Thursday, September 30, 2010

THANKFUL THURSDAY...I am so lucky to be married

Yesterday, I joined my husband for lunch with an older gentleman that my husband has been reaching out to. Joe is 90 years old. He enjoys our company because he is lonely and has nobody else. Joe lost his bride of over 35 years a few years ago, and he is simply lonely.

After lunch, Joe gave me the tour of his home. The thing that struck me is that everything that his wife had decorated their home with was still intact. As he showed me around, he pointed out all of the things that his precious wife had bought. Afterwards, the 3 of us sat in his living room and talked. We listened and Joe talked, mostly about his precious wife, whom he missed so much.

I have been thinking about Joe and his wife and the precious memories that they shared and how even after her passing, Joe still thinks about her. And loves her and cherishes everything about her. This kind of love is priceless and sometimes only comes around once in a lifetime.

When life is hectic and we wonder what it would be like on the other side, may we never forget how good we have it. When I pull up to a stoplight in my run down, unwashed, litter filled vehicle, it is easy to glance over and be envious of the tan faced, blonde haired, single woman sitting in her shiny, bright red convertible with the top down. It may look like others have a better life than you, but the truth is many people are lonely and live a fast-paced life because they are looking for something. Fast cars, money and fame is just a way to fill a void they feel in their life.

I am so lucky to be married and to be loved and cherished! We (my husband and I) may not have much, but what we have is simply priceless. No money or fame can replace what we have. Someday, when I am 90 years old and someone sits in my living room, I will be able to sayto them, "I am so lucky to have had the journey with the man of my dreams!"

PROVERBS 5:18, 19 "Rejoice in the wife of your youth...May you always be captivated by her love."

I am thankful for the memories and the love. Marriage is not being confined to the corral; it is being saddled up for one of life's greatest rides!

Today, I am linking up over at THANKFUL THURSDAY, where grateful hearts are joined together each Thursday. IRIS is our host this week! Come join us!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD it a wonderful life?

One of my favorite Christmas movies is It's a Wonderful Life. A story about a man who hates his life and hates his daily failures. George looks back on his life, but all that he sees is his failure. Failure at being successful, his failure of being a good husband, and even his failure of being a good provider for his family. But then an angel gives George a chance to see life without his "failures."

Instead of seeing his failures, he sees a life without his successes.

At the end of the movie, George realizes he had made some great impacts in people's life's. And with each life that he touched, the love and encouragement just spread like wildfire, from one to another, like ripples in the water.  Even though he saw himself a failure, his friends and family saw him as a success!
Isn't that like us to focus on our failures instead of our successes? All of us think we have failed at something, and most of us have failed at something. But instead of focusing on the bad, why not set our eyes on the good?
In last week's YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers to finish the following sentence, "Sometimes I feel like I have failed..." The top 3 responses were:
1. 66% of those voting said they feel like they have failed God!
2. 44% voted and said they feel like they have failed their children!
3. 33% responded and said they feel like they have failed themselves!
These are all some pretty major failures that we feel. The pressure of doing good, being accepted and striving for excellence is great! But when it is all said and done, when we fail the ones that we love, there is still one thing left...
LOVE! George discovered this one thing and we must see it as never fails!

1 Corinthians 13:8 "Love never fails."

Love that comes from God is unending and unstoppable. This love is extended to us not only in our successes in life but also in our failures. His love will never fail us, it will never let us down, it will never cease. There is no "up"or "down" in your life that will change the Word of God. It is unchangeable, there is nothing that can happen that will stamp an expiration date on God or His love for us. His love never fails.
Our love for one another also has this same substance. Loving others is unconditional. It is not dependent upon if someone lets you down or fails you. Peter denied Jesus 3 times, even after he swore he would NEVER deny Him. (Matthew 26:33-35) Even though Peter failed Him, Jesus never stopped loving him.
You will fail. You will fail others and others will fail you. But in the will oversee the failures, because love never is truly a WONDERFUL life when we realize that love cannot fail!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A PIECE OF MY HEART...everyone is afraid of something!

Do you have fears? I think all of us are afraid of something. I only have a few fears: I am afraid of drowning, I am afraid of heights and I am afraid of mice. I am not only afraid of mice, but I am afraid of small mice, large mice, pet mice, and dead mice. All of them ... if it answers to "mice", I fear it!

All mice to me is just... creepy. It may be a little thing, but those little, creepy things just "creep" me out! I remember one time (and my family remembers it well too, as they laugh out loud) when I reached for the saltine cracker box from the pantry. As I reached into the box to pull a sleeve of saltine crackers out, a little mouse jumped out of the box. I threw the box, screamed hysterically and started jumping up and down! It literally scared the heevy jeevies out of me! Meanwhile, as I was having a complete meltdown with a total cardiac arrest, my family stood across the room laughing hysterically at me.

Wrong decision. For my family, that is. My fear was NOT a laughing matter. They laughed, I did not. They claim that my hysteria scared the little rodent so badly, he probably dropped dead of his own type of cardiac arrest. can really stop us in our tracks. If not rodents, I dare say that each of us have a fear of our own. Possibly it is the fear of failing or the fear of letting someone down. None of us like the feeling of fear, but sometimes God uses our fears to get our attention. Fears can alert us to danger and it can even motivate us to get out and do whatever needs to be done.

DEUTERONOMY 3:8 "The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed."
God always provides a way of escape for us. Give your fears to Him; watch and see how He will bring calm and comfort to your life. He will not poke fun at your fear, but He will help you to overcome it!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Broken Alabaster

Mark 14:3 "and being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head."

Have you ever felt broken? So broken that you were dependent on God's power to fill in the empty cracks?

After reading this passage in Mark, where the woman anointed Jesus with oil, I could not get my mind off of that broken flask. Often times, when I come to a low place and feel broken, I want to hang my head. But I realize now that being broken, if broken before the Lord, it is not something to be ashamed of.

The oil that covered Jesus came from a broken vessel. In order for His anointing to be poured out upon us, we sometimes have to be broken before Him. It is in these times, we depend upon His power to bring us to the place He needs us to be.

When is the last time that you allowed Him to break you? Are you overdue for a pouring of His cleansing, healing Holy Spirit?

May today be a day of healing, as we saturate ourselves with an outpouring of His Spirit!

Friday, September 24, 2010

My Beloved

It is almost hard for me to believe that over 30 years ago, I met my husband. We were just teenagers when we met. Often times, people ask us how we met and they are always surprised when we say, "church". We were in the same youth group and our families attended the same church.

After a year and half of dating, we married at the young age of 17 (me) and 20 (him).

Fast forward now...

That was 29 years ago. This weekend as we celebrate the hand of God bringing our lives together into one, I am amazed at how God has always been with us. Through the good times (births of our babies, watching our kids grow up, taking vacations, laughing and loving each other) and yes, even in the bad times (deaths of loved ones, loss of jobs, financial hardship, saying goodbye to grown children) - through ALL of it, God has remained at our side. And we have remained with Him and each other.

One of the things needed for longevity in marriage is commitment. Not only do you need to be committed to your marriage, but also committed to serving one another, loving one another, cherishing one another, adoring one another, listening to one another, and understanding one another. When commitment no longer lives in a marriage, it is easier to give it up than to work at it.

The same is true of our relationship with Christ. To be a thriving, growing Christian...we have to be committed! Committed to loving Him, praising Him, adoring Him, honoring Him, pleasing Him ... committed to serve Him in the good times and the bad.

Today, I choose to be committed to my beloved. Not just my beloved whom I married 29 years ago but also my Beloved Lord, Who knows everything about me and still accepts me as I am!

I love you!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

THANKFUL THURSDAY...youth and prayer

Yesterday was the annual See Ya At The Pole (SYATP) at many schools around the country. This once a year event marks a time that christian students can rally around their school flagpole and pray for their schools.

This event is student-led and it always brings joy to my heart to see youth praying for the battlefield that they must enter each day. The older generation many times just does not understand the younger generation. They don't understand their music, their culture, and how they do things. Times have changed. The style of music has changed. The style of clothes has changed. Even the style of worship has changed. But the one thing that has stayed the same and will never change is the power of prayer!

I am so thankful that the younger generation is joining the older generation in this belief. Prayer can move mountains, and I believe it can also move some young people to make an impact on their generation!

I am thankful for my daughter who led her class at her high school yesterday morning in prayer and for ALL of the students who boldly made a statement around their school flagpole yesterday. May their schools catch on fire ... with the Holy Ghost fire, that is!

(that's my daughter, in the center, leading the sophomores in prayer)

What are you thankful for today. Join your grateful heart with ours over at GRACE ALONE, Iris is our hostess for THANKFUL THURSDAY this month!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY in a dream world

Common sense tells us that we cannot give our loved ones everything that they might like. Our pocketbooks probably keep us from doing that! But even if we could afford giving the world to them, would we? Would it be good for them or even good for us?

Sometimes it is easier to just say "no" to things that seem impossible. What if instead of dismissing the thought of giving someone the world, we did our best to honor them by attempting to make their dream come true. Instead of saying "I could never do that!", we turned around and attempted to make it happen?

Maybe some dreams are out of our hands to fulfill, but isn't love extravagant at times? To love someone is to go all out. To love, sometimes, means putting YOUR desires aside and bless someone else just because that is what love does.

This extravagant kind of love is the kind of love that God has for each of us. His kind of love meets the needs of our heart. While we were yet sinners, it seemed impossible to have love, joy and forgiveness, but yet God reached down, touched our hearts and blessed us with His gift of love and forgiveness.

EPHESIANS 2:4,5 "God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ."

In last week's YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers the following question, "Do you have a dream that is still unfulfilled?" The top 3 answers were:

1. 28% voted and said that they have a dream to travel.
2. Another 28% responded and said they are still dreaming of writing a book.
3. 14% voted that they dream of getting married.

Some of our dreams take money to fulfill, some dreams take alot of money. But yet, other dreams just cannot be bought with money. Dreams like finding Mr right and settling down, or dreams like having more time with your loved ones. These kind of dreams are what I call dreams of the heart.

Dreams and desires come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. But no dream is too big. We serve a BIG God and He cares about the desires of our hearts. His love is extravagant and He will make a way for your dreams to come true.

So, go ahead and keep living in your dream world, your Father owns a Kingdom and His resources are unlimited. Dreams are made to come true!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A PIECE OF MY HEART...good things come in small packages

Height is not the primary advantage in our family. We come from a line of short people, but my grandma used to always say: "Good things come in small packages." Some great people who were shorter than average in height were Picasso, Charlie Chaplin and Gandhi. Size didn't seem to matter when it came to greatness for these men.

Size did not matter to Jesus when it came to Zacchaeus. We all remember the childhood bible song, "Zacchaeus was a wee little man, a wee little man was he!" Zacchaeus may have been small in size but he had a very big heart:

Luke 19:1-10

He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small of stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Jesus’ invitation to Zacchaeus is also an invitation to us: “Zacchaeus, (put your name here),  hurry up and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” How are we to answer this invitation from Jesus? After all, we are just like Zacchaeus, feeling somewhat small and insignificant and certainly feeling like our lives are up a tree at times, we are constantly looking and searching for answers.

But because Zacchaeus was a believer, he was happy to welcome Jesus into his home. Hospitality is all that Jesus asked of him, but Zacchaeus offers much more:

(verse 9) "The half of my goods I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone, I will pay back four times as much."

Zacchaeus was certainly a wee little man, but a wise man also. He clearly understood what it meant to give BIG! It is my desire to have a heart like Zacchaeus. Daily, I want to invite Jesus into my home, and share with others the blessings that God has bestowed upon me. May I not hide or hoard anything from those who are in need.

It may seem like we only have alittle to offer, but out of small packages come great things! God will pour out His blessings and create much out of nothing, if we will trust and obey Him!

and this has been a piece of my heart today;

Monday, September 20, 2010

Persecuted but not shaken

This past weekend, I received an email from someone that really, really upset me. This person brought my attention to a situation, except instead of presenting the problem, she pointed fingers, called names and made false accusations. It wounded me deeply to read such a malicious message. I felt so persecuted.

Isn't that just like feel so persecuted when someone calls us a name or disagrees with us. It feels like the world is against us, when in reality the only one who is against us is the enemy! Somehow we feel like we have suffered by the cruelty of someone else's words or actions. I know I thought that I had suffered in the past. I thought so... until yesterday:

A missionary visited our church yesterday and shared a video with us that showed persecution in the area he labors. Pictures depicted the bodies of women and children that had been killed because of their stand for Christ. Stories were told of young daughters of preachers that had been raped because of their father's message to the lost.

Persecution is not having our feelings hurt because of name calling or disagreement. Persecution is giving up your life because you believe in Jesus Christ.

MATTHEW 5:11,12 "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. (12) Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

As we rapidly approach the end of age, we can expect persecution to be on the rise. Whether it is being ridiculed or killed for our faith - it will happen. We need to be prepared and ready.

What cost are you willing to pay for your faith?

Friday, September 17, 2010

what 9 out of 10 believe

I came across this poll today about what people believe. The poll asked the question, "What is the key to getting into heaven?" The top answer with 65.5% responding, said "Living a good life." Another question asked in the same poll was, "Are you going to heaven?" - 89.9% said "Yes". (Source:

I noticed in this poll that there were 21,473 more people who answered the second question that did not answer the first one. Apparently 9 out of 10 people believe that they are going to heaven, but most of them don't know why.

It is the enemies goal to take as many people into darkness as possible! To make this possible, he does not have to convert people to Satanism; all he has to do is slightly distort the truth. This survey proves this to be true, in just one poll, it reveals that 90% of Americans feel good about themselves while at the same time are destined for an eternal separation from God.

"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)

What a wake-up call to me that people are dying and going to hell and they don't even know it, or they know it but they don't know why. Let's go out into our world today and change the percentage by sharing the Good News with someone today!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

THANKFUL THURSDAY...spiritual glasses

From time to time, we have to get our vision checked. I find that the older I get, the worse my sight is. I have to hold things closer in order to read things, and things that use to be clear to me, now are fuzzy.

Last year on my vision check up, I had to get reading glasses but lately I have noticed that even with the reading glasses, things do not appear as they use to. I guess it is time to get my prescription for glasses readjusted.

As we walk thru our spiritual walk, we often times have to have an adjustment made to our spiritual glasses. What we used to see clearly can become hazy and fuzzy if we are not careful. Our vision can get blurred from ungodly thoughts, pride and disobedience in our life.

Too many people live in their "yesterdays", instead of grabbing a hold of "today" and pursuing their "tomorrows"! When they talk about God's miraculous power, often times it is in the past. "Back in the day, God moved!" "I remember when..." It is great to remember what God brought you from, but what is God bringing you to?

"Where there is no vision the people perish." [Proverbs 29:18]

Has the Lord given you a vision? Has He given you an assignment to accomplish? Now is the time to lay hold of that vision and continue to fulfill your calling. It may be time to put on your new pair of spiritual glasses and see what God has planned for you to still accomplish! It may not happen as you planned or expected…but be confident of this fact…that your work in the Lord is not in vain!

So renew your vision of His will for your life, for your future, – and see things thru His eyes!

On this THANKFUL THURSDAY, I am thankful for the vision that He has given me. May I never lose sight of what He has promised me! What are you thankful for? Join your grateful heart with ours over at GRACE ALONE where Iris is hosting TT this month!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD...take time to just do it!

For some people, reading the Bible is a difficult task. I have heard people say that it is just too difficult to understand. For some, reading the Bible every day is just simply an impossible challenge to master. It seems to me that the ones who think this way about daily Bible reading have already submitted to defeat before even giving it a try.

No doubt, the biggest issue for not being able to read our Word daily is
T I M E !! We have so little time these days. After all, we all have to work, and we have to get the kids to school and then there is the homework after school, and baseball practice and then when we get home, it is time to fix dinner and wash clothes and do dishes and pay the bills. And we could never miss the latest airing of ER and when all of that is finished, we have to check our email and update our status on facebook and work on the business report that is due for the 8 am conference call in the morning. We might have a few minutes before calling it a day to read our Bible...if only we could keep our eyes open for a few more minutes!

This may or may not describe you, but the truth is that many of us fall short of being committed to daily Bible reading. In last week's YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers the following question: "How often do you read your Bible?" The top 3 responses were...

1. 80% of those voting said that they read their Bible at least once a day.
2. 10% voted and said that they read their Bible more than once a day.
3. Another 10% responded and said they read their Bible once a week.

The Bible says that if we practice a consistent pattern of reading the Bible we will soon discover it to be "more desirable than gold; and sweeter than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb." (Psalm 19:10) The first step to creating a "pattern" or a habit is to commit to doing it!

The Bible is not like most books. Most books are designed to be read and digested, the Bible on the other hand is a Living book. It lives because the Holy Spirit still resonates within each Word. It lives because unlike other ancient writings, the Author of the Bible still lives! The Word of God is alive because when read, it becomes a part of us!

JAMES 1:22 'Prove yourselves doers of the Word, and not merely hearers."

In order for us to know "what to do", we must know what His Book says "to do"! The only way we can know what it says is by spending TIME in His Word - meditating upon it, breathing it, living it and then repeating all of those steps again tomorrow.

Is there not enough time in your day? We have got to make time for Him before time runs out!

There are many tools available today to help you in reading and understanding God's Inspired Word. If you have a hard time understanding your version of the Bible you are reading, check into a different version with more modern day language. Check out online concordances or commentaries available from your local Christian bookstore. Use a daily devotional book or use a "read thru the Bible in one year" book. No matter what tools you use, it doesn't matter, as long as you "just do it!"

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A PIECE OF MY HEART....icing on the cake

WORSHIP - What does it mean to you?

I use to think it was pretty cut and dry. Worship was a time in the service at church that we sang praises to Him. Worship time at church can be alot of can be done thru singing, praising and clapping your hands. We can praise Him with our prayers and even with our giving. All of these aspects of a "worship service" are acts of worship unto Him.

These are all fundamental truths about worship, but what good is worship without emotions? It is truly difficult to worship the Creator of everything and not become overwhelmed with the significance of Who God is!

Worship is so much more than just singing songs. It is becoming more aware of how wonderful He is and how unworthy I am. Putting the focus more on Him and less on me gives me such a deeper hunger for His presence. This hunger is not just a Sunday morning treat any longer, I need to worship Him more than just on Sunday.

I desire to worship Him on Monday as well. And on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday! When I seek to worship Him with my entire being, each and every day, it becomes more than just something I do. It becomes an attitude of my heart. It becomes natural. It becomes part of me. It becomes more than I ever could imagine!

Having a heart of worship daily, now makes coming to church on Sunday to worship seem like just the icing on the cake!

Acts 16:25 "And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. (26) And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.”

Paul and Silas knew what the icing on the cake was. They had an attitude of praise that lifted them high above their troubles and right into God's presence and power. Through their praise and worship, their hearts were lifted. The Bible says that God inhabits in the praises of His people. (Psalms 22:3) He dwells in the atmosphere of His praise. Praise is not merely a reaction to coming into the presence of the Lord, but praise is the gateway which allows us to enter His presence.

It doesn't take a prison cell or a Sunday morning worship leader to bring us into worship. It takes a willing heart and a desire to be nearer to Him.

PSALMS 100:4 "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise."

and this has been a piece of my heart today;

Monday, September 13, 2010

Give me some of His helium power!

I was reminded recently at my daughter's birthday party how important it is to remain filled with God's Spirit. After her party ended, some of the kids who lingered around, decided to have some fun with the helium filled balloons.

They were sucking all of the helium out of the balloons and then tried talking as quickly as they could before all of the helium ran out that they had inhaled. When they did this, their voice changed, almost as if they were a different person.

Much like that helium balloon, when we inhale the Spirit of God, He not only fills our lungs up, but our mind, our tongue, and our spirit. The problem that many of us experience is that we don't remain filled, we allow that one filling to be enough for us. But, like the balloon that runs out of air, without a continual filling of God's Spirit, we too, will run out Spiritual air.

Acts 4:31 "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness."

In order for us to remain different, we must continually seek the helium power - God's Holy Spirit! Have you inhaled His power today?

Friday, September 10, 2010

LACED WITH GRACE...remembering the heroes

Today I have shared a devotion over at the LACED WITH GRACE site. It is entitled "Remembering the heroes". As we embark on the 9 year anniversary of the 9-11 tragedy, may we all take time to remember the life's and sacrifices given that day.

"During the 9-11 tragedy, we saw all types of shepherds (protectors) come to the aid of our Country. Policemen, firemen, paramedics, emergency teams, etc. All of these departments are important and hats off to those men and women who gave their lives 9 years ago in their line of duty, they will never be forgotten for their sacrifice. Another Shepherd that gave an extreme sacrifice is Jesus. Do you know"...

CLICK HERE to read the entire post over at Laced With Grace!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


This week I have had more than one person ask questions about the validity of the Bible. We live in a day now, more so than ever before, where doubt surrounds people's faith. I don't know why that is. Possibly it is because so many have gotten laid back in their beliefs. Or possibly it is because some families no longer pray together as a family or attend weekly church services together.

I see more and more of this to be true, as I see many young people coming thru the doors of church that have never heard the simple Bible Stories of Jonah and Joseph and Moses. I hear these same young people ask, "what is Sunday School?" It is time that we get back to what the founding Fathers built this country on ..."In God we trust!" and return our families back to the basics of knowing the Truth ... God's Holy Inspired Word!

The enemy is constantly attempting to erode and destroy the foundational truths of God’s Word using distortions, corruptions, half-truths, and modern “interpretations”, for he knows that...

 “if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3)

We cannot be deceived by these subtle ploys of Satan any longer. If we agree to alter or dilute the Word of God to accommodate our circumstances, we will end up exactly where that serpent wants us; in disobedience, sin, and sorrow. The enemy is working hard, but we must work harder at revealing the Truth to those who have not heard it.

I am so thankful on this THANKFUL THURSDAY that God's Word never changes. It is! It was! and It will always be!

In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. John 1: 1

You can't take anything away or add to it. It is the absolute, definite, amazing, powerful Word of God! The Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth. I am so thankful that the Truth has set me about you?

What are you thankful for this week? Join your grateful heart with ours over at . Iris is our gracious hostess this month!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD...hold me accountable

I was reading about Sequoia trees in a history book. Did you know that Sequoia trees tower hundreds of feet in the air and can withstand intense environmental pressures? Lightening can strike, fierce winds blow and forest fires ablaze all around, but yet, the Sequoia endures it all. It stands firm, only growing stronger through the trials.

One of the secrets to the strength of such a great tree is what lies below. Unlike many trees, the Sequoia reaches out and interlock their roots with other Sequoia trees around them. Each tree is empowered and strengthened by the others.

The secret to the strength of the Sequoia tree is exactly what the Bible tells is the secret for Christians to be strong:

PROVERBS 15:22 "Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed."

We need each other to grow strong. When Christians root themselves in God's ways and interlock their roots with other believers, spiritual growth is bound to happen!

Christian mentors are like this. They allow us to connect with their spiritual strength and wisdom. We all need to have someone who can hold us accountable. In last week's YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers the following question, "How do you maintain accountability?" The top 3 answers were:

1. 33% of those voting said that they never allow themselves to be alone with the opposite sex, that is not their spouse or significant other.
2. 22% voted and said that they meet with an accountability partner.
3. 11% responded and said that they have a mentor.

Everyone needs wise counsel throughout life. Wise people constantly seek wisdom and gladly receive it. Fools, however, never ask for it and often ignore it when it is given to them.

ROMANS 14:12 "Each one of us will give an account of himself to God."

This is surely an appointment that none of us can avoid, and each of us will stand before God for the things we have done. In addition to that, I believe we will also be held accountable for the things that we have not done or said. It is our responsibility to build each other up and give wise counsel to those that need it.

I need accountability in my life, like the Sequoia tree, I need my roots to be entangled with other Christians that will pour strength and wisdom into me. How about you?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A PIECE OF MY HEART...traveling down the highway

As we were driving down the highway this weekend, a billboard caught my eye. It was an advertisement being displayed for a local casino. The message it shared was this: "Highway to hell - yeah!" I realize that this billboard was advertising something other than what the message conveyed, but it still stuck out to me and the words displayed for all those who drove by really sank deep in my heart.

Could it be that the road I was traveling was going to lead me to hell? Literally, it couldn't but Spiritually, the road we take can very well lead us to a deserted place with no return. Each of us are traveling down roads in life that have crossroads. These crossroads often times cause us to choose direction. Unfortunately, when we choose poorly and choose to follow ungodly paths, the highway that we travel could very well lead us to a dark and dreary place.

I was reading in Isaiah about another kind of highway, a road that leads in a very different direction:

ISAIAH 35:8 "A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not passover it. But it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, shall not go astray."

Even though Isaiah is speaking of a literal road in this passage, I can't help but to think that places in the world like casino's try to place highways in our path that will lead us to destruction. But God has so much more to offer! The highway spoken about in Isaiah can also be considered the road of salvation ... anyone following this route will be ensured a safe and clear passage. God's Way is the highway to an eternal voyage that will certainly prove to be a trip of a lifetime!

Make sure this highway of life is taking you the right way!

and this has been a piece of my heart today;

Monday, September 6, 2010

Rest on this Labor Day

On this Labor Day, I trust that you have found time to rest, relax and not worry about the stress of your labors.

LABOR DAY is so much more than just a 3-day weekend. It is a time, that those of us that labor, can sit back and reflect the goodness of being able to work. So many Americans are out of work these days, if you have a job to go to every are blessed!

Celebrating Labor Day is also a time to remember that God wants us to rest from time to time. Some of us don't know how to rest and relax. We are wound up so tight, taking a day off to go fishing would be like moving a mountain. Moving mountains is not really in our realm of job responsibilities, it's Gods. He reminds me in the book of Matthew that it is alright to rest, rest in Him, as He will carry our burdens if we would just let Him!

Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

I am really tempted, on this Labor Day, to dive deep into yokes, burdens, and labor - but I am just going to sit back and give thanks to God that He cares enough about me that He wants me to rest.

Have you found rest today? 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Remember Me?

I am forever forgetting things! I chalk it up as "old age" setting in. But I don't know how much it is that or that I am just forgetful. Do you ever forget where you put your car keys? How about walking into a room and totally forgetting why you are there? Sometimes, I even come up short on remembering people's names, now how bad is it when I cannot remember family member names? I can relate to this story of the farmer:

A farmer was showing his visiting city-friend around his farm.

“Watch this!” he said.

 He gave a whistle and his little dog came running from the house, herded the cattle into the corral, then latched the gate with her paw.

“Wow, that’s some dog — what’s her name?”

The forgetful farmer thought for a minute and then asked,

“What do you call that red flower that smells good and has thorns on the stem?”

“A rose?”

“That’s it!” The farmer turned to his wife. “Hey Rose, what do we call this dog?”

I guess it is funny how we all forget things. But I highly doubt that God finds it funny when we forget things about Him, and how He blesses us. When things are going badly for us, it is easy to mumble and grumble about how God has forgotten us, but really, the forgetful one is us! We forget all of the times that He has provided, the times He has healed us, the times He has forgiven us, the times He has comforted us, and all of the times that He has stood closer than a brother.

When I read about the children of Israel and their journeys through the wilderness for forty years, I see how God provided wonderful miracles for them. He fed them daily with manna, guided them by a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day, and He parted the Red Sea!

So how is it, then, that the Israelites became so hard-hearted towards God? Could it be that they forgot about the miracles and they took God's amazing power for granted?

It is so easy for us to point the finger at those that forget important things, especially people like the Israelites. But don't we do the same thing? Sure, we can all excuse the things that we forget in our day-to-day life, but what excuse could we possibly have for forgetting the miracles that God has done in our lives?

Can you recall a time that God performed a miracle in your life?
  • Think about that time God provided a need?
  • How about that time He brought you through a trial?
  • Have you ever been healed from a sickness?
  • Has someone come into your life and encouraged you just at the right moment?
 God had a hand in all of these things. We need to remember and reflect on His goodness and His timing!

PSALM 111:4 "He has made His wonderful works to be remembered."

May we keep our spiritual memory intact and remember that God loves us so much that He never forgets who we are. His chosen people!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

THANKFUL THURSDAY...broken, but not hopeless

This world we live in is full of broken hearts, broken relationships, and  broken down cars! When things are broken, we just throw them away. Broken dishes. Broken toys. Broken computers. Some things can be saved with alittle bit of glue or tape, but when things crash and break like your computer modem, there isn't much hope. This happened to me recently and no matter what I tried, the only thing that could fix my computer problem was to discard the old and bring in the new.

You and I, we are not much different. We are totally helpless when it comes to our brokenness. Sometimes, in this walk with the Lord that we are on, God works in ways that will break us. He uses persecution, financial hardship, sickness, loneliness and many other trials to break us of our self-sufficiency, pride, arrogance, unbelief and selfishness. In the trails that we face, God will use them to break us of our self-dependence and lead us to conform to the likeness of Him.

Thankfully, when we are broken, God does not leave us that way! His restoration power puts all of the pieces back together and we are a new creation, one that He can use for His glory. He never throws us away, He sees the beauty and purpose in us even before we do. He doesn't discard the old, He refines and polishes us and creates in us a new spirit, a new vision and new hope. I am so thankful that I am not just some used up, broken down junk to God but something beautiful and useful!

PSALM 147:3 "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."

What are you thankful for today? Join your grateful heart with ours over at THANKFUL THURSDAY! IRIS is our host for TT this month, join us over there today!