Archive for October, 2008

Faith

October 26, 2008

Today, I was going through the grocery line and I saw Oprah’s magazine has a question this month. “What do you know for sure?” I’ve been thinking about this all day.

My first response was “I know God is.” Then I thought about all the conversations I’ve had recently. Many are asking ‘Why do bad things happen, and keep happening, when people are following God?’ Some days we follow God only by faith, not by sight at all. Hebrews 11 talks about people who followed God when the only thing they ‘knew for sure’ was in their gut – Faith.

Imagine Moses, after the burning bush. God had told him that one of the ways that people would believe that he was sent by God was that when he threw down the rod he was carrying, it would turn into a serpent. When he picked it back up, it would become a staff again. This is all great when God is talking to you from a bush but when you are miles/weeks down the road, and his voice is a faint memory… I wonder how many times Moses threw that staff onto the ground between Horeb and Egypt just to help remind himself that God was real and had really sent him?

This is called holding onto God, or stirring up your faith.  What do you do to stir up your faith?  How do you dig deeper and really hold onto God when “what you know” in your head and “what you know” in your heart are warring against each other?

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Who Are You?

October 23, 2008

Quick – what is the first thing that comes to mind when you are asked the question “who are you?”

Do you answer with a list of your abilities? Your relationships? Personality traits? Likes and dislikes?

What is it that makes you uniquely you? Do you find that as hard to answer as I do?

Sometimes I have an answer, and sometimes I draw a total blank. Thankfully, God knows us from the inside out. Read Psalms 139. Not only does He know us, but He loves us just as we are, and like little bonsai trees, He is shaping us into beautiful works of art.

God planted you where you are for a reason. He has groomed you for a purpose, and you are beautiful just as you are. He who knows you, loves you, and continues to grow you.

Just as the bonsai needs nourishment, protection, sun, water, shade and pruning, so God will provide all that you need through the experiences of life so that you become the person He created you to be.

May today be a day of great nourishment and encouragement for you.

Hidden Thistles

October 17, 2008

This morning I ran my thumb over my daughter’s ear – a lovely moment.  Until pain shrieked through my thumb.

How could a thumb that looks nice and normal have such deep pain?  Five weeks ago, I chopped it with a hatchet.  On the outside, it has healed nicely.  On the inside, it has scar tissue and even the lightest touch to the skin is really painful.

Sometimes people are like that.  They look lovely and normal, until they lash out with meanness or defensive growls, seemingly from nowhere.  We can’t see the scar tissue just under the skin that shrieks with the slightest touch.  We meant to say something nice, but it touched an old wound… you get the picture.

How can we have patience with people who are so prickly?  How can we keep from being those people who are so prickly?

These two bible passages are a start:  Psalms 25:14-15Romans 8:18-39.

Hurting People Hurt People

October 15, 2008

I wrote last about a young lady in Starbucks who was lashing out at the world because she was scared and on the verge of a major life event. Then I wondered, how many times do I hurt other people because I, myself, am hurting and so into my own stuff that I’ve stopped looking outward?

Matthew 5:3 Says: “Blessed are the poor in spirit…” or, in the Message: “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.”

Huh? Why is that? Because “poor in spirit” is talking about one who is poor like a beggar – who knows (s)he is poor and is willing to ask for help.

Read John 14:11-14 Jesus gives us all the help we need to be the people He is calling us to be – all we have to do is ask for it.

Don’t have the resources to be a ‘giver’ today? You’ve come to the right place – the throne room of heaven – God is the one with the resources – He will give you what you need to reach out and love those around you, whether they are lovely or not.

Living What We Believe

October 14, 2008

Today I was as Starbucks and this nice looking young lady in front of me turned around and kind of growled at me. She looked at my sweatshirt and told me I needed to ‘get with it’ and wear Seahawks clothes instead of Mariners clothes.

I mumbled something like “this is my comfy sweatshirt.”

Then we got up to the counter, and she was there to complain because her drink wasn’t right. “I didn’t buy it here, but you were closer,” she said. “I don’t want to be ‘one of those people'” she kept repeating.

Already stinging from being accosted, I wondered what sort of woman she thought she was, and even considered telling the woman at the counter that she was ‘that kind of person’ enough to be mean to me. Thankfully, I kept my mouth shut.

While waiting for our drinks, she made lots of comments about the soy drinks that people were ordering – not bad comments, but comments. Instead of being defensive, I decided to open up to her. (I take soy in my drink.) I finally told her that if she could tolerate milk, she wouldn’t have to worry about soy; and for some older women, it takes the place of estrogen.

All of a sudden this young woman – turns out she is 29 with 11 and 7 year old daughters – tells me that today she is going in for her pre-op to have a full hysterectomy. I could just see how the situation was overwhelming her.

What if I had taken the opportunity to be cranky back? I would have gone on with my day and missed an opportunity to pray for this girl named Tomi, who is obviously at a scary place in life. Will you pray for her today – and take time to listen to the person behind the next frustrating situation you run into as well?

More about Fiction

October 13, 2008

I got so excited about telling you about this book, I forgot to tell you the best part! I have two free books to give away.

So, first, I want you to know how to get the book for yourself if you aren’t one of the first two responders:

Don’t authors kind of fascinate you a bit? You can learn more about the author here.

You can also order the book from Amazon.com.

Anyway, the publishers know that this book will make you think, and they want to help you grow and change, so they have given me two books to give away. The first two people to email me will get the book sent to them for free. Blessings!

Reading Fiction

October 13, 2008

Why do you read books?  I read to be changed.  I want to learn and grow – and sometimes to escape for a few moments.

The author of The Shape of Mercy, Susan Meissner, seems to understand this.  She writes:  “Books entertain but they can also enlighten and educate; they can motivate us to attempt great things.”

The Shape of Mercy is just such a book.  The book sets forth an overt challenge to stop viewing others through the lens of our own culture and see them as they are.

It was the covert challenge that I found intriguing – the way we see ourselves.  While the heroine, Lauren, is changing how she perceives others, she also learns that she needs to view herself differently.

If you’re looking for a mushy escape book, this isn’t it – if you are looking for a good book with historical accuracy, this one fits the bill with lots of intrigue.  It goes through the Salem witch trials through the eyes of a (fictitious) young lady from the times, and enters the current-day world of the very rich through the eyes of an idealist who wants to make a real difference in the world.

Peace in the Midst of Life

October 13, 2008

“Rest is a condition of the soul…you are at rest when you are where you should be and doing what you should be doing.”  That is a quote from Randy Alcorn, in the book I’ve been trying to read all summer – “Dominion“.

This morning the sermon was on 1 Timothy 6:6-10.  “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”  The Message says:  “A devout life does bring wealth, but it’s the rich simplicity of being yourself before God.”

It all comes back to the basics.  Living our life focused on God – letting Him be God and resting in that fact.

For some of us, those are great words, we get it, but yet we cry “But how do you do that???”

I was thinking on my way home from church today that we are back to basics with this one:

1.  Practice Thankfulness  (See Psalms 7:17 and Psalms 136).

2.  Practice the spiritual disciplines (see Daniel for a demonstration).

3.  Then rely on the Holy Spirit to embolden and equip you to be the person you were created to be.

Right Perspective

October 8, 2008

If you listen to the news, you’d believe that we are on the verge of a world collapse.  Here is truth:

Isaiah 59:19 When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD will raise up a standard against him. God will fight for you!

Phil. 4: 4-13 (in the Message, parts are edited out, follow the link for the complete version)

Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.

I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.

Don’t be distracted by the stuff going on around you.  It really is a distraction.  God still is your provider – the provider of your purpose and your needs.  He has things for you to do today.  Jesus promised in John 14 that EVERYTHING you need to do what God has called you to do will be yours if you ask for it.  Put your eyes on the author and perfecter of you faith.  He will carry you through.

Thank You, Mom!

October 6, 2008

Do you know how long I’ve waited to hear those words when giving a book to my oldest?

I garner information from books first – she usually doesn’t. While reading the book For Young Men Only, I told her she should read it so she would know she isn’t the only teen girl to think the way she does. (Isn’t that how we girls are wired, we tend to think we are ‘the only’?) I told her how the book was structured:

  • that it was based on real research
  • over a thousand girls answered questions
  • then the book explained that research to boys in language they could understand

She seemed so interested, I gave her the companion book For Young Women Only.

Two hours later, she woke me up from a nap to THANK ME for giving her the book. “This helped me sooo much,” she said.

Wow!!!!

I think on that endorsement, I’m going to be reading the whole family of books,

For Men Only

For Women Only

and I just found out there is a For Parents Only

I gotta tell you though – if my child found the teen girl version so helpful, you need to get For Young Men Only for your teen boy. Who of us doesn’t need help deciphering the language of the opposite sex?

I’m on the blog tour for For Young Men Only. It is coming out this week. In fact, the publishers think the book is so important, that they gave me two books to give away free here, to you – so, the first two people to email me will get their copy sent to them for free.

You need to check out their website – it is amazing!!!

PS.  Congratulations to Karla and Audrey – the first 2 to respond to the giveaway, sorry to those who didn’t get it – you can still get the book at the amazon site:  For Young Men Only

Many Blessings!