God's Word for Today

Saturday, May 31, 2008

No Nite Nites

One of the things that I hope will continue, but realistically I know will one day end are my daughters nite nite prayers. She still has the routine of wanting either me or my husband to come into her room for a good night prayer. It is now 9:45 and I just realized that for the next week I will have no nite nights, it is 9:45 and the only person I have to tell to take a shower is me.

Seven Days

I am not even sure I know where to start for this post.

I have seven days all to myself.

My husband and daughter (this is her very first time in the mission field, so I have to confess to being a bit anxious) have departed for the mission field in Mexico. I found that the first few hours were a bit nerve wracking until I returned home for running errands to find a message on the machine that they had arrived in Texas and were awaiting their connecting flight. My anxiety level was lessened with the knowledge that they were half way to their destination.

But travel anxiety aside, I am now faced with a unique opportunity. I have my house all to myself for seven whole days. The hugeness of this concept has not fully made its way into my brain as of yet.

I stopped at the grocery store and picked up a couple of DVD’s, I actually got to pick a movie that I wanted to see. I shopped for food that required minimal preparation insuring that I could quite possibly not cook for the week as well.

I have a sufficient stack of paper plates insuring that I could quite possibly go the entire week without having to wash any dishes. I cleaned the house yesterday and caught up on the laundry so my week is…….all mine.

I don’t think I know how to act.

My husband asked me “When was the last time that you were alone for an entire week?” I pondered this for several moments. I thought about this, the real answer is quite possibly thirteen years.

The concept of having an entire week to myself is a bit overwhelming.

What will the week bring?

What will I do with my time?

What insight does God have waiting to reveal?

It suddenly dawns on me that I will not run out of hot water once this week? That means I can fill up my garden tub without running out of hot water. I could do this everyday? I am drunk with the possibilities.

I have to share that I am looking forward to having a moment, an hour, a day, a week to myself.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

If I Only Had a Brain

(Sing with me people…….)

I could while away the hours,
conferrin' with the flowers
Consultin' with the rain.
And my head I'd be scratchin'
while my thoughts were busy hatchin'

If I only had a brain.

I'd unravel every riddle
for any individ'le,
In trouble or in pain.
With the thoughts you'll be thinkin'
you could be another Lincoln

If you only had a brain.

Oh, I could tell you why
The ocean's near the shore.
I could think of things I never thunk before.
And then I'd sit, and think some more.
I would not be just a nothin' my head all full of stuffin'
My heart all full of pain.
I would dance and be merry,
life would be a ding-a-derry,

If I only had a brain.

Not only is this one of my favorite movies, it is now for the next several hours my personal theme song.

So proceed with caution for the operator of this blog is officially no longer in possession of a working brain. Sadly I may look like a very normal person from all outward appearances, however at a moment’s notice my brain can randomly fall out of my head and I am left to function without this most necessary of human organs. It is sad but none the less true.

Let me set the stage a bit. My DH is on a business trip and my DD and I decide to head out for dinner. We even had a coupon. Buy one get one free. Yea for us!

DD had chocolate chip pancakes and I had some very delicious crêpes with scrambles eggs, sautéed spinach, melted Swiss Cheese smothered in a wonderful hollandaise sauce. It was delicious.

I did all but lift my plate and lick it clean. I sat satisfied for a few moments amiably enjoying some special mother daughter bonding and then I reached into my purse to retrieve my wallet.

Now remember my theme song.

I would dance and be merry,
life would be a ding-a-derry,

If I only had a brain.

You guessed it, no wallet, no checkbook, no debit card, and no credit card.

I checked my pockets, every nook, cranny and zipper compartment and nada!

The look on my DD’s face was priceless. The reality that her mother no longer had a brain was somewhat disconcerting to her. She began to laugh nervously as I sat across from her desperately willing a twenty dollar bill to drop from the sky.

Alas my DH is in Arkansas on business, my DS is unreliable and broke and I am wondering if they will let me leave my Pocket PC as collateral while I drive back home to retrieve my wallet that I have just remembered is sitting next to the computer, where earlier in the day (while my brain was still safely inside my head) I had like a responsible brain possessing person taken the time to enter all my receipts from the week before into my check register on the computer. It is amazing what you can do with a brain in your head.

I sat for a moment and pondered my situation. Various scenarios were running through my head.

I made phone call number one and got a voice mail. Drat!!

I sat for a minute more working out the possible solutions. I assured my daughter that I would figure something out, (which would be a bit difficult to accomplish since I have already shared with you that I no longer have a brain) all the while wondering what I was going to do.

So we have established that I HAVE NO BRAIN, a miracle occurs and I have an actual thought. I have a friend who does not live to far from where we were.

I reached out with phone call number two. A second miracle happens and my friend actually answered the phone and she was at home, another miracle.

I blurted out that I was having a minor emergency and was in desperate need of $20.00.

Ten minutes later, as I was pacing back and forth in front of the IHOP lamenting to my husband the seriousness off being married to a woman with no brain my wonderful friend arrived to save my bacon.

She pulled up produced the twenty and I was saved.

I profusely thanked her. I then briefly shared with her the short but sweet conversation I had just had with my DD.

I asked her what she had learned from this unusual experience.

Her immediate response was “Always make sure you have you wallet in your purse! MOM!”

“But, what else have you learned?” I asked

She went on the list “Well, make sure you have some cash MOM or a credit card or a check book……”

“But what else?” I asked again.

She thought for a second or two and then a sweet revelation washed over her.

“Make sure you always have good friends!” she answered.

Ding, ding, ding……..Give that girl a gold star!

As I paid my bill and left my tip I gave a silent and heartfelt prayer of thanksgiving for friendship.

So in conclusion and with much regret I hereby nominate myself (again) for the much coveted and highly prestigious Goober Award.

Please, please, no really, stop, stop, hold you applause!

So please take pity on my humility and feel free to share any similar experiences of you own!

I would love to share the limelight!

Misery and stupidity love company!

Woman on a Mission ~ Part VIII

A friend sent me this link today, I thought it was very interesting.

Keep praying for God to reveal the truth, I will step out in faith and say with confidence that all the prayers for discernment and for the truth to be revealed are beginning to open people's eyes.

5/26: Cracks in the Oprah empire
If you want to read all the comments from this article you can folllow this link above. I will warn you that there is a very equal mix of positive and negative comments, so proceed with caution.

By Rodney Ho Monday, May 26, 2008, 08:06 PM
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Her TV show lost 7 percent of its ratings year over year. Circulation of her magazine is down 10 percent over the past three years. And “Oprah’s Big Give” didn’t do nearly as well as ABC had expected and she chose not to do another installment.

The story speculated that her endorsement of Barack Obama turned off her more conservative viewers and Hillary Clinton fans.

(She has virtually stopped actively campaigning for him, though.)
Daily ratings for her talks how was 7.3 million, down from 7.8 million a year ago. Her show peaked at about 9 million in 2004-05.

It’s still by far the No. 1 talk show and has been for more than 9 years.
Locally, her ratings in May 2008 were down an alarming 30 percent to 125,000 or so households from nearly 180,000.

(Then again, “Dr. Phil” is down 30 percent in Atlanta, too, as is “Ellen.”)

The New York Times wrote a piece Monday about Oprah Winfrey’s empire showing some signs of weakness..

This link above is the source of the reported statistice from the article above. If you are interested.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Then and Now

In honor of Memorial Day my daughter and I seized the moment and left my van in the driveway and walked the mile plus through the park that is next to our subdivision to watch the Annual Memorial Day Parade. We found a nice shady spot and set up our chairs. We had the perfect vantage point in between the library and fire station, we sat and watched as fire trucks, motorcycle officers, retired veterans in military vehicles, civic groups, the local high school prom queen and her court paraded by.

Lots (and lots) of sparkly tiaras and miss this or miss that, cheerleaders, girl scouts and boy scouts.

Now I can defiantly say that the candy tossing took on a new dimension as soon as the boy scouts paraded through. The term duck and cover took on a whole new meaning as they lobed and pelted large handfuls of candy with near rocket precision. Thankfully no one was blinded by the speeding bullets of hard candy and tootsie rolls.

Let’s just say if you could sit on a flat bed and toss candy you were qualified to participate in this parade.

It was a true slice of Americana one float after another.

Tractors (over a hundred at least) antique & classic cars, including a silver Mustang that would have made my husband drool. Clowns and horses, Shriner's, Politicians on and on they went one after another.

But by far the most moving float to come through was at the very beginning.

We can all picture the photograph of the flag rising at Iwo Jima.

Well a float came through with a live re-creation of this event. As the scene came into view there was almost a hush in the crown and then you became fully aware of what it was that you were looking at.

I watched as this scene went slowly by in front of me. I was so moved that tears welled up within me. The reality of what the day was really all about really connected with me. My father in-law is retired military. He served two tours in Vietnam. He rarely talks about his experience but I know from comments that my mother in-law has made, it left a deep scar on his heart that has never truly healed.

This scene before me was in his honor, and I looked at my daughter and told her how special this day was. Why we were celebrating and who we were honoring.

Her grandfather is among those who deserve our highest praise.

I Praise God for all those who fought to secure our freedom and all those who died in the service of their country and never returned to their families.

Remember that our military men and women sign up out of a deep call to serve the country they love so very much.

We honor you today.

God is good and my son needs money!

My phone chimed with that familiar ring that tells me that my son is calling. I was slightly taken aback as it was disconnected the last time we tried to contact him.

Alas the concept of his calling just to see how I was was shattered almost instantly as the first question out of his mouth was “Hey, mom has any mail come for me?”

Now if you read between the lines what he was really saying was have any birthday cards with potential cash arrived in the mail for me.

Even with self serving purpose for his call it was good to hear his voice and for the moment know that he is OK.

So I give a giant thank you to my wonderful God for at least temporarily relieving my motherly concern with a very brief albeit selfish conversation with my beloved.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Out of Sight out of Mind

I have to share with all of you that I am in an unusual pace. For so long all I wanted was some peace and quiet. All I wanted was for the anxiety and the tension to be removed from my home. Thoughts like “I just want him out of my home!” would be daily occurrences’ in my conversations. Immediately after these kinds of thoughts I would feel like a horrible mother. But it did not make it any less true.

After a while the well of your motherly compassion runs a bit dry after you have been verbally abused, taken advantage of and lied to for the millionth time. Your motherly compassion tends to be placed on the back burner when you find revolting reading material hidden under the sofa in his room. Your motherly compassion is beginning to run on fumes with every new lie or new situation you see him enter into that you find questionable or heartbreaking.

But here is the strange part. For as much as I wanted the turmoil and deceit that his presence brought into our lives to be removed, I find that now that he is out on his own, I have this strange sense of longing for just a small glimpse of him.

But then not really. I want to see him, but I know that the moment I lay eyes on him my stomach will begin to churn and I will begin to search for the latest piercing or tattoo.

So how can I long for him to be gone from my home but yearn to see for myself if he is OK. I’m a mom, that’s how!

His birthday is next week, I have a gift for him in my sitting room. Does he deserve it, no, but I have one anyway. Will he appreciate the gesture, probably not, yet I could not let the occasion of his birth go unrecognized. It is wrapped and ready, however given the fact that he has no real job and his phone has been disconnected I may not be able to give it to him. I was fine as long as I had the illusion of being able to contact him, now that I have no way to make a connection with him I find that my imagination has run amuck.

The old saying “Out Of Sight Out Of Mind” really is true. I do very well as long as I do not stop to think about my son.

I was good through the entire Sunday school lesson today and then we circled up to pray and I just lost it. My husband asked everyone to pray for our son and the tears just welled up within me and I wept as I listen to him share about our attempts to invite our son for a birthday celebration only to find his phone disconnected.

I was good until I started to think about him. I was good until I was not good. I was in my safe and loving environment, God’s house. I did not need to hold it together with my brother and sisters in Christ, they are my first line of defense when it comes to praying for my son.

So “Out Of Sight Out Of Mind” may be true some of the time. It may be true while I am folding towels and watching the food network, it may be true while I am balancing my checkbook and paying my bills. I can day after day fill my head with busyness, but when I am in the process of worship, when I am seeking wisdom with fellow brothers and sisters as we search out the truth of God’s word somehow “Out Of Sight Out Of Mind” no longer applies.

I am so thankful that “Out Of Sight Out Of Mind” never applies to our relationship with our Heavenly Father. He is our Jehovah-Roi, the God who sees me. I am never out of His sight nor out of His mind.

My son may be running from God, but I know that God’s Heavenly eyes are upon him at all times.

Even when I do not know where my son is or what he is doing God sees him very clearly.

Even when I am blissfully absorbed in the daily runnings of life and I am intentionally not thinking of my son and have let the “Out Of Sight Out Of Mind” sweep me away I know that God is standing in the gap.

God has His eyes on him!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Temple of Doom to Hee Haw

Today is the first day of summer vacation, my blossoming new teenager is sleeping late, I am remembering my wedding day some 26 years ago, there is a thin layer of dust on the hardwood floors in my sunroom, several stacks of folded towels waiting to be put away in the middle of my living room floor and I am listening to the birds outside as I compose this post.

I am not sure that I have anything deep to share with you this morning, but in an effort to avoid the dust and the towels (or wake my child) I will forge ahead.

I have moments when things are so very clear, when I feel that the words just come and a miracle happens and they actually make sense.

Quite possibly this in not one of these moments.

Today what comes to my mind is my quiet time. I know I am not alone in my struggle to stay focused during my prayer time, however lately I have found it increasingly difficult to block out the invading thoughts. I will be settled in to pray and then my grocery list will be scrolling through my thoughts which will then lead to another random thought and on and on and on.

It is amazing to me the intricacies of our thought patterns. How one thought triggers another and before you know it you are in a completely different place than you intended.

I always try to find the dots of connection.

How did I get to this new place, what lead me here?

Then I apologize to the Lord and resume my prayer.

I read a book once where a monk described this as “Monkey Brain” well I can consider myself diagnosed with an official case of “Monkey Brain.”

Now what was I saying?????????????????????????????

Talk about a random thought, remember the dinner scene from ‘Indiana Jones and the temple of Doom” where they were served all theses terrible and disgusting things, giant bugs, live snakes, eyeball soup and they saved the best for last, chilled monkey brains.

I hope everyone has had their breakfast.

Now I am thinking about the television show Hee Haw.............................

Temple of Doom to what rhymes with doom........................................

Can you hear the catchy tune in your head?

Gloom, despair, and agony on me
Deep, dark depression, excessive misery
If it weren't for bad luck,
I'd have no luck at all
Gloom, despair, and agony on me

Somebody stop me.

How does God put up with my frail weakness, how can He patiently weed through all the miscellaneous junk going on in my head as see what is really there.

But He always does!

I praise Him for moments of clarity.

I praise Him for giving me the persistence to keep making that daily connection with Him no matter how many times I have to refocus and redirect.

I praise Him for the great mysteries that the human body and brain are.

He created the imagination and our thought processes.

He gave us the creative abilities and He instilled in us the wiring that allows our brains to leap from “The Temple of Doom to Hee Haw.”

I am not sure if that is a creative ability or just a sign of old age, maybe both??

PS 139:13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Woman on a Mission ~ VII

As promised, when I find any information that is helpful in refuting the false teaching being promoted by Oprah and Eckhart Tolle I will pass them on to you.

I received my daily devotion from Proverb 31 today it was written by Lysa TerKeurt, it was all about "The New Earth" and what to say when speaking to someone who may be reading this book. After reading the devotional I immediately went to her blog.

This post (see link to the post below) I found to day is by far one of the best sources I have found so far. It gives some very real and solid foundations that you can use when you are talking about why "The New Earth" is false teaching.

Nothing But the Truth

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
I Peter 3:15 (NIV)

How many names do you have?

What’s your name?
Do you go by your middle name?
Do you have a nick name?
How did you get your name?

I am very fortunate. I have an accountability group that I meet with every Thursday evening. During our meetings we talk about our week, we pray together and share with each other how God has been working in our lives.

Last night as we began our meeting the topic of names came up. You see most of the young couples in our mist are busy procreating. Babies are everywhere. We discussed this for several minutes. Why? Names are important! Someone has a baby, your first question is "What is the baby's name?"

Names are important, see what happens when your social security number and your name don’t match up on an insurance form, have someone open a credit card in your name and find out how important your identity really is.

I have special names of endearment for my children, my husband, my niece and my nephew. We all have a name and we like to be acknowledges by that name.

I know this has happen to me on more that several occasions. You run into someone at the store and you know there face, but there name has gone right out of your head. You stumble in the conversation trying to rapidly run through all the hidden places in your memory banks trying desperately to recall exactly where you know this person from. Why the anxiety at forgetting a name? It’s important. We like to be remembered! We like to be acknowledged by name.

I used to volunteer in the library of my daughters school. I had my weekly memory tests as I tried to remember the children’s names as they would file in to return their books. I had a real eye opening experience in those few months. This elementary school had an extremely diverse ethnic student body. My exposure to the vast difference in cultural names was stretched to the limit. I would swipe the library card and the name would appear on the computer screen before me. I would be faced with the daunting task of trying to pronounce this unpronounceable child’s name. There sweet faces would look back at me as I mangled the pronunciations. Sometimes I would simply give up and say” Sweetie your going to have to help me with this one.” I began to wonder if in fact they even had vowels in some of these smaller countries. The children would smile back at me and then slowly tell me there name. I would repeat it back to them and then in a few seconds another child with another unpronounceable name would be before me again. I would give a huge sigh of relief for the occasional familular names like Sarah, Jacob, Heather and Sam.

I would try to remember, my success rate was about 50/50. What I did notice was when I did get it right there was a wonderful beam of recognition on there face the next time they came in to the library. I could distinguish them from the multitude of other children that filed through. I could begin to ask them questions about what they were reading and whether they were enjoying the story line. Through this recognition, through this remembrance, the children and I began to form a relationship.

It all stated with the learning of a name.

I began to think about the significance of names in relation to God.

One of my accountability sisters sent me an email the other day. In it was a brief list of the many different names for God. After reading this list I went to my computer and did a bit of research and came up with a more in-depth list. I then sat down and looked up all the different biblical references that pointed to all these wonderful designation for our Heavenly Father.

The next day I did a bit more searching and I found that the more I looked the more information I began to find. There were many different names for God as well as Jesus. I began to feel the slight creeping in of the “TMI overload” when I look at all the different sources of information and all the varying list with the many different names.

What I wanted was a simple and definitive answer. How many names for God are there? Well I came up with many different lists and they were all a bit different in some way or another.

But what I recognized in the few minutes that I was searching out this information was that I was probably not going to find a definitive answer. I wanted something simple and something that I could point to answer my question in a concrete way. But God always know best. He always gives us the seed and it is up to us to tend to the seed and to grow it into the lesson He is trying to teach us.

There probably is a source out there that can tell me exactly how many different names for God there are in the bible, but it was the search that really spoke to me.

As I look up each scripture verse and saw how God worked in each situation and how His character showed through with each unique designation, I was again reminded how great God really is.

God has so many wonderful attributes and so many different amazing character traits that He simply can not be contained with only one name.

God is…………..
Jehovah-Shalom ~ the LORD our peace ~ Judges 6:24
Jehovah-Jireh ~ the LORD will provide ~ Genesis 22:13-14
Jehovah-Roi ~ the LORD who sees ~ Genesis 16:13
Jehovah-Rapha ~ the LORD our healer ~ Exodus 15:26
Jehovah-Sammah ~ the LORD who is present ~ Ezekiel 48:35

These are but a very small representation of all the mighty names of our Heavenly Father.

I began to look at how this translated into my life. How many different names do I have? The obvious is my given name, the name that my parents chose for me.

But beyond that I have many different names as well.

Robin ~ the redeemed sinner
Robin ~ the forgiven
Robin ~ the believer
Robin ~ the woman
Robin ~ the wife
Robin ~ the mother
Robin ~ the daughter
Robin ~ the sister
Robin ~ the friend
Robin ~ the writer
Robin ~ the cook
Robin ~ the …………..

But in the long list of my names I have to also include designations like:

Robin ~ the impatient one
Robin ~ the judgmental one
Robin ~ the angry one
Robin ~ the lazy one
Robin ~ the hormonal one
Robin ~ the …………..

Some of these names are wonderful, and then others are not so great. It’s up to me to daily conform my life and my name into the likeness of Christ.

All the many wonderful names that God has gives me the encouragement to continue to seek His will for my life.

This continued search gives me the opportunity to strive to remove some of the negative names that I have in my life, but it also gives me the opportunity to change and to adopt some new names as well.

When I think of who God is I am reminded of the many different names, they are all wonderful, they remind me of how all encompassing my God is.

His names spread across the vast expanse of all that there is and they give us a small glimpse into what is to come when we will be in His presence in eternity.

Elohim ~ God - The One and Only True God
Yahweh ~ LORD - He that is who He is, The eternal I AM
Adonai ~ Lord - Master
El Shaddai ~ God Almighty - The All-sufficient One
El Elyon ~ Most High - Possessor of heaven and earth
El Olam ~ Everlasting God - God over eternal things
El Gibbor ~ Mighty God - The Only All Powerful God

Which name for God speaks to you today?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

My Struggles are about him. Part II

I love God’s sense of humor, His sense of timing and His complete and perfect ability to have things fall into place at the exact right moment for everything to begin to make sense (at least for a few brief moments of clarity, before the wind of the day changes and things become confusing again).

I thought about the hidden meaning in the title of the chapter.

My struggles are about him (my son) or Him our Heavenly Father.

As I could not seem to stop thinking about the nature of suffering, this was a huge indicator that God was leading me in the direction to take a deeper look at it in relation to myself.

Don’t-cha just hate it when that happens.

A very dear friend and me were having our near daily conversations, she and I are in very similar boats with regards to living with rebellion.
She made a comment to me that has been stuck in my thoughts since I hung up the phone with her.

She said and I quote “There are different levels of surrender.”

You see we talk about this all the time. We talk about getting to a point with our boys where we can completely give them over to God and let Him deal with their rebellion. I know that there is very little that I can physically say or do (really nothing at all) that will bring about a change in my son’s attitude or behavior.

This has been a huge source of frustration for me for over a decade. However there are times when I am able to surrender whatever angst or turmoil to God and this peace that surpasses understanding (PHP 4:7) will rest in my heart. It is an amazing feeling and I yearn for those times to be more frequent and to last for a very long time.

The truth is that it is a very delicate balancing act, I fail more times than I succeed. The failures come when the moment I am able to release my son or the angst and then I reach out and snatch it right back. I grasp hold of the trouble and hang on to it close and that holding on is what brings (in part) the suffering back into my life.

Now a very big part of my suffering is caused by the very real actions and behaviors of my son. I can not control what my son does. It has been three days since I have spoken to or laid eyes on him. I do not know if he is eating, what he is doing or where he is. Now granted three days is really not that long. I realize this. However, it is for me another rung in that ladder of surrender. I am recognizing that I have to find some way to release the fears and the worry about where he is and what he is doing so that I can again turn this situation and my son over to God.

I also began to think about the other possible indicator that Mr. Lucado suggest may point to being selected to struggle for Christ.

Do your prayers seem to be unanswered?

What you request and what you receive aren’t matching up?

You see I know that God hears my prayers (1PE 3:12). I know that the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective (JAS 5:16). I know that all I have to do is ask (1JN 5:14). I have been praying for my son for over a decade (it feels like forever), and in all that time there has been very little change in him. What I was and still am requesting is not what I have received, yet! Things are not matching up!

However, what has happened was an unexpected bonus. There has been a huge change in me. My faith has grown and the level of trust I have in the Lord has deepened to a place that I did not think was possible. But God’s great and mighty words tells me that nothing is impossible for God (MT 17:20). I also have to recognize that I do not know the mind of God (ISA 55:8). I can only seek to discern His will for my life.

But here is the ringer. I can not discern the will of God for my son’s life. I can not know what God wants for my son’s life. I do not know what great and wonderful things God has in store for him. Only God knows that.

As his mother I know what I want for him and his life. As his mother I know that I want his safety, I want him to be happy and I want for him to be healthy. I also know that those are only earthly matters, what God wants is much more important. What God wants for my son are blessing that I can not even imagine.

God wants those unimaginable blessing for all the people who call on Him, who repent, who confess, seek forgiveness and surrender to His will in there lives.

Struggles are like a damn across a river. If that damn is maintained properly then everything will be fine. However if there are violent storms and the water starts beating against the sides of the dam the soil will begin to wash away. Without proper maintenance without the continual process of reapplying and filling in the eroding sections of soil the integrity of the dam will eventually give way and the raging river will break through. We all have images of the chaos brought on by the failed levees in New Orleans in our memory banks.

Life with any kind of continuing struggle is like this I think. There are times when I am very strong and well maintained. My damn is strengthened when I am in Gods word daily and I am girded and strengthened on all sides with prayer and support from those that I love.

However there are my weak times, when the rebellion seems to overwhelming and I grow weary. There are times when the unexpected happens and you think that it can’t get any worse and then it does (get worse).

There are times when I want to give up and let the damn give way and wash over my life. I also have to confess that there are times when I want to stand at the base of the damn and kick a hole in the side and scream that I am tired of the perpetual maintenance. I want to rest. I want the struggle to be over.

When I am kicking and screaming, those times are opportunities for me to grab onto the ladder (once I have stopped pitching my hissy-fit that is) of surrender and climb a bit higher. With each rung I come closer to the place where God’s greatest blessing are.

Here is a question:
Would those great blessing come without the struggles?
Would I trade the struggles for a life without the blessings?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My struggles are about Him.

Silly me I thought my struggles were about me (NOT!). Who knew!

We are reading “It’s Not About Me” by Max Lucado in our Sunday School class. I was making my way through chapter 12 entitled “My struggles are about him” and came across this question.

“Is there any chance, any possibility, that you have been selected to struggle for God?” Page 125 “It’s Not About Me” by Max Lucado.

If I didn’t have such respect for the written word, I probably would have ripped that page right out of the book.

But wait it gets better ..........or maybe worse!

Max goes on to write:

“Have you been “granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake” Phil1:29.

Now I am really tempted to rip the page right out of the binding.

Oh but it get worse ............or maybe better.

He continues “Here is a clue. Do your prayers seem to be unanswered? What you request and what you receive aren’t matching up? Don’t think God is not listening, indeed he is. He may have higher plans.”

This made me stop and think.

Have I been selected to struggle for God?

If in fact I have been selected, can I respectfully decline the opportunity?

That is my immediate response. I have to say a big no thank you. However when you really think about the question posed and exactly what it means to suffer for his sake it really does put it into perspective.

The reality is that I would never willingly choose to suffer. No one would. However if I have to suffer then I want to suffer for His glory. I want to meet that suffering in such a manner that I am a true representation of exactly what James writes about:

JAS 1:2 ~ 4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

On my mature grown up days I am completely down with considering it pure joy to face my trials. I even understand in some small way the concept about perseverance having to finish its work so I may be complete and lacking nothing. I want to be complete and lacking nothing.

Being complete and lacking nothing in my book means sitting back and enjoying the fruits of my labor. It means a balanced check book, full pantry, sound roof, good friends and a peaceful night’s sleep.

But I have to be honest and share that there are days when I feel overly complete and totally lacking in nothing. There are days when I feel that there just isn’t room for anymore suffering. There are days when I think that there is simply not room for one more emotional crisis or painful heartbreak. There are days when I am simply done suffering.

Like I have a choice in the matter. I can want to be done with the suffering, however in this particular situation my painful heartache and suffering are directly related to the action of someone else. I can’t control the rebellious action of my son. I can want the angst to be over, but that desire for peace does not necessarily mean that I will get it. I can pray for my son to come to his senses but …………………..

So I have to look at the question that was posed earlier.

“Is there any chance, any possibility, that you have been selected to struggle for God?”


Do your prayers seem to be unanswered? Well I can answer that with a great big affirmative.

What you request and what you receive aren’t matching up? Again another giant YES

Maybe there is a higher plan at work.

For now I am pondering these questions. I am unsure of the answers. I am unsure that I want the responsibility of suffering for a higher purpose.

I am resigned to discover as much from this suffering as possible. I am striving to not waist a single second to that I may glean all that can be learned from every single moment.

Maybe in the discovery process there is a higher purpose. Maybe there are words of engorgement that I can give to another from my experience.

But still it warrents pondering.

What do people see when they look at the way I handle my trails?

What do others see in you as you bear up under the load that has been placed on your shoulders?

So let’s think about the original question:

“Is there any chance, any possibility, that you have been selected to struggle for God?”

1PE 2: 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

PHP 1:29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him,

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Woman on a Mission ~ VI

As promised, when I find any resources regarding Oprah and her New Age agenda I am committed to making the information available to you so you in turn may be informed and have the tools necessary to discern for yourself the truth.

A friend sent an email to me with a link to this web site.

The first link is very helpful with resources that you can download about how to answer various questions as well as links to other articles.

The second two links are actual transcripts of a two part radio program aired on May 1 and 2, where they discussed the teachings of Oprah and Eckhart Tolle.

Learn to Discern ~ Other Resources

This first link above you can either listen to the recorded radios show or you can follow the two links below directly to the transcripts of the show.

Learn to Discern Part I

Learn to Discern Part II

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Short Cuts

It is amazing how a very small detail, a seemingly insignificant detail, has the power to impact the outcome of either your success or failure.
In the grand scheme of thing this particular example really is of no significant what so ever. But as I thought about what brought about the insignificant situation it began to flesh out for me in a very real and significant way.

Here is a life lesson:
When baking follow the recipe exactly!

You see I am making a small wedding cake for a dear friend. It is a very small cake and I will also share in that is has been many years since I actually have done a wedding cake.

After having located all the pans, turntables, decorating tips, separator plates, columns etc. necessary (as they were all packed away in boxes in the attic) I set about to find an appropriate pound cake recipe or the occasion.

I found a recipe that I thought would work very well, I gathered all my ingredients and set to work.

What resulted was one of the worst cake disasters I think I have ever had.

My first cake caved like a giant sink hole and the second smaller cake overflowed the pan spilling out all over the bottom of my oven and generally making a hug mess along with filling my house with the lovely aroma of scorched sugar and flour.

At this point I was freaking out as the wedding was only a few days away and I was going to have to concede failure and drive to the store for a box mix.

My mistake was simple. I did not follow the direction. I thought to myself I am an experienced baker, I have substituted self rising flour for all purpose flour many times. I know what I am doing. I forged ahead oblivious to the impending disaster.

Rest assured after I cleaned up my oven and tossed the failed cake in the trash I immediately ran to the store and purchased the appropriate supplies.

I can report that cake number two has tuned out perfectly.

But I think that there is a large lesson here.

I thought it would not make any difference if I made a tiny little short cut.

WOW! My error in judgment cost me time, financial resources, emotional stress, and feelings of basic stupidity.

When I look at this from a broader point of view, I see so many useful applications. I can look at if from the perspective of my faith and realize that when I take shortcuts in my faith walk I may collapse just like my cake did. When I breeze through my morning without my quiet time, I am in danger of collapsing under the presser of the day without my spiritual fortification. When I take shortcuts I can easily erupt and overflow with thoughtless words and anger resulting in scorched feeling and hardens edges.

The mess on the bottom of my oven (as a result of my shortcut) was not pretty and was even harder to get off.

What does life look like when we take shortcuts in our faith?

If I had taken the time to follow the direction from the start I would have saved myself time, resources, emotional stress and feelings of foolishness.

So shortcuts, may possibly are OK when its 5:30 and you need to get dinner on the table in a hurry, or if you need to find a quick way around a traffic jam.

Shorts cuts or substitutions in your faith walk however will bring opportunities for unexpected collapses and unwanted eruptions.

My advice: "Follow the directions"

PS 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

2TI 316 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

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