Saturday, July 18, 2015

It's Not About The Nail

Um, this is perfectly hilarious.

Thanks to my dear friend Kathleen Guire for sharing with me back in January. (Sorry, I just now found it.)

p.s.  Kathleen wrote a book about her adoption experience, which is amazing. She's going to be at our local library, so if you live in or around Marion County, West Virginia, stop by the Marion County Public Library next Saturday to meet her!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Battle

My flesh demands to have whatever it is lusting for at any particular moment—and it is not a quiet demand. My flesh feels that it has a right to whatever it wants because I work so hard and I deserve to be rewarded, to be happy

My flesh knows all the right words to say. 

My flesh never desires to praise the Lord—it only wants to be comforted. My flesh doesn't hunger after the Word of God—it would prefer that I read a good book. It would rather I attend a Bible study on forgiveness, than actually to forgive. 

Like eating candy, my flesh prefers a quick fix. 

I have to decide, what will I live for?

"…so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God,"(1Peter 4:2 NASB).

My flesh wants what it wants, but giving in to it will only result in poor health—physically, financially and spiritually. 

I do not want to go around with a spiritual mouth full of rotten teeth because I've only consumed what is "sweet" and ignored what my spirit needs to grow and to be strong. 

How about you?
Dear Father God,

As we feed on the rich, thick meat of Your Word, may you increase our appetite for You. Give us the strength to make the wise choice to deny our flesh.

In Jesus' Name,

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Spiritual Sundays

Saturday, June 13, 2015

My Sweet Princess

For over ten years now, I have been involved with the MPact Girls Ministries at my church. This is a discipleship program that involves weekly lessons, done in 4-week units.

For five years now, I have taught the Ruth class, in which the girls can become Honor Stars.

The annual celebration is a time when the current Honor Stars are given a sash by their mothers and crowned by their fathers with a sparkly tiara.

But this is more than just pageantry!

In order to "crown," these girls have to memorize a total of 27 scriptures. Then they take a fill-in-the-blank test, which requires that they get 70% (19/27) correct to pass. Sara got 25 correct!

In addition to the 27 memory verses, the girls also have to complete nine "Honor Steps," which require keeping a prayer journal, and extensive memorization of scriptural truths and doctrine. They also must profess Christ as their Savior, and live their lives in a way that lifts up Jesus.

During the ceremony, the girls were each asked what verse that they learned in the Stars class will help them the most in life, and why. This is Sara's response:

I think the verse that will help me most in life is Philippians 4:6-7:

 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard you hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
This verse will help me as I go through my life not to be anxious or worried, but to tell God my troubles. And God will protect my heart and mind from Satan, and give me his perfect peace.    

I told all the girls I have taught that hiding the Word of God in your heart is something that will stay with you, benefiting you well beyond the honor ceremony's recognition.

But it's still fun to be treated like a princess!

Sara means "princess," and her middle name, Lael, means "consecrated to God," so she is truly our little princess! We are so proud of her hard work, and her commitment to pursuing this goal.

Congratulations, Sara!  We love you!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

On Change and God's Sovereignty

I am reading through the Westminster Catechism with my children. One of the chapters is on God's sovereignty in the midst of our free will.

I've been struggling for a while with the thought of Why pray, if God already knows the outcome? A light bulb came on for me while reading that chapter -- we pray BECAUSE He knows the outcome of our lives, and He knows the perfect way for us to go. And what better reason to pray, than to get His divine guidance to make right choices?

We do not belong to ourselves. We do have free will, but we have it under the Lordship of our Savior. We have been bought with a terrible price, and given a gift beyond measure -- freedom to choose Him, to live for Him, to lift up Jesus. Or not.

What choices am I making? Whom do I seek to please? Myself? Other people? Or my Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of my soul?

"How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?" (John 5:44 NASB)

Do I ask for wisdom when I make decisions? Or do I choose what is best for me, most convenient, most comfortable?

Tonight, I watched a show on PBS about missionaries in Africa. The documentary was biased against Christianity--specifically the evangelical Christianity of "The West" -- because the missionaries took a stand against the sin of homosexuality and sexual sin in general, promoting abstinence.

I have been struggling with feelings of rejection and fear and doubt in the face of what seems like a big change in our family.

But after watching this show, what is my perspective on obedience? What would I do if God called me to go to another country, to surrender all that is familiar? Maybe to go somewhere dangerous? Would I go? What if that place is here, in America? Would I stand for truth?

I can't have strong faith without exercising it.

Change is like weight-lifting for our faith. I must remind myself of God's sovereign control. He knows everything, every step everyone has, or is, going to take. I am asking God to humble me, and I am praying for His wisdom in all that I do. I want Him to guide me through life and show me the right choices to make.

I've tried to do it my way for too long, and I haven't done the greatest job. So, change is a good thing. Especially when we know the God who goes before us in the darkness, lighting our way.

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Friday, May 29, 2015

Five Minute Friday :: Blue

Today I am writing with for 5 minutes, freely expressing myself without worrying about my inner editor telling me what to do, and linking up with others who are doing the same thing! If you'd like to do this too, click here for more info.

Today's prompt is:


"It is a good thing to be without a trouble; but it is a better thing to have a trouble, and know how to get grace enough to bear it."  ~Charles Spurgeon

Knowing how to get grace enough to bear my trouble, now that is something to actively work toward. That is a good type of striving. 

Trying to remember the contented sigh of the blue-sky days, when the clouds roll in—that is a challenge worth accepting.

I am not good at walking in grace.

I am quick to whine. I complain. I grumble. I'm impatient. I accept good because I'm tired of waiting for something better. And then I whine some more when it isn't what I really wanted.

Today was a blue-sky day. And I struggled to relax in contentment. That is what grace-less living does—it steals your blue-sky peace, makes you focus on the wrong things. Skews your perspective.

But, as Spurgeon said, trouble is better if through it we learn to seek grace, grow in grace.

"...grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," (2 Peter 3:18 NASB).

How can something grow, if I don't feed it? Am I feeding grace in my life? How would that look?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Heart-full Thinking

How do you talk to yourself?

You know, that recording that plays over and over in your head, the one that shapes your feelings and actions? The one that causes you to look at others and compare yourself to them to see whether you do or don't measure up?

Your perspective on many things is directly affected by your self-talk.  And your mind is a battlefield.

Do you self-encourage? Build yourself up?

Or do you self-abuse? Pick yourself apart at the seams?

Because the Bible tells us that:

"The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart," (Luke 6:45 NASB, emphasis mine).

We play stupid and act like our thoughts are simply the result of the painful experiences, the rejection, the abandonment we've suffered. We say we can't control them, that we are merely victims of our past.

But the negative, abusive self-talk that rants in our heads is the result of unconfessed sin—either of pride or unforgiveness.  And we have no excuse for holding on to either.

If you are a believer, and you know the Word of God, you know that you are not the same person you were before you confessed Jesus as your Savior. ALL things are made new. Your worth comes from Him, and not from anything you can do.The same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in you, and this power can deliver you from the pain and enable you to forgive even the worst offenses!

Christ has redeemed us, rescued us from death, and we cannot have intimacy or fellowship with Him—nor enter into Heaven—if we hold unforgiveness toward anyone. Regardless of the abuse. (Please do not read something that I am not saying. I am in no way suggesting that someone stay in an abusive or dangerous situation. But removing yourself from that will not bring freedom. You will mentally drag the offenses with you. I know this from personal experience. Only extending forgiveness through Christ will free you.)

Recognizing this as sin has been hard. But I am confessing my sin. I am forgiving those who have hurt me. I am making a conscious effort to talk in an affirming, Christ-centered way to myself. And I have already seen the fruit of my obedience in my relationships with my husband and children.

So, how about you? How do you talk to yourself?

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A Wise Woman Builds Her Home

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Self-Image {A Book Review}

Self-Image: How to Overcome Inferiority Judgments

I'm a slow learner, but the Lord is teaching me who I am.

I am painfully aware of the fact that I've defined myself by what I do, opinions of others (good and bad), and comparisons. I say painfully, because God is stripping me of some of that defining material to show me just how vested I am in things other than my devotion to Him.

My attitude stinks. And these things I've used to cloak myself in, putting on an "image" instead of putting on Christ (Romans 13:14), it stinks, too.

God is using this little booklet, "Self-Image - How to Overcome Inferiority Judgements," by Lou Priolo, to help me smell better (ha).

You may be thinking, "Oh, great, just what I need, another book to read." Well, think again.

Not only is a ton of powerful truth packed into just thirty-two pages, this is a soul-exposing workbook that helps you to apply the Truth to the lies in your life.

Like the lie of self-image.  Did you ever stop to think that the concept of having a good self-image is not biblical? The Word counsels us to think of others more highly than ourselves. As Lou Priolo states on the first page, "Christians have been inundated with humanistic presuppositions that they believe to be theologically sound." In this booklet, he exposes the truth about self-image.

Unlike other Christian self-help books that leave me loving the message but uncertain of how to apply it to my life, this little gem is just that—a mini manual on applying the Word.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. Because we all can use a dose of truth applied to our image!

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