Saturday, September 26, 2009

Ding-dong-ditchin' and lesson learnin'

I had a wonderful trip to Nashville last week, and returned Friday morning with new friends and contacts, inspiration to start working on some new things, and an overwhelming sense of fatigue!

Despite being tired, our plans were to have six 10 year old little boys over to spend the night for my sons birthday party. They had a great night out at Nascar Speedpark, tried to stay up half the night (despite my many attempts to get them to sleep), and arose at 6:06am, right about the time I was dreaming about a herd of elephants barreling through my house, only to realize that it was not a dream, but the crew of testosterone that had been camping out upstairs.

Apparently their lack of sleep caused them to have a breakdown in common sense, and instead of shooting basketballs in the driveway at 7am, they decided to go ding-dong-ditchin'. You know what that is - run through a yard....ring a away as fast as you can. Ummmmm... yeah.

They had a clean get away at the first house, but they were caught off guard at the second house when a woman slung her front door open, shaking her fist at them, yelling, and telling them she had a gun. Yes, a gun. Was she going to shoot a 10 year old boy? Guess her common sense was not working that well either that early in the morning, but that whole event was unfolding at the exact moment that my husband appeared on the scene, after I had sent him looking for the mischievous bunch.

After a pretty harsh scolding, phone calls to parents, and an empty house earlier than expected, I sat down to talk to my little man, who was embarrassed, remorseful, regretful and a bit confused at the turn of events that had taken place - all before 7:00am, I might add again.

I began to ask him some simple questions, such as why had he not stayed in the yard like I told them to? Why had he not stood up to the friend who was encouraging him to break the rules? Why had he not just told me when someone was doing something they shouldnt be, instead of getting involved himself? Why had he not used the common sense to know that if you ring someones doorbell at daybreak, they might actually come to the door, and they probably will not be happy?!

His little blue eyes filled with crocodile tears as he shrugged his slumped over shoulders and sobbed. He said one of the boys was making fun of him for not playing along, then since the majority was headed down the street, he felt like he had to as well. He had been faced with a decision, and he simply made the wrong choice.

Despite the fact that I had encountered much more excitement than anticipated on this dreary Saturday morning, of which I had hoped to be catching up on my sleep, it turned out to be a great opportunity for some life lessons.

Life lessons such as: the importance of making good decisions, and considering the consequences of ones actions; the importance of being a good influence on others, by being a good example; the importance of reaching out for help, when we are unable to handle a situation ourselves; and the importance of being considerate of other people....and their need to sleep in on the weekends.

But most importantly, we talked about the importance of standing up for what we know is right, even when other people are not - even if it means getting ridiculed - even if means not being the most popular dude around.

Now I know we are talking about a silly door-bell-ringing episode today - but what about tomorrow, or next year, three years from now ......when someone tries to get him to smoke cigarettes, steal, do drugs, drink alcohol, vandalize, skip school, have sex, etc?

Is it ever too early to start teaching them right from wrong? I dont think so. On the other hand, is it ever too late? Never. In fact, I think God puts these little parenting challenges in front of us to give us opportunities to teach, and learn.

Romans 8:28 says that all things can be used to the glory of God for those called according to His purpose. I think that sometimes we tend to only call on that verse when a crisis occurs, a difficult hardship, or a serious mistake was made in our past; when we are trying to make sense of a senseless situation.

But this weekend, God showed me how that verse can be relevant every day, in every situation - to help us see how big circumstances, and little circumstances, can bring Him glory.

God showed us how to turn a silly, unfortunate situation, into an opportunity that opened the door to talk to my son about Godly character traits, and making good choices. And in talking with the Christian parents of the other boys, I was able to see how they also were teaching these character traits to their sons, and taking this opportunity to help them learn to make good choices, as well as determining how to make their punishment fit the crime.

My husband and I decided that little Michael will not be playing the Wii or his PSP (his favorite two things in the world besides a football) for several weeks as a result of his involvement with the ding-dong-ditchin' incident. ( I kind of want to chuckle each time I say that). However, I know that every time he feels a craving to play a video game, he will remember our little talk.

It would be so much easier to just overlook his lack of judgement, forgive him for his mistake, and forget about the situation altogether - after all, nobody was hurt, and it was just a door bell ...but would that really help him remember the lessons that God can teach him through this experience? I think not.

Would you agree that parenting is not always fun, easy, or even enjoyable? If you are like me, you might even agree that parenting can be tiring, frustrating, infuriating, and even sad. But, it is worth every ounce of energy put forth, because God CALLS us to be the parent.

In the past 15 years that I have been a mommy, I have discovered that giving birth does not make one a parent - parenting makes you a parent.

Sacrifice, love, sweat, tears and joy make you a parent. Unconditional love makes you a parent. Compassion and patience makes you a parent.

Parenting when parenting is not fun, makes you a parent.

Parenting with a heart commitment, not a time commitment, makes you a parent.

Parenting is a pattern of failures and let downs, but an even stronger pattern of faith as we seek Gods forgiveness for our own mess-ups, and forgive our children for theirs.

My heart breaks as I consider so many older kids in our community who were never taught the importance of making good decisions, of standing up for right from wrong, or even knowing the difference between right and wrong.

In fact, in some situations, I think the parents just gave up on parenting altogether, when the parenting got hard, and as a result, their children are having to suffer the consequences of not having anyone teaching them lessons of life in the big and small circumstances that they find themselves in. Sadly as a result, they end up walking down a spiraling road of destruction, and year after year, it seems that I can watch them get deeper and deeper into a life of sin. Now sometimes, all the Godly parenting in the world may not keep a child from sin, but if we persevere and do our best through His strength and power, then we are still pleasing God and honoring our call to be a parent.

The truth is that sometimes it takes months, even years, to really see the fruits of your efforts in parenting - trust me, my mom can probably attest to that fact when it comes to me! But my parents didnt give up on me when I gave them a hard time growing up, and I dont intend to do that with my kids either.

My children are the absolute most important things in my life, and the deepest, most desperate longing of my heart is to help prepare them emotionally and spiritually to handle the many situations that they will soon face, whether it is as silly as door-bell-ringing, or as important as a life-altering choice.

Friends, I have no idea why God laid it on my heart to write this message. Actually, it seems a little deep, considering it started out with a funny door bell reference. But God always knows who needs to hear what, when, and I believe someone needs to hear this message this week.

If you are struggling with parenting a young child, a teenager, or even a young adult, who is constantly putting your parenting skills to the test, I just want to encourage you to call out to God today, maybe even cry, stomp your feet, and shake your fists in the air...but whatever you do, do not give up on them.

Believe that God sees your struggles. He sees you, and your child. He loves you and your child. He has great plans for you, and your child. But in order for those plans to ever become a reality in both of your lives, God needs you to be the parent right now that He has called you to be. He is calling you to do the kind of parenting that might be hard, but that will have an impact greater than you could ever imagine.

Ask God for the strength to get through another day, the patience to handle whatever comes next, and the love to deal with the situation in a way that would not only glorify Him, but help your child begin to see how their situations can bring them closer to God, and make them more like Him in the long run.

Lesson learnin' is not always easy, for kids, or for adults, but every situation in life is an opportunity for learning, and holds the privilege of seeing God at work.

Galatians 6:9-10 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Your thoughts please?

Hi friends. I am working on a book proposal for my agent, and wanted to ask your help.

If you have read my book, Reinventing Your Rainbow, would you be interested in sending me a brief review, feedback, or reference comments? I need to have a few reader reviews of the book mentioned in my proposal, and although I have received many emails in the past about the book, I didnt save all of them! Live and learn. :)

So if you are willing to do this, please email me at

If you have not read the book and have interest in reading it and then sending me your review, you can purchase the book from the Proverbs 31 website, or

I will be in Nashville for the rest of the week, so will not be posting, but I will update you next week on any exciting news from my trip!

Thank you friends!

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Smellin' Like Fruit and Lovin' It

The sweetest thing happened yesterday.

Our worship service had just begun, and the congregation was standing, singing hymns, and preparing our hearts for worship. As he usually does, my sweet little boy Michael who is ten years old, was standing beside me with his arms wrapped around my waist.

After a few moments, I noticed that he kept sniffing me. I finally asked why he was sniffing me, and he whispered, "because you smell like fruit! It smells really good!" I smiled at his answer, and knew that what he was smelling was one of my favorite perfumes which I spritzed on before leaving the house, which had a very clean, but sweet, aroma.

I thought about his reply for a moment, then a smile came to my face. I guess smelling like fruit is not so bad, considering all the other options! But then God reminded me that He would like for me to smell like fruit too - fruits of the spirit, that is. I was reminded that His Word tells me that my life should be a pleasing aroma to Him, through my thoughts, actions and behaviors.

Ephesians 5:2 says "and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

This is a commonly used verse, but what does it really mean? How can we learn to offer a fragrance that is pleasing to God, and those around us?

One primary way to exude a sweet fragrance, is to show love. There are lots of ways we can show love to others, from a simple smile, to random acts of kindness, to sacrificial giving and serving for Christ. But regardless of how we do it, all that matters is that we are permeating the earthly and heavenly air with a sweet fragrance.

There is an Old Hawaiian proverb that says, “Tiny is the flower, yet it scents the grasses around it.” It is an example of how small things can have large effects.

In Hawaii, people often refer to the "aloha spirit". The "aloha spirit" simply means LOVE, and that love includes friendship, acceptance, compassion, mercy, gratitude, assistance and cooperation.

A person is said to have shown the "aloha spirit" when they greet you warmly… smile…help a friend…forgive… do a favor…say thanks for a favor...etc.

Its obvious that the ideas and actions behind aloha are not exclusive to Hawaii, and that is the point here today. The spirit of aloha, closely resembles the spirit of a Christian fragrance.

Lets think about that tiny little flower that permeates the air with its fragrance. The fact that it is small, and seemingly insignificant, does not keep it from sharing the fragrance that it was created to share.

Sometimes we think we are not capable of doing anything big or important for Christ. We allow our size, or opinions of unworthiness, to keep us from being the person God created us to be. But the only thing that matters is how we are affecting the world around us - how we are filling the air with a spiritual aroma that not only smells sweet to those around us, but also to God. It is not the actions that matter, it is the aroma that is created by those actions.

Each time we do something in the name of love, we are sowing seeds for the growth of others to experience love and give love. We are helping others learn how to be a little fragrant flower in a big world that is overall, pretty stinky.

Each one of us has a unique fragrance that we share with the people around us. Today might be a good day to ask - is my fragrance a sweet smelling aroma, or a sour, stinky one instead? Is my fragrance permeating Gods love into the hearts of others?

Do you ever remember a time when a woman entered a room and had obviously gone a little overboard on the perfume, leaving a strong, lingering fragrance in the room even after she left? If it was a pleasing smell, you didnt mind it much - but if her perfume was not pleasing to the nose, and was too overpowering, then you probably didnt like it. The same concept applies here with our spiritual fragrance.

Maybe we should always ask ourselves, hypothetically: when we leave a room - is our lingering fragrance one of love and kindness, or anger and harshness? Is our lingering fragrance one of patience and compassion, or one of intolerance and selfishness? Is our lingering fragrance lifting peoples spirits, or leaving them discouraged and broken?

Most people think flowers just happen to smell good, but they only smell good because that is the way God made them. When God created flowers, he intentionally created them to be fragrant. And He created us just the same.

If one tiny flower can scent the grasses around it, then the scent of millions of tiny flowers can scent an infinite space. If one person can scent the air for Christ around them, then many people working for Christ can have an infinite impact. Every little flower, a.k.a person, makes a difference - a fragrant difference - if we are intentional about exuding an aroma that is spiritually pleasing.

So, what fragrance are you wearing today? Is it the sweetest thing?

Aloha. :)

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Friday, September 18, 2009

A Blessed Week of Showers

Ezekiel 34:26 I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing.

No it hasnt rained that much this week here in Charlotte, but it has definitely been a week showered with blessings.

Let me share with you a few highlights from my week in a nutshell -

* Monday: worked on my upcoming conference message most of the day, then spent the afternoon and evening traveling back and forth to various sports practices, but rather than be annoyed at feeling like I should hang wallpaper and a flat screen TV in my car since I seem to spend most of my time driving people places, God reminded me how blessed I was that I am healthy and have the ability to drive. He reminded me to enjoy the season of life that I am living, and be thankful that my children are so busy, active, healthy and well-rounded.

* Tuesday: played tennis for a few hours with friends, whom I know I am blessed to have. That afternoon, I talked to a publishing agent over the phone whom I have been trying to get connected with for three years, and he agreed to send me a contract and be my agent! I am so thrilled! Now I have just a few weeks to turn in my entire book proposal, so the publishers can review it before mid-October! What a huge blessing and answer to prayer.

* Wednesday: played tennis for a a couple hours, worked for a few hours at home, then out and about after school to take the kids to club meetings, piano practice, guitar practice, a drive through Bojangles, and then to church. God nudged my heart that day to remember what a blessing it is to live in a country where we can do the things that we love, and where we have the privilege to go to church and raise children who can love the Lord without fear.

* Thursday: won my tennis match today! Score was 6-2, 6-4. I was so excited! Celebrated by having lunch with my team mates, and feeling blessed to be starting out our fall season with a win. Went shopping at Steinmart in the evening, and didnt know they were having a big coupon sale, and saved $25! Then enjoyed dinner with my wonderful mom, and afterwards, fellowshipped and prayed with my girlfriends from church at a girls night out (instead of going to my daughters JV ballgame, but she said it was okay to miss a night!)

* Friday: a relaxing day, ran a few errands, and prepared to kick off the weekend with my daughter's 13th birthday party, where 50 middle-schoolers are planning to come! Now this may sound like torture to some, but I think it will be a blast. I love getting to know all of my daughters friends better, and nothing is more fun than creating a memorable experience with my family.

So that was it, in a nutshell. As you can see, nothing all that overly extraordinary happened this week, and to some people, it might seem like a pretty boring week overall. In fact, I could just write it off as being a normal week too, with normal duties, normal obligations, same ol'-same ol', hum drum every day stuff for the most part.

But you know what, for some reason, I feel like God really helped me to live life this week with my eyes wide open, and to recognize how important it is for me to do that every week. I still had issues to face, problems at bay, things that I am not happy about going on in my life - but those are just pieces of life, not my entire life.

So many times - days, weeks, months at a time - I walk around living life, without recognizing Gods Hand in the midst of normal experiences. Without thanking Him for the food on my table, the clothes on my back, my wonderful family, the privilege of worship, a car that runs, a body that is healthy enough to drive that car, clothes to wear, the ability to exercise, opportunities to serve God, and see Him working and answering prayers, the gift of friends, the pricelessness of my children, family........

We all know we are supposed to count our blessings - but do we really do it? I know I am guilty of overlooking them at times, and I think that is why God wanted my attention this week.

What about you? Do you ever take the little things for granted? Do you ever overlook the fact that even the tiniest blessings are a present from God, to you? Have you been distracted by all the things on your to-do list lately?...... all the things that are not-so-good in your life?..... all the reasons why you should be discouraged, mad, upset, angry?....

Forget those things! Ever heard the phrase "dont sweat the small stuff" ? How true it is! How easy it is to get so consumed with the problems, challenges, responsibilities, obligations and chores in life, resulting in us becoming blinded to all the amazing blessings that God is showering us with every day.

I wonder how many little blessings God bestows upon us - from helping us to have minimal traffic on the road when we are in a hurry, to protecting our child from being hurt at sports, to providing for our financial needs in special ways - that we fail to notice?

Gods Word promises that He will care for us and bless us - in little ways, big ways, insignificant ways and extraordinary ways. My prayer is that God will continue to help me keep my eyes open to see all the ways that He chooses to intervene in my life.

2 Corinthians 9:8-11a God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you're ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. (The Message)

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

40 Important Life Management Tips

Someone sent this to me in email the other day, and I thought it was worth sharing!


1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner
like a beggar.
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less
food that is manufactured in plants.
4. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.
5. Make time for prayer.
6. Play more games.
7. Read more books than you did in 2008.
8. Spend at least least 10 minutes in prayer each day.
9. Sleep for at least 7 hours.
10. Take a 10-30 minutes walk every day. And while you walk, smile.


11. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what
their journey is all about.
12. Don't have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13. Don't over do. Keep your limits.
14. Don't take yourself so seriously, because no one else does.
15. Don't waste your precious energy or time on gossip.
16. Dream more while you are awake.
17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
18. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner with his/her
mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
20. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
21. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems
are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away.
23. Smile and laugh more.
24. You don't have to win every argument, you can always agree to disagree.


25. Call your family often.
26. Each day give something good to others.
27. Forgive everyone for everything.
28. Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30. What other people think of you is none of your business.
31. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your
family and friends will. Stay in touch.


32. Do the right thing!
33. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
34. Remember, GOD heals everything.
35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
37. The best is yet to come.
38. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.
39. Be happy.
40. Remember to make God a priority in your life, since He is the giver of the life that you are living.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

How Can I Have Reckless Faith?

Thank you for visiting my blog today!

In Luke 7 : Jesus said, “Not even in Israel have I found such great faith.” What was it that Jesus had called “great faith”? How do we have great faith, or reckless faith?

Lets take a look at this entire passage from Luke:

Luke 7: 1-10 - The Faith of the Centurion
1When Jesus had finished saying all this in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2There a centurion's servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. 3The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, "This man deserves to have you do this, 5because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue." 6So Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: "Lord, don't trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."

9When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, "I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel." 10Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.

The centurion used a personal example to illustrate that he understood what it meant to be taken at His word and obeyed. Jesus said to him, “I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.”

Jesus seemed to be saying that “great faith” was simply taking Him at His word. Most of us try to make having great faith something really complex or serious, when it appears that Jesus just wants us to believe, without a shadow of doubt, that He is the Savior.

Hebrews 11 is often referred to as “faith’s hall of fame,” and in these verses there are countless examples of other people who took God at His word.

After reading and rereading the passage, with all its references to the phrase “by faith,” I began to see that all the people mentioned had one thing in common:

No matter whom the writer of Hebrews was talking about, each person had simply taken God at His word and obeyed His command. Without a shadow of doubt. Without hesitating. Without questioning. Without fear.

They are reconized and remembered in the Bible for their faith, and for acting on that faith, even if it seemed reckless.

God told Noah to build an ark because He was going to bring a massive flood. Noah took God at His word and built the ark.

God told Abraham to go out to a place that he would receive as an inheritance. Abraham took God at His word, left his familiar surroundings, and he went.

God indicated to Sarah, who was long past the age of childbearing, that she would conceive a son. The Scripture states: “She considered Him faithful who had promised.”She took God at His word.

Do you want to have reckless faith today? If your answer is yes, then just start trying to take God at His Word. Instead of questioning whether you think that what He has called you to do makes common sense, or if His call lines up with your ideas and plans, just take Him at is Word.

Believe what His Word promises.

Believe that He has equipped you to step out in obedience.

Believe that He has a plan and a purpose for you, if you fave great faith.

Great faith requires us to act according to our belief in Jesus's Word, and not act according to our feelings or own human rationale. If we allow our human feelings to prevent us from saying yes to God, we will never see what amazing things He can do through us and in our lives. As a result, we will miss out on the awesome and incredible opportunities to live out our lives exercising great faith. We will miss our opportunities to step out of the boat, and letting others see His greatness, through us.

Dont let fear paralyze you from moving forward. Ask God to help you have reckless faith today.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Calling The Great Physician

Last week flew by and before I knew it, it was already the weekend, and I had not posted anything since Tuesday!

I do have an excuse though, in that I have been sick the last two weeks, with a bad case of bronchitis. Funny thing though (well, its not really funny), is that I did not go to the doctor until Tuesday of last week, because I kept thinking that eventually, I would just get better on my own. I assumed my body would rid itself of the sickness.

However, when the days turned into over a week of being miserable, with uncontrollable coughing which kept me awake all night long, I finally decided that I was desperate enough to seek out some help from someone who could figure out what was wrong, and possessed the knowledge of what I needed to be cured.

So today, for the first day in a couple weeks, I actually feel like myself again! Sadly though, what a waste of two weeks! If I had just gone to the doctor before my condition had worsened, I could have prevented myself from a lot of suffering!

Isnt our walk with Christ like that sometimes? We have problems, but we think we can handle them on our own. We have burdens, but we refuse to lay them down, because we think we are supposed to carry that weight ourselves. We have faith, but not enough faith to really trust that God does have the cure to our problems?

God is ofter referred to as "The Great Physician", but usually when people use this term, they are praying for physical healing for a loved one or for themselves. But the healing that we all need every day is not always a physical healing, but a spiritual healing. He knows what we each suffer with, and He possesses the knowledge to give us just the right cure for our hurting hearts.

Just like I put off going to the doctor as long as I could, thinking that I could just wait out the illness and it would eventually get better without anyones help, I wonder how many times I put off going to God for a remedy when my heart, or my spirit, is sick.

For some people, God is the first person they call on when a problem strikes, but for most people, He is often the One that we call upon as a last resort.

In fact, many times we seem to view God like we do the Red Cross - we only call on Him and seek His intervention when we are in a desperate, unexpected, and seemingly hopeless crisis situation.

Despite our level of faith we often forget that God desires to talk to us every day; He longs for us to seek out His help. In the midst of struggling with the situations in our lives, we forget that He is just one prayer away from curing what ails us.

There have been numerous times in my life when I have cried out so desperately for Gods help, only to soon discover that I felt a peace that I couldnt understand. In fact, in one particular difficult situation recently, I remember wondering why I was so calm. Why was I not thinking about that problem every second? Why wasnt I more distraught and worried?

Then God quickened my heart and reminded me, that I had turned it over to Him. He had taken that weight off of my shoulders. He was carrying my cross. It was the only explanation for the peace that I felt in the middle of a storm.

I had sought a cure from the Great Physician, and He provided it.

What a shame that we wait until we are desperate for help to cry out to God.

Just like the doctor is always in his office when we arrive for our appointment, God is always there too, and He is always on call! He is available and waiting to get involved in our lives, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. What other physician can offer that type of service?!

Lets make it a focus this week to remember that God sees what we are going through; understands how we are feeling; knows our deepest heartaches; and has the cure that we are desperately looking for. There is no need to wait to call Him until things get really bad - He is ready to step in at anytime.

Jeremiah 17:14
Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise. (NIV)

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

How Do You "See" God?

Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (NIV)

Happy Tuesday! Thank you for dropping by my blog today. If you read the Proverbs 31 devotion for today, your mind may already be thinking about the invisible miracles that you have seen God perform in your life, or maybe about those miracles that you may have never given Him credit for.

But what about those miracles that He performed, that we may not have known about? Is it possible, that the reason we may not see the miracles that God is performing, is because we are not "seeing" Him for who He really is?

I came across a poll, that was conducted in 2007, which asked a random group of people how they saw God. Their answers showed these results:

31% saw God as an Authoritarian God, meaning all rules, and no fun or joy
23% saw God as being a Benevolent God, meaning God loves everyone, and does not really expect people to believe in Him to get to heaven
16% saw God as a critical God, One who could never be pleased with us as imperfect people
24% saw God as a distant God, meaning we have to live life the best we can on our strength and skills and dont really expect God to intervene

What these views seemed to portray is that people really do not "see" God for who the Bible says He is. Instead, they see Him from a perspective based on what He has done, or not done, in their lives.

The truth is, that how we see God in our minds, can be the determining factor of whether or not our relationship with Him can flourish.

For example, if we see God as being distant and unconcerned about our problems, never answering our prayers the way we want, then we will eventually turn from Him and try to handle everything in our own strength.

If we see God as being greedy, begrudging that He asks for 10% of our earnings, then we will not thank Him for our blessings, but instead come to feel like we deserved them anyway because of all we have done or how hard we have worked.

But if we see God as loving, and make a conscious effort to "see" what He has done in our life and in our hearts, even if our prayers were not answered in the way we had hoped, then we will learn to look to Him for guidance, comfort, wisdom and joy. We will learn to see Him as a loving Father, who knows best.

If we see God as being the Master of the universe, orchestrating all things to bring glory to Him, even when those things are difficult or painful, we can trust Him with our whole hearts and look to Him for peace and understanding.

What I am saying, is simply that in order to see God for the sovereign God that He is, and have spiritual insight and discernment to see when He is at work, we have to first begin seeing Him for who He really is.

Here are a few verses that portray God as we should see Him:

Hebrews 4:13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (God is omniscient)

Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good. (God is omnipresent)

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (God is loving)

Psalm 93:2 Your throne was established long ago; you are from all eternity. (God is eternal)

Jeremiah 29:11 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. (God orchestrates our lives)

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (God is caring)

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (God is forgiving)

There are countless other verses in Gods Word which portray His character, who He really is, and how we should see Him. A picture of Him is there, if we look for it.

If someone asked you how you see your God today, what would you say?

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Monday, September 7, 2009

A Message For The Girls

Lately I have been working on one of my speaking topics called Learning To Be Me and Loving It. It is a session geared towards helping teen girls learn how to be happy with who they are, see themselves through Gods eyes, and realize that their life, and their happiness in their life can be found in Christ, and not through approval of others.

I am teaching this session in Bloomfield, Connecticut next month and would appreciate your prayers as I prepare for it, and also for the hundreds of teen girls that will be hearing this message. For some reason, I feel God really tugging at my heart about the content of this session, and I feel an overwhelming responsibility to share a message that will impact their lives.

As I was searching for applicable and supporting information to include in my presentation, and praying for God to guide me regarding what path the message should follow, I came across a powerful video that held me captive for nearly five minutes. It is a video showing not only how teens can take charge of their own lives, but how they can also change the lives of others by standing up for Christ.

This video was apparently made by a small drama team of youth in Maryland, and put to the song This Is Your Life, by the group called Switchfoot. After seeing it, and watching it several times, I intend to show this video at the end of my session, in the hopes that there will be at least one teen, maybe many, whose hearts can be pierced and opened to Gods love by not only hearing what I have to say, but hearing what God has to say through me, and the youth on this video.

I searched other videos about this song, but this one seemed to be the most moving. Real kids, real problems, real truths.

It was so moving, that I wanted to share it with you. If you have a teen in your life/house/church/community/neighborhood, that is struggling with who they are, and/or who they want to be, please share this with them.

God has called us to build the next generation for Christ. If His people dont do it, who will?

If you want to learn more about the conference I will be speaking at, please visit New England Womens Conference.

I would love to get some discussion going about topics that may interest the teens in your life. Think about this - if your teen or pre-teen were going to a conference, what topics do you think would engage them; motivate them; be applicable to their lives; help them in their walk with Christ; encourage them to be set apart; assist them with struggles they are facing; etc.

If you have any ideas or suggestions for me, I would love to hear about them!

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Power Of A Thought

If you are hopping over here from Glynnis Whitwers blog today, then welcome! If you havent visited Glynnis lately, be sure to do so over the next few weeks. She will be offering lots of tips about dealing with the every day things of life, with the tips being offered by members of our speaker team. So in the coming weeks, you can get 10 tips for many different subjects, so check it out!

My post on Glynniss blog today is 10 Tips For Having a Positive Attitude.

In keeping with that topic, lets talk about attitude for a moment.

I came across a startling statistic recently, stating that the average human has 30,000 thoughts per day. (Now how "they" came up with that statistic, I do not know... Im just repeating what I read.)

But 30,000 thoughts is a lot of thinking! Now consider this - if most of those thoughts were negative, self defeating, self condemning, guilt ridden, unforgiving, bitter, and filled with pessimism - what type of person do you think that we would be?

I will just take a wild guess and say - not a very nice one! How could someone possibly be pleasant on the outside, if they are filled with negativity on the inside? Our outward actions are usually the living out of our inward feelings, making it impossible to keep our negativity a secret - which proves how much power our thoughts have over our lives.

In my opinion, I believe that the biggest challenge to having a positive attitude is recognizing that there are just certain things that we cannot change, and accepting that we have to be positive, despite knowing that. If we allow the frustration of not having power or control to make change happen to overtake our hearts and minds, then we are sure to end up in a lonely existence, having driven everyone away as they grew weary of our pessimistic outlook on life.

For example, we dont have the power to change another person, change how another person behaves or treats us, change certain circumstances in our life, change our finances, change our children, erase the past, etc. Sometimes it is that lack of power to make changes happen, which results in frustration and resentment and anger, that causes us to become a pessimist.

I want to ask you to take a few minutes right now to jot down, or just think about, the circumstances/people/past mistakes/etc., that you simply cannot change.

Now think about how your attitude has been towards those things, and what types of thoughts you typically have about them. Are they primarily negative?

Now ask yourself, if you have done any of these things lately:

•Have you said any "could-have", "would-have", "should-have" statements today?
•Have you said "if onlys" about something today?
•Have you thought about that person who hurt you, and how angry you are about it, and how you simply cannot, and will not, forgive them?
•Have you replayed a conversation in your head about a situation that upset you? What you should or should not have said?
•Have you practiced a conversation that you intend to have with someone, that will not be a nice conversation?
•How many scenarios have you created about bad things might happen in the future?
•Have you been saying, "I wish I hadn’t"…..done something
•Are you forming a personal identity around for example, a disease? Do you speak about "my arthritis", "my multiple sclerosis", "my heart problem"? Is it always about the negative things?
•Do you ever make comments like "nothing ever goes right for me"; "everything I touch fails"; "I always mess up"?

A little self examination can sometimes be a huge eye opener. If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then you may be in the habit of negative thinking, without even realizing it. This inadvertent habit not only causes us to be unpleasant on the outside, but can also pull us away from our walk with God, as we focus on our problems, instead of the Problem Solver.

Another important thing to keep in mind, is that negativity can be as contagious to other people as the flu. A sour attitude can sow seeds of pessimism in the hearts of others, and in turn, infect their hearts and minds with a bad attitude as well.

So ask yourself, "is my attitude worth catching?". If the answer is no, or you are unsure, then you might be in need of a little attitude adjustment.

For those of you who are in need of one, here are a few tips to consider. (And if it makes you feel any better, I will be doing this little task right along with you! There is not a person alive who cant use a strong dose of optimism!)

So lets get started:

1. Examine your attitude. Having a conscious awareness of our thinking will help us to maintain a positive attitude, and rid of negative thoughts when they creep up. Read Acts 8:22

2. Submit your attitudes to Christ. Bring your attitudes into obedience to Gods Word, and apply discipline to your thought life. Read 2 Corinthians 10:5

3. Be accountable to yourself. Accept and realize that YOU are responsible for your own well being and happiness. You can't depend on other people to make you happy, satisfied, or meet all of your needs. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16.
Life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% of how I react to it. (Chuck Swindoll)

4. Enjoy life. Try not to get so caught up in managing life, that you forget to enjoy life. There may be a piece of your life that is discouraging, but it is most likely not your entire life. Be sure to keep things in perspective and ask God to fill with you the joy and contentment that can only come from Him.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away (Author unknown)

Sometimes it might seem easier to climb Mount Everest than to make a lasting change within ourselves, but it is possible. In fact, all things are possible with God!

We just have to be willing to do it, and believe that we can, with Gods help. This is confirmed for us in Deuteronomy 30: 11, "Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach." (NIV)

The absolute truth is that our attitudes can determine our destinies, and can actually become self fulfilling prophecies. Thoughts are powerful.


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