Monday, October 16, 2017

Pastor Appreciation Week



Pastor Appreciation Week
Andy Dietz & I have been leading Pastors & Wives’ Retreats (and Pastors’ Wives’ Retreats) for the past couple of years through Double Honor Ministries. I can’t begin to tell you how needed these Retreats have been. We’ve ministered to some very hurt people. 1500 ministers are leaving the ministry each month. They’re facing challenges ministers never faced 50 years ago. Satan has upped his game and his attacks. His desire is to leave no minister standing. 
Because of this brutal attack, it’s more important than ever to let pastors and their wives know they’re not alone and there are still people who consider them “worthy of Double Honor!”  It’s especially important for older pastors to encourage the younger ones—and to show them that it’s possible to finish the course. 
I don’t know of any other ministry doing as much for pastors and their wives. I highly commend this ministry. If you want to honor your pastor, consider donating to this ministry in a big way (They spend a considerable amount getting the pastor to the retreat, funding meals & entertainment, and creating an environment for REST!!) Give generously.  And if you can, please consider making it a monthly donation. And THEN...give us your pastor’s name so we can invite him and his wife to a retreat!!!  They will be BLESSED...and honored. You can find the “DONATE” button at the bottom of the page.  Please consider sharing this post. 
http://doublehonorministries.com/

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Epic Lifetime



“King David was now an old man with an epic lifetime behind him...”. I Kings 1:1 (The Voice)

Don’t you want to get to the end of your life and say the same?  “That was an amazing life—EPIC!”  Of course, there will be bumps and dips in the road. There were for David!  But I think the one thing we can say that made David’s life epic was he had a heart after God. He followed God all of his life. And when he disobeyed...he confessed his sin and repented. 

I want to look back and say I did all I knew to follow Jesus. I want to have had the most intimate relationship with him I could possibly have had. I want to quickly obey..and quickly repent when I disobey. I want to please him.  

I want an epic life!!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

42 Years



42 Years. We celebrated last night and reminisced. We both agreed our greatest accomplishment was our four children. We're so proud of them--and glad they're awesome adults in spite of our many blunders and mistakes. 


Andy's biggest regret: that he wasn't bolder and more confident early on. He said he was proudest of me for truly partnering with him in ministry. 


My biggest regret: that I didn't understand, focus on, and partner with our strengths earlier. I am proudest of Andy for the amazing way he connects with people and invests in them. 


But we both agreed that our regrets mean nothing--knowing it was all part of the process of growth!  It's been so fun to look back and see God's hand guiding us to where we are today!  (And we BOTH agreed that this has gone WAY faster than we ever thought possible!!!!)


Happy 42nd Anniversary, Babe!!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Principle of Exchange




What do you think of when I say, "Hershey's Kiss?"  Do you see silver foil twisted around a cone-shape with a little white banner flying out of the top? Do you see pure milk chocolate in the same shape? Does it look mouth-watering?  Can you just taste the smoothness of that perfect chocolate as it slowly begins to melt in your mouth?  

Now...quit thinking about the Hershey's Kiss. Stop!  Don't think about the twisted foil. Don't look at the Hershey's banner flying out of the top.  Stop!!  Quit imagining the sweet chocolate. STOP!!!!

Once your mind has been filled with a thought, it's almost impossible to quit thinking about it. But God told us to "take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ."  It's up to us!!!  We can't just pray those thoughts away--God told US to do it!!  How??

I did this exercise with our youth recently. It's almost impossible to just quit thinking on something Satan plants in our mind.  This is where temptation starts. And just so you know...the first thought isn't sin...it's a temptation TO sin!  It becomes a sin when we entertain that thought and act on it. I picture a "thought" entering my mind and me setting a table with my very best china and sitting down and hosting a dinner. I've done my best to make it feel welcome. So it must be stopped before we entertain it. EXCHANGE IT!!!

Think about a juicy, crisp apple. It's gloriously red on the outside with soft, little green stripes running through it. When you cut it open, it has light green flesh with droplets of juice sitting on top. You bite into it and it has a sweetness with a hint of tartness which hits your glands as you munch on the crisp apple. 

As you thought on the apple, you quit thinking about the Hershey's Kiss. You had to exchange that thought to create a new one. It's the same with temptation.  It's hard to just quit thinking on a sinful thought. You have to exchange it. When a temptation enters my mind, I say, "NO!" out loud!  (Satan can't read your mind even though he can put thoughts in your mind!)  By doing that, I've captured that thought and taken it hostage. And then I have to exchange it with a new thought. I read or quote the Bible. I sing or listen to praise music. I speak TRUTH and remind myself of that truth. But I must exchange thoughts.  This is something God has given US to do!!  We're to be the gatekeepers of our own minds. 

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."  Romans 12:2

"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."  II Corinthians 10:5

Saturday, September 23, 2017

FEAR




Fear is powerful!  Satan wants us to imagine the very worst--because he knows that we'll act on what we're thinking. (Proverbs 23:7)  If we're imagining the worst case scenario, our minds will provide the roadmap to get there. 

I read through Genesis this morning and wrote down 122 fears I saw in that book alone!  Out of those 122 fears, I could categorize most of them into the following 14.

THE FEAR OF:
•Rejection/ Comparison
•Loss
•God/God's people
•Guilt/Consequences/Retribution
•Death/Destruction
•Accusation
•Anger
•Unfulfilled Promises
•The Unknown
•Deception
•Dreams
•Miracles
•Prosperity/Blessings/Power
•Decisions

I'm not saying this is a comprehensive list!  But imagine Satan feeding you even one of these fears (and yes, we can fear good things!) and you taking the bait and following it to its natural conclusion. God never wanted you living in fear!!  In fact, He told us that "fear is not from God and that perfect love casts out fear!"  (I John 4:18)  What is that perfect love?  God's love!!  The more we get to know God, the more we'll trust Him. And the more we trust Him, the less we'll fear!  God hasn't given us the spirit of fear (it IS a spirit!), but of power, love, and a sound mind. (II Timothy 1:7)  

How do we overcome fear?  First of all, you have to recognize it. Fear should be a red light for us!  God doesn't make us fear...Satan does!!  He's our accuser. So since it's not from God, we know we should take that thought captive and make it obey Jesus!  (II Corinthians 10:5)  Throw it away if it's fear. What do we replace it with?  Love. Understanding and knowing how much God loves us. Think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, etc. (Philippians 4:8)  LISTEN to God's voice as he speaks to your heart. 

We all fear time-to-time. But you don't have to live in fear. And you certainly don't have to allow fear to lead you to its ultimate end--destruction!  Fear can be debilitating and keep you from fulfilling your full potential and your God-given purpose. God has given you the way to abundant life.  It's up to you to control the thoughts you allow into your mind. Take your thoughts hostage!!

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things."

Friday, September 8, 2017

Intensity & Frequency

Have you felt things becoming more intense and more frequent?  I have. It's like I can't catch my breath in between events. The birth pains are coming closer together. No wonder we can't rest!!  Years ago, I was watching a seismograph as a meteorologist explained El Niño--and it hit me!!  It looked exactly like the heartbeat of a baby during delivery. El Niño means baby boy. Last night, someone asked me, "What happens before a baby is born?  The mom's water breaks!"  Could the hurricanes be a picture of that in the natural?  This morning, there was an 8.0 earthquake off the coast of Mexico. The labor pains are closer. 
I Thess. 5:3 says that in the last days, people will be crying 'peace and safety' and sudden destruction will come upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. Did you know the U.N. has declared a Day of Peace on September 21 (the middle of Rosh Hashanah-Feast of Trumpets)?  And the theme is, "Together for Peace: Respect, Safety, & Dignity for All."  And we can't dismiss the terrorization of Kim Jong-un as he tests nuclear bombs. That's not safe.
Many believe Jesus will return during Rosh Hashana--it's the next feast on the Jewish calendar for a major event to take place. (September 20-22 this year)  Plus it says Jesus will return with a shout of the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God. 
These could all be coincidences...or it may be that God wants us watching the signs and looking up!  Either way, the time is closer.
There will be those who laugh, saying,  "nothing's changed and people have been saying 'Jesus was coming' for thousands of years"--but that's just another sign fulfilling II Peter 3:3-7. 
I've been watching the skies myself.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

When Hospitality Costs You





As a pastor's wife, we've all been in that situation. Your husband tells you he's invited a committee to meet at your house and will need refreshments served...or someone's coming to speak and will need to stay at your house...or the staff Christmas party will be at your house in two days!  

Hopefully, you and your pastor-husband communicate well and plan ahead. But there are always those times that the unexpected happens...and God uses those circumstances to squeeze us. We have a choice in how we respond. 

God expects us to be hospitable. (I Timothy 3)  The problem is...I don't always feel like being hospitable. And sometimes (most of the time) hospitality costs us--time, money, physical & emotional energy, etc.  

So what's the key?  I've learned a few things through the years. The times I don't want to be hospitable usually turn out to be some of the most meaningful experiences. I remember Andy wanting to invite a family to our home for dinner and money was so tight that I told him the only thing we could offer them was a sandwich. But he still wanted to invite them. I was embarrassed. But they came. That family became some of our very best friends. And the woman confided years later that they'd had nothing to eat because they'd just moved to town and we're waiting on their first paycheck. Our friendship was sealed over a sandwich. 

Hospitality always seems to cost something. But the reason it does is because it's so VALUABLE. Hospitality is God's way of inviting others into our lives. It's the very plan He uses to grow the Church. There's something so important about sharing a meal together!  Jesus did it over and over with His disciples. Eating together opens our hearts to one another. 

I encourage you to be hospitable...even when you don't feel like it.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Job's Wife


My sister, Becky Sanders Dietz and I were discussing the subject of Job's wife, and she had such great insight I asked her to co-author a blog with me.  I'm glad I did!  Here's the outcome of that collaboration...Sandra Langford. 

Job had a pretty good life.  He was, though not perfect, a man devoted to God.  In fact, in Job 2:3 God Himself said of Job, "No one else on earth is like him, a man of perfect integrity, who fears God and turns away from evil.” His reputation was infallible. Job was a man of wealth and a father to seven sons and three daughters.  His family appeared to have a happy and close relationship. They would have a feast "each on his appointed day" (probably their birthday) and invite each other to the parties.  After the feast, Job would offer a sacrifice in case any of his children had sinned in their hearts. 

Then, one day, God looks upon Job and with pride, and asks Satan the life changing question for Job. "Have you considered my servant Job?" With that simple question, Job loses everything, his animals, servants, and finally his sons and daughters.  Everything, that is, but his wife.

I had never considered before why Satan the accuser chose not to kill Job's wife.  But why kill her if you can use her?  Satan first afflicted Job with painful boils all over his body. Then he attacked Job through the words of his wife, "Why don't you curse God and die?"  Satan knows better than we do how powerful our influence is over our husbands.  Her words are actually suggesting treason against God. "Declare a rebellion and insurrection against God and His kingdom!"  

How many of you wives have ever thought, "I could do this life so much better without my husband!"?  I have. This isn't my own thought--but one the Great Insurrector put in my mind. Satan wants to divide us as husband and wife. Every single girl longs to be married and every married woman longs to do it alone. It's Satan's way of spreading discontent and disunity. (And it has been working for thousands of years!) If our marriages are a picture of Christ & the Church, Satan will do everything in his power to destroy it. 

Even though Job's wife was used by the enemy to try and cause an insurrection against God--and even against their marriage--God used her as part of the restoration process.  When God restored everything to Job, He also gave an increase.  He doubled all he'd owned...everything, that is, except children. He received exactly what he'd lost--7 sons and 3 daughters. But I like to think peace, spicyness, and allure came into his marriage in spades. After all...that's what he named his new daughters!  Job and his wife were the age of grandparents by this time.  That can bring hope into marriages which are in that stage.  I believe the marriage of Job and his wife was completely restored.  I believe it became everything God intended it to be--a picture of Christ & the Church.
--Sandra Langford

Sunday, August 27, 2017

INTIMACY



Tonight, Jamie Shuck led our youth in an exercise of emptying our cups of pleasure and culture (good or bad) at the cross...and lifting our cups and asking God to fill it with Him. It was a powerful moment as I realized how empty I was. 

I know the way to be filled is intimacy with God. It's listening to Him--from His Word and in my heart. And me sharing my heart with Him. Jamie even read Psalm 23:5 to us. "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over."

As I came home and began journaling what God had shown me tonight, I told God I desired a deeper intimacy with Him--I had let the world and circumstances crowd Him out. I'd lost focus. Immediately, a picture came into my mind of me sitting at the table feasting with Him--intimately. Just like the couple in this photo. I was so enthralled with God, I had no awareness of the enemy around me. This was a completely different interpretation I'd ever had of Psalm 23:5!  

I want to be that enthralled with Jesus!!  I want to be so intimate with Him that the enemy can do all kinds of shenanigans around me--and I only have eyes for my King.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

When the Enemy Taunts




What is your first response when God is putting a plan in your heart and the enemy taunts you?  I'm guessing it's to stop...retreat...cower in fear...listen to the enemy...watch the enemy...talk to like-minded friends about that mean ol' enemy!

That's what the Israelites were doing for 40 days as Goliath sneered at them. Then as soon as David arrived and heard Goliath, God began putting a plan in David's heart. He began asking what the reward would be for the person who killed this giant who was mocking God. And David was eattacked, taunted, jeered, and made fun of--by his own brother, Eliab. 

What did David do?  Very simply...he ignored his brother. Now this brother was his oldest brother--and David was the baby of the family. For David to ignore him shows how powerful this was. I imagine God had been in the process of strengthening David's inner man as he spent so much time alone caring for his father's sheep. God had already told David he would be the next king. God had sent a lion and bear for him to kill and overcome. And David knew it wasn't about him--it was all about God. 

What plan is God putting in your heart?  Has the Enemy taunted you about it?  He may even speak through those closest to you. He may use intimidation you've lived with your whole life. You should have one response...
Ignore it. 

"Eliab: Why have you come down here? Who is watching your tiny flock in the wilderness? I’m your brother, and I know you—you’re arrogant, and your heart is evil. You’ve come to watch the battle as if it were just entertainment.

David: What have I done now? I was just asking a question.

David ignored him and asked another soldier the same question, and the people gave him the same answer. When news of David’s valiant words reached the king, Saul sent for David."

Friday, July 7, 2017

God is Good All the Time by Sandra Langford




I don't think I'll ever forget it.  I won't tell his story because I don't know much of it and it isn't mine to tell.  But a small bit of the story I think is mine.  He had suffered from illness for awhile, in fact, I believe he was diagnosed just a few months before I found out that I too was being attacked by cancer.  The last Sunday that I saw him was probably his last to attend church before he went home to heaven.  He had been talking to my husband, and I walked up to greet him.  His last words to me were simple but heart felt.  He looked into my eyes and with deep peace simply said, "God is good ALL the time."  I wanted to grab his arm and talk to him.  I wanted to share what God had been teaching me thru my hardships - to truly delight in God no matter the circumstances.  I wanted to hear exactly what God had been teaching him because it was apparent he had learned some lessons as well.  However, I could tell his energy was lagging and that he needed to leave, so I simply agreed with him, God is indeed good all the time.

I saw a quote not long ago by Graham Cooke:

“If you are in mourning, you have the opportunity to worship in the most powerful way possible: lamentation. This worship isn’t done in order to have God remove the pain. It simply recognizes that God stands in the moment with us. Lamentation elevates God in the presence of our enemies. It brings out a side of God that other forms of worship simply cannot touch.”

When I choose to worship God, delight in Him, and give thanks to God in times of hardship, in times of grief and distress I believe it sends a very strong message.  A message that my church friend sent loud and clear.  It is a message that  the world, our church, our youth and children need to hear.  This ability to sincerely declare "God is good!" even during difficult circumstances proclaims to the world that God is worthy of our praise no matter what. It shows our children that God still stands with us and loves us and is truly trustworthy.  It magnifies Him.  This declaration helps people see that He is worth following for a lifetime. I think the enemy is fearful of this kind of worship because it is powerful.  

There is another powerful time of delight and worship that I think brings equally deep fear to the enemy.  A time that makes a very strong statement of God's power, love, strength and glory.  It is a time that seems to make people so uncomfortable that I've seen them gently reprimand others for it.  When God shows up and shows off with power and people declare "this is what God did for me! God is good!" well meaning friends will respond "God is good all the time" as if to say, "don't declare God's goodness during your celebration - it will make those who are going thru hard times feel bad."  (I know that isn't what all who say that mean, but many do!) Frankly, this as a lie of the enemy.  In fact, I think it is because we hesitate to declare God's miracles, His greatness in the good times that our children, our world, and yes, even our church fail to see God's power.  I think it is one reason our youth and young adults don't continue to attend church after they leave home.  Why would they follow a god that they see as powerless and unable?  Those who are grieving, in distress, and floundering NEED to be reminded that God is still in the miracle-working business, they need that hope!  I know I did and our friend reminded me even in his pain.  Let's cut the enemy off at the knees, bring satan to a place of cowering in fear because of our declaration of God's power.

Let's begin to celebrate freely!  Let me declare the works and recount the illustrious acts of the Lord. (Psalm 118:17)   After all, My God IS good ALL THE TIME - yes, even in my celebration.  How sad is it that I hesitate to tell good news because of other's discomfort in declaring God's glory?  Look at God's work in my life! See what He has done!  He is all powerful!  He is my Delight  in good times and bad.  He is Jehovah Rapha - The Lord Who Heals.  He is El Roi - The God Who Sees!  And this time He has seen fit to see me, to heal me!  My doctors were so sure that cancer had again attacked my body that they had plans in motion for treatments after my surgery.  BUT GOD.  On my way to the appointment to see the surgeon after surgery, I received the call that the pathology report showed no cancer.  I believe God healed me.  Since He can see me, work miracles in my life and love me, He can do the same for you -no matter your circumstances.  Just as God walked with our church friend and carried him though his time of illness, God walked with me.  God was good then and He is good now.  Praise HIM!  If I could talk to that friend again, I would thank him for so gently reminding me when he knew I was waiting and hurting -  "God is good ALL the time."

One of my favorite stories in the Bible recently has been the story of Moses in Exodus 33.  Moses was pleading for God's favor for the Israelite people and then he asks God, "Show me Your glory!" God tells Moses to come to the cleft of a rock and  passes before him, protectively covering Moses with His hand until He had passed by.  As God took His hand away Moses could see the back of God.  In Ex. 34:6-7  "Then the Lord passed by in front of him, and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth (faithfulness); keeping mercy and lovingkindness for thousands...."  I've always pictured this in my mind as God solemnly walking past Moses somberly saying "The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate.....".  Then I recently heard it described another way.  Probably much more accurately than I had pictured it.  What if instead of solemnly walking by,
God was jumping up and down, dancing - perhaps throwing his hands in the air celebrating Himself as He delightedly declared to Moses, "The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious...!!"   My challenge to you is to not be hesitant to declare God's glory in fear of hurting others, but to be like God Himself, celebrating His glory and goodness.






Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Who am I?

 
"Who do people say you are??"  Have you seen that game on Facebook where you write one word to describe a person and post the first gif which comes up?  It's pretty telling. People are seeing what others think of them. Now here's the second question..."What do you WISH people said about you?"  

I asked these questions in Sunday School before I taught on Judges. And then we looked at what God said about each judge.
Othniel--went to war
Ehud--left-handed judge who killed a king
Deborah--judge, prophetess, liberator, carried the presence of God, led army to victory
Gideon--mighty warrior, led people into idolatry
Jotham--prophet
Tola--judge, defender of Israel
And the list goes on and on...

If your life was reduced to one or two words, what would it be?  Would you be remembered as a warrior?  A good mother?  A businessman?  A sports addict?  

What do you WANT your legacy to be?

Now...are you pointed towards that target?  Or do you need to adjust your aim?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

To Young Moms

 

What would I say to a young mother?

I'm watching you young moms out there and appreciate what a hard job you have.  I want to encourage you today.  It's been rolling through my mind as I read Facebook what I'd want to say to each of you if I had the opportunity.  So...I'm taking the opportunity.

Enjoy your children.  I know as you're changing diapers, potty training, trying to get kids to clean their rooms or trying to get teenagers out of bed, it seems like this job will go on forever.  While you'll be a mom forever, this part won't last long in the great scheme of things.  Enjoy it while you're on this leg of the journey.  Laugh...a lot!

Take the time to train your children--it's time-consuming, but the payoff is great.  I remember how hard it was to train kids to clean their rooms.  (I pretty much gave up.)  But training your children how to sit at the table with good manners is huge.  Training them how to be a good friend will have long-term payoffs.  There are so many ways you will train your children.  Just remember that you're investing in our society in a huge way when you train your kids.  And...because there's such a lack of training among a lot of homes, your children are going to really stand out and be leaders.  Remember that.

Relax!  Don't be so hard on yourself or your kids.  Looking back, I spent way too much time trying to impress others with my parenting skills instead of just pleasing God.  He's so much easier to please!   

Remember these are little people with real feelings.  If I'd been thinking of how my words or actions might affect my children long-term, I might not have said or done a lot of them.  You may be rearing the next world-changer.  Take that in mind and treasure their little hearts.  Kids may be resilient, but how many of us look back on our childhoods and can pinpoint one situation that killed a part of who we were?  We have a lot of power as parents.

Take time for yourself.  Make time to develop friendships!!  This is so important.  You need a sounding board or just being away from the fray.  Expect your kids to whine as you leave them with dad or a babysitter while you go have coffee with a friend.  Be strong!  Don't let it keep you home--go get that coffee.  You'll be a better mom when you get home.  Have fun while you're out!

Date your husband.  I can still remember my kids giggling as I told them I had a date with their dad.  This brings comfort to their hearts knowing that their parents enjoy being together.

Spend time with God.  Maybe this should have been at the top of the list, but I know as a mom it was hard to find a time alone with God.  I usually found time during the kids' naps to do it.  God knows how hard this is!  But just make your conversation with him go on all day long.  His Word is hidden in your heart, after all.

Along that line, ask God how to parent.  He's the best parent and knows your children inside and out.  And He's given you the best counselor--the Holy Spirit!

Spend time getting to know each child.  They're all different!  Consider this a privilege with long-term results.  Take them out individually.  Let each of them get to do things the others don't get to do.  (This will also make for some great feuds when they become adults!  Ha!)  Let them know they are each special and dear to your heart.

I know this may look more like a list of what-to-do instead of encouragement.  So if I could sum it up in one word, it would be this--ENJOY!!!  Enjoy those tiny people.  Enjoy each stage.  Purpose in your heart to enjoy the children God has entrusted to you.  Don't strive so hard.  Don't make it a pain. Don't pressure yourself and them.  Just...enjoy.  You're doing great, Momma!  No, really...you're doing GREAT!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Victim or Victor?

 

Victim or Victor?

It's so easy as a pastor's wife to adopt the attitude of victim. "Unless you've walked in our shoes, you just don't understand. I don't even WORK at the church, but there are so many expectations placed on me!  Everything my children do is scrutinized, analyzed, and discussed. People come to me with sweet-sugared criticisms of my husband--and sometimes not so sweet-sugared!"

Is that REALLY who I want to be?  A victim?  Actually, I'd rather be a Deborah. I want the confidence to know who I am and who God has called me to be!  I want to be that person who KNOWS her giftings and walks in them--not manipulated into things I have no desire to do. Deborah was a force to be reckoned with. She sat under a tree--HER tree--dispensing wisdom with which God had gifted her. She was a prophetess and I believe she was fearless. In a day when women were right above the family cow in the pecking order, she was fearless in telling people--even men--what God was saying. She was a judge deciding between right and wrong. And then one day, she sent for Barak and asked him, "Hasn't God told you to take on Sisera?(The captain of Canaan's army who held Israel captive--and had chariots of iron.) Go ahead!  God will deliver him into your hands!"  But Barak makes an interesting comment, "I'll go if you go with me."  My sister gave me insight here. She said she believed Barak knew God was with Deborah and wanted her to carry the presence of God into battle. Deborah agreed to go with the understanding that a woman (Jael) would get the credit for killing Sisera. And it played out exactly that way!  Deborah led the army into battle fearlessly--against strong men with iron chariots--and won!!  

Deborah didn't get sidetracked with the numerous "womanly" duties around her. God called her to prophesy, judge, and lead an army into battle--and even share the glory with another woman who just happened to put a tent peg through the head of Sisera while he rested in her tent. 

Yes, I want to be victorious!  I want to be filled with the presence of God, walk in the ways in which he's gifted me, and go into battle when necessary. I want to be fearless and confident. I want to have laser focus. How about you?

The Profit


Marcus Lemonis stars as The Profit on CNBC.  I stumbled upon this reality TV show recently and it has reeled me in.  Marcus is a real-life millionaire (billionaire?) who rescues failing businesses with a financial investment, taking over a percentage of the company, and declares, "I am now the boss."  The rest of the hour is a summary of how he brings about change to make the company solvent.  As I began to watch episode after episode, some things began to stick out to me.  Some things which are common to life...not just business.  So I took some notes and these are the things I've learned from The Profit.  As you read the list, don't just think about business...think about life!

  • You can't grow if you resist change.  In fact, you may be destroyed.
  • You have to have emotion for your business to succeed.
  • People fear loss of control.
  • When people refuse to change, they become argumentative (at the least), manipulative, subversive, divisive, and destructive (at the worst).
  • Someone must be in control--someone who knows how to grow the business.
  • You MUST get rid of the old to make room for growth and change.
  • A good leader acknowledges where you are, asks questions, LISTENS, but stays focused on the vision.  He's not afraid to speak truth to get you where you need to be.  
  • A business should know their numbers.  If they don't, they have no plan for success.
  • A leader must be able to see what is wrong.  They see weaknesses but play to the strengths.
  • A business should know their strengths and capitalize on them.
  • A business should surround themselves with people who are different--to fill in the holes of their weaknesses.
  • A business must VALUE their employees.
  • A business should reward faithful and helpful employees.
  • Negativity will kill a business.
  • There MUST be quality control.
  • You must admit mistakes and rectify them.
  • Strive for happy customers.
  • Be organized!
  • Make the most of your space.
  • Your business should be pleasing to the eye.
  • Praise a job well done.
  • Honor employees.
  • Prove you're better than expected.
  • Fix what's broken.
  • Make your name visible.
  • Don't be a know-it-all.  Be teachable.
  • Expand wisely.
  • Deal with your past and your hurts in order to move forward.
  • Expand wisely.
  • Get counsel from people who can see your blind spots.
  • Put "like" products together.  Get rid of products which have nothing to do with your business.
  • Have the right people in their right places.
  • Be willing to let go of perceived strengths when they actually may be a weakness which is killing your business.
  • LISTEN!!!
  • Don't waste money with unnecessary jobs, misused space, or products which have nothing to do with your main business.
  • Make a plan.
  • Observe.
  • Learn from successful businesses and people.
  • You don't have to understand product to understand the business of the product.  But you CAN research and learn!
  • Be efficient.
  • Obey laws.
  • Use the right equipment.
  • Create partnerships when you can and when it's wise.  If you already have a partnership, don't try to be a Lone Ranger.  
  • Believe in yourself!  Listen and receive the praise and encouragement others give.  It may lead to a new understanding of yourself.
  • Work hard to leave every customer satisfied.
  • Don't undervalue your product.  You've invested yourself in this product and it has value.  Believe it!
  • Don't leave anything on the table.  Give 100%.
I always find it interesting that people will call Marcus needing help to rescue their business and they know change is imminent.  But then most of them resist him every step of the way.  WE DON'T LIKE CHANGE!  But it's a rule of nature....if you're going to grow, you're going to have to change.  Change is all around us.  God even created us so that we have to change.  So when we resist change, do you think maybe we're resisting God?  God is the only one who never changes. He designed it this way so we have a point of reference--a focus--in the midst of our change to keep us balanced. Change is inevitable. Resisting change slows you down...and can even destroy you. 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Threads of Suspicion by Dee Henderson

 

David & Evie are appointed to a task force by the governor to solve cold cases. They have no idea how close and personal Evie's case will become. Five college girls have been missing for years and they all seem to have one connection--they all attended a Triple M concert starring David's girlfriend, Maggie. David & Evie partner in closing in on the killer--which involves a dangerous and life-threatening situation for Maggie. 
Dee Henderson is one of my all-time favorite authors. She knows how to create suspense in a believable way and keeps me guessing the whole time about whodunnit. This book is no exception!  I loved the book and I'm already anxious for the next in the series!!
I'd give this book 5 out of 5 stars!

Thank you to Bethany House 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

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Evergreen Church & all of us

 

"Will I be welcome?  Will I sit in the wrong place?"  These are both questions I ask myself when going to a new church. Believe it or not, I am an introvert. I hate walking into new situations--which is exactly where I found myself last Sunday. I had Zach & Shanna's children and took them to their church--where Zach is worship pastor. It's usually not uncomfortable for me because I have Zach & Shanna to sit with. But I was solo Sunday!  I walked in (with very few people knowing me) and at least 5 strangers greeted me before I ever entered the sanctuary. Then as I was seated and the songs began, a woman next to me leaned over and introduced herself to me. She asked me my name and instantly recognized my last name (there are two Dietz's on staff) and told me she loved my family. I settled into the service feeling welcomed, loved, known. 

Isn't that what we all want--and we fear it isn't waiting for us at church?  It also encouraged me to up my game!!  How about you?  We need to welcome each person who walks into our churches. We need to ask people to sit with us...ask questions...get to know our visitors. We need to take guests to lunch!  I can do those things--even as an introvert, which is no excuse. 
If you live in the Tulsa/Broken Arrow area, I highly recommend Evergreen Church!!

Let's love our guests--and long-time members--tomorrow!!!
@Evergreen_Tulsa

Thursday, May 11, 2017

CHAMPIONS

 

Last night, Jamie Shuck was teaching our youth about how important our reputation is with others. He asked why?  The conversation was great!  As he taught, I began thinking about lots of Bible characters--Daniel, Joseph, Esther, Deborah, and more. Why do we remember them?  Because they were CHAMPIONS!!  They chose to stand alone when it could have cost them everything. Some of them even did it afraid--they just pressed through their fears!  

Out of 107 billion people who've ever lived on earth, we only remember the names of a handful. And why do we remember them?  Because they were fearless. They may have stood alone when everyone else went with the crowd, they may have invented something when everyone said it couldn't be done, they may have stood for "right," they may have led battles, or they may have protected others. 

We need CHAMPIONS more than ever!!  And our kids need to see adults leading and standing more than ever. But I'm praying we have a whole generation of young leaders RISE UP and choose to stand for Christ--even if there's a cost.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Day the Veil was Torn

 


This simple fact is often overlooked in the story of the resurrection of Jesus--the moment the veil was torn. Not only was it torn, but it was torn from the top to the bottom--which is significant. This was a simple, yet profound, event. That veil was 6-8 inches thick...and yet it was torn. No man could possibly have torn that veil--especially from top to bottom. GOD tore the veil!

What was behind the veil?  The ark of the covenant. The ark was where God met man. And not just any man could go behind the veil--only the high priest. He had to make sure his sins were confessed or he would die behind that veil in God's holy presence. There were bells on the bottom of his robe so the other priests would know he was still alive. If the bells stopped ringing, they would pull the priest out with the rope tied around his ankle--because they couldn't go behind the veil. 

Ripping the veil at the moment Jesus died was so significant. God was declaring that Jesus' death made a way for EVERY man (and woman) to come into the presence of God!  As man confesses his sin, he's been invited into a personal, intimate relationship with our holy God. We no longer need a priest to confess our sins or intercede on our behalf. In fact, at the point of salvation, we each become a priest--able to talk and listen to God ourselves--intimately. 

What a holy moment for us...that moment when the veil was torn!!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Joseph's Brothers

 

Joseph was a favored child--and his father set him apart with a special coat (of many colors). Not only did this create jealousy with his ten older brothers, but then Joseph shared a dream that his brothers and parents would bow down to him some day--insinuating he would have authority over them. Now his brothers hated him!  And they concocted a plan to kill him and throw his body into a well and return his colorful coat to dear-old-dad with a story he's been killed by a wild animal. Except his older brother wasn't keen on the idea and suggested they just throw him in a deep well and leave him there--with every intention of coming back later to get him out.

What struck me this morning as I thought on this story is that Joseph's brothers very nearly killed their own deliverance!! 

God had a plan to deliver these ten brothers and their father through Joseph--through the very brother they hated. God even used their hate-filled plan to redeem them. 

Joseph was their deliverer--and they almost killed him.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Keys to the Kingdom

 

"I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19

Sunday, Andy used this scripture in his message. When he did, a different interpretation jumped into my mind. A key LOCKS or UNLOCKS. It helped me understand this verse a little better. God gave us keys to lock and unlock doors. And He's given us the authority, as His ambassadors, to use them.
As His ambassadors, we must understand the constitution of the kingdom (what's permitted) and the protocol of the kingdom (when it's permissible) and the will of the King. But when we do, we have the authority to lock and unlock doors. Jesus did nothing apart from what He saw His Father doing. We have to keep our eyes on the King and be ready to do what He's doing--working in agreement with Him. Then we get to lock and unlock doors in His kingdom--knowing we have the full weight (authority) of the King behind us! Which key do you get to turn today?



Saturday, March 11, 2017

Texas Strong

 

I live in Groom, Tx--within a few miles of the wildfires which took place this week. In our area, around 315,000 acres were burned and 4 precious lives were lost as these men and women raced to save cattle, homes, and family. Over 1500 head of cattle died--which is devastating to ranchers who depend on cattle for their livelihood. I've heard of tough farmers and ranchers having to take down cattle and wild animals who were suffering--while tears streaked down their own faces. 

If you don't live in our area, what you may not be hearing are all of the beautiful stories of sacrifice, help, and generosity which came immediately on the heels of the fires. Generous farmers loaded up truckloads of hay to deliver to the ranchers whose fields of grasses burned--grasses which feed their cattle. People donated trucks, gas money, drivers, and time to meet that immediate need. I know men who voluntarily fought the fires and turned right around to do this work--missing hours of sleep and rest because the need was immediate and severe. Talented and gifted western artisans began auctioning off their art, metal and leather wares to donate the proceeds to the families of the fire victims. Thousands of dollars have been raised. Two mothers will now be rearing children alone because of the fires. Funeral and living expenses are being raised on Go Fund Me pages for these families. Veterinarians offered their time and medicines for animals which were burned. 4-H clubs offered to board and feed calves whose mothers didn't survive the fire. Free meals were offered by restaurants in surrounding cities to the firemen.  Massage therapists offered free massages to weary firemen. People volunteered to fix fences which burned. Men and women from all around saddled up their horses to round up dazed cattle and then herded them to a safe place. During the fire, whole communities began bringing food, water, and Gatorade and other necessities for the firemen and volunteers. Women gathered in kitchens to pray for the safety of the firefighters, animals, and homes. People from all over Texas are offering hay if someone can come pick it up; others are offering trucks--and somehow, God is connecting all of these people to make these deliveries happen!  All of this...and so much more is taking place as our area begins the painstaking process of recovery. 

People in our area are tough--you almost have to be to survive what the panhandle of Texas throws at you. But underneath that tough cowboy exterior, you'll find gentle, big, giving hearts--hearts full of love for God and their neighbors--people who would rather help others than worry about their own needs. As men rolled onto charred fields with loads of hay, tears were rolling down the cheeks of these survivors as they completely understood the love and sacrifice which were being shared. And then, it appears these ranchers are taking as little hay as possible to make sure their other neighbors get what they need.  I'm so proud to live in a place where people have hearts as big as Texas!  God bless all who gave. 

Please pray for the families of Cody Crockett, Sydney Wallace, Cade Koch, & Sloan Everett.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Count it All Joy


I have a friend who is new to cancer and she was asking another friend, who's walked that path awhile, for tips. Now I know she was thinking of tips for battling things like mouth sores...but she got so much more!  In a long list of responses from others, this gem stood out:  "Count it all joy!"  I read that and stopped. 

You see, my friend, Laura Dill, has walked this cancer road for a good, long time. She's had chemo treatments, pet scans galore, hair falling out--the works!  But she has walked like a champion!  Her motto is "Keep Calm & Eat Cupcakes!"  She dresses up for her chemo treatments and treats them like the opportunity of a lifetime. She thanks God for them. She prays for divine appointments before she goes. When she fears, she rallies the troops to pray for her--and apologizes for her fear. Her goal is to be a chemo conqueror, not a chemo survivor. She's faced death square in the face and admitted she may go there some day...but not today. She loves and verbally appreciates beautiful things and fills her facebook page with encouragement. Laura is living...not dying. And she's filling the hearts of others with courage and offering them her own strength in the midst of her suffering. 

So some, who don't know her, may have seen her response to our friend as flippant or trite. But to those of us who know her, that response gave us all pause. Wow!  Count it all joy...when your hair falls out. Count it all joy...when you are nauseated. Count it all joy...when you're having chemo. Count it all joy...when you don't have the energy to enjoy your grandchildren. 

Count it all joy...when you have more month than money. Count it all joy...when you've lost a job. Count it all joy...when your friends talk behind your back. Count it all joy...when you've missed a golden opportunity. Count it all joy...when you've lost everything. Count it ALL joy!

Laura, thank you for loving Jesus so well in front of the rest of us. Thank you for your beautiful example. Thank you for teaching us how to count it all joy. Those words were profound to me this week--and they will be ringing in my ears and rolling around in my heart for quite some time.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

What Does Love Look Like?

 


Does true love make your heart go pitter patter all day long?  Is it poetic words every evening?  Is it a feeling?  God commanded us to love one another. So I'm pretty sure He wasn't commanding us to have a feeling--because some of us are feelers and some are not. In my opinion, this is what love looks like...

❤ Going to work every morning--whether you feel like it or not. 
❤ Washing one load of laundry after another. 
❤ Taking your family on a vacation. 
❤ Mowing the yard all summer long. Shoveling snow all winter long. 
❤ Getting up with the babies at night.
❤ Cooking dinner for your family--even when you've run out of new ideas. 
❤ Suggesting we order pizza. 
❤ Laughing hysterically together. 
❤ Taking care of sick children. 
❤ Going to Taco Bell at midnight for your pregnant wife. 
❤ Being quiet when you're irritated. 
❤ Challenging your spouse to "go for it!"
❤ Cleaning house.
❤ Watching TV together. 
❤ Praying. 
❤ Preparing meals for a month and freezing them. 
❤ Defending each other
❤ Throwing dirty clothes in the dirty clothes basket. 
❤ Appreciating small gestures. 
❤ Hiring a babysitter. 
❤ A cup of coffee just the way you like it. 
❤ Closing cabinet doors. 
❤ Sharing the last few dollars in your wallet for what the other wants. 
❤ Taking care of the kids so your spouse can spend the evening with friends. 
❤ Using coupons at the grocery store to save money. 
❤ Words of encouragement. 
❤ Not being a backseat driver. 
❤ Asking forgiveness. 
❤ Keeping your house at the temperature your spouse likes. 
❤ Going to the movies together. 
❤ Ironing. 
❤ Holding hands. 

These are just a few ways love has been expressed in our home. It's all the little things. The fairy tales would have us believe it's being swept off our feet, a beautiful damsel, a knight in shining armor, and happily ever after. But it's better than that. It's pajamas at 6 PM and eating leftovers. It's a knowing look you share or speaking in code that makes your spouse break out in hysterical laughter! It's teaching your children shared values and emphasizing them over and over. It's rising up like a lion when the other has been attacked. It's the little things. It may be big things. It's the every day--not just the special days.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Rent-a-Kid?



We moms might joke about renting out our kids when we're overwhelmed or fed up...but losing our kids is actually one of our greatest fears!  When we hear of a kidnapping, child trafficking, or lost child we tend to hug our kids a little tighter. It's also the reason we so quickly share the posts of a lost child on Facebook--we can't imagine the heartache those parents are walking through. And then we warn our kids all over again that there are bad people out there and that they need to know what to do if they're ever afraid or in a bad situation. 

God said over and over, "Be Holy as I am holy."  He wasn't telling us to be perfect. He was telling us to keep ourselves set apart from the world--the bad, mean world that can kidnap our hearts. In reality, He was saying, "Stay close to Me!!  Don't stray away from My side where I can watch you and take care of you. You belong to me."  He was acting like any good parent wanting to protect His kids!  He knows there are evil things in this world which will corrupt us, damage us, hurt us, and take us places we don't really want to go!  His admonition is meant to protect us--not burden us down with unrealistic expectations. 

Be holy. Be set apart from the world. Stay close to God's side--for your own welfare, safety & protection.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

#godslove365

 

I'm starting a project on February 14th. It's called #godslove365. I intend to take a photo a day which demotes God's love to me. It can be ANYTHING!  A spectacular sunrise, or...


My church's praise team worshiping, or...

 

My husband and a former coach (Jeep Webb)--who demonstrated the love of God!), or...

 

Grandkids!

What I hope this will do is keep me focused on God's love--and the many different ways my day is filled with it. I want to be more proactive  in looking for and acknowledging His love.  

Join me!!!  This isn't about being a great photographer--it's about becoming more aware of God's love. But what better way to improve your photography skills than taking a photo a day!  You can keep it simple with your phone camera or you can dust off that expensive camera you own and get creative with PhotoShop!  This isn't meant to be legalistic or become burdensome. If you want to join the project and just do it occasionally, that's OK, too!  The main point is to be LOOKING for the love of God every day. And use the hashtag #godslove365 each time so we can see God's love in your world. 

#godslove365

#godslove365

 

I'm starting a project on February 14th. It's called #godslove365. I intend to take a photo a day which demotes God's love to me. It can be ANYTHING!  A spectacular sunrise, or...


My church's praise team worshiping, or...

 

My husband and a former coach (Jeep Webb)--who demonstrated the love of God!), or...

 

Grandkids!

What I hope this will do is keep me focused on God's love--and the many different ways my day is filled with it. I want to be more proactive  in looking for and acknowledging His love.  

Join me!!!  This isn't about being a great photographer--it's about becoming more aware of God's love. But what better way to improve your photography skills than taking a photo a day!  You can keep it simple with your phone camera or you can dust off that expensive camera you own and get creative with PhotoShop!  This isn't meant to be legalistic or become burdensome. If you want to join the project and just do it occasionally, that's OK, too!  The main point is to be LOOKING for the love of God every day. And use the hashtag #godslove365 each time so we can see God's love in your world. 

#godslove365

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Whose Side am I On?

 
Am I for protecting our borders?  Yes. Am I for helping refugees?  Yes. Am I for helping our veterans?  Yes. Am I for buying from companies which are being hit because they believe the Bible?  Yes. Am I for Israel?  Absolutely yes!  I don't see these things as mutually exclusive. I'm trying to see them through the eyes of Jesus. 

I hate the political rhetoric which is going on that is so divisive. I don't agree with everyone--obviously. I'm also not demanding you agree with me. I love lots of people with opposing views and would never stoop to trashing them or calling them names. It's called respect. 

You know...they say you can tell what a person believes by checking their bank account. I'm trying to make sure I'm giving not only to my local church but to the things I believe in. Can I tell you a story at the risk of tooting my own horn? Because that's not the reason I'm telling it. I was as surprised as anyone at this turn of events. 

I was in Amarillo recently and saw a sign for gas for $1.92/gallon. I quickly got off the interstate to fill up. Now I knew this was a Walmart I probably shouldn't go to since there had been a shooting there recently, but I thought the gas pump would be ok. As I was leaving, a Muslim woman was standing there with her baby with a sign asking for help. I didn't think--my eyes looked into hers and I stopped. I don't usually have cash, but I knew I did this day. I'd just arranged my money in my wallet while I waited for my car to fill up!  I motioned for her to come to the car (I couldn't get to her) and I reached for my purse and gave her everything I had. It wasn't much. She began thanking me profusely as I told her Jesus loved her. 

As I drove away, I felt the pleasure of God. Honestly, I wasn't thinking about anything. I saw a mother who needed help. And I knew in my heart that it's just about helping each person God puts in MY path--a refugee, a veteran, a company under attack, or Israel. I hope my heart grows more and more compassionate--and that I always have cash in my wallet!

So instead of debating, I'm encouraging you to just look for an opportunity--there's plenty to go around!!!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Gib Welch

 

Gib Welch is with Jesus now--he finished a well-run race!  Gib was one of the wisest men I ever knew and I was privileged to learn from him. 

I began working as the director of Living Water, a benevolence ministry, in 2007.   Lots of volunteers were already in place, including Gib, who was the manager of the food room. I forget what his title was when he worked at Phillips 66--but I know he trained leaders for the company. Training leaders was a job he never quit. I came in to Living Water immediately making some changes. One man in particular was prepared to fight the changes I was implementing. But Gib....  But Gib stepped up and fiercely voiced that I was going to be given the chance to make changes and he thought they would be good. Every once in awhile, I'd hear that other guy make a snide comment, but Gib would quiet him with his humorous way. The rest of my tenure went just like that. Gib had my back. 

Wednesdays were the day that Gib & Herman Mos came to organize the food room and to prepare what went in the food bags that week. It was also "order food from the Food Bank" day. They'd take a break mid-morning and I'd go sit down and drink a cup of coffee with them. It didn't take me long to realize what a wealth of wisdom was available to me and I began picking their brains and asking them questions. These men had hearts of gold and were full of wise counsel. Anytime I had a "situation" at Living Water, I would pull Gib aside and quietly ask for his advice on how to handle it. I knew he wanted to step in and "fix" things for me, but instead he would offer his counsel and then promise to pray for me as I dealt with the situation. 

Gib often preached or sang at our services at Living Water. And he never did either without committing a lot of time in prayer for both. As a result, there was never a time when Gib preached that lots of people didn't give their lives to Jesus!  He was an evangelist, for sure!!  I remember one week that 14 people gave their hearts to Jesus. We were all overwhelmed--but Gib most of all!

It wasn't until I left Living Water that I could look back and see all God had done in my life. It was the place where God began uncovering and revealing my gifts to me.  But He used two very wise, loyal friends to breathe life into me and show me what I was fully capable of. I owe a debt of gratitude to Gib Welch & Herman Mos. They knew I could before I did. They were my champions here on earth and now I can hear them cheering from heaven!  They both made eternal investments in me and many others. They made me believe I could do anything. 

I love those guys. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Hope Calling


"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you will abound in hope and overflow with confidence in His promises."  Romans 15:13

Hope is calling out to you!  Can you hear it?  If not, why not?  Something must be standing in the way. God never changes...and He is always offering hope.

Take every thought in your mind hostage. Examine them and execute the thoughts which don't agree with God. Close the door to them!

Allow hope to move in and take up residence.  Ask for the joy and peace God offers.  Demolish every distraction so you can hear and see hope clearly. Receive and overflow with the promises God has given you. Fix your eyes on Jesus. 

He IS your hope!! 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Offensive Blood

 


I was reading about the instructions God gave Moses to set Aaron & his sons apart as priests in Exodus 29. 

Can you imagine being one of the women who donated the beautiful fabric for Aaron's robe (fabric collected from the Egyptians before they fled) or being one of the women who sewed that garment by hand--and then seeing ram's blood flung on it?  That's right. As part of the ceremony, blood was applied to Aaron's right ear lobe (to hear the Word of God), right thumb (to do the will of God), and right big toe (to go the way of God). The "right" symbolized strength. And then blood was sprinkled on his robe--that brand new, beautiful, sacred robe. A robe which set Aaron apart and distinguished him as priest. It had to seem offensive.  I can't imagine how that seamstress felt!

But then again, I kind of do. I had to accept the blood sacrifice Jesus made when he died on the cross. His blood was shed as a sacrifice for my sin. I had to confess Jesus as the Lord of my life and bring my sin to him so it was covered by the blood. 

Blood is still offensive to some. It's saving grace and life to me. I was saved from sin and the death it brings by the blood Jesus shed on the cross.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Noah's Ark

 


Years ago, Andy & I were celebrating our anniversary in Red River and I saw this primitive Noah's Ark in the Christmas Store and fell in love with it. That was in September. 

It was the year I was learning to hear God's voice.  By November, God told me HE wanted to give me a birthday gift. (My birthday is December 16). I began to get excited!!  I'd never gotten a personal gift from God. Oh sure!!  I know He gives me everything--but this was much more personal. God told me He wanted to give me a birthday gift. Andy had never been a great gift-giver up to that point--in fact it's my brothers' favorite thing to rib him about one Christmas when he was out shopping for me at 6 PM on Christmas Eve--at Albertsons.  And I LOVE gifts!!  Little did I know that not only did God want to give me a gift, but he wanted to heal me of my expectations. 

On the day of my birthday, Andy told me not to cook--both of our parents were coming to celebrate. All day, I waited expectantly to see what GOD was going to give me!!  After Andy got off work, he walked in with a cake and dainty plates and napkins. I was shocked--he'd never done that before!  And we had a party!

When it came time to open my gifts, I honestly had no expectations. At the time, Andy's parents owned a Christian bookstore and two of the gifts were wrapped in their signature paper--so I thought I knew what was sure to be in them. Andy's was the last gift I opened--and it was this Noah's Ark I'd seen months before!!  As I opened it, God whispered to me, "Happy Birthday, Becky!"  I teared up. Not only had Andy gone to great pains to call the Christmas Store in Red River to order the gift and have it shipped, God had used him to give to me. That was a transformative year. God healed me of expectations, proved I was hearing His voice, and turned Andy into a great gift-giver!

I love my Noah's Ark and all that it represents.

Friday, January 6, 2017

This temple...

 


I've been reading about God giving Moses the building plans for the first temple--the place where God met man and offered forgiveness and relationship. The people were fearful of God's presence and asked Moses to just tell them what God told him. They didn't like the experience--but they respected and were awestruck by the manifestation of God's presence. Moses was transformed by meeting with God and hearing Him--and it showed!  The temple was God's solution to show Moses (and the people) that His presence would go with them everywhere. 

Since all of this is a picture for us, I began examining my attitude toward myself--the new temple of God. He is ever-present in me. I carry the presence of God. Do I respect the temple God has given me (my body)?  Am I awe-struck with His presence?  Do I fear Him--in a good way  by meeting with him--or an unhealthy way by letting someone else just tell me what He says?  Does it show that I meet with God?  

Receiving God's forgiveness started a life-long process of relationship with God and spiritual growth. The respect for this temple has been a process.  But God put as much thought and design into my body (and yours!) as He did with the first temple filled with gold and intricate details. Let's celebrate--and honor all He has done!  Be awestruck!  After all...your temple is HOLY!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

What is this?

 

What is this?  An acorn. (Ay-kern or Ay-korn)  You might tell me it's the nut or fruit from an oak tree and you'd be right. But everything needed for an oak tree to grow is contained in this nut. So you could look at this acorn and say it's an oak tree and you'd be right. 

It's the same with us. At the point of salvation, all of God is planted in our hearts. He lives in us!!!  That's so hard to comprehend. But it's truth!  All of Him. But I imagine He comes to us like this acorn--in full potential of an oak tree. But we must water and feed our own spirits to give room for Him to expand inside of us until we become mighty oaks of righteousness. (Isaiah 61)  

That's my prayer for myself this year--that my heart, mind, and spirit will expand to receive the limitlessness of God. I want to be a mighty oak. 

"Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather.  But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night.  And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity]."  Psalm 1:1-3