Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Naysayers and bad dreams.

Doubt is an enemy which all face regularly. Even when we have heard God's will for our life, we are not always completely sealed off from doubt. It can still leak in like water through a poorly sealed window during a storm.
Many doubted young David due to his stature, despots his confidence that the Lord had given him the victory.
1 Samuel 17:33, 39-40, 45-46 HCSB

"But Saul replied, "You can't go fight this Philistine. You're just a youth, and he's been a warrior since he was young." (...) David strapped his sword on over the military clothes and tried to walk, but he was not used to them. "I can't walk in these," David said to Saul, "I'm not used to them." So David took them off.  Instead, he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the wadi and put them in the pouch, in his shepherd's bag.

Monday, December 17, 2012

LITL: Full of It

Last week I posted about something my pastor said about prayer and missionaries. As I said in that post, this greatly convicted me on my daily walk with the Lord. I wanted to further explore this as I work to realign myself with daily communing with God and seeking his will.

The same Sunday my pastor said this, he spoke on a passage from Ephesians:

"For this reason I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power in the inner man through His Spirit, and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." (Ephesians 3:14-21)

As I read through this passage, so many things stand out to me. I picture Paul kneeling, not just beside his bed before bedtime, but on his face before the Lord as he intercede for the Christians of that day. Do I also come to God in such humility? I was struck by something author Francis Chan said in his book Crazy Love. He instructed the reader to stop praying. "Stop talking at God," but just to start listening. Wow. That will certainly change your daily time with God.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Welcome! Please come in. :)

For anyone who might not know... I LOVE CHRISTMAS!

It's by far my favorite holiday. I have always looked forward to it the whole year, since I was little. Not because of presents or anything. I love having my family all together in one place. Every year we go to my Granny's house for lunch and dirty Santa. Because none of my family lives in Montgomery with me, this was special. All my aunts, uncles, cousins gathered together in one house. Then on Christmas my sister, who either lived with her dad, away at college, or in Birmingham throughout my life, would be home for breakfast and presents. :)

When my dad passed away last year, we drove to Brimingham with my brother and had Christmas day at at my sister's house with her and her husband. I loved it. We were still together.

But this year, it's my turn! :) I never realized until I actually had a house big enough to host people in, how much I love having people over. :)

Decorating was a full scale endeavor this year because (a) there was actually room to decorate, compared to our sardine apartment we lived in last year, and (b) we can have people over to see them!

Strangly enough, I haven't been too terribly stressed out about the fact that there is SO MUCH TO DO and so little time. In addition to my siblings staying over Christmas Eve, We will be gone the three or four days before Christmas Eve seeing my husband's family (and frankly just having a small get away before the baby comes.) This gives me THREE days nest week to do EVERYTHING!

But I am nothing but excited. :) Well I'm tired, but who can help that at eight months pregnant. :P

It occured to me recently that perhaps I have a gift I never discovered before now. I have always admired a few friends of mine: those friends that were always welcome to open their home to people at any time. This might be because while I was growing up I often needed places opened up to me. But now I see that perhaps I have this same gift. I love to have people over. :) I love for people to know that if they need anything, they can show up on our doorstep. There is always a couch bed for anyone in need. Jesus called us to be open to such spontaneous ministry:

Friday, December 14, 2012

LITL: Beauty is in the Eye of the Record Holder

While reading through one of my Fitness magazines, I ran across an ad for Oakleys that featured Olympic gold medalist, Lindsey Vonn. The headline of the ad read "Beauty is in the eye of the record holder."

Many people have aspirations in life. Some hope to be rich, famous, attractive, athletic, etc. The world has so many things that it labels as beautiful. For some it lies in complexion, size, shape, accessories. These labels have changed over time, and have been used to describe not only people but many aspects of the world around us. The Romantic movement in literature hinged on a term, "sublime," that referred to something's beauty, not due to aesthetic pleasure, but to its ability to intimidate or terrify. I say all this to reitterate that beauty iof fleeting, not in its presence, but in its definition. 

This of course results in the phrase, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

However, I particularly love the headline of this ad, because it places the ability to judge beauty not on the person looking, but on oneself. The record holder would normally be the object of beholding. But the one beholding you does not decide how or why you are beautiful. You determine that for yourself. 

I am pretty sure Linsay Vonn has days when she wakes up, looks in the mirror, and thinks, "Man my hair is rank." But even when she does, she still know she is looking at an Olympic Gold Medalist. While this may not necessarily be the most important think to her, I am pretty sure it ranks up there, or she wouldn't train or compete as hard as she does.

I say all this with this question in mind: As Christians, where do we find our own worth or beauty? What drives us to so determinedly live the way we do?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

LITL: A communication barrier bigger than you expected.

A while ago, I wrote about communicating: understanding the other perspective as well as admitting flaws in your own perspective. 

Shortly after, I became stuck on something even more difficult. What if the barriers aren't in your speech. Or theirs. What if the other person IS the barrier?

There have been many situations in my life when I have avoided the obvious answer to my problems. Or maybe I wouldn't even admit that I had a problem. When we know we are not living right, we avoid those things and people that are going to convict us. 

Have you ever gone through a day when you just couldn't listen to praise music? Even if it was a song you knew you liked. It just rubbed you the wrong way. Or avoided a good friend because you knew they would see right through you?

We have all been there. It goes back even to Old Testament times. In 1 Kings, Adonikah, brother of Absolom and son of King David announced himself to be king, despite David's still living and Solomon's known appointment as the next king. Adonijah was not alone when he did this. The bible tells us "Adonijah conferred with Joab son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest, and they gave him their support. But Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei and Rei and David’s special guard did not join Adonijah." Adonijah knew who would be opposed to his plan, thus he avoided those people and told them nothing of it. 

Like Adonijah, we do not like to be alone when we are doing wrong. We will search far and wide to find someone to "be on our side." 

Proverbs 25:11-12
"A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man's rebuke to a listening ear."

 Isaiah 9:6
"For a child will be born for us,a son will be given to us,[...] He will be named Wonderful [or Wise] Counselor." (Even stuck some Christmas in there for you. :)

Is there someone you have been avoiding, for of their wise counsel? Have you been avoiding the Word of God for fear of conviction?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I'm a Saint! (yes. song included.)

“I love to hear missionaries pray, because no one knows daily communion with or the constant provision of God like a missionary does.” Pastor Myron

Wow. If that's not convicting, I dont know what is. As many of you know, I am in the candidacy stage of becoming a full time, faith supported missionary. Typically one might think of missionaries up there with Sunday school teachers and Pastors. We have it all together. We know the Bible front and back. We never worry, and when we mess up its nothing big, or we get it back together nice and quick.

Don't get me wrong. This is of course what I strive for but not any more so than anyone else should, regardless of my personal calling. But we're not what some would call saints. In fact, the idea of a saint is poorly misunderstood to so many of today's Christians, I think.

When someone thinks of a saint, they most likely picture angels and halos, soft speech, gentle walk. Maybe the sky opens over their head and the heavens sing. I myself picture a sweet grandmother whom one can't even imagine raising her voice, let alone doing anything wrong. If this is the case, I am no saint. And many Christians aren't either, as much as we would love to insist the contrary.

Let me show you a people in the Bible who were referred to as saints:

“For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers, by members of Chloe’s household, that there is rivalry among you.”

“It is widely reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and the kind of sexual immorality that is not even tolerated among the Gentiles—a man is living with his father’s wife. And you are inflated with pride, instead of filled with grief so that he who has committed this act might be removed from your congregation.”

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


No. This post is not about Elf. Not really. 

First, it was inspired by a Christmas song I heard on klove radio the other day. The lyrics went like this:

"Empty manger, perfect stranger, about to be born. Into darkness, sadness, desperate madness, creation so torn. We were so lost on earth, no peace, no worth. no way to escape. In fear, no faith, no hope, no grace, and no light but that was the night before Christmas. Warm hay, cold sweat, a mother, not yet." The Night Before Christmas, by Brandon Heath

This song, contrasting out lost state before the coming of the Messiah to the hope we now have in him, got me to thinking. Immediately I was so grateful that Jesus is not a stranger to me. In the words of Buddy the elf, "I know him!" We are familiar with each other. We communicate daily. He knows my name, my fears, even my favorite color. (See what I did there? :p)

The other day, our advent devotional featured this verse:

John 15:14-16 "You are My friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you slaves anymore, because a slave doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from My Father.  You did not choose Me, but I chose you."

God wants you to get to know him. He wants a personal TWO-WAY relationship between you both. He says through Jeremiah, "But the one who boasts should boast in this, that he understands and knows Me— that I am Yahweh, showing faithful love, justice, and righteousness on the earth, for I delight in these things. This is the Lord’s declaration."

Is Jesus your friend? Do you know him? Are you seeking to know him better, as he sought you?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Time doesn't just tick.

God made time. Have you ever really stopped to think about that? Although we know that God exist outside of space and time, he did create our sense of time, years, seasons, months, days, minutes. 

Genesis 1:14 - "Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night. They will serve as signs for festivals and for days and years."

God gave us signs so that we could mark the passing of time, look back on that time, even to have dead lines. Crazy huh? God makes the sun descend in the evening to show you that, yes, that midnight due date is coming. 

God gives us time like he gives anything else. He gives and he takes away. "Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Praise the name of Yahweh." (Job 1:21) The time he has allotted to us is precious. And some he has allotted more than others. 

He is almighty and able to manipulate time. He blessed Caleb with a longer day to battle for the Israelites. Joshua 10:12-14 "On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to the Israelites, Joshua spoke to the Lord in the presence of Israel: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” And the sun stood still and the moon stopped until the nation took vengeance on its enemies. Isn’t this written in the Book of Jashar? So the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed its setting almost a full day.  There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord listened to the voice of a man, because the Lord fought for Israel. Then Joshua and all Israel with him returned to the camp at Gilgal."

So if God provides all we need, and he has also provided with markers of time, then God has given us all the time we need. Do we use that time as well as we use other resources the Lord has given us? 

The Bible speaks in may places about the way we use those things with which God has blessed us.
Luke 12:42-44 "And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time? “Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. “Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions."

Are you a faithful steward of the precious little time God has given you? Do you live in the urgency of the Gospel? And even in meeting the most seemingly insignificant of deadlines, do you seek to glorify God with efficiency and punctuality?

Monday, November 26, 2012

An Old Table and an Old Memory

One of my very favorite Christmas memories tooks place at my grandmother's house. Every year we would go to Granny and B-bob's (my grandfather) house for family Christmas on my mother's side of the family. I would play with my younger cousins while we watched my uncles and older cousins play football in the yard. Everyone of us had at least one special ornament we would look for on Granny's tree. It was special because it was there just for us. 

Then we would open presents and the children would disappear with their new toys while the adults played a game of dirty santa. We anxiously awaited the day we would be able to join them. Although probably not as anxiously as we awaited the day we were taller than Granny. That's when you could have your food in the living room with the grown ups. :P

My grandfather passed away when I was just seven years old, so this memory is one from when I as quite little. I was probably five at the oldest. B-bob stooped down and scooped my onto his lap, then did the same to my little brother. We each sat on one of his knees as B-bob started to sing. We had these large bells in our hands. I am not even sure where we got them, but as my grandfather belted out the words to Jingle Bells, we offered him the greatest and loudest accompaniment we could afford. 

And that's all I remember. That simple memory has kept my grandfather's face in the forefront of my mind every Christmas season for the last 14 years. I still remember the feeling of his old but steady hands under my armpits, and the jolt of upward movement from  he floor to his slender knee. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ministry Report: Fall Newsletter 2012

The first newsletter of Savannah Barber, Missionary Candidate for Child Evangelism Fellowship, is now available. If you would like to see it, you may do so by clicking here. :)

A current newsletter will be sent out quarterly, or every three months. It will include such information as my involvement in various ministry activities, how God is blessing my ministry currently, and any prayer requests or needs of the ministries. 

If you would like to contact me about receiving the newsletter in the mail, or you would like more information about Child Evangelism Fellowship or getting involved with my ministry, feel free to contact me at Additional contact information is available in the left hand column of the newsletter. 

Have a great day and God Bless.
In Christ's love and mercy, 
Savannah Barber

Monday, November 12, 2012

What would you do for someone else's freedom?

 In light of Veteran's Day, I think a lot of people have freedom on their minds. 

We are celebrating a day of remembrance for those who have fought and died so that we could enjoy the freedoms we enjoy while living in this country. The many who are willing to put their lives on the line for people they don't even know. 

I remember when my sister got married in Mexico. My brother and her dad were on our way through the airport to leave for Mexico, when we saw a great line of men and women in camouflage passing by us. Who would have thought the simple words, "Welcome home" would taste so sweet coming from our mouths? But that was nothing compared to the gratitude they showed in return. 

As I was driving around today (fighting to make my defrost work so I wouldn't kill anyone between banks) I heard the song linked below. It's forceful chorus and inspiring verses got me really thinking about freedom. 

What would you do for someone else's freedom? This is a thought that pulls our focus away from ourselves. In a way we are asking not "What am I worth?" but "What is that lady in the drive thru worth?" or "How much is that guy that almost took off the front of my truck in the parking worth?" Because even these people have their freedom fought for daily just like yours. 

So what would you do for their freedom? Would you leave your home and your family for an extended amount of time? Would you venture to a foreign land in which you and the culture surrounding you don't understand one another? Would you spend days or weeks without proper bath, food, or sleep? Would you put yourself on the receiving end of a bullet? Or ridicule? Or a vicious torture device constructed of leather and metal? Or a crown of thorns? Or a cross?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

He reighns and He would like you to stop bickering.

Face it people, we do not live in a theocracy. America was founded as a haven, freedom of (and from) religion. We live in a country with a system set up, one we learn about extensively in history class, that allows for the election of leaders. 

That being said, while God is control of our lives, man runs this nation. We live in a  fallen world. No leader can be perfect, and too often we forget that the man in the white house, is just that. A man. He is a person too. You aren't just electing a plan,  you are electing a person. 

God rules over his children from within. His Spirit lives in us and guides us. 
“I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, because He will take from what is Mine and declare it to you. Everything the Father has is Mine. This is why I told you that He takes from what is Mine and will declare it to you." (John 16:12-15)

His Spirit urges us to live in love and mercy toward one another. In no way is one us better than the other, weather by opinion, morality, view point. We are all equal in our sin,  and, for the children of God, equal in our sanctification. Proverbs 10:12 states "Hatred stirs up conflicts, but love covers all offenses." Put aside your snarky comments, your doom and gloom posts, your predictions of a downward spiral. The world is not ending because of the election, the world is not a bad place because of the president. The world is a bad place because of sin. 

Live in love, and let the living Spirit work through you to love even those who, God forbid, think differently than you do. That doesn't necessarily make them wrong, nor does it make them evil. God loves his creations. You should love them too. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Breakfast of Champions -- a Legacy

This post is kind of a mixture of a few different things. First I kind of just want to brag about a culinary success that has been a long time coming. 

Let me introduce you to possibly one of the most unreasonably difficult but indescribably delicious meals of my childhood: EggnToast. If you have ever been to cracker barrel, you may know this as Eggs in Baskets. 

My mom made this all the time, it was always, by far, my favorite food EVER. This meal quite possibly defines my childhood. I remember my favorite glass to drink out of when I was very young: an old jelly jar that had mother goose and her goslings following her around the glass. Consequently, this glass was also the perfect size for cutting the middles out of the "baskets," also my favorite job to help with in the kitchen. Anytime mom asked what I wanted for breakfast, my answer was quite predictable. But I could never master cooking the egg just right or keeping the creation from falling apart. 

I also grew up understanding this as a sort of family heirloom recipe. This is partially because I VERY rarely met anyone who had even heard of it, and also because mom would always tell me about how Pop (my grandad on her side) created this recipe while he was serving in the military. So, yes, Cracker Barrell, I was eating "eggs in baskets" before you thought they were cool. :P *she said haughtily from behind her hipster glasses*

But today, I got a lovely craving (thanks, baby) for eggntoast and decided to accept the challenge. And what I got? Three perfect pieces (and one broken piece of toast. Our bread is a little stale.) But all in all a success. :) And, man, were they delicious.

But this also called to mind the words of a wise women I heard speak on the descendents of Cain a couple of Wednesdays ago. The women who gives the lectures at BSF said "It isn't when you pass on, but what you pass on."

The passage in question? The Line of Cain

Friday, November 2, 2012

LITL: See Instruction Manual

Unfortunately there are many things that do not come with instructions. For some people this isn't a huge problem. Take my husband for example. He can take a look at some pieces or the inside of almost anything and figure out how it works and how to fix it. 

Me? Not so much. I like to do research and be prepared going into a situation. I have to feel like I can control the situation if I want.

Lucky for me, God knows this. He created me. he knows how I tick. Is that an excuse? Not a chance. God often asks me to step out in faith, blindly,with out question, and I have found great joy in doing so. 

But every once in a while I remember that God also gave us specific instructions. Very recently, I studied the passage of the flood in Genesis. I would never have imagined how much it would mean to me to read through what seems at first to be obscure detail on building a massive boat, details I would never need. I prefer canoes, anyway. Less pieces. 

But for someone who gets terrified and incredibly discouraged when I find myself in the middle of a situation for which I am competely (or seemingly so) unqualified, details nad instructions pull from me a sigh of relief. 

Lately, I have been stuck in this terrifying sense of ineptitude. And it wasn't until reading through those specific instructions given to Noah that I realized that God had been pointing me towards the instruction I needed all along. Laid on my heart had been the answer I was avoiding. 

I can't imagine the that Noah found his task easy. I am sure this job God gave him was nothing if not overwhelming. In the same way, looking over the instruction God has given me can also be quite overwhelming.  But hey. God could have just told him to build a really big boat. I'm sure that would have been maddening. 

So I take courage from the fact that God did give me instructions. And I am eventually going to man up and read them. :P (hey give a girl a break.)

Genesis 6:9 "Noah was a righteous man, blameless among his contemporaries; Noah walked with God."

Psalm 37:4,7 "Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass ... Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him."

What instructions has God given you? Have you manned up and read the manual yet? What's keeping you?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Savy Shopping: First Baby Stock Up over 50% off

Not bad for a first time.Yes, this was my first trip couponing for baby stuff. I think the worst part was thinking about just how many diapers and stuff we're going to need. yeah let's don't go there. And now I have a better idea of what to look for, what prices to expect, and what coupons are out there. (I heart P&G). But like I said, Not bad. 

What are your favorite websites for saving on baby stuff?

$65 worth of diapers and wipes for *drum roll* $26. That's about $0.10 per diaper! Plus the free wipes :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Belly Painting

"Mr Big Artiste"
Final Product. Painted by Peden and Melanie
Ugh this is a horrible Picture. But he is so proud :P

Let your Light Shine: What a few pumpkins taught me.

Apparently a new annual tradition, the other night was a night of pumpkin carving out some of our friends' house. We brought our pumpkin and joined in helping the kids carve theirs. Who would have thought that a simple, sometimes mishappen gourd could bring so much joy. 

If you remember from last year, carving night feature a dragon, a platypus, a pokemon, and happy little girl. 

This year featured more fun characters, more fun times, and (for the sake of blogging) a lesson. :) Enjoy the photos and the insight. :)

"The very first poke." 

 This experience brought to mind a lot of thoughts akin to that of the potter and the clay, although in this case it is the Peden and the pumpkin.  

Genesis 32:30-31 "So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, "I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved." Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel, and he was limping on his thigh."

Jacob wrestled with God, and before he would submit, had to be terribly injured, or broken. Are we willing to let God break us open, in order to create something new and even better than we were before?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Spending Time with Jesus... and Country Radio

As a country music fan, I am rarely taken by surprise while listening to country radio. I've pretty much heard it all (for twenty years. yep. raised on the oldies and everything.) A lot of it is pretty good, some kind of pointless, some sad. Every once in a while a song will have exceptionally great lyrics or bring me to tears. On occasion a song will be actually so horrible that I train myself to know the first two notes, in order to change the station as quickly as possible. (coughcough Luke Bryan, I can tell you where to find me. :P)

But the other day I actually ran across a song that shocked me. This might be mostly due to the fact that I thought I was listening to a Christian Contemporary station, and only after the first few minutes of the song, did it strike me as an odd addition to their collection. 

Before I go into depth, here is a link to the song, and I will post the full lyrics to the end of the blog, for your convenience:

Yes, this song played for a good few minutes before it struck me as odd for its station. When I realized it was in fact on a country station, I found it sad that some people would probably have a conniption if they heard this on Way FM or Klove. The song is so real, so heart felt, and so true. But let's get down to the essentials, and see if we can avoid more sensitive issues. (ha! probably not gonna happen. You know me :P)

Granted, if I were to have a beer with Jesus, I would probably order something else, but he could of course order whatever he wants. Beer is just not to my taste, but I wouldn't say no to a taste of any of his favorite choices. Perhaps a nice bottle of wine, circa 25 AD ish. Maybe we would just order water and see what he whipped up. (John 2:1-11) Why, yes, I do think I'm clever. Ok, back to the song.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Good Morning! (at lunch time?)

I just had to post this song. One day I will figure out how to set it as the alarm on my phone. I know, I know. If you aren't awake by now, you're a little late.

But this song is kind a fun all day.Will be blasting it while I'm cleaning today. (Yep. I am cleaning today.)

"I can feel the hope that's rising up in me!"

LITL: The Answer is always No

Yesterday I had my first ministry support appointment. It went very well. I got the opportunity to sit down with a Pastor with whom I am quite familiar through various involvements with the ministry already.

At the end of the meeting, I jokingly asked him "So how did I do?" His response was very encouraging: "You did great. Just relax and don't ever be afraid to ask." This is similar to the idea that the answer to an un-asked question is always no.

This later brought to mind a passage I have recently read in small group, the one when God gave Solomon wisdom. 

"At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream at night. God said, “Ask. What should I give you?”
And Solomon replied, “You have shown great and faithful love to Your servant, my father David, because he walked before You in faithfulness, righteousness, and integrity. You have continued this great and faithful love for him by giving him a son to sit on his throne, as it is today. Lord my God, You have now made Your servant king in my father David’s place. Yet I am just a youth with no experience in leadership. Your servant is among Your people You have chosen, a people too numerous to be numbered or counted. So give Your servant an obedient heart to judge Your people and to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” 

 Now it pleased the Lord that Solomon had requested this. So God said to him, “Because you have requested this and did not ask for long life or riches for yourself, or the death of your enemies, but you asked discernment for yourself to understand justice, I will therefore do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has never been anyone like you before and never will be again. In addition, I will give you what you did not ask for: both riches and honor, so that no man in any kingdom will be your equal during your entire life. If you walk in My ways and keep My statutes and commands just as your father David did, I will give you a long life.” (I Kings 3:5-14)

Solomon's response to the Lord's question shows a great faithfulness and longing for the Lord. Often we are too caught up in our lives and our problems to even notice that God is trying so hard to bless us. We won't sit down for two seconds to enjoy the things God has given us, or to hear his voice. We just keep on trudging through our daily lives because that's the way its always been and always will be. 

WAKE UP! Yes, God calls us to some pretty mundane and difficult things sometimes, but he is still our Father and still wants to bless us. If we are willing to follow him wholeheartedly, he will bless us as he blessed Solomon. 

"All these blessings will come and overtake you, because you obey the Lord your God: You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. Your descendants will be blessed, and your land’s produce, and the offspring of your livestock, including the young of your herds and the newborn of your flocks. Your basket and kneading bowl will be blessed. You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out." (Deuteronomy 28:2-6)

So in all things, seek the Lord's blessing. He may not bless everything you do, but if that is the case, then maybe you should change what you are doing. But when something is laid on your heart, don't ever be afraid to ask. God loves you and wants what is best for you. Better than anything you could dream of.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cooking sans Catastrophe: Stuffed Acorn Squash with Wild Rice

Yep. Still fall. :) And I, a summer dweller, and actually loving it. The changing leaves, the cool breezes, fun sweaters. Not to mention I just had camellias bloom in my front yard. I know it doesn't really count as an accomplishment of mine, given that the minute I look at them they will probably die. :P 

So keeping with the season, another fall inspired recipe. This is a sort of variation of the last squash recipe I posted. However I like it better, since it was more savory than sweet and tht is typically my preferences. 

This recipe came from one of my new favorite magazines, for various reasons. Publix has put out a magazine full of recipes, family helps, health articles, etc. Best part? It's free. I have picked up two copies in store and have also signed up to receive them to my home. We'll see how soon that happens. 

Above is the picture from the magazine. As usual, noting ever looks as glamorous as it does in the magazine, plus the fact that I had to improvise a little, given the ingredients we had and didn't have. 

LITL: Invincible

"No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. I will be with you, just as I was with Moses. I will not leave you or forsake you. Above all, be strong and very courageous to carefully observe the whole instruction My servant Moses commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or the left, so that you will have success wherever you go. This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do. Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:5, 7-9)

Last night, my husband and I watched Remember the Titans. (my favorite!) So many bits and pieces of that move will be engrained in my brain forever. It doesn't help when daddy and I would watch it EVERY time it came on TV.

But this morning when I randomly (or not so much) turned (clicked. on my kindle :P) to the above passage. As I read about the assurance of victory that God gave to Joshua, Julius Campbell rang through my head:

Coach Boone: "It's all right. We're in a fight. You boys are doing all that you can do. Anybody can see that. Win or lose... We gonna walk out of this stadium tonight with our heads held high. Do your best. That's all anybody can ask for."
"No, it ain't Coach. With all due respect, uh, you demanded more of us. You demanded perfection. Now, I ain't saying that I'm perfect, 'cause I'm not. And I ain't gonna never be. None of us are. But we have won every single game we have played till now. So this team is perfect. We stepped out on that field that way tonight. And, uh, if it's all the same to you, Coach Boone, that's how we want to leave it." 

Just like the coach expects a certain level of performance from his team, God expects a certain level of performance from us. He asked Joshua two things: to trust that God would always be with him, as he was with Moses, and to follow God's commands. Joshua couldn't have won all of those victories or become the famous warrior he is to the church today with his own power. He was not perfect. None of us are. 

But God is perfect. God has won every battle he has fought since the beginning of time. And with God,  his team can be perfect. We may mess up, but God's will will always prevail. If we are walking in HIS way,  performing the way HE expects us to, we will win. If the Titans had played the way the world around them expected them to, they would have lost every game they played, and that's IF they made it our of camp alive. 

So, are you playing the game the way God has instructed you? Then you will win. Because your power comes from God, and he is perfect. If you aren't, then what in your life needs to change?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

LITL: Reaching for a life preserver

Take it from some one who knows from experience. When you're drowning, you'll pretty much reach for anything that might pull you above water. Anything that might help get some air in your lungs.

So what about when we're drowning in something that isn't water? What about pain, grief, sorrow, guilt, disappointment, loneliness, bitterness, fear? What do we reach for then? I came to this same question last night when I realized that the things I was reaching for were just sinking with me. When one would fail to fix the problem, it only increased my dispair.

It is so easy to rely on the things of this world for support or rescue. You see it all the time with anyone who seeks a substance or activity to escape from their day to day problems. For me its people. I rely so much on the people around me. However, I forget that people are just that... just people. They aren't perfect.

I've had some problems with a friend recently. These problems have left me sad, hurt, and sometimes even bitter toward the source. I keep thinking the friend will stop doing what they're doing, and everything will be OK again. I talk to my husband about it and more often than not I'm left more upset, because he doesn't completely understand, nor is he able to fix the problem. It wasn't until last night, in a bout of feeling particularly hopeless and lost, that I realized something just wasn't clicking.

Monday, October 22, 2012

LITL: You can't always get what you want.

"But if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need."

Some very wise men (The Rolling Stones) once said this. :P

Sadly my husband keeps using this against me every time I say I want a puppy. (eventually I shall prevail :P) But I don't want to talk about puppies today. I want to talk about pain. 

Being human is painful. Let's face it. Aside from cuts, scrape, bruises, broken bones, we have heart ache,  abandonment,  neglect, abuse. Sin that entered this world by the first man corrupted the world. James describes world with these words: “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.” (James 3:16) "The way of the sinner is hard” (Proverbs 13:15). We are often weary and heavy laden. Cheerful start to your morning, huh?

The good news is, this pain won't last forever. Revelation 21:4 gives us hope for a brighter future: "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away."

Unfortunately, we have no idea how long until that day comes, so for now, we have to deal with the pain of living in this world, as well as the additional pain of trying to live in this world and walk by the Spirit. Jesus was honest with his disciples about the difficulty of this task. “If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you: ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you." (John 15:18-20)

However, it's still not all doom and gloom, because Jesus, our master, left us with authority: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)