Monday, November 15, 2010

Answered prayers

Maybe it seems that God doesn't answer our prayers because the people he chooses to use refuse to be obedient.
That's all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How do we pray?

One thing I am really struggling with right now is serving my family with a good attitude, and with love. Not because I don't love them. I do...VERY much. The reason I struggle with this is because when I see them for the first time after 7 hours of them being at school, all they do is ask me for things. There is no greeting, no, "I missed you mom", or "Let me tell you about my day". We just go straight to, "Mom, can I have....", "Mom, I want....", "Mom, why don't we have...?". It is always just a list of demands, nothing but "I wants".

Is that how we approach our Heavenly Father? When we talk to him, do we express our love for him, our adoration? Do we tell him all of the wonderful things and blessings we are experiencing? Do we ever just talk to him? Or do we pray only when we need something? He wants a relationship with us. Don't hear me wrong, please. God wants us to express what we need. He wants us to pray for things. But he also just wants to hear from us. As much as we want this from our children, God deserves it way more than we do.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Handing over the leash

My brother is caring for a friend's dog while he is getting settled. Yesterday, when the kids and I were at my mom's house, we were sitting on the back porch. My parents have 28 acres, and Solomon comes up to us on the porch with his leash in his mouth. I said, "Solomon, you have room to run, you don't need a leash, go, RUN!!" He had been running. But he was ready for a walk.

That is what being in Christ should look like. We have this world, we have free will. We have room to run, and be free. But to be in Christ means to hand over the leash and tell God, "I am ready to walk with you, I am ready for you to lead me. I don't want to run on my own anymore. I need a companion."

Friday, October 8, 2010

The faith of a child

Matthew 18:1-4 (New International Version)

The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven
1At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
2He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.


This scripture has taken on a whole new meaning to me recently. I have always thought of it as meaning that we must be innocent. Now I see that it is talking about absolute trust and faith.

As children, we have absolute trust in our parents. We know that they will never ask us to do anything that is bad for us. We don't like their discipline, but as we get older, we realize that the discipline was essential to our development. Children have such trust in their parents that if a father says to his son "Jump and I will catch you." the child doesn't question his father. He knows his father would never do anything to hurt him. Do kids throw fits and disobey? Yes. No one likes discipline, no one likes to clean their room, or their mess. No child likes to go to bed or eat their vegetables, or do their homework. Does that mean parents should stop telling their children to do these things?
Children don't go search out other parents just because they think theirs are being unfair. No matter how much they threaten. They don't just say, "I think I am going to go and search for proof that you are my real parents". Children don't see their parents conceive them, or their mother give birth to them (unless you videotaped it ). I have to admit, I was the only blonde in a family of brunettes, so I did question on a few occasions if my parents were my real parents. But I never doubted their love for me. And I never felt like I needed to go search for truth.

That is how God wants us to be. He will never tell us to do something that is not good for us. He will never tell us to do something that isn't crucial for our growth. He disciplines us, but I think his form of discipline comes more in the form of natural consequences. If we do the things he tells us not to do, then we will have consequences. Sure like children, we, as Christians don't always obey, and sometimes we hate the consequences we have to endure. But like most kids, in time, and with maturity, we learn that God is not unfair. As you get older and you do something wrong, and you know your parents know, don't you sort of anticipate their discipline? I can remember the feeling.

As children completely trust their parents in all things, we should trust God in the same way.

When we were training our children to go to sleep on their own (ages 7 and 5), Angelina (age 5) said to me, "I am scared." and I said to her, "If there were anything to be scared of, I wouldn't let you stay in here. I wouldn't have you go to sleep on your own if I didnt know you were completely safe." And she took me at my word and at least for that night, quit being afraid. That is the kind of faith God wants us to have. That is what we must do to become like a child. We will be afraid sometimes, we will be uncertain, but God knows what is best for us. We just have to take him at his word.

Why I believe what I believe

In life, we have many choices. Some important, some not so much.
I just want to talk about one choice. That is the choice to either believe in God, or not to believe in him.
One side says God created the world and everything in it. The other side says that there was a big bang, then things just started evolving from that. One side says there is no life after death. The other side believes that we will live after we die. Where we will live depends on our life and our faith in God.
One side believes that life has a devine purpose, that our lives really mean something. I'm not really sure what the other side believes on this issue to be honest. But since there is no God, no life after death, then I would assume they believe life has no meaning.
This is why I believe what I believe.

1. I don't see how so much can come out of a bang. If there was nothing, how could anything just "Bang" and the universe, life, everything just start to form? Start to evolve? From nothing!!!! Life is too intelligent. I can't see how anyone can think that such intelligence could just form. That nothing created the way things are. How would we know how to show any emotions, and feeling if that hadn't been placed in our hearts?

2. I believe in life after death because I can't bear to get through this life, the suffering, the pain, the struggles not knowing that I have something to look forward to when my time here is done. I can't accept my blessings, my joys, my triumphs without knowing that someone has blessed me with them. Also, if you have ever had a pack of diapers fly half way across your living room with no one you can see putting the force into it, you would have no choice but to believe in ghosts, therefore life after death.

3. I believe life has a devine purpose and meaning simply because if it didn't...what is the point?

4. I choose to believe because bottom line...It is a choice. If I have a choice between believing in something that gives me hope, something that promises me a future, something that promises me love, forgiveness and mercy, something that promises me that I will be rewarded for my life on this earth, for choosing obedience and faith, and believing that everything here on this earth has no purpose, no meaning, no future, no hope? Seems like a simple choice to me.

Although I do not believe this at all. I have full confidence of my future. If when I die, everything I have put my complete faith and hope in turns out to be nothing more than a fable, not true at all, what do I have to lose? I will die, and simply cease to exist. But if someone who chooses to believe that there is no one who created us, no God, no Christ, no real purpose in life, and at the end of their life, they come face to face with the God who created them, who gave them life, who wanted nothing but good for their life and loved them so much, they have to, for all eternity live with their choice.

I don't choose out of fear. I don't choose God because I would rather be safe than sorry. I choose because it seems like a no brainer to me.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

We are just the instruments

Romans 6:12-14 (New Living Translation)

12 Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. 13 Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. 14 Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.

When you hear music, do you say, "Wow, that is a great instrument!" Or do you say, "That is a very talented musician!"
The musician has total and complete control over that instrument. It is the musician who is making the beautiful music. The instrument is simply doing what it was made to do. The instrument yields to the musician. If the instrument is off key, the musician tunes it. The musician will do whatever is necessary for the instrument to play at it's best.

In the same way, we are just instruments. The difference is that we get to choose. We can either be tuned and played by God to make beautiful music, or we can just sit there and choose not to be played at all. We don't have to yield and be tuned when God is preparing us for a symphony. It is a choice. When we have struggles, or even when we have joys, God is just tuning us up so we can play at our best. The good things we do are not from us, we are simply allowing God to use us. Sometimes, we try to let God use us, but we don't allow him to tune us up first.

Another choice we get is who will play us. Satan likes scratchy, out of tune music. Don't let him get your heart out of tune, and when he does, God can fix you right up.

Every day, everything we go through, every experience, good or bad, is God trying to tune us up for the symphony of our lives!!!! Don't let Satan get a hold of that and make you play horrible music. Every day, allow God to tune up your heart and let him play. You will be blown away by the sound he makes!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

If God leads you to it....

I am sure you have heard the saying, "If God leads you to it, he will get you through it." I am sure you have only thought of it as God getting us through the trials in life. I have found a new meaning in that saying.

I had the privelage to go to Abilene for a few days for an awesome event called "Summit". Though we weren't able to stay for the whole thing, I can honestly say that this is the one I have been the most blessed by. God's timing has really proven to be perfect to me.
I am doing a bible study about faith, discussing faith with a friend, and much of what we talked about at Summit was faith.

One scripure I have really been convicted by is Hebrews 10:38

Hebrews 10:38 (New International Version)
But my righteous one will live by faith.
And if he shrinks back,
I will not be pleased with him."


I was able to use that scripture to give me the courage to talk to an atheist friend about faith.

But while we were in Abilene, an incident came up and we found ourselves in the waiting room of the emergency room. The people in the waiting room were very obviousely without God. I kept hearing that still, small voice saying "Pray with them". over and over. I kept saying to it, " I can't..can't you start me off small, like one person, not an entire waiting room of people? I have never done anything like this". Still, I kept hearing, "You need to pray with these people", I kept saying, "What do I say to them, how do I do it?" Yes, it was a real conversation I was having in my heart with the Holy Spirit. I did hear responses to my questions. Unfortunately, I did not obey the Spirit. I was a coward.

On the way home, I could not stop thinking about it. Then I heard that still, small voice say, "If I lead you to it, I will get you through it." I had been relying on my own strength, and my own ability to get me through that.

Philippians 4:13 (New Living Translation)
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength

I didn't need to "know how to do it" God led me to that place, told me what to do. All I had to do was let him lead me through it.

Ask and you shall receive

In light of my "God's Garden" posts, I have one more thing to add. This is way too cool!!

I went out of town for a few days. Knowing my wonderful husband would not think to water my plants (I would rather him focus on the children, anyway), I asked God to water them for me. It rained EVERY DAY we were gone. Is that not just the most awesome thing ever?

What I learned from that is that sometimes God puts someone in our lives. A plant that needs care. But at some point, we will not be able to care for that plant anymore. But God can. And he will. We just have to pray, and have faith that God will give that person what they need.

If he will do that for my plants, you can bet he will do that for a soul.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

God's Garden- 5

Pruning the Plant

In this blog post, I will examine how we tend to our own growth as well as helping others grow.

John 15:1-3 (New Living Translation)

“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you.

How often do we let the ugliness of every day life take over our hearts?

When we bought our house, there was a very dead plant in the back yard. I wanted to chop it down and just never got to it. I went into the back yard one day, and through the dead branches, through the ugliness, there was a beautiful plant with a lot of beautiful flowers. i spent almost an entire day cutting the dead stuff away. There was a lot there. I was so glad I didnt just get rid of the whole plant. There was beauty in it.

We usually have to cut the dead branches from our lives to see the beauty that can grow. that stuff just stunts our spiritual growth.

It isn't only the ugly stuff in life that does that to us. We usually assume that since we have started one good work, that is our calling and that is what we must do for the rest of our lives. Our lives change, our callings change. In one season of your life, you may be called to serve the children. Next you may feel called to help the need. Sometimes you have to cut off something that is perfectly good in order to allow something else beautiful to grow in it's place. With plants, you can see exactly when it needs to be pruned. With ourselves, we just have to trust the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Most likely, if you are losing the passion for what you are doing, it might be time to move on. Although in some cases, the "plant" might just need some water. That would be encouragement for us ;) The trick is to be able to know the difference.

Some plants shed their own flowers to allow new ones to grow. Some plants have to be pruned. Take a rose bush. They will just hold on to a dead flower for a long time. If you cut the dead bud off the plant, it grows much quicker. I recently had someone ask me if I even still wanted to do something I have been doing. It took that person asking me to realize that perhaps that ministry needed to be pruned so something I am more passionate about at the time can grow and bear fruit.

Then of course you have your obvious sort of pruning. Sometimes we allow sin to come into our lives. It might not be causing us to die, but it may still be stunting our growth.

Take time to notice if certain areas of your life, or heart need to be pruned. Be an encouragement to others. If you see that someone needs "pruning" encourage them. Sometimes we can't see the things in our own lives that we need to get rid of. Make room for more beautiful things to grow in your life and in the life of others.

Monday, June 14, 2010

God's Garden -4

Taking care of the Plant

Ephesians 3:14-19 (New Living Translation)

Paul’s Prayer for Spiritual Growth
14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,[a] 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.[b] 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.


God's garden doesn't only consist of people we share the gospel with. It also consists of those who have already become plants. They already have roots.
Some plants get transplanted. You go to a nursery, pick out a plant and take it home to plant. That isn't necessarily how it works in the Christian world. TGhe "plants" usually seek out the different churches. Sometimes it is because their job requires them to move every few years, sometimes it is because they are searching for a congregation that meets the needs of their family.

When you bring that plant home from the nursery. You can't just carelessly drop it into a hole and expect it to thrive. You have to learn whether the plant needs full sun, part sun, or full shade. All plants have different needs. Same with watering. Some plants need to be watered daily, some need to be watered occasionally, and some thrive better when not watered much at all.

My point is that not all christians need the same things to grow and thrive. Some need to be encouraged daily, some just occasionally need to be encouraged, and some grow better if they are only encouraged when you can see them withering away.

Ephesians 4:29 (New International Version)

29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

People don't come with care tags that let us know how to care for them. That means we must know eachother to know what each individual person needs.

God's Garden -3

Planting the Seed Part 2

1 Corinthians 3:6-9 (New Living Translation)

6 I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. 7 It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. 9 For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building.

Once you plant seeds, you have to water them. If you do not, roots will never sprout out of that seed and a plant will never grow. You can't just throw the seeds down and walk away.

You can tell someone about Jesus, but you have to also water their hearts. We have to love, encourage, and most of all, be patient. A seed doesn't sprout overnight. It needs sunlight and water. Lots of it!! Same thing is true with people we share the gospel with.

Monday, June 7, 2010

God's Garden- 2

Planting the Seed

Matthew 13:3-9 (New Living Translation)

3 He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:

“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. 4 As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. 5 Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. 6 But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. 8 Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! 9 Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”


If you plan to grow seeds, you can't just throw the seeds on the ground and expect them to grow. There is a lot to know about sowing seeds. First, you have to know what seeds will grow in what season. Second, you have to know if you have to plant them where they will get full sun, or part sun, depending on the seed. Third, you have to know what soil to plant the seed. Some seeds need soft soil, some can grow in hard dirt.
The same is true when you are trying to plant the seeds of God's word in someone's heart. You can't just throw the word out there. Some people aren't in the right season of life to accept the truth. Knowing if it is the right season, you have to get to know the person. Sometimes, you may plant that seed in the wrong season, but that seed will still be there when their season is right. I planted some bulbs one year. I planted them about a month too late. The leaves sprouted, but it grew no flowers. The next year, when the season was right, I got the flowers I had hoped for the previous year. Just because someone doesn't accept Christ when you offer him to them doesn't mean they never will. They just have to be at the right season in their life for it.

2 Timothy 4:1-4 (New International Version)

1In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

We aren't told to only share the gospel with those who are in season. We can't judge that. We have no way of knowing when it is someone's season. All we can do is plant the seed. God will work out the rest.

Some seeds need nice, soft, firtile soil. Some can grow in hard dirt. Not everyone needs to hear the gospel the same way. To someone, you may need to tell them of his love and forgiveness, grace and mercy. Someone else may need to hear of his judgement. How do we know how to approach each different person? I'm not exactly sure.

I suppose if you come across someone who believes in God, but lives a life contrary to that belief, they probably need to be reminded that Jesus loves them and forgives everyone the same. To someone who doesn't believe in God, but live their lives in such a way you would never even think they don't believe, they probably need a different approach. You're not going to get very far preaching forgiveness to someone who lives a pretty straight life. But have you ever tried to water your plants in the middle of the day without getting the hot water out of the hose first? The hot water burns them. We must be careful when using the judgement approach.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

God's Garden-1

There are some things one has to learn before he/she can plant a garden:
1. If you plant seeds in the wrong season, they will not grow.
2. If you do not water the seeds enough at first, they will not grow.
3. Some plants need shade, some need full sun.
4. Some plants need lots of water, while some flourish more when neglected.
5. Sometimes the instructions that come with the plant don't work well. you have to get to know your plant to know exactly what it needs.
6. If you don't clip the old growth off the plant, new pretty stuff can't grow.
7. Once you clip a flower from it's plant, it doesn't take long for it to die.


All plants are different. They don't all need the same care, or the same environment to survive.
The same is true with Christians. We are all different. In the next several blog posts, I will explore how like plants we really are.

1 Corinthians 3:5-9 (New Living Translation)

5 After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. 6 I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. 7 It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. 9 For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Guacamole

I learned a little lesson while making guacamole this morning. I will share it with you. So you can learn a culinary lesson, as well as a spiritual one! Or maybe just one of the two ;)

If you have ever made guacamole, you probably know that it is a pain in the neck to keep it from turning brown. Here are some tips to keeping it pretty and green.
1. The first thing to do is keep the avocado pit (seed) in the guacamole. You have to have the pit showing for it to really work. In the center is the best.
2. press plastic wrap on top of the guacamole, press the wrap firmly over the guacamole, allowing no air to get in there.

I wish I had taken pictures. But I'm sure you get the point.

This is what I learned. We are like the guacamole, and Jesus is like the pit. We have to keep Jesus right in the center of us, where everyone can see it to keep our hearts from becoming rotten.
The plastic wrap is like the bible. The closer we have it to us, pressed into our very being, the less bad stuff we will allow into our lives.

Yeah, I know, I get inspiration from some of the strangest places. The Lord speaks to me when I least expect it.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Paid in Full

Have you ever went to your mailbox, pulled the contents out and felt totally overwhelmed? Have you ever wished you would open at least one of those bills and saw a big stamp across it that said "Paid in Full"? Wouldn't it be nice if some wealthy benefactor decided to pay off all the debt of some deserving stranger and you were on the receiving end?
Oh, wouldn't it be nice to be debt free????????

Romans 5:6-11

6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

Through Christ, we can be debt free. He has paid our debt in full. The only catch is that instead of him choosing one lucky receipient, it is up to us to choose him. His salvation is an invitation extended to everyone. And unlike the debt that comes and goes that we accumulate here on earth, this debt will never return. We have the choice of course. God doesn't give us a charge card with an unlimited spending limit that he just pays when the bill comes in. He expects us to be responsible. He knows we will fall short, but he is always there to catch us and pick us back up.

So, when you are overwhelmed by bills coming in, wondering how in the world you can pay it all. Remember that the debt that really matters, the one that you will take with you to the grave.....It is Paid in Full! Thank you Jesus!

I am reminded of a song we sang as teenagers:

He paid a debt he did not owe
I owed a debt I could not pay
I needed someone to wash my sins away
And now I sing a brand new song
Amazing Grace
Christ Jesus paid a debt
that I could never pay