Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Abandoning Deception at the Cross

God met with us this morning at prayer time.  He's always there...but I love when He moves in with Truth and power!  

It started out with us talking about deception.  Where are we deceived?  II Timothy 3:13-14 says, 

"But wicked men and imposters will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and leading astray others and being deceived and led astray themselves.  But as for you, continue to hold to the things that you have learned and of which you are convinced, knowing from whom you learned [them]..."  Because we've been seekers of Truth, we're cautious about being deceived.  We know it can/does happen to any of us!!  We even talked about how when people age, many are deceived.  They make up their minds that they are "right" and close their minds to Truth.  Instead of being humble, teachable, pliable, changeable and adaptable, they become deceived because their minds are no longer open.  

In fact, James 3:13-14 says this:  "Who is there among you who is wise and intelligent? Then let him by his noble living show forth his [good] works with the [unobtrusive] humility [which is the proper attribute] of true wisdom.  But if you have bitter jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry, selfish ambition) in your hearts, do not pride yourselves on it and thus be in defiance of and false to the Truth."  Truth and wisdom come through humility.  Pride leads to deception.  Wow.  Wisdom is NOT being "right!"  In fact, don't pride yourself on Truth--that is superficial wisdom.  

We talked this morning at length about how this life is not about us.  It's all about God and His plan.  Why do we have expectations, opinions and assumptions?  Because we want to be in control!!  And even beyond that...we fear.  We fear we won't get our way.  So we then drive our opinions and expectations to the point of getting our way and being in control of every stinking situation that touches our lives.  We fear; therefore, we control and manipulate.

But God is wanting us to get to the place of pure trust.  He wants us to humble ourselves and trust Him...and to trust His plan.  Instead of having expectations, opinions or assumptions, He just wants us to ask Him.  "What leads to strife (discord and feuds) and how do conflicts (quarrels and fightings) originate among you? Do they not arise from your sensual desires that are ever warring in your bodily members?  You are jealous and covet [what others have] and your desires go unfulfilled; [so] you become murderers. [To hate is to murder as far as your hearts are concerned.] You burn with envy and anger and are not able to obtain [the gratification, the contentment, and the happiness that you seek], so you fight and war. You do not have, because you do not ask."  James 4:1-2  We just don't ASK!  Don't assume.  ASK!  Don't have an opinion.  ASK!  Don't have expectations.  ASK!  Don't try to control every situation.  ASK!  Don't walk in pride, thinking you know more than God.  ASK.  

The plan is all about God.  We need to recklessly abandon ourselves to the King.  Remember the story of Abigail?  She was in a life and death situation because of a foolish husband who made a foolish decision.  She didn't have to manipulate and control out of fear.  She recklessly abandoned herself to God and acted in faith and saved the lives of many people that day.  God doesn't just have a plan for our husbands, He has a good plan for us, too.   What does God ask us to do?  Submit to Him.  Trust Him.  Ask Him.  And let Him fulfill His good plan.

That sounds so easy...but it's a little hard for this control freak!  So the three of us went to the cross this morning (See above photo--Jodina's husband, Michael, got a cross on his land for his birthday and it was installed this past week!) and laid our fear, pride, deception, and control at the foot of the cross...and asked for His resurrection power in our lives.  We drew a line in the sand and have chosen to humble ourselves and TRUST GOD.  (We love making visual displays of what's going on in our hearts.)  No more controlling out of fear.  No more deception.  We abandoned deception at the cross and recklessly abandoned ourselves to the King.

That's powerful.

Friday, April 26, 2013


Don't we all long for significance...purpose?  Is it in all of us to long to do something great, big, bigger than ourselves?
As I read the Psalms this morning and got still, these thoughts began to press my mind.  I'm probably thinking on these things because we're without a job.  And I long to do something significant...something BIG.  But I know in my heart that any job done well, whether big or small, brings glory to God and is useful for His kingdom.
I think it goes back to wanting God's approval.  Didn't we all long for our parents' approval--or that of important people in our lives?  I can remember doing things to gain my parents' approval.  And if they somehow overlooked what I'd done, I tried doing something bigger to gain their notice.  Maybe that's where our desire stems from.
But God is not human.  We don't have to work for His approval.  He notices everything and is looking mostly at our hearts.  His eyes roam the earth looking for a man whose heart is after Him.  He doesn't notice our outward appearance, but looks at our hearts.  He writes down every word that we speak about Him.  The big thing to God is us.  We are His treasure, His inheritance.  That totally does not make sense to me--that I am His inheritance--unless I put it in perspective as a parent.  My children and grandchildren are my treasure.  I honestly don't care what they DO.  I care who they are...I care about their hearts and Who they pursue.  I long for relationship with them.
When I look at it this way, I know the biggest thing I can do for God is be.  Be who He created me to be.  Love Him.  Love people.  And bring Him glory.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Rest & Relaxation

Andy & I left Borger last Tuesday--heading for Ruidoso, NM.  My brother and his wife graciously offered their cabin to us to get away.  And boy!  Did we need to get away!  Andy had just gotten home from China and I had bounced around between my kids having lots of fun.  Our goal on this trip was to completely rest.

The deer greeted us at the door when we got here.  There are probably 20 deer that hang out in this area and are almost domesticated.  Apparently, one of the neighbors feeds them because they were hanging out in his car port and he was just walking among them.

The first morning we were here, we pulled in to a restaurant for breakfast and heard our names as we walked in the door!  Bobby & Linda Bridges were up here vacationing, too.  We had so much fun catching up with some Borger people we hardly ever get to see!

Thankfully, we had a cool night and got to build a fire!  It was so nice--just what you want when you go to the mountains to rest!

We saw this sign as we drove into town and as we were deciding where to go to church Sunday morning, this was the only place we could find...and knew what time it started!  But it was so much fun to visit and pray for jockeys, trainers, owners, etc.  Honestly, we don't usually go to church when we're on vacation.  But we have a desire to visit some churches and just see the state of the church at large.

It seemed Andy was getting the hang of resting.  But I soon found out it was just because he was jet lagged.

We knew Lindsey wouldn't forgive us if we didn't go try her favorite restaurant here.  So we got the green chili chicken tamales at Tina's.  I highly recommend them.  We were going to try her famous pie....but we ate late and the pie was quickly gone.

Now we're cookin' with peanut oil!!  JACKPOT!  We found the flea markets.  I love flea markets.  In fact, I love them so much, I think we've visited all of them at least twice!!  I found some great bargains.

I didn't know Ruidoso had a movie theatre!  But we saw the sign that "42" was showing--and we both wanted to go see it.  We went at 4:00 in the afternoon and were surrounded by geriatrics.  In other words...people our age.  But it was a GREAT movie!!  It was inspiring...but also made me sad to see how people were treated not so long ago.

We got to go try out the country club cuisine while we were here.  Andy was very happy because it was prime rib buffet night.  I was happy when I saw the desserts.  I chose this fabulous tiramisu.  I wish I'd brought the rest home.  Oh. my. goodness.

I'd asked all of my girls what they needed/wanted for all of their Pinterest projects so I could look for things at the flea markets.  Shanna's desires were a little ambiguous.  She wanted something fun for her walls.  Andy found this.  (I wouldn't let him buy it, Shanna!)

Today, we drove to Lincoln, NM to look around.  It's the area where Billy the Kid hung out.  This was their retro post office (still in use...just like this).  I absolutely loved it!  And I also mailed something from there.

We went on to Capitan and looked around in their flea markets.  I think Andy would have purchased this phone booth ($1500), if he'd still had a basement to put it in!

One thing we've learned on this trip....we're lousy at resting.  I knew I'd be lucky if I could keep Andy here a week.  I was hoping for two.  But we're heading home tomorrow with a little jaunt south first.  We have some business to take care of.  But we're both anxious to get home and get back in the game.  We're tired from all this rest!  But...we may take a couple of more trips before we do....
I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Swept Away by Mary Connealy

Swept Away by Mary Connealy is a story about a young woman named Ruthy MacNeil in 1868.  Her parents died and she was taken in by a family who not only treated her as their slave, but abused her as well.  While they were crossing a river in a wagon train, flood waters swept many of them away, but Ruthy was saved by a piece of wood wedging her arm and keeping her afloat.  Luke Stone is on his way to Palo Duro Canyon in the panhandle of Texas (where I live, by the way) to avenge his father's death and reclaim his homestead stolen by Flint Greer, a horrible man who claimed a mail-order bride on whom he took out his full rage quite often.
Luke is an honorable man who spent time in prison after the Civil War and made friends with others who came to help him reclaim his land.  Of course, Ruthy, after being rescued by Luke in the river, became a part of the plan because she was as good, or better, as the men in tracking and shooting.
The rest of the story is filled with good characters and a great plot and gentle humor.  I highly recommend this easy read!
I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.
Thank you to BethanyHouse for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Signs, Wonders, and a Baptist Preacher by Chad Norris

Signs, Wonders, and a Baptist Preacher by Chad Norris is an excellent book!  I highly recommend it.  In this book, Chad Norris describes his journey into allowing the Holy Spirit to work in his life.  His one request from God was that he wouldn't look weird as he walked into the workings of the Holy Spirit.  From there, he talks about the natural workings of God and how those have looked in his life and the lives of those around him.
I love how he describes this life--that it can look "messy" at times.  God may heal one person and not another.  There's no explanation for that.  And it can trip many of us up until we no longer expect God to work.  He calls that "messy."  In fact, he's learned not to give an explanation for God and how He does or doesn't work.
Chad explains in this book how God worked in the New Testament and how he still works today.  It's a very thought-provoking book for someone who's never seen God work this way and very encouraging for those who may have stopped expecting.
I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.
 Thank you to Chosen Publishers for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255