Monday, November 25, 2013

What We Say (And Write) Matters

Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)
Do 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.

I love the bloggy world! I really do. I love the fact that there is an outlet for normal, everyday people, to share their talents and speak their mind. I highly favor free speech and what I am about to say is not meant to stifle that. I’m sure some people will not like this post and may be offended by it. That is not my intention at all, but at the same time, I’m not going to let that stop me from posting it.

I have read at least three different blog posts in the last week that seemed as I was reading to be fantastic posts that reflected some of the same feelings that I share with these folks on certain topics. So much so, I think as I’m reading, “I am going to share this post!”

Until somewhere in the middle of the post, out of nowhere, there is a cuss word. Not a horrible one, but one none the less, used in that context. When that happens, I will finish reading the article, but I will not like it nor will I share it, no matter how good the post is.

The types of posts I generally gravitate to reading are faith based posts about marriage, family and growing in Christ. The blog posts that I am referring to were written by people whose entire blog is based on Jesus Christ. Their entire about us page is about seeking out Christ or in one case it was a Pastor who posted it.

Now, I’m not perfect. I am not sitting here saying that I don’t occasionally have a word come out of my mouth that shouldn’t. It happens, but it shouldn’t happen in writing. If you are taking the time to write a post, there is no, “oops it just slipped”. In the context that I have read in these posts lately, there is no reason for it. You could just as easily remove the word and put an exclamation point at the end of the sentence and get the same general effect.

I just have this gut wrenching (maybe an urging from the Holy Spirit) feeling that I need to share this thought. If you create a blog that is Christ centered, you should do your best to be a reflection of Christ. While in our human form, we cannot completely reflect Christ as we are flawed humans with a sinful nature, we can be mindful of the small things that can impact the lives of our readers. Can one little word do that? Yes! It can.

In all honesty, the people who wrote the posts that I read, likely will not ever read this post. That being said, it may be pointless to post it to begin with. My goal is not to change someone’s writing, but just to put it out there that as we follow Christ and have not only the ability, but the responsibility to share Him with others, we MUST be mindful of the words we choose to do that.

Christ didn’t call us to perfection, but He did call us to a higher standard and to reflect Him in everything we do, that includes what we write and post online.

Monday, November 18, 2013


I don't claim to be a poet. This piece of literature, though original, is probably not good. It is probably not grammatically correct, or poetically sound. It probably doesn't deserve the space I'm giving it on my blog.

What it is, is my heart. It is what I'm finding myself saying regularly. Someday... Someday...

I'm waiting for that someday.

Some Days

Some days are full of joy and laughter
Living happily ever after
Dreaming of all the joys to come

Some days are full of pain and sorrow
Rushing me toward tomorrow
Hoping relief will find me there

Some days are full of happiness
Love, Joy, Peace and all the rest
Knowing my life is blessed

Some days are full of haunting memories
Nightmares flooding my dreams
Begging just to awake and never sleep again

Some days I wake up
Ready for whatever comes
Some days it is all I can do to just wake up

Regardless of some days
I’m waiting for someday

Someday my prince will come
On a white horse to take me home
Forgetting all the pain and hurt

Someday my life on earth will end
It last but a blink of an eye
Life not ending, just beginning

Someday the one who calls me daughter
Will come and take me home
No more pain, no more tears
Just worshiping around the throne

No more death, no more sorrow
No more worries for tomorrow
No more darkness, no more nights
Someday, someday soon!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Waiting While God Works

I’ve been reading You’ll Get Through This: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times by Max Lucado (full book review). This book parallels the life of Joseph and his journey from the Pit to the Palace with our lives today and the struggles that we are going through. I am really enjoying this book and I hope that after I finish reading, I will remember and continue to apply some of the things that I am reading.

Chapter 6 in the book is called, “Wait While God Works”. This chapter points out something that most of us probably don’t consider when we read about people like Joseph. Joseph’s journey was a long one. His troubles weren’t quickly resolved. One thing Max Lucado points out is the verse in Chapter 39 of Genesis, “Now Joseph went down to Egypt”. It would have taken Joseph at least a couple of months to walk the 750 miles from Dothan to Thebes. So in six words, we are covering a couple of months’ time.

Then Joseph spent days or even weeks on the Egyptian auction block, a decade in Potiphar’s House, and over two years in prison. In Genesis 40:14–15, Joseph asks the butler to remember him as he was being released from prison and to put in a good word for him so he could get out of prison. The butler agreed to do that. Chapter 41 begins this way: "Two years passed and Pharaoh had a dream".

“Joseph’s story appeared to stall out in chapter 40. Our hero was in shackles. The train was off the tracks. History was in a holding pattern. But while Joseph was waiting, God was working. He assembled the characters. God placed the butler in Joseph’s care. He stirred the sleep of the king with odd dreams. He confused Pharaoh’s counselors. And at just the right time, God called Joseph to duty. He’s working for you as well.”

Max Lucado. You’ll Get through This: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times (Kindle Locations 1071-1073). Thomas Nelson.

It is really easy when hard times come for us to feel like God isn’t working on our behalf. It is easy to think that He has forgotten us and our troubles. It is easy to feel like our pain is in vain. None of those things are true!

This chapter also reminds us about Daniel. Daniel fasted and prayed for 21 days asking God to deliver his people from a seventy year oppression they were battling. Finally on the 22nd day and angel appeared to Daniel. Do you know what the angel told him?

Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. Daniel 10:12-13 (NKJV)

Did you catch that? God heard Daniel and sent help on day 1. Why did it take 21 days for help to arrive? A principality (an evil spirit) had delayed the angel. It took the chief angel, Michael to come help him break free from the principality and continue on to complete the mission of helping Daniel.

Sometimes delays are due to God's timing and His plan for our lives, but sometimes, they are due to the spiritual forces that do not want us to break free, forces that want to keep us bound. Friends, we are in a spiritual battle that you cannot see. You can sometimes feel it, but you can’t see it. Often times we want to think that God didn’t hear us, or that He doesn’t care about what we are going through. That is just simply not true.

Troubling times come (and if they haven’t for you yet, they will). Satan wants them to derail us and to make us turn away from God. God wants to use them to make us more Christ like and draw us closer to him. All of the sufferings of this life are but a speck in time in eternity (even though it may last years on earth).

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18 (NKJV)

You’ll Get Through This!! It may not be today, tomorrow, or the next day. For some of us unfortunately, it may not be until we stand before God in Heaven. If that’s you, find comfort in the fact that the years here on earth are but a blink of an eye compared to an eternity in Heaven with Him! Don't give up, so that you can make it to Heaven with Him and enjoy an eternity of peace and joy.

If we give up and we turn from God, our eternity will be far worse than our current sufferings. Wouldn't you rather cling to God and know that an end to the pain is coming rather than ensure an eternity of pain and suffering without Him?

God's plan is bigger than ours. Look at Joseph. Joseph had a good life before his brothers sold him into slavery, but he never would have dreamed that he would be second in command of all of Egypt. Those were God's plans for him!! Joseph, throughout his entire life, never took any credit. He continually gave glory to God. He didn't grow bitter of his circumstances. He trusted God and took life and all that came with it, one day at time.

We serve a God who can take ordinary people and use them in extraordinary ways. He can do that, when we trust Him and walk in obedience.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I am Not Forgotten

We all have days when we feel forgotten. I had one of those days yesterday, and honestly, it hasn't been the only one lately. I wouldn't have used the word "forgotten" if you asked me last night how I was feeling, but I woke up with this song in my head this morning.

Great reminder that no matter what else is happening, God knows, and He has not forgotten us. Hope this can encourage someone besides me this morning.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Changing Seasons

Fall is a time of the year when the changes in the world around us become increasingly evident. While all living things continually experience change, in the fall, it becomes outwardly visible in the changing of the colors around us. Some trees and bushes go from green, to bright festive fall colors, to nothing left but limbs with little or no color at all.

I really never paid attention to this process of leaves changing colors in the fall. When I think back, I saw green, then red, yellow, or orange, and then the leaves falling off the tree all together. This year has been different. This year, God has revealed the process of change to me as I have driven to work and home this week. The colors changing in the fall, is a process. The whole tree, and even each individual leaf, doesn’t change instantly. It gradually changes colors until the green is gone.

Over the past few years I have repeatedly heard people talk about the seasons of life (funny how God stays on something until you get it). God designed all living things, including humans, to change. As humans, we go through seasons in our lives. Some seasons are good and some are not so good.

It is easy for us to look back on our lives and see the seasons, but do we notice the change?

Seasons of our lives change for a purpose. Sometimes the purpose is directly related to the new season we move into, but sometimes the purpose isn’t found in the destination, but in the journey. Trees are not pretty when the leaves all fall off and all you have to look at are the branches. They are nice when they are all green, but they are beautiful in between green and branches. That’s when everyone takes out their cameras to capture the beauty in God’s creation.

My goal this fall is to stop looking for the new season to arrive. Instead, I want to find the beauty in the journey. It’s there, somewhere. Even when a tree has no leaves left and is nothing but branches, it is still on the journey. Someday soon, new leaves will appear. It isn’t going to be just branches forever.

Even in the parts of the journey that seem ugly, rotten, useless, and hard, the journey hasn’t stopped. There are greener days ahead. Trees with no leaves, nothing but branches, are still trees and they are still standing tall. They don’t fall over or die just because there are no leaves. They are still living and changing. They haven’t been defeated; they are only waiting for the new season.

1 Peter 1:3-12 (NLT)
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance - an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.

6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

8 You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 9 The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.

10 This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. 11 They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward.

12 They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.

The trials of this life and the changing seasons journey's are nothing compared the reward for trusting Him. As you journey through from one season to the next, be truly glad, for there is a wonderful joy ahead even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine, and the reward for trusting Him will be the salvation of your souls.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Family Life Meet Up

I was blessed to be a part of the Arkansas Women Bloggers Meet Up that was hosted by Family Life. This was the first day in a long time that I truly noticed divine connections and I knew God was orchestrating something for His glory!

The first thing I noticed before I walked in was a large monument outside the door. It read, “Dedicated by Families who want to give God all the glory”. While there is a business side to running a ministry like Family Life, I never once felt like I was in a business. Everyone we met was friendly and I felt genuine love from each and every one of them.

The day began with a tour of their beautiful facilities. When you come into the front door, you enter into a beautiful rotunda. One wall has the mission statement on it and the other has Psalm 127:1, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it”. Throughout the building there are photos on the walls. One wall has a timeline of their ministry on it, which I thought was really neat.

Then there was an area that displayed some of their resources. One display had Barbara Rainey’s Ever Thine Home collection displayed. Beautiful items created with the idea that Christian homes should be a place where when people walk in there is no doubt in their mind that the family living in that home is a family that is serving God. But it isn’t just about decorating your home. The Ever Thine Home collection is designed to help teach your children about different things from the Word. For example, there is an entire collection of hanging ornaments that have the names of Jesus on them. They come with a book with stories and information to share about each of the names of Jesus.

Barbara Rainey also spoke to the group while we were there. Her heart for the home and family is evident. I have heard the name Dennis and Barbara Rainey and Family Life for as long as I can remember. I have listened to Family Life Today and my husband and I have attended a Weekend to Remember Marriage Getaway early on in our marriage. I never would have imagined meeting Barbara in real life. She is such a gracious and sweet spirited woman. I am so glad that I was able to meet her.

For me personally, the best part of the day was talking with Tracey Eyster, Founder and Executive Director of MomLife Today and Author of Be The Mom. She is an unbelievable blessing to anyone who crosses her path. She is genuine and has such a heart for moms and families. In the few minutes you are around her, she will encourage, uplift, and challenge you all at the same time. I know that only Tracey will understand this, but I will never look at Macaroni and Cheese the same way again!

Speaking of Macaroni and Cheese, the food was amazing too!! It was prepared by some wonderful folks at Family Life just for us. What a blessing they were. The picture I took shows all the goodness, except for the desert. I totally forgot to take a picture of that before I dug into it. It just looked so great the picture slipped my mind. It truly was an amazing day and I am so blessed that I was able to be there!