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?