Monday, December 29, 2008

I Had a Bad Day

Of course it stands to reason that I would have a day that had the pit in it after bragging about how well I have done. I fell into it and it took me some time to climb out of - I am only just doing so, quite honestly.



This pit took me unawares - it was a booby trap (trying to get passed this word quickly since my twin 8 year old boys think the word booby is awesome - such boys) placed by Satan in my extreme weariness I was not vigilant and allowed myself to fall headlong into it. I followed trails that were starting to grow up and went places that I had no business going in my mind.



One of the things that was shared with me recently by two faithful friends, and has stuck with me is there are places in our minds we feel are safe. We wear paths as we continue to these places over and over again - the place I have in mine is a dangerous place. It is a sin to go there and I allowed myself to once again follow that beaten path. It is a dark place where I feel sheltered and it gives me some control over things that I cannot control in my own life at times. Going there gives me an out so to speak...but it is not God's solution to my problems. I must be more vigilant to guard my heart and mind.

Philippians 4:6-8
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.


This scripture is an unbelievable safe guard. It covers ground that I have not been vigilant in keeping.

Prayer and petition to guard my heart and mind is important. It is something I forget to pray - especially in the good times. I only seem to remember when things go haywire that I need to be vigilant in coming before my Father for protection. And it says that if I do so with thanksgiving that the peace of God will guard my heart and mind.

Also keeping my thoughts captive - thinking on the good things...counting my blessings, recalling my scripture - these things will help keep my thoughts where they should be. But I must be more proactive in praying for protection. I must also do it for my husband and children as well.

This is a hard time we live in. It is easy to become enmired in this world's troubles...but we are promised that this will be so...but we are also promised that God has overcome it already. This is a good thing to remember.

John 16:33
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

ahhhhhh....so good.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

How Very Blessed

This was a wonderful Christmas. I don't think I have ever been busier. It was packed from the beginning of the season until the day after Christmas. It was fun, it was full of hard, yet amazingly insightful moments. I let go of a lot of things I wanted to do, and I did a lot of things I did not and was blessed by it all. I have enjoyed my children and my husband and feel that God once again blessed abundantly above what we asked or thought.

I am at that point where I am weary but in a good way. It's a happy kind of tired which is very gratifying. It is a deserved tired. I like that. It doesn't happen very often. My tiredness is usually generated from worrying and doing things that I am not suppose to be worrying over or doing. I hope that I find myself being more thoughtful in my choices so that I can be like this more often. I like looking back at this last month and being happy with my choices - even the hard ones.

Proverbs 2

1 My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom

and applying your heart to understanding,
3 and if you call out for insight

and cry aloud for understanding

How appropriate with the New Year approaching to look at Proverbs. I ask the Lord for wisdom to make the right choices. I long to turn my ear to wisdom and apply my heart to understanding. I want insight and will cry to God for it. Everyday. Lord, let it be so.

I know that without the wisdom of God that I will not be happy in the choices I make. And I will lack the strength to see my choices put into action and completed. I want to see more of my visions made into reality- both for myself and my children.

I pray that I will say "No" more often and "Yes" when I should and for the right reasons. I pray that my children will see the choices I make are for their best interest and that I will spend less time on my own indulgences and more time on what will mature me spiritually. That I will desire to come along side my husband in ways that will cause him to long to be what God wants him to be...the same with my children.

I feel blessed to be able to come to this place of longing. I pray that I will never stray from this understanding but if I do that I will always come back to it sooner rather than later...

I pray that it will be so...

Monday, December 15, 2008

This will NOT define my day

It seems to be happening a lot lately. Small little annoyances that I want to set the tone of my day to. Why I wonder? I got up this morning got my shower, got the kids up, got their breakfast and lunches ready - cleaned out the fridge then knocked over an entire bag of corn chips...all over the floor. My Eeyore mentality immediately went to "so it's going to be THAT kind of day is it?" But I stood up and said to myself (because remember - I like talking to myself) " I will NOT allow this to define my day" and immediately ran into the corner of the island with my hip and thought several unwholesome words and said again "NO, move on from this - forgive me Lord for my ugly thoughts". As a whole this morning has been good. Why do I want to stick to the bad stuff so badly?

I am certainly no Robert Shuller, nor am I a Joel Osteen. I am better compared to Eeyore as I said before - I hover somewhere between him and Pooh I think. (Don't you think it's funny when you can best compare yourself to children's cartoon characters?) All that to say - I want to be positive in my thinking - it is good - Biblical even - but it is hard when my natural tendency is to throw up my hands and give in...

Philippians 4:7-9
7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.


Put it into practice. So I am actually quite pleased with myself that I got up and tried to extricate myself from the sticky mess that wanted to make me stay down (not that it was actually me that did it - but Christ within me - so thankful!). I am putting this verse - in one of the few slots left in my brain I call a memory. I pray God will help me recall it when I want to let a bad thing define my day. Because that is not what I want to do - and it is not what God wants me to do either! Praise Him!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My Stand

The fact is, I have learned you cannot convince anyone of anything that God has not prepared their heart for. I can share my thoughts about something, I can be my most persuasive and clearly concise...and yet - if someone does not choose to believe he/she will not. I can live my life to the best of my ability and this must be my testimony regarding my belief. This is my best and only chance to show others the goodness of God.

I am a fallen, incomplete, fallible person. My desires are pointedly worldly. And yet there is something that I cannot explain that continues to draw my gaze, my heart, my mind to God. People cannot comfort me fully. Things cannot satisfy me - but the Word of God....the Bible and it's wonderful words satisfy a part of me that I cannot explain. When I hear Psalm 46 - God is my refuge and strength and ever present help in trouble -- therefore I will not fear - though the earth give way - and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea....I am grounded...the world is no longer scary and unsure, because I know that God is the one who controls it. My mind is stilled and my hope is renewed and hope does not disappoint because -

Romans 5:3-5

3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.


Whatever I go through - whether it be happy and wonderful - or so very difficult - I gain strength from my surety of what God has placed in my heart. But - this is not something I can MAKE someone else understand. And I will not judge others for their unbelief....or their doubt of what I hold tightly to. If they want to believe they can...if they do not - then my job is no less than to love them as they are - for that is how God loves me. My example is to do the same. And I will do so, to the best of my ability, and the strength that God gives me. This is my only tool to reach them for Christ. But my words and my actions must make sense together.

I know this makes me a mark for others who do not believe. I know that I will receive criticism, and hurtful words - especially this day and age. This is not the world I grew up in. It has become cold and callous to the wisdom of God's Word. But if I do not stand firm in what I believe - if I do not live by my words, then I am nothing but a front and that Word is not in me and I do not want to be there. This is important for my husband, my kids and those who I want to reach for Christ. I want my words to be backed up by how I live my life. I want others to know that I screw up...but each time I do I will get up and try again...because I am not perfect. But each time I get up - I will be stronger and better for my screw up. But I cannot help who I am - there is something in me that will not let me go. My faith - is strong, thanks be to God.

If someone is willing and ready to accept the Word of God they will. If they are not then they are not. It does them no good for me to come in and condemn them for what they do not believe. Will that gain anything? But by patience and kindness I pray that my words and life will draw them to an understanding of the love of Christ. And this would be a supernatural thing. Because anyone who got a peek at what my life was really like would not desire to be like me. But because of God's goodness and mercy - I can be better and stronger and more like him. This is my hope to make sense in this world that is so wrong.

1Corinthians 1:26-31

26Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him. 30It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."

May Jesus Christ be praised through me and in spite of me.

2 Timothy 2:20-22
20In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. 21If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
22Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.


It is my prayer

Thursday, December 11, 2008

UGH!

This has been a stinky morning. I am having to readjust my attitude. The boys teachers asked them to wear gloves and tobagans because it MIGHT (MIGHT being a huge word - because this is afterall - Alabama) snow and she wanted them to be ready - they told me this FIVE MINUTES before I was to take them to the bus stop. So I am running around here looking for tobagans and gloves (afterall - this is Alabama - who wears those things?) and finally found them....as I am backing down my mountain of a driveway I see the boys new football - rolling, rolling, rolling down the hill...and I hear screaming and wailing from them because they are scared someone will run over it and pop it if it lands in the street. I told them they should have put it in the ball bin and went on to the bus stop. More wailing. I knew that ball would roll over to the neighbors yard and be waiting there...or land in the bushes. No problem - and it may teach them to put their stuff where it belongs.

So I get to the bus stop and am trying to get them onto the bus dry (it's gullywashing here) and I step in a massive mud puddle - up to my ankle...cold, COLD water. They get on - I go home and as I get home I do not see the ball at the bottom of the hill - I tell you I LOOKED. And a horrible thing came to me....it is raining so hard and we have a fast moving stream of water running along the street now - oh - my - giddy - aunt - All I could think is that ball landed in the stream - so I follow the stream praying that the gutter has a small little opening into the drain pipe so the ball will not have gone down the pipe. It's not there. And there is a HUGE opeing plenty big for a football to go down. I feel sick and sorry and regret not stopping and getting it. So I am getting all teary about what the boys are going to say when they get home and how sad they will be.

I am soak and wet with a muddy foot and I turned into the driveway and sitting right next to the driveway on a clump of pine straw - is the football. How did I miss that? And my heart is lightened. And I am sorry I was so cranky about getting the tobagans and gloves out. And I wish I could do it ALLLLLL over again.

Growing up is hard.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

We have hungry people....

One out of every eight Americans struggles with hunger. It is an astounding number to me. It should not be so. I am encouraged to find the best way to help in my community. To be honest - I doubt that many go hungry in this area...but I could be wrong. I will say the number 35 million causes my jaw to drop. 35 million Americans that are hungry - that's a lot of people. What can I do?

I am on a mission to research. Quite honestly, I am already up to my eyeballs in stuff - but I am re-evaluating. What things can I let go? So many unimportant things I do - so many that I do consider important. I am on my knees asking God to break my heart for these people and to bring me into contact with ways my family and I can help. I do have a link for Feeding America. Kraft Foods is matching every dollar donated. I also included Anderson Coopers Blog on the numbers I quoted above.

I feel the need now more than ever to make time and money count for something beside living well. And by that I mean all the excesses we enjoy - not that there is anything wrong with that - but I would rather scale back now and help who we can while we can...

FILLABOWL

REPORT1 in 8 Americans Went Hungry Last Year

God open our eyes and convict us - draw us to you, lead us to the needy...

Matthew 25:34-36
34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Fighting The Good Fight

I was talking with my sweet sis-in-law this week. She follows Steven Curtis Chapmans Blog - He is the person that helped me get out of my funk this morning...Thank you Amy

LINK:
http://www.beliefnet.com/Inspiration/Most-Inspiring-2008/MIPY-Profile-Steven-Curtis-Chapman.aspx

Handing it over - again....

I woke up heavy hearted and feeling weighted. Some of that probably is I have a humongous cold that is wreaking havoc on my Christmas season. Some of it is just the cares of everyday life that I have managed to grab hold of in my usual control freak way. And quite honestly the emotion I have experienced this morning is anger. I am mad. Mad about so many things. Mad at this cold. Mad that my house is a mess. Mad that I have so much to do and don't feel like doing them. Mad that I can't seem to control the chaos which is my life. That's a lot to be mad at isn't it?

I was thinking of people that encouraged me (see above link). People who have experienced so much pain and loss that the only way they could move forward is the grace of God who has given them strength. And I relented in my anger. It deflated. I don't want to be angry. I want to be in the middle of God's will doing what he has called me to do for the moment. I want to be faithful where I am right now. That means doing my best to get well...not to give in to hopelessness and let this thing dig in and make me feel worse. You might wonder what in the world that means. But I have the tendency to lose hope very quickly at times and become enmired in whatever I'm struggling with - I think I usually call it "wallering" in my problems - kind of like a pig wallers in the mud. This will not do.

So -

2 Thessalonians 2:15-17
15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word


2Peter 1:3-9

3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.


Attitude is everything. It is so easy to become confused and overwhelmed by our lives. There is so much required of us at any given time it seems. And yet, a lot of it, is our own doing. To allow myself to be dragged down by my own expectations of what is important is just wrong...and it can lead to a depression of sorts.

I do believe that life is a series of battles over our mind and the conflicts within it. How can we succeed and overcome if we are not well equipped with God's Word?

Ephesians 6:13-18

13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

I am sure that I will find the strength and ability to do what I need to. I just have to keep my eyes on Christ and not on the things of this world. Remembering what is priority which is not what I think is priority. It is not that my house is clean and in order and decorated for Christmas. It is not that I get my Christmas Cards out in time, or even all the presents bought and given.

My priorities are spending time in the presence of Christ moment by moment, allowing him to dictate what is important...sitting with my baby and reading, ironing shirts for my husband, making sure my boys are prepared for school....Each day is a spiritual hitching up of the britches and girding myself with the armour of God and fighting the good fight. I pray that my eyes are clear to what I should be doing each moment and that I am satisfied with the result. Lord keep my eyes on you and help me be content, help me hand it all back over when I want to hold it tightly.