Monday, July 30, 2012

Permanent Hand Prints

It is no secret my children love to play in the dirt.

With that comes dirty walls.  Dirty.  Dirty.  Dirty . . . . walls.

So I came up with an idea to help me deal with what really shouldn't bother me.

Permanent hand prints.

Yes, today, we painted hand prints throughout the walls of our home.

Attractive?  No way.

Memory made?  Absolutely.

Did I catch myself telling my children "they weren't doing it right?"  Unfortunately, yes.

That's when I joined in.

 Kaitlyn started.  

 Christopher wanted nothing to do with it till he saw he got to dirty the walls ;)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Great Controversy

Someone broke the antenna off our car last year, so we are very limited on what stations are picked up; but today, the Lord allowed me to pick up the frequency of K-Love 95.7 and hear a new song.

"I was that outcast."

"I was that lost cause."

"You died for sinners just like me."

"I was looking around, but never looking up.  I am so double-minded."

"Let our hearts be, led by mercy."

"Jesus, friend of sinners; break our hearts for what breaks Yours."

There is great controversy over Dan Cathy's recent stand for marriage between one man, and one woman.

It has divided friends.

It has divided families.

It has gone viral.

I have been called a bigot.  An idiot.  And more, for voicing my beliefs.

Gays say that Dan Cathy hates them and are boycotting Chic-fil-A.

Christians, including myself, are losing their testimony by trying to "prove" they are "right" and instead of showing the love of Christ, we, I, are/am showing my ignorance by losing my temper.

I personally have family members  and friends that are gay.

While I do not agree with what they choose to believe, I still love them.

My heart is hurt that "they" think "Christians" really do hate them.

Please know, just because a person takes a stand for what they believe in, it does not make them wrong any more than you taking a stand for what you believe makes you wrong.

I live in the land of the free . . . . the United States of America.  It is my right to speak of my personal beliefs, just like Dan Cathy has that same right, just like you have that same right; regardless if I think you are right or wrong.

When I was drinking, partying and doing drugs, I wanted nothing at all to do with God.  In fact, I was stupid enough to one day say (and I remember like it was yesterday), "I believe god is a male chauvinist pig that wants everyone to just bow down to him."

What was I thinking?!  

Friend, if you are reading this; please know, first and foremost, a person that loves Jesus, that professes Him as Lord (a Christian), does not hate you.  They, we, I, should not hate you.  IF they do, there are other issues as well.  You are valuable.  You are loved.  When it seems "all" are against you, there is a man named Jesus that loves you.

He died for you, to carry your sins, to tear down the wall of division between man and God.

I am saddened by all this tonight.

Jesus, Friend of Sinners

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Are You Delusional?

God spoke this morning.

We were all up late last night; I wanted to veg at home and start getting ready for my Kayla and her Jacob.  In case I haven't mentioned it, they will be here next Sunday.

That's 7 days.

That's 168 hours, but who's counting?

Right . . .  .

Anyway, at 8:50 a.m. I clearly heard the Lord speak and then felt the urgency to get there.

Pine Summit's Sunday School begins at 9 a.m.

Clearly we (Kaitlyn and I) were late; but were we?

I believe, we, I, was right on time.

Music pierces my soul.

I might be able to put on a face and tell you everything is fine; but when it comes to singing (as awful as my singing is), I can't sing fakeness (I know, that is not a word, but it's my word.)

This morning, every single song cut into the depths of my being.

Made Me Glad by Hillsong

"I will bless the Lord forever
I will trust Him at all times
He has set my feet upon a rock
I will not be moved
And I'll say of the Lord

You are my Shield, my Strength
My Portion Deliverer
My Shelter, Strong tower
My very present help in time of need

Whom have I in heaven but You
There's none I desire beside You
You have made me glad
And I'll say of the Lord

You are my Shield, my Strength
My Portion Deliverer
My Shelter, Strong tower
My very present help in time of need"

In the middle of this song, I heard, "pst, do you REALLY believe that He is your Shield and Strength?  Do you REALLY believe He is YOUR Shelter?  Your Strong Tower?  Your very present help in time of need?  Cause IF you REALLY did, then why would last week have brought on doubt?"

Then the tears began.  I thought, "I've failed God."

Then the choir presented us with That's When God Steps In and we got to sing along with them.

But that stinking "pst" appeared again.

Has it ever visited you, or am I the only one that deals with "psts?!"  The other word for "pst" is guilt, just in case you didn't recognize it.

"If you REALLY believe God is going to step in, then why did you want to quit last week?  Shame on you.  Once again.  You failed God."

And yes, more tears fell.

At that moment, I reached for my Bible, to leave; but something made me stay.

I know now, that today's sermon, was God ordained for me to hear.

To hear that sermon, entitled, "Conviction:  What Do I Believe?" click Pine Summit Baptist Church Sermon's Online

Through the entire message, I kept thinking, "I've failed God.  I am so sorry, Lord.  Forgive me.  I can't believe I failed you."

It was then I was prompted to look in my concordance to see what the Bible says about "failing God."

I was surprised to find the word, "failure," written only one time in the Holman Christian Translation, and it is found in Romans 11:12, "Now if their stumbling brings riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full number bring!"

Their failure, rejecting Christ.

Doesn't say, "doubting Christ," or wondering where He is . . . . it says "rejecting" Christ.

As I am writing/looking up words and "thinking", "failed God, doubt . . . who am I?   What kind of faith DO I have?  Oh Father, forgive me!"  Pastor Donnie begins answering them! 

He says, "Failing is doubting and staying there."

"Faith is doubting and moving on!"  (WOOHOO!  "I didn't fail you, Lord!)

"Belief that does not trust in truth, leads to skepticism."

"Belief that trust in untruth, leads to delusion."

"Belief that trusts in truth, leads to conviction."

Then I realized, Satan was trying to deceive me, bring in confusion, and guilt; just like he did with Adam and Eve.

Over and over, it's his same tactic; and we, unless I'm the only one that does it, fall for it every time!

John 8:44 tells us satan is the author of lies.

In I Corinthians 14:33, we see that God is the not the author of disorder, but of peace; which means it is satan that brings disorder and conflict!

Oh I hope and pray you will take the time to listen to the sermon posted.  It was amazing.

Please know how valuable you are.

Please know, regardless where you are in your walk with the Lord, He loves you.  He wants what is best for you.  His plan for you is not to harm you, but to prosper you.  

Know that it is satan that is coming to steal, kill, and to destroy, but Jesus; He comes to give life, and give it abundantly!

And by the way, while listening to the songs as I was uploading them, I was able to sing them from beginning to end . . . .  regardless of my circumstances :)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Life Continues, And God IS Faithful

I love how I read a devotional; knowing I've read it before, but this time something different speaks to my heart than it did this time last year.

I enjoyed Sarah Youngs, "Jesus Calling" devotional so much last year, that I decided instead of getting a different one, I would re-read the one I had.

Last years highlights, while great, spoke nothing to my heart this year; but other words penetrated deep.  So deep, I sensed I was to share it with you.

I pray these words touch your heart and bring comfort to your soul, as they have mine.  (The words in bold specifically spoke to my heart.)

KEEP WALKING with Me along the path I have chosen for you.  Your desire to live close to Me is a delight to My heart.  I could instantly grant you the spiritual riches you desire, but that is not My way for you. Together we will forge a pathway up to the high mountain.  The journey is arduous at times, and you are weak.  Someday you will dance light footed on the high peaks; but for now, your walk is often plodding and heavy.  All I require of you is to take the next step, clinging to My hand for strength and direction.  Though the path is difficult and the scenery dull at the moment, there are sparkling surprises just around the bend.  Stay on the path I have selected for you.  It is truly the path of Life.

Psalm 37: 23-24, "If the Lord delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand."

Psalm 16:11, "You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."

I stumbled this week.

Raising two special needs children, medication changes, melt downs, husband's work and school schedule, one car and he has it to save gas trips leaves me "stuck" day after day, taking care of sick puppies (and well), not to mention juggling all the bills to avoid disconnects and managing the rest of the house . . . . . and then throw in a car break down at Wal-Mart at 5:30 p.m in the heat of the day, and I lost it.

I was ready to quit. Not give up on God; but I didn't think "life" was worth "doing good" and making the right choices, just to have to keep dealing with one trial after another, after another, after another.

I wanted a drink so bad, just to escape the reality of it all.

Yes, I know, the reality would have still been there when the "drunkenness was over," you don't have to tell me that, I lived it for too many years.  I'm just saying where I was at the moment.

I also begged for death.  "Let someone else 'deal' and have a life like this, I don't want it.  You picked the wrong gal to carry this load, God.  I am just not strong enough."  (Yes, that's what I said.)

Nonetheless, God didn't take me home.

I didn't drink.

And I still woke the next day.

Chris got up and rode the bus to work/class and life continued.

Since then, the Lord has continued to be faithful with two friends calling to encourage a weary heart; a blessing of help with some major bills and a blessing of $50 which helped cover some of the cost of the car repairs.

2 Timothy 2:13, says it best, " If we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself."

He is faithful my friend.  He is faithful.  Oh to have a heart that never doubts, never waivers and is always steadfast!

This song has been continual on my mind:  I'm Trading My Sorrows!

Thanks for stopping by this week.

My daughter, son-in-law, and his family will be here week after next.  Please be praying for their travel safety!  I can't wait to see them and meet the new members of our family!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Contentment, Complacency, and Mediocracy (and where do I fit in?!)

We have had some pretty tough challenges over the last three years.  

Regardless how I feel, I know the Lord is in control; but lately, it sure doesn't feel like it.

Tonight while looking for a letter I thought I had saved on our PC; I came across a folder labeled, "Stacey's Book."  Not sure what took me there, but of all the sub folders I opened, it was one on contentment.  

I know, right!?!

So here is an exert out of "Pulling Weeds."  This particular devotional was written in September of 2008.  I honestly do not remember writing it; and probably none of this will mean anything to anyone else cause it was obviously meant for moi.  But here goes anyway.  (I have no idea why certain sentences are highlighted.  I have been trying for an hour to undo them and it is just not working.  I will play with it at another time when I am not so tired.)

Contentment, Complacency, and Mediocracy (and where do I fit in?!)

Contentment: as defined by Webster Dictionary means, "the quality or state of being content.

Content:  means satisfied

Complacency:  self-satisfaction; to be complacent:  unconcerned.

I received confirmation on this devotional the other day when I had been studying and dealing with complacency in my own life.  I then saw a church sign that read, “Complacency brings on Mediocracy."

Mediocracy is defined as moderate or low quality, value, ability, or performance; ordinary.  

Now that I have my definitions in order, lets see what the scriptures tell me about contentment and being content in "all things."

  • Philippians 4:11, "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances."

  • Philippians 4:12, "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."

  • I Timothy 6:6, "But godliness with contentment is great gain."

  • I Timothy 6:8, "But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that."

  • Hebrews 13:5, "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.' "

About Complacency:

  • Amos 6:1, [Woe to the Complacent]

  • Zephaniah 1:12, "At that time I will serach Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who are complacent."

  • Proverbs 1:32, "For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of food will destroy them;"

And about being half hearted/mediocre:

While I did several searches, the only scriptures I could find that referred to being "half hearted," spoke to the opposite . . . . . and the positive side; that everything I (and you) do, is to be done with all our heart, not half-hearted!
  • Deuteronomy 6:5, "Love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength."

  • Deuteronomy 10:12, [Fear the Lord] And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul."

  • Deuteronomy 26:16, [Follow the Lord's Commands] The Lord your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul."

Based on just these few scriptures, it seems to me that ALL things I do should be done whole hearted, that I should not become complacent in who I am in Christ, but striving to be more like Him daily, and that I am to be content in all circumstances!  

So….how do I do that?

Here are a few thoughts I’ve come up….this is not from a Bible scholar, this is from the school of hard knocks.  :)

What should I do when I start feeling complacent?  

~Be real.  The Lord already knows how I how I feel, so I might as well tell Him.  Luke 16:15 says, He said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts.”    By telling Him, it allows satan to not have any control over us in that particular area.  Satan will play on your emotions/feelings when he thinks you are holding back or trying to keep secrets from the Lord or others.

~PRAY!  Luke 18: 1 – 8  Confide and confess to a friend/mentor.  The widow was persistent!  She didn’t give up.  Even a non-God fearing judge granted her wish.

~Repent.  Ask the Lord’s forgiveness for not putting Him first.  When we are complacent, we become mediocre!  We then set ourselves up for having idols . . . you know, those "things" that come before the Lord.  We can’t be at our best for Him if we are mediocre.

~Evaluate.  Are you where you are right now because you have too much on your plate?  Remember, if the devil can’t get you bad, he will get you busy!  Ask the Lord what you should give up in order to not feel so overwhelmed and to do what He has called you to do with all your heart!  You are better doing one thing for the whole heartedly than a bunch of things half hearted!.

~Rest in the Lord.  Once you’ve determined what the Lord wants you to put aside, rest in the fact that He is in control of all things!  No good thing will be with-held from you.  Isaiah 26:3 says, You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you."

~Restore.  Pray for restoration.  Psalm 51:12, Restore to me the joy of your salvation Lord.  There are times of valley’s and times of mountain tops in our walk with the Lord.  If you are spending all your time on the mountain top and satan isn’t coming after you, then you need to re-evaluate your walk with the Lord.  If you are doing what the Lord wants, satan will be coming after you…be ready.  If you spend all your time in the valley and have no joy, you need to re-evaluate your walk with the Lord.

~Fake it till you make it.  Now, that does not mean to not be real!  What I’m saying is, do what you got to do to get to where you know you ought to be BUT don’t wear a mask.  What does that mean?  Someone asks how things are, be real.  “Right now they bite, but the Lord will see me through.”

~Praise Him!  Sing songs, play music!  Music sooths the heart and changes your heart!

~Endure.  He will see me through.  The word, "through," is written 17 times in Roman 5 in the NASB.  Go read it. 

Now, I can know all the facts and I can know everything I am supposed to do, but what if I just don’t have it in me? 

~Take your thoughts captive and quit your stinkin thinkin!

2 Corinthians 10:5 says, "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

~Talk to someone.  Don’t let satan beat you up because you are in a funk.

John 8:32 says you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.  That freedom is Jesus Christ.  He is the truth, He is the freedom.

Song by Casting Crowns, Slow Fade….