Thursday, January 31, 2008

Burning Coal

"Then I said, 'Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.' Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, 'Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.' Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Then I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'"

Isaiah 6:5-8

Well, you might be thinking - what an unusual passage to share! I am actually in the midst of the Isaiah precept study so this is more than likely not the first scripture from Isaiah that I will share over the next few weeks:)

I could actually write for days on all that I've learned from just these few verses alone, but I'll spare you for now! And, I'm probablly not going to focus on what you are thinking.

I want you to look at the burning coal part. To take you back just a bit, Isaiah is writing of a vision where he saw the Lord. The Lord is sitting on His throne and when Isaiah sees Him, Isaiah is in awe of God's holiness. This is where he says, "Woe to me!" Isaiah is admitting that he is a man of "unclean lips" and that he is sinful. At that moment - a seraphim picks up a burning coal and places it on the lips of Isaiah and the seraphim says "your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven." The very next word in the scripture is "THEN". It says "Then I heard the voice of the Lord." Isaiah did not hear from the Lord UNTIL his sin was taken away.

During our Bible Study time, a lady in our class said, "There is no painless way to get rid of sin." WOW. I can not imagine the pain our Saviour endured on Calvary so that I could one day enter his Holy presence. And, on earth - as we confess our sins to him - it can be so very painful as well.

Recently a precious friend of mine shared how she and her husband were fasting and praying. During this time, one was led to share a sin from the past that had been a burden for around 15 years. It was devastating news, something that could end a marriage if allowed to. Confessing this particular sin was terribly painful for the both of them - it was a burning coal. As they continued to stay in a state of prayer - God worked a miracle. In a matter of hours - as painful as confession was, healing (in their situation) was immediately taking place.

As my friend shared this story - I had just left Bible Study. I could not stop thinking about the comment shared in class. It is true, their is no painless way to get rid of sin. BUT, what comes from our confession (our burning coals) far outways the pain. We, sinful man, can hear from a Holy God. And what great things He has in store for those who are obedient to confess and come to Him.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My Trip To Mexico (AKA Woe, the plans of man!)

I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.
Acts 20:24

I am back from my trip and boy, do I have a story to tell!!!! It goes like this ……. Actually, it ends like this …… when our boat was docked in Mobile, Alabama it was supposedly to be quarantined for 4 days before the Center for Disease Control will allow anyone else to board!! So says CNN News!!!!!

OK, now I’ll back up. I had a fabulous long bus ride. I had a wonderful full day at sea. I took my Bible and all kinds of ministry stuff planning on having an awesome time with God and getting MUCH accomplished.

Well, we dock at Cozumel. My Mom and grandmother along with 40 or so other ladies go on a Site Seeing and Shopping Excursion. Our first stop is across the island in a small village setting where I find a really cool cross ring (we’ve already established my cross thing in another post!). Next, we go to the Beach for about 15 minutes for pictures. For some reason, our next stop is at a Tequila Factory --- why a group of Baptist Women are taken to a Tequila Factory I’m not sure – but it was pretty funny!!!! (this is where you laugh at my Baptist joke) Anyway, I’m starting to not feel well, so I sit and pass on the tour. We get back on the bus to head into downtown Cozumel to do some serious shopping. I’ve been in Mexico about 2 hours by this time – and my time has come to a halt!!! I get off the bus, run to the bathroom and I am oh – so-sick! So sick, that my grandmother hails a cab and we are rushing back to the boat. From there – I continue to be, you guessed it! Oh-so-sick! Oh-so-sick, that my nearly 80 year old grandmother is pushing me in a wheelchair to the ship’s Infirmary!!! Something is seriously wrong with that picture. Evidently, I am oh-so-sick along with hundreds of other people on the ship!!!!! Thus, the boat being inspected by the CDC! And, my trip officially ended riding in a cab only after spending two hours in Mexico. Gang, I was down for the count and I’m doing well to remember getting off the boat :)

I did not get to buy my kids any “real” Mexican gifts. I only got 1 “real” Mexican gift for myself!! I did not have any “lofty” quiet times on the ship’s deck looking out to the sea. I did not do any ministry planning stuff. All I did was be oh-so-sick and sleep.

So, I’m sharing with you what I’ve learned from this unique experience. Life is not about ME! How shocking!! I went on this trip thinking, I deserve a break. This trip is long overdue – I owe it to myself. I’ve got to get my ministry stuff organized. I’m going to accomplish this & that and Me, Myself and I are going to have a blast because it’s about time I did something for – you guessed it, ME! AND – my very supportive husband was never thrilled with this cruise idea. I’m often able to get away for time with Beth Moore, Priscilla and Kay (not personally – but in conference form!) and occasionally for scrapbook weekends. It’s not like I NEVER get away, but he was more hesitant about this trip. He has a huge project due every Feb. and Jan. is the worst possible time for me to leave him to juggle three kids and this other massive undertaking! And honestly, I never gave him a choice so he never said “No.” I just determined from day one that I was going because this trip was well deserved. Well, God put my plans to a halt didn’t He?! Is it possible that I should have listened to my husband (doesn’t God’s word say something about respecting him ---- you would think sometimes I’d never read that part!!)?

Paul said, “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” Paul was not living to please himself or to get his needs fulfilled. He didn’t desire to get away from it all to hear from God on a cruise to Mexico!! From the point of his conversion on the road to Damascus, he had one burning passion: to live for the glory and the pleasure of God. All that mattered to him was knowing Christ and making Him known to others.

In all honesty, I’ve been more worried about getting a suntan in Mexico and coming back with some grand concept that God revealed to me while standing on the seashore or while sitting in the rays of His glorious creation. I was planning on Him revealing something dramatic and profound with me, so that I could tell (blog) it upon my return. Again, in honesty – making me appear to be greater than I am!

“Oh Lord, how I want to live these words by Paul. Forgive me for my selfishness. I don’t want to live to please myself or even those around me --- only You. God, trips are great – but it’s my attitude that needed the adjustment. Thank you for my husband and his wisdom. Father help me to not think I “always know best”. He is amazing and did such a fabulous job with the kids while I was away. Lord, I truly desire to finish the race and complete the task that You’ve given me. I thank you for my calling in ministry – I understand however that my plans mean nothing. You are in complete control. And plans are good – they are not bad things. But, when I focus on my plans and not the plans You have for me – that’s where the problem comes. Help me to live for You today. Amen”

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Apples Of Gold Mentoring Program

"Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God."
Titus 2: 3-5

First of all I need to apologize for my blogging inconsistency!! PLEASE, hang in here with me. I've been out of town so much in January and I'm leaving again today for a cruise:) YES, a cruise. My Mom thought I needed a break so she and my grandmother are taking me on a cruise with 172 other ladies from their church. So - this will be my last post for a week. BUT, come back! I will have great things to share once I return I'm sure!!!

OK - with that out of the way, I need to tell you about the coolest thing! My church started our Apples of Gold mentoring program last night. Have you ever heard of it? Women's Ministry people - this may interest you. It is a six-week nurturing program for women. The format is like this:

It is held in someones home. You have 10 "apples" these are the ones who need/want the mentoring. 6 - 10 Mentors. A cook and kitchen help. Each week starts with a cooking demonstration (our cook uses her own recipes not the ones in the Apples of Gold book). While the food is cooking we have a Bible Study time. Each one of the Mentors will teach a session that is outlined in the book. The topics are: kindness, loving your husband, loving your children, submission, purity, and hospitality. The apples have a little homework before coming to the next weeks session. After Bible Study, we eat the delicious meal and have specific table talk about the lesson we just studied.

I am hosting this session of Apples of Gold at my home. It's a stretch for me to do something like this!!! I am NOT a housekeeper. But, I have been involved with this ministry for many years now and it is such as awesome thing to see how these "young" and sometimes not so "young" apples are just in such desperately need of Godly role models and friends. We don't limit by age - just anyone who is needing to be loved on is welcome. We do limit by number. First 10 only - and it's a race for sign ups every time!!!

For next weeks session I hope to be walking in the doors from my trip while all my guests are arriving!! I hope I don't miss it. And, say a prayer for my family while I'm gone.

Take a look around you. Is there someone that you can mentor? You may not be able to have a formal program like Apples of Gold, but has God placed someone around you - who you need to invest time in? I am so thankful for the mentors in my life. When I was a newlywed - a group of young Moms took me under their wing. They asked me to go see Beth Moore at a church in Kentucky before she was BETH MOORE!!! It was such a God thing - my mentors, the trip, meeting Beth that weekend ----- all the makings of a great blog!!!!

"God, I thank you today for Rebecca, Micca and Lori and their willingness to open up their circle of friends to include a young newlywed years ago. Father - I see where you have taken them and I want to go too!!!! YOU are everything in their life, and they have shown me the Way. God I pray that I can be that to someone else. I pray for this group of "apples" who will be in my home over the next several weeks. Speak to them through your Word and through the mentors You have chosen to participate in these sessions. I pray for those reading - maybe you are bringing someone to their minds this every moment. Maybe they are needing to invest in someones life. Maybe - they need to be mentored too. God - I pray that you would bring everything together --- whichever way it's needed, and you would be glorified. Amen"

Monday, January 21, 2008

God's Plans

My Nephew Jake

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Jeremiah 29:11

Well, it's much later than I anticipated, but I'm back on Monday like I promised!

What a weekend! I had such a wonderful time with the girls. We had pillow fights, ate at great restaurants and visited with friends. It reminded me how much work God has done in the lives of both of my girls.

For some reason, God loves to give my husband and I very unique children. All three of my children have had some type of developmental delay. When my oldest daughter was born, she cried so much in the hospital nursery - that the nursery literally brought her to me and said that Savannah would have to stay in the hospital room with me the rest of my stay. It was funny because the head nurse, Amy, was actually a member of my church! She came to me and said Savannah was disturbing all the other babies and they could do nothing to settle her. I tease her now about "kicking Savannah out" and she remembers the whole thing! Amy often reminds me of God's healing in my family.

You see - that hospital story was only the beginning. From that point on, Savannah screamed until she was pushing 4 years old. She learned sign language because she couldn't speak, I had to take pictures of daily tasks (such as breakfast, a bathtub, toothbrush, pajama's, our church, family members and so on) to help her with transitions. Savannah had all kinds of therapy -- OT, speech, behavioral - several times a week. She was tested for Autism - I was just confident that was it. They agreed she had signs, but not enough to classify her at that time.

Some of you will get a kick out of this! Sometimes, the only way to get sleep would be to have Savannah in bed with me, nursing her and with the vacuum cleaner running. YES - the vacuum!! Boy, I ruined a great vacuum. My husband and I got so use to it - it would run half the night. By the way - don't ask me how long I nursed!! I'll just tell you this much - I was expecting my second and still nursing my first!!!!!

Prayer is the only way I know to explain my survival. She did not have "just colic" and I was not being an "over anxious new mother." We had SERIOUS issues going on and the Lord's direction in parenting and divinely appointed therapists are now precious memories of God's hand over our family.

I have always considered this verse in Jeremiah "Savannah's verse". I had prayed for her arrival for many years. And, it was all God's timing. He knew His plans for her - and He knew I needed to be at a point of daily seeking Him because He "planned" on sending me a real doozie!

Savannah now often says, "Momma, remember when God healed my brain?" And I can't get my "Yes!!" out fast enough. As a toddler, we never knew that she would be able to speak or function as a "typical" child. Seeing her this weekend cheering on stage in front of hundreds of people - WOW, what a miracle.

Sometimes I feel guilty that Savannah is healed. My nephew Jake, who turned 3 in November, just learned to walk. He has severe hearing loss, he is unable to eat anything much more than yogurt and can't feed that to himself or even hold a sippie cup. I know that God has plans for Jake too. When He was perfecting Jake in the womb - God did not mess up! He formed Jake's body as carefully as he did Savannah's. I just need to rest in Scripture - His ways are not my ways Isaiah 55, His works are wonderful Psalms 139, and only He knows His plans Jeremiah 29.

I was sent this video on Autism today. I'll give you the link if you have time to view. I don't know anything about this organization - I just know from experience that their are hurting families praying for healing.

I ask today that you say a prayer for my children. Praise for Savannah's healing. Continued prayer for Cassidy's auditory processing issues and Jamison's speech. For my precious nephew Jake - that God would lead them to the right specialist and if it be His will that Jake's parents would have a confirmed diagnosis and find a great support group. I ask that you pray for any children you might be in contact with who have special needs --- and also for their parents.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Gone Again!

Just wanted everyone to know I'm off to more Cheering for the weekend (well, not me - ha -- the girls). We are getting to stay in a fancy hotel in Chattanooga - the girls are thrilled. I'm even being one of those crazy mom's that paint the mini van with car paint!!! What fun!!

I want you to visit my ministry partner's blog today ---- and be praying for Donald. Donald is someone Leigh met who is searching for Christ. She gave him her blog address and has Donald a letter posted on her site. Great idea, huh!?!

I'll be back on Monday:)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Not one of "those" phone calls!!

“For this reason, since they day we hard about you, we have not stopped praying for you, and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.”
Colossians 1:9-12

Well – it’s honesty time. I received last night one of “those” phone calls from another parent. One of those calls saying, “Your child hit my child and is mistreating my child” kind of phone calls. YIKES!

I could tell that she was as nervous calling as I was listening!! However, I really am thankful that she was bold enough to call me. That is a hard thing to do. It’s easy to sit around and stew about things than to just face them head on. I had been thinking earlier in the day – I wonder if I should call so & so’s Mom. I didn’t know what to say or how to say it! God knew I would completely butcher this situation – so He just had her call me!!! She talked and I listened.

Afterwards, I was so upset -- more at feeling failure as a parent than any of the particulars discussed by phone. Part of my child’s problem is what I like to call a “tone” issue. Her voice can sound very disrespectful. Of course I immediately start thinking, “Oh no – she’s learned that from me!!” I have to be so careful how I speak to others (especially when I’m tired!). Also, she has accepted Christ and I already see signs of her having the gift of prophecy. Things are black and white – so if she “perceives” something as wrong, she is going to let you know about it!!! This leads to a lot of negative things being said to and about others. Oh goodness – how can some of our greatest attributes be our biggest downfalls?? Out of all the Spiritual Gifts – prophecy definitely gets the most flack! She has so much God given potential to do something amazing for His kingdom, but she really needs some sharpening! This gift will serve her well at age 28, but at age 8 --- we’ve got some work to do!!!

After taking a “chill pill” – ha, God brought to my attention a verse that I pray for my children all the time. It’s the very long one at the top of the page.

“God, I thank you right now for the mother who called me. I pray for her relationship with you. Lord, I don’t know her spiritual walk – but you do. I ask that you show yourself to her in away that would be undeniable. I pray for her daughter. I pray that she might come to know you --- and how awesome would it be if this all works out and Savannah one day leads her. And God, I pray for their mother-daughter relationship, may it be a strong one that brings glory to you. I ask that if there is any wrong on their end that they would be accepting of that. Please help all of our relationships to not be awkward from this point forward. Give Savannah wisdom, even at her young age, to know when to use her gift of prophecy! I pray that she lives a life worthy of you and pleases you in every way. Show me where she is imitating me in negative ways and change me! Father, I pray that she will bear fruit, and grow in knowledge of you. God, thank you for opening my eyes. This morning I feel like there is so much that I should have said over the phone. BUT, I see that all of it would have been building Savannah up, while only bringing down this other child. (didn't you just have me blog about that very thing last week???) Thank you for your grace last night to help me keep my mouth closed and just take it all in. You know that is not like me – it must have been You. God, I pray for the teachers who may get involved. Give them discernment and help them to mold each girl’s character for the better. Be with Savannah today. You know how nervous she is about going to school. Give her courage to do what is right and the grace to do it. Thank you for your Word and your awesome wisdom from Colossians!”

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sitting At The Feet of Jesus

He said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Mark 6:31

I don’t know about you, but someone telling me to rest awhile is not a very common thing. Some of you may remember the days when you had an audience of little people while in the bathroom. And that’s where I’m at right now. Rest is the last thing that is willingly offered to me. When I sit briefly to watch a Thomas the Train movie with my "recently turned" 3 year old – if my eyes even begin to close slightly I hear loudly in my ear, ‘Mommy – no close eyes!” Then he begins to pry them open with his little fingers.

Even when he naps --- I still don’t have enough time to take a quick nap myself. I have two other children to tend too. I can’t afford a getaway, just me and my spouse. It’s very easy to feel that I am always stressed out and in a rush.

I fill my life with MANY good things. I believe that most women fill their lives with many good things. Listen to this list:

Working outside the home, serving on committees, being a friend, serving in a civic organization, mentoring, being a wife, mom, attending events, working with teenagers, teaching Sunday School, volunteering, joining clubs, hosting parties. And that’s a drop in the bucket.

I was at a Women’s Ministry Conference and all of the ladies in attendance were involved heavily at their local churches or in ministry like me and our speaker said something on that stage I will never forget. She said, “Ladies, you can not do 1000 things for the glory of God. Discern a few, and do them well.” Boy, that hit home. I don’t need to do all things, only a few.

The truth is, our stress level increases with our effort to do more and be more. With an increased drive to “get it all done,” we’re paying a high price. And we actually reduce our ability to accomplish tasks efficiently. It gets increasingly difficult to make decisions and takes longer to complete even simple tasks. We get forgetful and easily distracted, along with becoming just plain worn out!

It takes tremendous faith, discipline and persistence to manage our time and MAKE time to rest. Again, Mark 6:31 Jesus said, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

Jesus – giving us permission to find a quiet place with him and rest. I regret that I don't always live out this principle. I often feel guilty if I just stop "doing" and slow down! Because – I don’t know about you, but the world will stop spinning if I take a breather!!! So, I’ve got to keep trucking or else the whole world’s in a mess!!

But today - with an insane January schedule before me - I need to remind myself to slow down the pace. It's times when life is so hectic that we should have no other choice, then to take time and rest at His feet first.

And three reasons come to mind as to why I need HIS rest so desperately!

1) I want stability. Psalm 91:1 “ He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty.”

2) I want to rest in God’s peace instead of living in turmoil. Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

3)I want others to see Jesus in my life. Matthew 5:16 Let you light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your good deeds, and praise your Father who is in heaven.”

Thanks God! I needed this today:)

Monday, January 14, 2008

God Speaks - Even Through Cheerleading!!

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

Matthew 19:14

Well, we are back from Cheerleading and we won 1st place!! We better not feel too confident – we have a huge competition next weekend with some top notch squads – I’ll let you know.

Competition weeks are very hectic. We practice an hour & a half and sometimes two hours 3 days a week. PLUS, a one hour tumbling class. Now these are just 5 – 8 year olds, so that’s a lot of time! I was really feeling this week like I was wasting time. What does cheerleading really have to due with life in terms of things that are eternal?

So, with all this cheerleading stuff – God reminded me of a story I want to share with you today. It is how He made a spiritual marker in my daughter’s life. It has a some cheerleading details, but hang in there – it’s really neat!

Back in March we had cheerleading tryouts. Yes, they make little girls “try out”, but everyone makes the team. As you get a little more experience you can be younger and be placed on an older and higher skill level squad. So, my Savannah was determined to make one of the older squads. She worked, and worked and it did not go unnoticed at the gym. She made one of the older squads! She was thrilled – it was her dream come true. Not only was she on an older squad, she was going to be a flyer in one part of the routine (the girl that gets tossed in the air). Life was good!!

Then, we got the schedule. Her squad practiced on Sunday from 1 -3:00 PM. Now Sunday’s are very special days for my family. We don’t get out of church until close to 12:30 most days, and then we would go straight to my in-laws for a huge Southern Sunday Lunch every week. It has been a tradition since my husband and I married.

I talked to Savannah and explained that we would not leave church early, but we would have to 1) drive a separate car from the rest of our family 2) take cheer clothes with us 3) eat fast food every Sunday and 4) miss our family time every week. I wanted her to be clear on the sacrifices we were making (and --- I wanted the gym to know!). We prayed about it and she talked to our family about it. The process was difficult, but she decided to cheer.

This went on for several Sunday’s. Then, I started noticing that she was still praying about her choice for cheerleading. I saw that she was looking sad often, not eating well --- almost like a depression. So, I asked her one day what was bothering her. She said that she had made the wrong choice. She had been praying about it and really thought being with her Nanny, Poppa, Aunts, Uncles and cousins on Sunday was what she needed to be doing. She was in tears and said, “Momma, I guess I’ll have to quit cheerleading. I’m going to miss it, but right now – I miss seeing Nanny and Poppa more.”

Well, that was all I needed to hear. I let the gym know ASAP that our time was over. Savannah had chosen her family (without my influence) and we would no longer be on the squad. I wanted them to know that SHE had prayed about this and this was HER stand. After a few weeks the gym approached us about being on the younger squad one more year and making Savannah the “leader”. She would get to help the younger girls know what to do and would be front and center on the routines. The good news was – no Sunday practice for the younger squad. Savannah accepted.

This year has not been easy. Savannah often sees the older girls and gets sad that she’s not with them. She is sometimes easily frustrated by the younger girls who don’t take things as seriously (including her sister!). But, I have to remind her – “God lead you to this decision. It won’t always be fun and games, but He is the one who wants you to be here at this time. And, you can be confident you did the right thing.”

So, the moral of this cheer story?????

1) Encourage your children to pray for choices they have to make.

2) Expect God to hear them.

3) Remind your child of the story often – it could one day be a special part of their testimony.

4) Go to God with the small stuff.

5) Know that He can and will speak to your kids and through your kids.

6) He can glorify Himself and bring eternal significance in cheerleading!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Enjoy Your Weekend

Hi all! I'm off to a Cheerleading Competition for the weekend. Yes, my 5 and 8 year old travel and compete --- it's a crazy life (much like the baseball world for little boys). Anyway - I'll let you know how we do! Go PrimeTyme All-Star Peeps!!!!

Take Up Your Cross And Follow Me

Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
Luke 9:23

I LOVE jewelry. Sorry, it’s just the truth! And, I especially love scripture jewelry and crosses. If I am outside the house – you can almost guarantee that I will be wearing it! I have a favorite bracelet that says Proverbs 3:16 “Commit they works to the Lord and thy thoughts shall be established.” And, I have at least 15 different cross necklaces. I’m hooked on the stuff! My thought process has been this – if I’m going to wear jewelry – why not put on something that represents my faith.

Well, I have been told over the years that I am na├»ve. And, I guess I’m ready to admit that. Here it goes! It shocks me that people who do not believe in Christ – or show any fruit from their beliefs – walk around wearing crosses just like me! WHAT???? That upsets me to no end! No, actually – that hurts me. It hurts me to think that the precious cross where my Savior died is just someone’s “cool” winter accessory!

This was actually brought to my attention in a taping I was blessed to do with Kay Arthur (YES!!!! I was in a taping! Just me and 7 other gals being taught for 2 full days by Kay, but I’ll save details for another blog). Kay was talking in one session about the changes in society. She gave an example of Brittany Spears, who was photographed wearing a bra with a long cross necklace. She continued by saying how that cross did not mean anything to Brittany – and to most in society who just make the cross a fashion statement. And then, she looked at me with my flashy rhinestone cross necklace on and she said, “But, Ginger here – I know her character. And the cross she is wearing means everything to her.”

Oh – it does! The cross means everything to me. I’ve never intended for my jewelry to be “cool” --- only to witness. However, after that taping I was actually hesitant to wear my necklaces again. I didn’t realize I was putting on the same thing as Brittany Spears in a bra! But, I’m so glad that Kay pointed out the attitude of the heart. I would never want to do anything to hurt the cause of Christ – I only want to proclaim it!

With all this cross talk – I realized yesterday how many cross decorations I have in my home. Again, I am always drawn to them because of my love for Him. My sister-in-law told me of someone she knew who had a collection of crosses and had one wall in her home just filled with them. Then, I had an idea. I have one small wall that would allow me to hang nearly all the crosses I have – all sizes, just randomly placed. AND, above all the crosses I want to paint the words – “Take up your cross daily, and follow Me”.

That’s what I’m reminded of when I have on one of my cross necklaces. That’s what I’m reminded of with each new cross decoration I purchase. I want to be surrounded by that thought. That I must deny myself, take up the cross and follow Him if I want to be a disciple of Christ.

And anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
Matthew 10:38
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
Matthew 16:24
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me”
Mark 8:34

And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
Luke 14:27

By the way --- I’ll post pics after I get my wall done!!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Working For The Lord

“Whatever you do work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
Colossians 3:23-24

I am so excited right now! I had a wonderful meeting with someone who is helping Leigh and I with our ministry, Speaking Thru Me. I am a visionary person and don’t have a clue about details. So, I’ve found someone willing to help us in that area. I met with her for nearly 3 hours and she was drawing and diagramming and brainstorming all the needs of our ministry. It was so cool to see how a detailed person’s brain works!!! Ha! I loved it:)

All I know is that I feel called to teach God’s Word, be part of a ministry and write a little. I don’t know anything about legal issues, forms, contracts, organizational structures, web sites and so on. But, just because that stuff doesn’t come easy for me (boy, that sounds like a lot of stuff that doesn’t come easy for me!!) – does not mean that I don’t have to do any of it OR dread doing it.

God’s Word asks us in whatever we do – to do it for the Lord. I’ve realized that for me, I can’t just say “I’m in ministry”, and set back and not do anything about it. I need to continue sharpening my speaking skills, I need to attend conferences and network with others in ministry, I need learn more about the computer (yuck – not my favorite thing ….but, I must remember….. I’m working for the Lord!), and I need to put into practice some time management skills to better balance family and ministry.

BUT – God is teaching me something else that is very important. ANY work that I do, not just ministry stuff, but in all work I’m serving Him.

That’s hard to grasp when it’s 1:00 AM and someone around age 3 can’t go to sleep. It’s hard to grasp when the dishes are touching the ceiling. It’s hard to grasp when a particular 8 year old can’t understand her math homework no matter how many different ways I’ve explained it!

BUT – what I’m starting to hear is:
Ginger, your little boy needs you. He won’t be 3 forever, what’ s so wrong with missing a little sleep to assure him of your love. Enjoy this time with him.

Ginger, I know you hate the dishes – but a clean house is so important to your husband. When you honor him, you are also honoring Me.

Ginger, be patient. She has such a tender heart and your tone is not helping calm her with her homework. Believe Me, you can be pretty difficult yourself sometimes!

So I’m learning, situation by situation, to strive and work for the Lord. Not for myself, not for others – but for our God.

“Heavenly Father, I am difficult! Work isn’t always fun. It can be frustrating and overwhelming. You know all the “work” that lies ahead of me in the coming weeks. God – I give my time to you. Show me ways to work efficiently. Lord, as I go about my MANY household tasks – remind me who I am ultimately serving. Amen.”

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Raising The Bar

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."

Ephesian 4:2-3

We have all heard the saying, "If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!" And that is so true. I have come to notice that my attitude can set the tone for the day in our household. If I am stressed, rushed and snappy all the people around me suddenly become very difficult! Which seems to happen every Sunday morning before church --- how is that? No matter how prepared I am the night before - Sunday's are the roughest morning of the week! And, I'm the one that started it all. I am frustrated about my daughter's hair clip that matched her church dress disappearing in mid air, my toddler has hid one of his shoes and now his whole outfit must be changed and my oldest can't find her coat. Which we all know - they will NOT hold church service if children show up with out hair bows or non-matching shoes and are coatless!! At this point however, I am not patient and I am not bearing anyone with LOVE.

I was at a Women's Ministry Conference and once heard a male speaker say how a healthy Women's Ministry raises the bar for her church. Now, some of you might not be officially "in ministry", but if you are breathing -- you are at some point around other people. And, you have the opportunity to raise the bar. By your example - you can choose to bring them down or raise them up.

I have really felt the need to reflect on my attitude and my choices. Am I being humble, gentle and making efforts to keep unity? Or, do I feel the need to always be right - often times belittling others? Or, to always be the focus of attention? Or, to stir up trouble here and there? Or, .......

Now honestly, I don't (please tell me I don't!!) feel that I go around and purposefully bring havoc upon those close to me. But I know when I am not living out Eph. 4. And so often - I know that I'm not by the attitude I see in those around me (especially the little people in my life).

I think that all of us want to be liked. We don't want to be known by others as a gossip, someone who disrespects her husband or angers our children. But imitating the humility and the attitudes Christ displayed can seem unattainable. Well, let me free you. Perfection is unattainable. Taking my sinful nature to the Cross, is my choice. Allowing Him to fill my prideful heart with His humility - is my choice. I'm not forced to do that. I'm not forced to show patience to my daughter on Sunday morning when her coat is misplaced for the 10,000th time. No - I don't have to applaud her forgetfulness, but I definitely don't have to yell in her face.

So, I go about life - not being perfect. But knowing what God has asked of me. And, wanting to quickly ask for forgiveness when I am out of line with what he has called. My desire is to "Be completely humble and gentle; bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."

Monday, January 7, 2008

Praise God In All Circumstances

"Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

II Thessalonians 5:16-18

It's easy to praise God when life is good. When there are no bumps in the road. But, when you add some adversity - that is when our true character shows.

It was 2 months ago yesterday that my father in law passed away at age 68. He had been relatively healthy and became ill with a cold the end of July. He was taken to the hospital and on Aug. 6th was diagnosed with stage 4 Lymphoma. He was in and out of ICU for three months and very seriously ill.

Being a pastor for over 30 years, he was loved by many. We had a multitude of saints who were "praying continually" for our close knit family. And, we have daily felt their prayers from Aug. 6th to the present.

It has been a sad time. We miss his voice. We miss him sitting at the kitchen table around Sunday dinner. We miss his humor. We miss his Godly wisdom. And, we miss his hugs.

But, II Thessalonians tells us that it is God's will for us to be joyful, and pray continually giving thanks in all circumstances. How can that be - while hurt, pain, confusion and sadness fill our human bodies?

As I mentioned earlier, it's easy to thank God in the good times. But, when adversity strikes and we thank Him anyway - we are putting trust in His sovereignty. We are acknowledging that we know nothing and He is omniscient. We can say to the Lord of Lords - Yes, this stinks! And yes, I am VERY hurt and even angry. But, I know your Word. And, knowing His Word is how I can live out II Thessalonians.

I believe Psalm 23:4 "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me."

I believe Psalm 56:22 "Cast your cares upon the Lord and he will sustain you."

I believe II Corinthians 1:3 "Praise be to the God and Father our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort."

And I believe John 14:18 "I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you."

Acknowledging God's sovereignty, through our pain, ultimately strengthens our relationship with Him. And as we turn our hurts to Him daily --- sometimes moment by moment, He lovingly begins a healing process within our heart.

I am so thankful for the legacy that my precious Father-in-law left behind. With God's leading, he built a strong and growing church filled with grace. He was know to often say, "Just pour a little grace on it." I am so thankful for the spiritual heritage he left my family. I am thankful for the way he raised my husband to be a Godly leader of our home. And, I am thankful that he was able to baptize our oldest daughter Savannah.

If you are hurting deeply today, my prayer is that you will find comfort in the scriptures above. I hope that if you don't know His Word, that your circumstances will draw you to Him in a way you have never experienced before. And then, you will be able to say ........ "Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Live by FAITH, Not by SIGHT

"True dependence is not simply asking Me to bless what you have decided to do. It is coming to Me with an open mind and heart, inviting Me to plant My desires within you. I may infuse a dream within you that seems far beyond your reach. You know that in yourself you cannot achieve such a goal. Thus begins your journey of profound reliance on Me. It is a faith-walk, taken one step at a time, leaning on Me as much as you need."

by Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

I am embarrassed to put a number on how many times I have made a choice and then said, "Okay, now God - Will you bless this for me? Pretty PLEASE???" I am so thankful He is a patient God because I can be a real brat!

I made a terrible decision last Spring. A previous place of employment called me and asked me to take on a short term project working from home. I prayed about it and felt that I should say, no thank you. To confirm that was the right answer all I needed to do was look at my more than usual BUSY spring/summer schedule. So, I called and explained how it was not going to be possible, I was over booked with various appointments, engagements, end of the year school activities, a wedding (which included all 5 of my family members being in the wedding party) and I was trying to work in a family vacation somehow! I told them how thankful I was that they thought of me, but the timing was just not right. I felt good! I actually said "No" to something - I listened to God and I felt GREAT!

Then, a few days later the phone rang. The conversation was something like this, "Mrs. Moore, we've been thinking about your schedule and we would really like for you to be the one to do this project for us. We are willing to push the start date back until your schedule slows down." Being flattered - and after all, this was a Christian organization - and the money was good for the work to be done, I immediately said "Yes."

What a dumb-dumb! I listened to the words of man (and my desire for extra cash!) over the words of God. AND, I was miserable over the next few weeks. II Corinthians 5:7 says something very short and very simple. "We live by faith, not by sight." In faith, I should have believed God's NO and instead I depended on my sight, which was seeing dollar signs.

It was during all of this struggle, however, where I could hear God's calling on me to do something "more" in ministry. I didn't know what "more" was - but I KNEW that I needed to step out in faith in various areas of my life. I needed to ask him to plant HIS desires in my heart and follow HIS leading, not my own.

And, He has. He has given me a vision for ministry that is far beyond anything I could have ever dreamed up. Recently, He has asked my ministry partner and I to speak at churches for free! For FREE!! Do you know how crazy that can be in the speaking world? But I LOVE teaching God's Word and I know that after the way I butchered things by not trusting Him this summer - He wants me to grow in my faith!

Is God asking you to step out of your comfort zone and do something for Him? Has He placed a desire in you that seems so far out of reach --- you are almost embarrassed to even tell someone? I have been there. Sometimes I've stepped out in faith, and other times I've just crawled in a hole waiting for God to stop asking me to do something that's out of the ordinary. But, our God is persistent in His calling to us. If He has laid something on your - don't make Him keep calling to you day after day. Just take a leap of faith and say, "YES!"

"God, I pray for those reading today who are in need of confirmation from you. Father, you have placed a desire in their heart - something they KNOW they cannot do alone. And, it's scary! I pray that they will embrace II Cor. 5:7 today. That they will live by FAITH and not by SIGHT. Amen"

Friday, January 4, 2008

He gently leads those that have young

January 4, 2008

"He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young." Isaiah 40:11

I can't believe that I am in blog world! This has to be a God thing because this is completely out of my comfort zone. I don't like the computer and I'm confident it does NOT like me! So, here it goes --- my first official blog entry of my personal prayer journal (yikes, I'm nervous!!).

"God thank you that you care about my day -- and all the little details. Even though you designed them and you saw what happened - you desire for me to draw close to you by sharing my heart.

I'm grateful for the bed full of children I had last night. Me and three little people all in a queen size bed! You know my sleep was horrible, but you also know how important it is to my children to sleep with me while daddy is away. Thank you for Russ' safe travel. I pray that he accomplishes everything he needs to while on his business trip.

Father, I pray right now for my sweet Savannah and her ear issues. She woke early this morning screaming from a ruptured eardrum. I hated to see her in so much pain. This was her worst ear infection in a long time. But, how precious it was to just rock her, my 8 year old, for over an hour like a new born. I am so grateful that the other children stayed asleep so I could tend to her like I needed to. And God, I see how you have created her to be appreciative and I LOVE that. She said to me this afternoon - 'Mom, thanks for taking care of me so much today.' God, help me to continue to encourage her in the way you have created her.

You know one of my favorite verses from Psalms. 'You knit me together in my mother's womb...I am fearfully and wonderfully made...your eyes saw my unformed body...All the days ordained for me...before one came to be.' Lord, the days of my children are ordained. I pray that I use that time wisely and teach them your ways. God, you saw Cassidy's unformed body. You know the anxiety that at only 5 years old she holds in that tiny body you created. Today, I saw anxiety in her like never before. It scared me and I know that she is also terrified inside. Lord, help Russ and I - our families and her therapist know how to help her. She is so emotional and so tender. It breaks my heart to see her struggling with life at age 5! God, what will she do at 15??? Help me to remember to trust you in all things. That you will 'gather her in your arms and carry her close to your heart.'

And - I know you love the details, so go ahead and chuckle at this one. But PLEASE help me potty train Jamison!!! God give me patience to accomplish this trivial task. At times God, I feel like I shouldn't come to you with such small things - when so many people are hurting so deeply and would give anything if there only concern was potty training. But Lord, I know you are faithful. And, I need to be faithful in coming to you with the big stuff as well as the small stuff.

With this being the last official day of Christmas Break, ---- I guess that's why I have kids on my brain today. I have enjoyed everyday that they have been home. Next week will be a real adjustment. Help me get their schedules back on track.

And, as always! My quiet time went right along with what I needed for today. I was so glad to read in Isaiah where it says, 'he gently leads those who have young.' Lord, you KNOW I have young!!! And, if Russ would let me --- we would have more "young" - ha! Maybe not, oh - I don't know! By the way, where you the one that's put Savannah up to praying for that lately??? Well, if so - it's not that funny!! But, anyway - you do lead me gently. Someone once said to me (and you know they didn't mean it tacky!) - 'No wonder your house stays such a mess. I've never seen anyone spend so much time with their children.' God - I want to thank you for a messy house. I do spend a lot of time with my children and I feel that I do so mostly to your gentle leading. God, if I can have time in your word, my husband by my side and kids in my lap -- that's more than I could have ever hoped for! Thank you for being so gracious to me during these young mothering years.

And, Lord - in reading that verse - I can't help but pray for my precious friend Shelly who had her 4th baby just two weeks ago. God, hold Shelly in your arms and gently lead her also. She needs your strength and wisdom as she walks this path you made for her and Greg.

And, speaking of paths - guide my path and help me to see you at work around. It makes me nervous to even pray this part, but I pray that Russ and I learn to trust you more. Please make Russ' trip home tomorrow safe. We are so excited to see him!