Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Laying aside hindrances, running with freedom.
We just started a new study by Cynthia Heald called "Becoming a Woman of Freedom". It is about throwing off the hindrances that slow us down or distract us. In the Hebrews passage above, our Christian walk is compared to a race. I picture that "great cloud of witnesses" (which includes the saints who have gone before mentioned in the "hall of faith" chapter in Hebrews, like Abraham, Noah, etc) I picture them up there cheering us on..."C'mon! You can do it!! Keep going! NO! Don't get distracted with that!!"
The first hindrance we talked about throwing off is our own propensity to take ourself in hand. To be in control. Relinquishing control to the Lord is freeing. Trying to control is frustrating. It is a paradox that to be truly free, we must surrender control to The One Who has made provision for our freedom!
Of course the parallel of Israel being delivered from slavery to Egypt was brought to our attention. Their freedom meant they needed to obey God and things would go well for them. As we know, when they didn't have things the way they wanted, they complained and wanted to go back to slavery, and it brough destruction to some of the complainers. Isn't it intresting that bondage becomes so comfortable to us?
I have a neighbor who has many ills, including alcoholism and family disfunction all around her. I have spent much time listening to her and encouraging her when she has been struggling. I have offered to do a study with her, I brought a study to her, I have invited her to church several times, told her about an "addicts recovery" meeting there once a week, and she is unwilling to take any of those steps to find freedom. She actually said she is too lazy to look up verses in the Bible. I also told her about Teen Challenge, and the nurturing environment that is there. Her response is, "I couldn't leave my dogs and my husband for a year." It grieves me that there are helps available for her to gain her freedom, but she is unwilling. She would rather stay miserable it seems.
I know, change is scary. We get comfortable with our habits and walls and masks.
But they are hindrances making our journey heavy, and full of burdens. Whether it be fear, worry, the past, pleasing people, bitterness, anxiety, or other obstacles. All of them slow us down or trip us up.
So, we are on a quest for more freedom from those things in the weeks ahead. I'll share our journey with you...
The foundation of freedom we find, is setting aside the old way, and walking God's way. Saying "no" to sin in all it's forms, and "yes" to God. FREEDOM IS A CHOICE TO TRUST AND OBEY.
Anything else is bondage. Let's walk free!
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
I was listening to this song on my ipod while raking leaves today~must share. It is beautiful. As I listened I thought of how God's love heals our heart in the receiving of it, but also in giving it out! Soak in His healing love!
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
1. completely prepared or in fit condition for immediate action or use: troops ready for battle; Dinner is ready.
2. duly equipped, completed, adjusted, or arranged, as for an occasion or purpose: The mechanic called to say that the car is ready.
4. prompt or quick in perceiving, comprehending, speaking, writing, etc.
5. proceeding from or showing such quickness: a ready reply.
6. prompt or quick in action, performance, manifestation, etc.: a keen mind and ready wit.
8. in such a condition as to be imminent; likely at any moment: a tree ready to fall.
9. immediately available for use: a ready source of cash.
11. present or convenient: to lie ready to one's hand.
Luke 12:35-38 (New International Version)
"Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night.
Several days have brought the same message. Tamela addressed it, Ray Prichard addressed it, Tiffany posted a video of John Piper addressing it, and this verse was in my daily reading recently.
Is Jesus shouting out something to us? Are we and our families ready for His return?
Lord Jesus, please help us keep our lamps burning bright. Help our children have their lamps burning and plenty of oil. Lord, keep us in your light, and bring us safely home.
Friday, April 17, 2009
What a humbling thing to see my blog listed on a Sisterhood Award...Lisa @ Extravagant Grace is one of the first blogs I landed on when I first started blogging in autumn '07. We have only recently been getting to know one another.
Don't you wish you had more time to get to know bloggers? I think we feel an instant kinship because of the common faith and love that we share, but with life in the "immediate" world being so busy, it is hard to get to know people on a deeper level.
Since getting an award means passing it on to 10 other "sisters", I will pick the ones I have connected with on a more personal level...Of course those listed on my sidebar could be "the list".....
- Tiffany @ Tea with Tiffany Tiffany shines through her transparency and sweet spirit. She is very creative in her writing, photography and speaking. She is full of thanksgiving for her Savior and it overflows on her blog.
- Heather @ Mommy Monk Heather and I got to have lunch together last year, she lives about an hour away. She is a very talented writer and I had the privilege of "testing" a Bible Study she wrote.
- Angie @ Knightly News Angie just oozes "suthun love", and has been a blessing in so many ways, but the highlight was @ She Speaks, when I told the Lord, "I'd really like to meet Angie." & as soon as the prayer left my heart, I turned around to look for her, and there she was, so I ran up and introduced myself, and we got to have a Jesus~hug.
- Tracy @ My Cup Runneth Over Tracy called me to order from my shop blog for a bloggy give~away. We ended up chatting for about a half hour I think. We have alot in common including an upcoming wedding for our oldest...
- Joy @ Ponderings Joy. I met Joy long before we ever started getting to know one another because she is all over blogland with heart~felt encouragement in the comments. She has the most tender heart toward the Lord and her sisters in blog world. She is in a valley right now, and I trust God to be true to His promise that "he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed".
- Edie @ Rich Gifts Edie too, is a bundle of encouragement highlighted by her artistic expression of her love for God and His word. If you need any bloggy graphics, check hers out! She is a shining light.
- Robin @ Robinz Nest Robin was my "roomie" at She Speaks last June. We connected through the S.S. blog. Robin is a sweet and gentle woman of faith who is a gifted writer and does some amazing knitting and sewing for her grandchildren. Check it out~unbelievable!
- Kim @ Scattered Stones I met Kim because I read in her profile that she was from an extra large family like mine. We chatted a bit about large family dynamics. She loves Jesus and her zeal is evident in her blog posts.
- Shonda @ Shonda's journal I was thrilled when I encountered Shonda's blog because she had the same verse in her header as I do. She is most definitely an encourager and when I needed a prayer warrior one day & commented on her blog, she sent me a prayer via email that was anointed and part of God's plan to encourage me that day.
- Angela @ Redeemed Angela has a "fire in her spirit" to reach the lost with the gospel. God has given her a boldness that I think is rare for a young woman, and I love reading about her experiences and how the Lord uses her in her waitressing job. She is very candid and truly loves our Jesus.
- Melanie @ Bella~Mella Melanie is a light~hearted, fun woman with a passionate spirit for the Lord and His call. You can tell that she really enjoys life. She has answered a few questions about speaking for me.
Oops, I guess I went over 10...sorry ;-D
Thanks dear bloggy sisters for you love for Jesus and opening your hearts and lives to me. I love you. And thanks again Lisa for my award. You are very gifted and inspirational in your writing and speaking. I am looking forward to our phone call!
Andrew finally proposed to Kayla! He took her down by the lake behind his house, got on his knee and asked her to be his bride. Since it was such a long time in coming, her mouth hung open in shock, and after some "bantering between them" such as, "For real?!?" (I wasn't there, so am unsure of what actually transpired~smile) and walking back up to the house, she was informed that she hadn't said "yes" yet...oh my!
Last night Kayla and I visited her photographer which we are very excited about. Our bloggy sister Heather had recommended this photographer but they were booked, Vicky really wanted to do it, but decided they had to stick to only one wedding per weekend.
Since my dental hygenist is the only one who can talk when we "visit", I remembered hearing about her daughter's photographer with whom they were very impressed with, and called for a recomendation. Yay! When I called Tammy @ Rae of Light, she was able to do it, and loved the idea of a Friday wedding. We are discovering that Friday weddings have alot more availability when you are this close to the date when planning. We are a little more than four months out...
While laying in bed thinking this morning (that's when I get the most done~lol) wondering "what if" the weather wouldn't cooperate that day...which we are having FAITH that it will... but thought that Kayla should start a blog so that she could put the url on the "save the date" mailings...so she did! This morning before work she got it started here. My sister took their header photo on the farm I grew up on, and Kayla edited it. Let the planning continue!
Please pray with me that September 4th will be "the perfect sunny day"!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Faith. It is such a little word with such a large impact! By faith we receive salvation. By faith we do things that look crazy to the rest of the world (Think: Noah, Abraham, Daniel, etc) and recieve the promise we hold out for. By faith we don't panic when things look bleak and scary, instead we turn to the promises of scripture and stand on them.
In the last chapter, we studied the keeping and enabling power of Jesus. He is able to keep us from falling and present us blameless on the day He returns. (1 Thess. 5:3,4). Our faith rests upon His faithfulness. We could not have faith if God wasn't faithful. If He had not given us His word, we would have nothing to stand on.
I love that the written word is so valuable. Think of the ways that words on paper have such high value...the marriage license, the contracts for construction or landscaping, the diploma, your mortgage papers...all things that can be referred to if there is ever a dispute.
We have the truth of God's word written for us to refer to in every circumstance. What a treasure chest!!
A few nuggets we mined worth mentioning from the book of Jude (vs. 20-23)regarding our responsibility:
- To build ourselves up in our most holy faith.
- Pray in the Holy Spirit.
- Keep ourselves in the love of God.
- Be merciful to those who doubt.
- Snatch others from the fire.
- Show mercy mixed with fear, hating the garments stained by corrupted flesh.
A final VIP (very important part) of our study is PROCLAMATION! I said it in big letters because I think we under emphasize the necessity and value of it. If we read Psalms, we see it often. We also see it in Esther, Job, Daniel, Habakkuk...here is the example from Habakkuk 3: 17-19:
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.
So, build yourself up in your faith, stand on the promises and proclaim the truth, cover them all in prayer, and you will be called "A Woman of Faith".
Monday, April 13, 2009
I didn't get it filmed, but took a couple of photos. It brings me to tears every time I see it. Even during the practices~I would peek in and be moved again. To tears.
I am sure when we planned on showing it, it never came to our remembrance that a couple in our church lost their son to suicide in 2003. But they came forward with a few words (and tears) at the end of the service...The father of the boy has only been a Christian for a few years...prompted by his deep pain, he came into the fold. God does that, brings beauty from ashes. Thinking of it moves me to tears again.
I think tears come easy when we realize that Jesus takes up the basin and the towel for us on an ongoing basis. He washes our feet every time they get soiled with stains again. Stains of unbelief, or gossip, or self-reliance. He is always there, waiting for us to come and receive His cleansing.
The cost to Him, the Power from Him, and the deliverance for us...it's overwhelming! I hope you have been moved by Him. From death to life. The risen Lord has redeemed us, bought us back. All you have to do is repent, and believe. Then you are forgiven and become eternally free! Adopted into the family of our humble King...Love Him, oh, He is good!
Thank you, Jesus.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
I am encouraged that Paul talks about being "hard pressed on every side; pressed but not crushed..." because otherwise I would have a guilt trip about saying "yes" to too many things. The truth is, I believe I am in the center of God's will. Trials are for refining and stretching, growing in reliance on Jesus. Walking in the Spirit.
Yes, sometimes he allows us to be stretched. It has been a joy really, to be doing a unit with our youth group on s*xual purity and biblical dating. I have learned so much in my research. So much I wish I had known when Kayla was in middle school. Alas, wisdom was waiting for a few more grey hairs...lol
I have already had the privelege of sharing my new insight often. The Lord has given me opportunities to speak to moms, to encourage and to illuminate the truth. I highly want to recommend two little books that say MIGHTY THINGS...I wish every Christian would read both of these books to glean the wisdom inside of them for guiding and instructing thier children in remaining pure.
"The Purity Principle" by Randy Alcorn
"Secret Keeper" (the delicate power of modesty) by Dannah Gresh
Please look into these books, and check out Dannah's website. You can find it here. It is a wonderful resource for mothers and middle school girls!
So far we covered "what you take in". Then we had a couple come in and speak through their tears of the pain of p*rn~ he lost his teaching job after being caught and thier lives have changed dramatically. It was gripping, and heart~wrenching, but also filled with hope as they have grabbed hold of God's grace and He is making a way for restoration. This week we looked at "what you put on" and how the heart is directly related to modesty.
Next Wednesday will be "physical contact". The recurring theme with every topic is "having established boundaries". I used a fence analogy to describe how God's laws are like fences to keep us safe, and when we get outside the bounds of God's ways, we are "reaping destruction". My dear sister used the analogy of a bridge over a vast body of water. She described going over to the edge and how it starts to shred the heart, and going outside the guard rail, the heart is torn. In "The Purity Principle", Randy Alcorn uses a road...
Sisters, we have so many hurting kids, so many that are vulnerable & make foolish choices at a high cost. The consequences spill over on everyone around them. In talking with my son about his school experience (he is a jr.), purity is very rare, and very difficult for the few who are attempting to walk the high road. Unless we pray and teach our children, it will only get worse!
I find it difficult to narrow down these important topics to a one~hour talk. The Lord has been faithful. Please pray for me as I attempt to pull together the next topic. Pray for clarity, direction, and to effectively communicate the truth! Much love bloggy sisters! Thank you!
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Okay, for some odd reason I cannot get the button on here...if you look to the left, you can see an unpicture. You can click on it for "A Woman Inspired" and you will link there. If anyone has any advice for me regarding uploading the button, I'd appreciate it! Thank you!