young people likewise.

So back to the analogy, If God is our shield and the leather and linen God's truth how do we effectively use it? We must hide behind it. We must stand behind it. Now in day to day living how is that accomplished? That is why it is called the "shield of faith." We must have faith.

Faith is pistis and it means "firm persuasi1on, conviction, belief in the truth, veracity, reality or faithfulness."1 It means simply to believe God. Our shield will protect us and put out the enemies lies when we believe God's truth! When we believe God. When we take God at His word. When we take God's word over every other word that sets itself up against God's word.

We must believe God and train our children in the reality and sureness of God's word. It is the word that is the lamp to our feet and light to our path. It is the only way to overcoming the darkness of this world. Give your young people more and more light! Be and example before them by standing behind your own personal shield of faith. Be a light give the light. Believe God!

See You At The Pole

Today is a very important day for students across the United States. Many sold out Christian young people gathered early this morning at their school flag poles to pray.

1 Tim. 4:12 (NKJV)
Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

Father God, I humbly pray for this young generation that they will believe you exist and that You are a rewarder of those who earnestly seek You. God I pray that they will seek to flee temptation and not even put them selves in places of possible temptations. When they find them selves in situations that could be harmful I pray Lord that you would reveal to them clearly the escape route you have placed there for them out of Your great mercy and love. I ask that you will give them a heart to delight in You, a mind that hungers for the truth and a soul that thirsts for Your presence. O Lord that You would give them pure hearts and clean hands. I also ask that they would hear Your Spirit within them and they would respond with, "Yes Lord." Help them to be leaders with courage and not followers. Lord give them discernment to recognize lies being taught, shared as truth and sold as good and right when they are wrong and bad. Help them not to fall into the pit of political correctness over Your holiness. God fill everyone of their deepest needs, wounds and longings with Your unfailing love that they not seek to fill their emptiness with anything but You. God give them supernatural power to be more than conquerors that they will be the generation to turn this world upside down. God without You this generation is dangerous. Please Lord hear our prayers today that all may see and know that You alone are Lord God. Jesus rules and by His blood and life we pray. Amen

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Still Burdened for our Youth

While at Youth Camp I became overwhelmingly burdened for our children and young people. I heard and saw things that although didn’t surprise me still shocked me. Let me remind you where I was, at a Christian Youth Camp. A few days later God drew my attention to a passage that dealt with warfare and how important it was to have those going to fight to be prepared for battle, able and skillful. At that time God spoke through the Spirit that our young people and children are in the battle of their lives, literally and they are losing because they are not prepared. I don’t even know if they realize they are in a battle, if this is true then they are loosing solely because they are not fighting.

This has constantly been bearing on my soul and I know there are others out there too because you have responded to me either by commenting on the blog or personally. Since the initial burden God has called me to talk to our young girls at church during one of their Wed. evening meetings. I’m not quite sure they get it. I have also been honored, in recent weeks, by God to lead 6 young ladies to Christ. I want each of them to live the victorious and abundant life. What do we do?

What God is showing me:

It begins in the home. Parents if you are a Christian you have been given biblical mandate to train your children in the ways of God. You will stand accountable before God on what you do and don’t teach your children. Are you teaching and training them for the battle they are in or are you hoping that either they will just get it on their own or the church will do it for you? I want sure fire guarantees when it comes to my children and not a wishful, not sure attitude towards their lives. They will not get it on their own. There is also no guarantee they will get it from the church. I have talked to many adults who have grown up in the church and were leaders who clearly don’t get it, probably because they were never taught. We cannot teach others what we don’t know. Parents do you know how to fight in the battle? Teaching warfare is better taught with hands on experience led by those who have been there already. Teach with passion the dangers of losing the battle and the rewards of winning! Parents start fighting yourselves.
Before entering for battle the people of God would always go before God in prayer, worship and sacrifice. You can’t win victories with burdens and weights draped all over you. Through prayer we must continuously seek to be free of sin, scars and fears. Through worship we continuously acknowledge that He is Lord and His ways are worthy of our fighting for. Through sacrifice we give up our lives to be lived according to our wants and whims over to His greater causes. We follow Him into battle and He will fight for us.
Are you doing this (praying, worshiping and sacrificing) on a consistent basis? Are you doing it out of ritual and religion or out of a loving and trusting relationship, if you aren’t start. If you don’t know how, I really do want to show you so that you can truly experience His personal love and attention. There isn’t anything or one that satisfies the deepest needs of the soul like our God. If you are doing this parent or grandparent are you then showing your children? Are you teaching them how God speaks through His Word? Are you allowing them to hear of your personal testimonies of how God is working in your own life? Are you growing in your love for the Word of God and letting them see it? Yes many will catch it but let’s not lose the reward of teaching them.
I have more to share but for now let’s examine our lives, our parenting and our homes. What are you teaching your children directly or indirectly? Are you aware of what they are watching, reading, texting, facebooking, speaking, doing outside your home? Are you aware of the “stuff” out there that is dominating your child’s attention? Do you know the agendas that are directed at your children in the schools and media? Have you heard the recent polls taken of our Christian youth and how they don’t even believe there is a devil, nor in absolute truths and that Jesus is only one of many ways? These are Christian youth that attend church regularly. Could that mind-set be one of ours?
Ok one more thought to go with the above questions. One of the enemy’s strategies would be to surround their target, or prey with the plan of cutting off food and water supply and therefore they would just surrender. Our enemies (we have three, the Devil, the World and our own Flesh) still seek to do the same thing. They want to cut us off from our food and water supply so we just surrender. We can surrender into the enemy’s hands without even realizing it. What is our food and water supply? The Word is our bread from heaven that we must gather daily for true nourishment. Our water is the Living Water of the Holy Spirit that warns and reminds us there is a battle that can and must be won. Do our children know the power they have available or are they surrendering into the hands of the enemies without a clue. Do they know what they are giving up? Have we told them and shown them? The wise kings would stockpile food and water in order to be prepared when an enemy attacked. We must be prepared and lead the way so our children are prepared for battle.

What will be our war cry?

Friday, July 24, 2009

It's Over or is it?

VBS 2009 has come and gone. It is all over. We have reason to celebrate. I know of four children who accepted the Lord as their Savior. What a blessing to witness God's love and power.

Teachers stayed late to get things back in order for Sunday. Everyone is looking forward to this Sunday's worship service. I know I have great anticipation for what will happen in the worship service. I know of one young lady who has committed to be a part of our family and will be joining. I know of two more young ladies that recently asked Jesus to be their Savior and will be walking forward to share their news with the church family. I have to admit that I owe great gratitude to Brian Chambers for doing Children's church for me so that I could stay in the service. It didn't take much arm twisting since the message is going to be to women.

Although VBS has come and gone we still have much work to do. We need to follow up on those visitors and salvations through VBS. Those that were saved that are connected with out church we need to disciple. Older women need to teach these younger ladies about walking with Jesus in this new life He has given them. Older men need to teach these young men how to walk as godly men. I know that God has also brought into our midst those who don't know Jesus personally yet and we need to continue to shine light into their darkness.

We still have much work to do. Although we may grow weary in our work we must seek to never grow weary of the work. That is why the family of God is so vital to our good health; we need the encouragemnet, the cheering, the stirring of others.

I want to thank all those who helped make this years VBS great. I know the cost you paid. May GOd richly bless you and may you hear His sweet voice say to you, "Well done thy good and faithful servant."

Monday, July 20, 2009

VBS News

Last night was a wonderful night. I am so thankful for those who volunteered and have for months been sacrificing time, energy and resources to invest in children. I am thankful for those (Pastor Jon, Allen and Kim) who came and prayed in the Prayer Room. I know we owe God's favor on us last night because you sacrificially gave up convenience and bent the ear of our Lord. I am thankful to workers who have sacrificed their own resources to decorate rooms, buy rewards to give for memory verses, food, etc....

Sacrifice seems to be a recurring theme in the thanks given above. Can we really expect to do the Lords work without it costing us something? Does the Lord want it to cost us something? It's easy to give out of our excess, or serve where it is comfortable and convenient. What does God say?

1 Chron. 21:24
And king David said to Ornan, Nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the Lord, nor offer burnt offerings without cost.

What cost are you willing to pay? What cost is God asking you to pay? What cost will you pay this week for the lost world that Jesus loves and paid the ultimate price for? He paid the price for you are you willing to pay a price for Him?

Before Him in love

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Last Bit of Camp News

We are finally home after a day of what seemed like all waiting. After getting up early yet again, Hannah, Steph and I took our luggage down to be put into the trailer. when we arrived Devon was walking away from the trailer rather slowly. I opened up the trailer door to a loud scream and boo. Hmmmm, guys I don't scare easily in the morning. They were so disappointed that we didn't even budge. I just said, "Guys help the girls get their stuff in." I did hear that our guys did get one boy really good but only after he had tried to get them first. Want the story ask Dalton.

From Jon's blog you already know the story on the van so I won't bore you with that. I did want to report that the goal for Ridgecrest FUGE was $100,000.00 to send for missions to help the Roma people and the Canadians. By the week we arrived that had received almost $75,000. our week took up around $20,000. Wow! I am so proud of our own youth for their giving. We raised $108.00! Our first offering we took up I gathered $87.00. The next night I announced what we had. They started yelling we need to give more, here is another dollar, two, three....till we arrived at the wonderful number of $108.00. I was really proud of those who truly wanted to give and gave cheerfully.

Now that I am home there is so much work that needs to be done for VBS and then helping Jon get things together and nailed down for the Mission Trip. I do want to finish the topic I started about the battle and how we can teach our children warfare. I am hoping that the silence is because you are all praying and pondering the answers.

Now it is time to prepare my heart and mind for the Lord's Day. Have a great one.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Just A Bit More Camp News

Mega Relay went well....that was a lot of kids doing messy and crazy relays at one time! Out kids did really well. Matthew's face was completely covered with yellow war paint. Wesley had I think red and I think that was a pink tie around Sonny. All of them had some sort of color on them. It was fun to watch and I will just keep Jodi's little secret.

The last night of worship was good, The Holy Spirit was even greater! One of our own prayed to receive Christ! How awesome and amazing is His love and grace toward us. We had a good time during our church group devotions. The youth told their funny stories of the day. I learned that Sonny was using the ironing board to go down the steps? Quinten was taped to the chair and Madison and Jodi were too tired to climb down the hill so they decided to just roll. I am sure there is so much more we all just don't want to know. Laughing with the kids brings joy.

I wanted to talk more about the earlier post but just too plain tired for that now. I am and for home...then it's all on for VBS.

More Camp News

The last full day of FUGE! The kids are all doing their track A while Jon and I are lounging in a lounge. We are going to go and watch Devon play some basketball in a bit.

I have received a few responses about what do we do concerning our young people. How can we make sure they are ready to fight the good fight in the battle that is raging all around them. I have really been pondering this one and asking God for answers. He did answer me yesterday in my QT. Stop. I never grow tired or dull to the fact that I can ask the Almighty God of all and He answers personally and specifically. Wow! Anyway back to the answer He gave me. He said that they need to be able to do four things:

1. Able to bear the shield and the sword
2. To shoot with the bow
3. Be skillful in war
4. Cry out to God in the battle
5. Trust God for the victories

God wants me to ponder what this looks like in day to day living. What does He mean by bearing the shield and the sword....? Help me out here I would love for you to prayerfully ask God what He is saying about these. I will type more later tonight about what God is sharing with me but I really want to hear from you.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Camp News

Another day at the beautiful Ridgecrest. I praise the Lord today for the rain and the soft breezes that came upon us today. It was actually a visual picture of what Pastor Mike had talked about the night before. Unexpected things come that God isn't only fully aware of but in control of and sending our way to test us. Sometimes we get so caught up in everything going our way, the fun way or the easy and wanted way that we don't grow. Change brings growth if we cooperate with God. Hopefully the extra time in Bible study and Quiet Time for our students did just that.

Our youth are not disappointing me, well most aren't. Hannah hurt her knee and Dillan and Wesley trekked all the way from their room to ours to give her one of Kristopher's camouflaged band aids and Quinten's Advil. Dalton and Wesley were very kind in showing all the "newbies" where everything was. The older ones are being kind to the older ones. Stephanie and Mary have been good and helpful friends to Hannah.

Quinten has had a marriage proposal that he quickly turned down. He has enjoyed his Independence. Hannah is healing nicely from her swing injury. Devon is smiling a lot and Jon and I watched him play hard and well at Battle Ball with his team mate Dalton. Dalton is well let's just say girls flock to him like bears to honey. But I am proud to say that he is making guy friends as well. We watched Stephanie play Volley ball against Heather today. Heather as always is making lots of friends. Stephanie has made friends as well and one stalker (don't take too seriously.) Madison and Jodi are stuck to each other's hips! They both are in choir and sang with the choir this morning at the morning show. They will do so again tomorrow and Friday. Mary is doing well and being an encourager to all. Dillan has been a real friend to all with his normal good attitude. He surprised me the first day and ate all the food that was served. Then today he started with the cereal again. Wesley has made friends as well and has been their for the younger ones when they needed him, today he took Matthew under his wing. Matthew seems to be having a good time and thanking God for providing miraculous car rides up the mountain. I heard he was talking to a girl out by the swings last night...just hearsay though. Kristopher...what can I say that he hasn't already said five times. seriously he is doing fine although he was disappointed that he didn't get to go on his overnight backpacking trip. Yes I said overnight. He is hoping that they will get to go tomorrow. Sonny is making lots of friends it is a new one every time I see him.

Tonight Nightlife is the 70's. Jon and I did the real thing so we are skipping out. Actually I am skipping out with Steph and Hannah now. One more full day left. Tomorrow is the big Mega Relay...this is really fun and messy!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Survival is more than something for camp...

I am surviving youth camp yet again. Our youth seem to be having a great time. Today is the first full scheduled day. They have already danced through the AM show, lived through recreation time, learned during Bible Study and Quiet Time and are not living through their individual trek times. Tonight will be the first in-depth worship time and I am really looking forward to it. I am hoping that the light goes on in their souls.

Being surrounded by 1700 kids this week has reaffirmed a lot of what I have feared. The vast majority of this generation of church going youth and their youth counselors are all about the fluff. Before I say more let me affirm that the staff of Fuge (directed by David Neece) is not about the fluff but they can only carry it so far until it lands at the feet of the day in and day out Youth leaders. You can hear it in there fervent pleas to be holy leaders and examples of truth and that in every recreation game there is purpose…to reinforce the truth. I just don’t think it is sticking. I am a people watcher and with so many of my favorite spots taken this week with so many kids I have had to sit in the open to ponder and as I have sat they (the youth) walk by and I listen and watch and see so much I would rather not. Holiness and truth are the last things I have been seeing. I am sure that within the 1700 there are those who really did come this week to grow in faith, knowledge and intimacy with their Lord, but they seem to be few.

It begs the question what are we doing wrong? What is the church doing about discipling our young people, the futures leaders? Does the buck stop with the church or with the home? What are Christian parents doing to disciple their children in the ways of the Lord? I think way too often that the parents are hoping that the church is doing it and that what they get from the church will be enough. IT IS NOT!

I don’t know what the answer is but we need to find it and find it fast. The world they are living in is anti-Christ, anti-home, anti-family, anti-morals, anti-character, anti-responsibility, anti-work, anti-absolute truth, anti-faith, anti-purity, anti-marriage, anti-holiness, anti-authority, anti-anyone but yourself, anti-self-restraint, anti-self control, anti…. They are continuously being indoctrinated by the world they live in and they will become all the things I listed above unless they intentionally choose not to. How can we get them to see and know Truth (Jesus) that they will be Daniels in their Babylon?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rambling

I have a lot of thoughts pondering in my head and want to throw them all out knowing they won't be cohesive. Sometimes just talking things out brings clarity.

This years convention has left me wanting. Wanting for what? I usually return crom the Pastor's Conference revived and energized for ministry. That is not the case this year and come to think of it, it wasn't the case last year either. The speakers were good and challenging. God spoke to me although it was not a resounding aha moment. Is familiarity bringing a yawn or is there more to it than that?

I believe with all my heart that God is wanting to do something really big in my life, the life of our church and the life of The Church. I know that prayer will be the cost for me. I mean the Daniel kind of prayer....fasting, on my face before the throne kind of praying. Not just a one time but a long time...days, weeks, months maybe years. I don't know but I think that is a cost, a heavy cost I will have to pay in order to experience and perceive God's greater and perfect will.

Back to the convention...I really enjoy the business part of the meetings. I know this might surprise a lot of you that know I hate attending church business meetings. Church meetings seem to often to get personal, angry and out of the influence of the Holy Spirit. The convention rarely is that. We worship and exhalt the name of Jesus before, during and after. The single purpose and mind is Jesus; knowing Him and making Him known. That is fun business. Respect for leaaders is always the tone.

I think that all that are Southern Baptist would seek to attend at least one national convention. I don't think you can understand what it means to carry the title without attending ans seeing the big picture. Although in recent months I have been frustrated and disturbed by some leaders in the convention and the direction the convention has gone on some issues I have hope. I also still believe that we have the greatest potention for "turning the world upside down." That is what I want to be a part of. That is what I am wanting.....longing for.

Oh Jesus, my Savior and Lord. You turned my world upside down and inside out and I am blessed and rich because of You. I want to be used by You to "turn the world upside down." It is what I desire.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Convention News

I know, I know it has been forever since I have blogged. Life in ministry is a wild hair blowing ride. I will share more about that another time but today I want to concentrate on what is going on right now....the 2009 Southern Baptist Convention and Pastor's Conference.

Let's start with the surroundings. Louisville, KY; ok but nothing really draws me here. I like old but this city seems more tired than just old. On the other hand our hotel (The Gault) is fantastic. The room is superb and we have a wonderful and large bay window that looks out onto the Ohio River. It is great to watch the sun go down over the river. Being up on the 23 floor makes the views that much more grand. Thank you Lord.

The ride to and fro the Expo is in a nice air conditioned bus; much better than the hot trolley's of New Orleans!

During the Morning session of the Pastor's Conference they have included recently a Pastor's Wives session. I really wanted to attend this year since the key note speaker is a at-a-distance mentor of mine, Mary Kassian. The theme this year was: Women of Truth. The posters included the line: We are: called, blessed, privileged But sometimes: tired, stressed, judged and our sheep can bite! I have the scars to prove it.

Mary Kassian gave us 10 Life Commitments to being Women of Truth gleaned from Titus 2:1-5.
#1. Radical Devotion: Life is all about Jesus and we are head over heels in love
#2. Sound Doctrine: Study, have convictions, stand strong and not easily swayed
#3. Family Plan: Husband and Children lover; lover of God's Family Plan
#4. Intentional Living: Self-controled; disciplined life
#5. Godly Character: Pure and holy
#6. Womanly Priorities" Busy at home, home creator
#7. Womanly Purpose: Kind, helper
#8. Womanly Disposition: Gentle, Quiet & Submissive
#9. Spiritual Mothering: Train others
#10. Display the Beauty of the Gospel: That the Word of God not be blasphememd

So how committed are you? Finding yourself weak in some ares. I wish we could just sit with a tall glass of sweet tea and discuss these.

Have to go catch the shuttle for this afternoons session...Fred Luter Jr. and Mike Huckabee...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Christ in us

My ladies (Sunday School class)and I have begun a new journey together with Christ. We can't go anywhere without Him for He is, "Christ in us, the hope of glory." The word glory can be a very hard word to translate into our English language with the same depth of meaning. It does have the idea of "weight" or "substance." I learned, from where I cannot remember, to replace the word glory with the word presence. Thinking about the weight and substance of all God is, is His glory it is His presence. Let's try it. "Christ in us, the hope of presence." His presence revealed in us.

That is our goal as we travel together through the book of Galatians with most of our attention on the fruit of the Spirit. I want to be different than the natural woman that I am. Instead of living and reacting to life with my natural tendencies I want to live with supernatural power. Although the Disciples walked physically with Christ they didn't know the power of supernatural living until the Holy Spirit came upon them as promised by the Father. That same power was given to each of us at the moment of our salvation. I have the same power but am I living with the same unleashing and bold power?

Think about it, do you naturally express love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? I am not asking if you at times exercise these characteristics. I am asking when your ordinarily natural response to something would be_____________ and through the power of Christ in you, you _____________ instead. Fill in the latter blank with any of the above fruit of the Spirit and it's opposite in the first blank.

Can't be done? Oh, yes I cry out to you with ears to hear, "It can because I am living proof." I have grown up! I live in victory over my natural self. Not that I have arrived completely, oh no that would certainly be fodder for the enemy. Yet I have experienced victory in certain areas that were pitfalls for me every time they arose. Now my goal is to yield every time my natural tendency is to do the opposite. Now that is great power coming through.

Join us as we seek "Christ in us the hope of presence."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Lessons from Gardening

What I know about gardening I have taught myself mainly through trial and error or my friend Google. I do enjoy getting outside and getting my hands dirty.
Yesterday I was out dividing some monkey grass to line the front beds. I wanted to be sure and get monkey grass that would not be missed. As I was walking around I noticed some that was on the edge of the grass. I know that God was the one pointing it out to me because it was so mixed in with the grass that it was hard to differentiate from the grass. I guess it never had a chance to develop and become what it was created to be because it kept being mowed over; cut down. The grass had been planted so close to the edge of the grass without any barrier it had become assimilated with the grass and no one could tell the difference. They were small but I dug them up and replanted them along our front sidewalk where next year they will be visibly different from the grass and outline our front beds. They will thrive and grow tall; planted in the right place.
I have been a Christian now for over 30 years and have noticed differences within the church. Those that “plant” themselves too close to the world do not thrive nor do they become what they were created to be. They look, talk and act just like the world. Because they were never meant to live like the world they are continuously being cut down and not able to grow. Those that plant themselves apart from the influences of the world will stand out; they will clearly be seen as different from the standard grass. They will add to the world at large the beauty it desires and needs. They will define the borders by pursuing righteousness and holiness and not self-pleasure or personal rights. Where are you planting yourself? Are you satisfied with your Christian life? Do you stand out or are you assimilated into your surroundings?
I recently was challenged by this thought: How does one become spiritually relevant without becoming culturally irrelevant in the society we live in today? The Word and prayer have made the biggest differences in my life. The Word plants my thoughts, words and actions in Him and not in the world around me. Prayer keeps me growing or should I say going? What about you? Our Creator has given us all we need to live the vibrant and abundant life for Him but it cannot be done without Him. Just like my physical garden does not just happen without pain, planning and planting neither does the Christian life.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy Birthday Chad!

While I was gone to Dallas, without internet, my oldest had his birthday on the 11th of April. I wanted to wish him a belated blog birthday.

Chad is unique in so many ways. He serves our homeland security by working in the Coast Guard. He has decided to make a career of it. I am so very proud of him in so many different ways and making a career of the Coast Guard is only one. Chad is an
"I.T." guy. He and his wonderful family have been transferred to Cheboygen, MI. My heart aches because he will be even further away from us. Please pray for them as they relocate that they will be able to find Christian friends and a good church to attend.

Chad is somewhat quiet. He is content being alone as long as he has a book. He is always in the midst of reading something...he especially loves fantasy. He was loving J.R. Tolkien before his recent popularity with the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
He is a wonderful husband who truly serves Amanda with a sacrificial love. He always puts her interest and good ahead of his own. He learned well from his own dad. He is a faithful husband who takes it seriously to flee temptations and pursue purity in his marriage.

He is a great dad who loves his children (Clay and Ava) with patience and attention. In a world where so many dad's seek to please themselves and to seek out as much "me" time; he stands out as a dad who seeks out "we" time with his children. He also has taken his role as teacher in their lives as a priority. That is why you can see Clay and Ava's intelligence soar above the average. He reads to them and so patiently explains everything to them as the questions arise and believe me Clay has many questions.

Amanda is a young lady who also seeks to put her children first. She is beautiful inside and out and devoted to her family. It is hard being married to someone in the military. She has to move often having to set down new roots and routes. She has done so with a great attitude...she is devoted to her marriage and her man, my son, and I lover her so deeply for that.

Chad I am so very proud of you in so many different areas of your life as a man. Know that I love you deeply, you are my first born. I sang over you many times but those special days just after your arrival I prayed and sang into the long night over you. You were literally an answer to the prayers of your dad and I. You brought hope and life to our marriage.

It has been so hard to let you and Grant go. God did not bless me with a daughter who would stay close to her mom but I wouldn't trade you and Grant for a million daughters. My heart does ache in my loneliness; so much time was spent with you. How does one stop being a mommy? A teacher? You were my life; my daily life. I have been so richly blessed for our time together and for watching you grow as a man. You have pursued righteousness now continue your journey and pursue the "abundant life."

Glad to be Home!

Wow; how long has it been? I was given a special birthday gift from my two sons, a trip "home" to Dallas to be with my mom as she recovered from major surgery. I really appreciate the thoughtfulness of my boys....men now.

My mom is doing really great. She has one of those new scooters to put her knee on and scoot around the house. She is just as fast on that as she is behind the wheel of her car. I love my mom she is truly a treasure to me. She is a true servant giving continuously to her church. She prepares meals once a month on Wednesday's for the congregation. She picks up several of the elderly ladies and takes them to church on Sunday's and Wednesday's. She will often take them out to lunch on Sunday afternoons. There was a younger woman who came to Dallas and God brought her to my mom's church. She struggled to find a job. The church hired her as custodian and Mom quickly went to work in providing furnishings for her apartment and making curtains. I love my mom's heart to serve and do good....especially to the ones others would tend to see as a burden. My mom also has a wonderful sense of humor with a saying for everything. I enjoyed being with her but glad to be home.

While at my mom and dad's I had no internet....hard to live life without it once you have lived with it for so long. I have had so many thoughts pondered that I have a lot to make up for. Stay tuned, I'm home!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Book Review

I know I am really behind on blogging. It seems I have this love/hate relationship with blogging. It is really a matter of obedience and I confess I have been rebellious but I will save that for another time and another day.

"Vintage Jesus: Timeless Answers to Timely Questions" by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears

I truly enjoyed every minute! They write so that a common layperson can really sink their teeth into the theology and doctrine of Jesus. Not everyone will enjoy the reading. The authors not only take us on a journey through the Scriptures but also through pop culture. What I appreciated the most was at the end of each chapter that had answers to the most frequently asked questions on the particular subject. I wanted you to see exactly what is covered in this reading so listed below are the chapters:

• Chapter 1 Is Jesus the Only God?
• Chapter 2 How Human Was Jesus?
• Chapter 3 How Did People Know Jesus Was Coming?
• Chapter 4 Why Did Jesus Come to Earth?
• Chapter 5 Why Did Jesus' Mom Need to Be a Virgin?
• Chapter 6 What Did Jesus Accomplish on the Cross?
• Chapter 7 Did Jesus Rise from Death?
• Chapter 8 Where Is Jesus Today?
• Chapter 9 Why Should We Worship Jesus?
• Chapter 10 What Makes Jesus Superior to Other Saviors?
• Chapter 11 What Difference Has Jesus Made in History?
• Chapter 12 What Will Jesus Do upon His Return?

Jon and I recently took a trip to Southeastern and while in Chapel we had the privilege of hearing Mark Driscoll. He is a gifted Pastor that God is using to reach the culture by being relevant without being spiritually irrelevant.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Personal Consecration

Often God will blend what I am learning in Bible study, sermons, and Sunday school lessons with what He is saying to me in my QT. God wants to get His point across and He wants us to hear it and assimilate it into our lives; so He repeats it over and over again. During my recent “retreat” God showed me the two areas in my life that I have lost control in; or rather where I have been drowning in self-defeat. I knew since the beginning of the year that there was something hindering me from climbing higher but could not put my finger on it. I continued to seek and finally I have seen the light.

1 Cor. 6:12 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. “

I like the way another translation puts it, “…All things are permissible for me, but all things are not beneficial...” The one word for “brought under the power’ is exousiazo and it means “to be ruled by or be under the power of, to be in bondage to.” I have allowed myself to be ruled by these two areas I mentioned above. They control me instead of me being in control through the power and authority of the Holy Spirit. I have surrendered power to the enemy. The enemy can be my flesh, our world or Satan. Whichever the enemy is, they can only rule in a Believers life where we have invited them in. For me it is all about making the right choices; ruling over my responses, emotions, time, what is best instead of what I want….

Proverbs 25:28 “ Whoever has no rule over his own spirit Is like a city broken down, without walls.”

The word for wall is chowmah and it means “a wall of protection.”

Walls were for protection from the enemy. Walls are for my protection. Self-control is my wall of protection. Self-control is the ability to make choices, the right choices at the right time. As I make the right choices I then invite the Holy Spirit to rule and have authority over me. I am surrendering to my power to Him. Any area in my life where I am consistently out-of-control is an open invitation for the enemy to rob me, defeat me and break me down. No more! I want to live in victory.

Today is day one of 40. I have committed to consecrate myself for this period of time wholly to the Lord that I might learn self-control specifically in these two areas. Wow, now I have gone and done it. I know I need accountability. I know that I must seek Him first and daily receive His grace that is sufficient for each day. One day at a time I will find victory.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009








Treasuring His Word

Staying accountable....

I have memorized Isaiah 33:6 and Proverbs 2:1-5 and will continue to weekly review theses as well as keep them in my prayers.

For the first part of February God has brought me back to a passage He gave me during the time of our church-wide call to fasting and prayer:
Isaiah 43:18-19 (NKJV)
"Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert."

This is not only the direction God has given for the church but for me personally. Anybody else out there hiding His Word in your heart so that you won't sin against Him? Feel free to share.

I have learned that memorizing His Word is most fruitful and effective when the passage is in areas of need in our personal lives. I am excited that He has something new for me and I want my hands free so that I can grab hold of it when it comes to me. If I am holding on to something from the past they won't be free for the new thing.

Before I go for the day I wanted to publicly brag on my Jesus. He is truly the gift that gives and keeps on giving. This morning I awakened to snow. Yet again He has shown me great favor. Can anyone do what He can do? Can earthly artists create the beauty He displays? He creates beauty out of nothing. They still need to use His colors, His tools, and what do they paint? His world. Can anyone have thought up the creation He has bestowed upon us? Camels? Zebras? Katydid's? Blueridge and Smokey Mountains? Niagra Falls? Daisy's? Venus Fly Trap? That is only a smidgen of the visual beauty He has granted; what about the smells? Roses, Bread cooking, and skunks very own special aroma. I didn't say all smells are pleasant but to that Skunk it is his protection and God did it on purpose. His purpose is brilliant and pure creative genius. Praise Him, He thinks of everything! And what about sounds? Thunder, infant cries, our own voices, winds rustling through the trees, rain falling, the laughter of children who really get the giggles! Amazing. And then let's not leave out touch. The soft fur of animals...one day I would love to hug a lion but I am willing to wait until He says it is safe. The roughness of bark on trees, the squeezing of fat baby cheeks (both kinds!) The warmth soft fleece and itchy wool brings. He did it all! His imagination is wild; and I am wild about Him.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Staying Accountable

Just finished my second book for January...ok I an a few days into February but I was also reading another book at the same time that I should be able to finish this week as well.

Satisfy My Thirst Soul by Linda Dillow

Linda Dillow has been a favorite author of mine for years. In fact her Creative Counterpart has been the book I have encouraged new brides to read for years. My copy is falling apart on my book shelf.

I recommend reading Satisfy My Thirsty Soul to all those who are looking for practical ways to deepen your worship in your daily lives. Dillow first shares about worship in general and how she was awakened to more intimate and fulfilling worship. She then shares about how to worship in our life, words, work, attitude, waiting, pain and our wills. She gives very practical ways to enjoy His presence.

Spiritual Retreat

I awoke this morning around 6:30; it was cold and the bed was warm. As I always do, I quickly ran to the window to see if there was any snow. No snow but the wind was hurling. I jumped back in bed to hear God asking me what I was doing. Huh? "I have something for you to see" was what He said to me. Now? It isn't even light out. That was His point. Then I heard Him whisper, "You don't want to miss this." He knows exactly how to get to me, I never want to miss anything. I jumped up got the water getting hot for hot chocolate. dressed twice...needed two layers on. I left the room knowing exactly where He wanted me to head...our Mt. top. I left the hot chocolate in the room and proof (camera) that I really did get up this early.

When I arrived there was a scene of beauty. Colors streamed across the tops of the peaks of the mountains and them a thin thread of clouds above that. It was gorgeous but I new the climax hadn't even happened yet. I had to get back in the car to warm up a few times. One time as I was worshiping Him in the car It was like He said, "Let me show you something else while you get warm." The trees all around me started swaying, bowing low almost to the ground. It was so graceful and very appropriate for them to bow before their Creator. Back out to see the sunrise. There she was, the sun slowly inching her way above the mountain tops. All the colors now concentrated in her. Everything is shadowed now by her presence. She has arrived and the whole world is in awe. I stood in awe.

I thought about the Son. How he "set" in the dark grave but then He "arose." Everyday is a reminder to us all that the Son arose. He arose to sit in His proper place; above all. I wondered about His return and what it would look like. I praised Him for being the Light of the World and the Light in my world. I thanked Him for bringing to me personally sunshine. I thanked Him for not letting me miss His personal display of beauty just for me. I let Him know I loved the workmanship and the Designer. For the rest of the day I will be setting with the Son.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Spiritual Retreat

Though the day is just half over my cup rennet over. God first showed me a favor by having Texas BBQ for lunch, in North Carolina. Again I gleam at His personal touch in my life. I don't want to take anything for granted. Thank-You Jesus for a great lunch.

I have been to the top of the mountain. Literally I've been to the top of the mountain. I thanked God all day and night for "our place" by the stream yesterday. This morning on the way to breakfast I sensed He had another place in mind for today's visit. I had thought He would take me to the fire-pit but when I got there He clearly said it was not the place He had chosen. He said,"Go up." I drove up and up; pass the gym, pass the ball field, pass the putt-putt and then up and around and up and around and up and up some more. Then there it was....the most beautiful view of mountain peeks spread out before me. The clouds looked like He had ran His fingers through them and then shook them to let drops falls all on top of the peeks. It was as if He was saying to me, "What do you think about this?" And yes, ladies I did find myself applauding His beauty, and creative genius. I bowed on my knees right there and prayed with eyes wide open to His glory before me. I prayed, confessed, cried and praised Him and then I started all over again.

Then it was time to listen to Him. Again His Word jumped off the page and into my heart. Today He is to me Jehovah Rapha, The LORD who heals. I know that my healing will come only through His Word. It is a scaple (two-edged sword) in the hands of a careful and caring Great Physician. It will cut but it will also cleanse and renew. Healing will not only bring good health but also victory and freedom.

Therefore, I come to You Jehovah Rapha willing to lay myself before Your skillful hands. Remove all "filthiness and overflowing of wickedness" and then "implant Your Word." I will also continue to take my medicine, Your Word mixed with faith so that the healing will continue to be effective in my daily living. Daily I will come to You for proper treatment and continual cleansing that I may remain free and victorious over the sin that can so easily beset me. I will trust You.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Spiritual Retreat

I am at Ridgecrest. I got here around 3:45 today and will remain here until around 2:30 Tuesday afternoon. For those of you who have had the great privilege of a trip to Ridgecrest you know how blessed I am. Then add to that I am one of only 14 people here. My husband gave me these few days away with his blessing. He could tell I was needing some time alone with Jesus, the Lover of my soul. He is truly wonderful to me. Thank you, honey.

After I arrived and nested in my room I changed out of my church clothes and into my hiking garb, cap and all. I found a wonderful secluded place in the prayer garden by a gentle stream. God is so very good and personal to me. He knows how much I like streams and rivers and so He provided a special place for the two of us. In complete privacy I knelt before my Lord in total humility; He is holy and I am not. I talked to Him out loud from the depths of my soul and He bent low to hear so low I could almost touch Him. In fact at one point in our conversation I sensed He was sitting on a rock about 5 feet away from me. I asked if that was Him and if it was to please come much closer and hold my hand. I know He did. Maybe I am crazy but He is more real to me than what I can see with my physical eyes. I talked on and on and then peace fell like a gentle breaze across my soul. Then it was His turn to talk and He did. His Word is alive and active because it is the present words of my very real Jesus. He spoke directly to all I had shared and my questions were answered. What can I say, "He loves me."

I am completely captivated by His love for me. It is my hearts desire to return His extravagant and lavish love. Oh to be able to take His face into my hands and bring my mouth to his ear and whisper, "I love You back." I know that would put a beautiful smile on His glorious face.

Tomorrow morning will come early for me I will go to sleep tonight meditating on His sweet words to me. Awaken me Lord with ears to listen as one being taught. Be forever on my mind.

Till tomorrow.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

God is Good

God IS good all the time.
God is GOOD all the time.
God is good ALL the time.
GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME.

I can't finds the words to express my gratefulness for His tender care towards me.

He loves in the midst of my neediness
He is my joy in the midst of sorrow
He is my peace in the midst of my storms
He is patient in the midst of my striving
He is kind in the midst of my growing pains
He is good in the midst of everyday life
He is faithful in the midst of my faithlessness
He is gentle in the midst of my learning
He is in control in the midst of my chaos


He is God and I belong to Him and He is mine. Hallelujah!



Saturday, January 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Jon

Jon, you are the most wonderful husband and I love you very much. I hope that this year will be a year full of great surprises, joy and adventure.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Treasuring His Word

In one of my earlier blogs I mentioned the areas that I sensed God was leading me to make some changes in this new year of 2009. One of those areas was hiding more of His Word in my heart. Nothing is more profitable for us than treasuring His Word within us. My husband's blog challenged us today to memorize Scripture. Check out Java with Jon.

I was talking to Jon last night about blogging and why we do it and what benefits it has for each of us. I think the Lord is using it in my life for accountability; even if that accountability is with myself.

My desire was to memorize 2 verse(s) a month. I have memorized:
Proverbs 2:1-5 (NKJV)
My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
[2] So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
[3] Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
[4] If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
[5] Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.

I not only have memorized this passage I have used it in my prayers. Below is the next verse I want to memorize and make apart of my prayers. I was perusing some my web sights and saw that one of my teachers was challenging her students to memorize Scripture and this was the verse she had chosen and the translation. This verse speaks to where I am at need and so I am adopting it as my next verse to hide in my heart.

Isaiah 33:6 (NET)
"He is your constant source of stability; He abundantly provides safety and great wisdom; He gives all this to those who fear Him."

What about you? Don't forget to check out: http://jacksonparkbaptist.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Cleaning Out the "Stuff"

There is something rewarding and refreshing about cleaning. I'm talking about cleaning out the over stuffed and crowded drawers, closets and storage areas in our homes and offices.

This Christmas we had a family who God brought into our lives with needs. One of those needs was furniture. Jon being the generous man he is quickly thought of a desk and shelf we had that was in his inner office. He immediately threw the things off the shelves and out of the desk to deliver hope to this family. He then settled back into his life with the mess still all around him. Yesterday I sought to meet one of his needs by going and cleaning up the mess and organizing his stuff. He even let me organize some of his desk drawers. He was thankful for the gift and for the feeling of being relieved it was in order finally. I was also thrilled and felt tremendously rewarded even though it was work. At first you look at the mess and feel overwhelmed and don't know where to begin or if you dare to begin. After the first step there came an inner strength to continue till the job was done.

Our spiritual lives can be like this as well. We have so much "stuff" where it does not belong that it crowds out our effectiveness and usefulness. Mess can be distracting and overwhelming. What needs to be cleaned out, given up or put in it's proper place? We must fight the moods to put if off another day and dig in with the knowledge that we will be rewarded and refreshed. If we work to clear our lives of all the unnecessary we will be able to live the abundant life more effectively. Prepare your lives for the Lord.

Friday, January 09, 2009

"The Shack"

I finished reading "The Shack" last night.

It is a work of fiction that I somewhat enjoyed reading. It was an easy read. It was a challenging read.

That being said, I recommend reading only with great caution. Although it is a book of fiction the author delves into matters of theology. As followers of Christ we must always gracefully check to see if stated theology matches to God's theology found in "sola scriptura." Young's theology doesn't always ring true with Scripture.

If you are a follower of Christ who is a student of the Word and likes to be challenged within the realms of fluff (fiction) then by all means go for it. If on the other hand you are a new Christian or a Christian that isn't familiar with what you believe and why you believe it then I say, stay clear and read "The Holy Bible."

If you want more info I would be glad to write more but don't want to give away any of the story line to those wanting the challenge.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

What Am I Seeing?

What am I seeing and does it make a difference?

Where are my eyes focused literally during my day?

Matthew 6:20-24 (NKJV)
but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. [21] For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
[22] "The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. [23] But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
[24] "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Are my eyes seeing more things of God (Light) or are they seeing more the things of the world (darkness)? God is asking me to take a truthful inventory of what I am setting before my eyes. He is telling me in this passage that what I see will make a difference in my life. He is also stating that if I am indwelt with Christ the Light of the world and still choose the world over Him how great the darkness will be in my life. I have the power to overcome temptation, selfishness, laziness.... Will my life be full of light (God) or full of darkness (the world.) What I set before me is that which I serve, that which I treasure. What do I truly treasure? Lip service does not count.

What do I want to treasure and who do I want to serve? I truly want to serve my God in love, faith, trust and full immediate obedience. I want to treasure Him, His presence and His Word.

God also took me to the Abrahamic Covenant today where the sign for the covenant was circumcision. Abraham had to do this before Sarai would bear a child. Sometimes before we can bear much fruit we have to cut some things out. He needs the room and our attention to work.

What needs to go and what is He wanting to set before my eyes?

I know He wants the Word before my eyes and I also know He has challenged me to read more this year. I want to read books that are written by men and women who set God before themselves and therefore bore much fruit. I want to bear much fruit to His glory.

My first passage to memorize for the year:

Proverbs 2:1-5 (NKJV)
My son, [ Pam ] if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
[2] So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
[3] Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
[4] If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
[5] Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Epiphany

One of the things I have tried to communicate to myself and the ladies in my SS class is that we must not try to over complicate our faith life. It is not about knowing and doing all the "do's" and all the "don't's.' This leads to frustration and legalism. This kind of Christianity becomes just another religion and ritual not relationship. Our faith is based on a real, living personal and intimate relationship with the real and very personal Jesus, the Son of God. He hears us and sees us and invites and even pursues relationship with us. When we get up each day and focus on I have to do this and that so I will be a good Christian or so that God will love me more we are focused on the wrong thing. Focus on Him. Get up and talk to Him. Talk to Him about everything and listen to Him; that is relationship. He will lead you along your journey and the "do's" and "don't's" will be fulfilled.

Our journey is seeking Him, seeking to be in His presence and not letting anything stop you until you see Him face to face.

So what is Epiphany? That is what many call today; the 12th day of Christmas. Nov. 30 to Dec. 24th is the Advent; the season of excitedly anticipating the birth of our Savior. The 25th of Dec. is the Birth of our Lord and Savior. Those 12 days following are the 12 days of Christmas leading to the day we celebrate the coming of the Wise men.

We know that the Wise men did not arrive in Bethlehem on the day of His birth but it was much later. We know this biblically: 1.The wise men arrived at a house. The census would have taken a long time without the modern conveniences we have today. Also, there was not a reason for Joseph and Mary to return home knowing the reputation they had and Joseph needed to provide for his family. [Matthew 2:11] 2. The word change in describing Jesus, he was at birth a "babe" brephos which means infant; and now He is a "Child" paidion, little child. [Matthew 2:8,9,11,13,14] and 3. When the wise men went to Jerusalem to ask about where the newborn King was Herod pretended interest and "determined from them what time the star appeared." He then gave orders for all the 2 year old's and under in Bethlehem and surrounding areas "according to the time which he had determined from the wise men" to be put to death. He probably gave himself some wiggle room just to be safe. So Jesus at this time was probably 12 to 18 months old. [Matthew 2:1-17]

The wise men (don't really know how many) from the East saw the star near the time of His birth. They packed up and started on their journey in seeking this King in order to worship Him.
As they journeyed God led them along the way, even their encounter with Herod was God's will in order to fulfill prophecy. As God led them they followed. They didn't let anything keep them from worshiping this King. They sought Jesus. Their whole journey was focused on Jesus and not all the peripheral issues.

As I stated in the beginning our journey needs to be simplified to seeking Jesus and his presence and then walk with Him (not asking Him to be with us) through each day. Trusting Him to lead us with every detail.

Seeking Him Today

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Happy Birthday Grant

Today is my baby's birthday. Grant is turning 24. It does not even register.

Grant has grown into quite a gentleman. Do I sound surprised? I'm not really because I kept believing God for Grant. We have had our moments Grant and I. I have had my disappointments and yes many sleepless nights over him.

Today, Grant is always calling to check up on us and never hangs up without telling me he loves me. When Jon had his seizure on the road, Grant was who I called first and before I could blink he was on the road to come to us. He is a neat freak now; this completely blows my mind. He has become financial independent and making very wise decisions.

He is engaged to Anneen and the proposal was done with thought and romance. He took her to her favorite place (her church) as the sun was going down. She says that it was raining all the way until they got there and then it stopped. The ways she tells it, it was a miracle just for them. She is a sweetie. He then got down on one knee and proposed. I know those of you who know rough and tough Grant are shaking your heads in doubt. Grant was the one who took his Blazer to the desert to hot rod and then got stuck, the one who built a fire in the fire pit that was as big as the house, the one who skateboarded off the roof and the one that said he wasn't getting married until he ran with the bulls. I do believe that he said he was going to find a woman who could do it all and wait on him hand and foot. You should just see this guy around Anneen. He melts like butter in her hands.

Grant is active in his church. He has helped fix the building up as they moved to a new location. He and Anneen lead a Weekly Bible Study in her family's home. When Grant was in New York and Michigan they would pick books and read them and then talk about them over the phone. They keep each other accountable.

I am a proud mom of a 24 year old son. I am a proud mom of a young man seeking after God. He's not perfect but neither is his mom.

I love you son!