Thursday, February 16, 2012

Crowned World's Greatest Mother

(For the next couple of weeks I will be re-posting some of my previous posts to give me time to finish a writing project I am currently working on. This post is from November 3, 2010.)

Sorry ladies. I'm the greatest mom.

Logan said so, and he's one smart 5 year old. ;)

What on earth did I do to deserve this noble award, you might ask?

I simply made pancakes for breakfast and provided some warm comfy jogging pants for him to wear on this cold, rainy morning.

Not every morning can be this storybook perfect, though.

Some mornings, it seems that no matter what I do, I cannot please him. Getting up at 5:30 a.m. is not always easy for a 5 year old (or a thirty-something year old!!). On mornings like these I quickly find that I am in desperate need of an extra shot of grace with my coffee and a side of patience with my breakfast.

Why is it that even though I make breakfast every morning and have never sent him to school naked, my similar efforts are met with such different attitudes on any given morning?

This morning I was praised to the highest degree...crowned world's greatest mother and clothed in gratitude and appreciation!

Other times, not so much.

Sometimes my efforts, provision and love go unnoticed. There is no appreciation, no thanksgiving and definitely no crown to be found. Instead, I am met with all the reasons why he doesn't want to go to school, whining and complaining about how early it is and sometimes I even get a little feet stomping with arms crossed and lips pouting! ;)

I guess he sometimes forgets that I am the greatest mother.

How often do we - like our children with us - take for granted that God is going to provide for us and meet our every need? Or forgive us? Or heal us?

Do we just expect that His mercy is new every morning and think it's no big deal?

Has He become "common" and familiar to us?

Have we replaced praise, thanksgiving and gratitude with grumbling, complaining and whining?

Let us get up tomorrow with praise on our lips and thanksgiving in our heart for the One who is truly the greatest! Let us recognize His goodness and mercy in our life and remember that it really is a big deal. :)

"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name, For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations." Psalm 100:4-5

Monday, February 13, 2012

Stand At Attention

(For the next couple of weeks I will be re-posting some of my previous posts to give me time to finish a writing project I am currently working on. This post is from March 22, 2011)

This weekend during our Sunday morning service the presence of the Lord could be felt from the very beginning. All through worship the holiness of God was proclaimed by those with hands lifted high, voices singing, sacrifices of praise offered to the King of Kings....the Holy Spirit moved down the aisles of the sanctuary tugging at heavy hearts and giving invitations to come.

Healing and gifts to all who would have the courage to receive.

The order of service was changed more than once. I am grateful for a Pastor who hears and is not afraid to obey. And I am thankful to those who so bravely shared some of the most intimate details of their lives and allowed God to use their testimonies to bring encouragement, deliverance and renewal to so many.

The Bible tells us that one way the enemy is overcome is "by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of (our) testimony..." (Revelation 12:11).

While meditating on the events of our Sunday morning service, I felt like I heard the phrase "Stand At Attention." I knew this was a military term, but was prompted to look up its exact meaning. (All you military experts out there, give me some grace :)
  • Standing upright with an assertive and correct posture: famously "chin up, chest out, shoulders back, stomach in".
  • Arms fixed at the side, thumb or middle finger parallel to trouser or skirt seam, depending on military drill specifics.
  • "Eyes front": head and eyes locked in a fixed forward posture. Ideally eyes unmoving fixated on a distant object. Blank facial expression.
  • Keeping the heels together, toes apart
  • No speech, facial or bodily movements except when as required by military drill
When you look closely, the spiritual significance is obvious. 

We are the army of the Lord

God is calling us to STAND AT ATTENTION.
  • We are to stand upright (raised or directed vertically or upward; righteous, honest and just), with an assertive (confidently aggressive or self assured) and correct posture. 1 Corinthians 16:13 ~ "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong."
  • With our arms fixed at our side (removing all distractions of busyness)
  • With our eyes locked forward (keeping our eyes on Him) and a blank facial expression (not literally , of course, but being unmoved and unaffected by our circumstances)
  • Heels together, toes apart (He always has a certain order and way of doing things...although we may not understand or things may not always make sense, obedience is essential)
  • Speaking and moving only as commanded (God, let us learn to move only when you say move and speak when you say speak...)
Another phrase I heard was "A Call to Arms." This is a command to war, to arm with weapons, a calling or grouping together to fight.

As we inch closer to the return of Christ, there is an enemy preparing to advance with intentions to kill and destroy.

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of his world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Ephesians 6:12).

The general orders are the same.

God is asking that we be ready. Stand at attention and be ready.

And in our waiting, righteousness calls and holiness commands obedience.

But our specific instructions will vary according to the gifts God has placed on the inside of us.

We wait for the signal to advance...just as those who came forward and shared their testimonies Sunday morning and just as those who were ready to pray for all who responded to the invitation.

The enemy is already being overcome.

Old systems of religion are being broken down.

His Kingdom is being established on the Earth.

Often, the battle may prove fierce, the enemy unrelenting, but our victory is certain if we answer the call.

We must resist the temptation to lay down our (spiritual) weapons.

"For the weapons of our warfare are not physical (weapons of flesh and blood), but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of stronghold.." 2 Corinthians 10:4 Amp).

Let our only thought of surrender be to the Captain of the Host, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the One Who has assured us we are not standing alone or fighting in our own strength.

Stand at attention. Be ready.

Hear the command.

Receive your instructions .

He is calling each of us to do our part.

"For You have girded me with strength for the battle; You have subdued under me and caused to bow down those who rose up against me" (Psalm 18:39).
Photo Credit: Flickr creative commons: US Army Africa

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Tragedy of the Unopened Gift

It's so easy to get complacent and comfortable and self-absorbed and stuck in our routines until we eventually just...exist. No plans, no vision, no purpose, no desire to make a difference.

God has given each of us specific gifts and talents and abilities. He has entrusted us with a sphere of influence, a people waiting to know God through our emptying. Through our pouring out what has been deposited, not only are we re-filled and refreshed and strengthened, but other hearts are mended and souls are restored because.

Those assigned to our sphere of influence are waiting for us to do something.

But the choice remains ours.

The Tragedy of the Unopened Gift

To sinful patterns of behavior that never get confronted and changed,
Abilities and gifts that never get cultivated and deployed,
Until weeks become months
And months turn into years
And one day you're looking back to a life of
Deep, intimate, gut-wrenchingly honest conversations you never had;
Great bold prayers you never prayed,
Exhilarating risks you never took,
Sacrificial gifts you never offered,
Lives you never touched,
And you're sitting in a recliner with a shriveled soul,
And forgotten dreams, and you realize there was a world of desperate need,
And a great God calling you to be part of something bigger than yourself-
You see the person you could have become but did not;
You never followed your calling.
You never got out of the boat.

-Gregg Levoy

A few years ago I was teaching a bible study in my home and I ran across this poem. I used it in our introductory session as a reminder that each of us have a purpose and can make a difference, but we also have the choice not to. We have to encourage ourselves (as David did) and live each day with purpose, take risks, love, remember our dreams, and open the gifts that God has placed on the inside of you (and me!)!!! Don't wait until the end of your life and see the person you COULD have become, be that person now.

Write that book.

Start that business or non-profit.

Paint those beautiful images God has given you.

Speak your testimony.

Sing. Act. Dance. Create.

Serve. Help. Exhort. Pray.



The gift has been given.

It's time to share it.

(Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons: asenat29)
Linking with Jen and the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood. You should join the party :)

Also joining graceful Michelle :)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Will You Consider Your Influence?

I was thinking today of the great ability we have to influence others. This tool that has been placed in our hands has super-power characteristics and super-natural capabilities. Within our own sphere of influence lies a variety of people: adults, children, teenagers, married couples, young singles, babies, recovering alcoholics, those on the verge of breakdown, those contemplating suicide, the abused, the abusers, those about to make a life-changing decision, those whose life will end tomorrow, etc.

What kind of influence are you having?

We come in contact with other people daily. Our words, our actions, our expressions, and even our attitude can have a profound effect on someone.

Is someone better, healthier, stronger because of their encounter with you?

Everywhere we go, someone’s life is hanging in the balance. A war is being waged against someone’s soul. A battle for eternity is at hand.

Do your words and your actions point them to Jesus or do they confirm the world’s values?

It’s easy to say what we believe, but when faced with certain situations, do we live those same beliefs?

If you were unable to speak, would your actions give the same message?

Do the photos and statuses you share on Facebook confirm your message?

What is your message?

In light of some tragic and life-changing events that have happened over the last couple of years in our community, I find myself asking more often what my influence is. Am I making a difference? Does my life speak of good without words? Do my words bring life or encourage death?

People young and old are watching. Men and women hurting and broken are searching. Teenagers misguided and alone are looking for examples. Children’s lives are being molded by their environment and the things they see and hear.

Will you consider your influence?

It’s affecting the world.

Photo Credit: Anthony Kelly - flickr creative commons

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What Are You Looking For?

(flickr creative commons - katieb50)

We’ve all heard the saying, “If it had been a snake, it would’ve bit you!”

The “it” referred to in this common cliché is the subject of our search, the thing or answer we are looking for but can’t seem to find, the understanding we desire but can’t seem to grasp.

And then when we do find “it,” we realize “it” had been practically right in front of our face.

Have you ever looked for something frantically only to be startled at its proximity to your original starting point?

Like the time I appeared as a mad woman searching my house for my cell phone while talking on it?

Or this morning, when I sat down quickly to apply my makeup and discovered my blush was missing…except it was sitting on my lap…right where I put it when I first sat down?

Sometimes what we are looking for is in plain sight but we don’t “see” it.

Maybe we are in a hurry and not paying attention.

Maybe we are not fully in the moment for whatever reason.

Or maybe we know it’s there but don’t acknowledge it as the answer to our question or the one thing that could satisfy our deepest longing.

And often the answer to our question or the solution to our problem lies waiting in our asking.

How can we receive an answer to a question we refuse to ask? How can we find something if we cannot see? Or how can we expect the right answer if we are asking the wrong person?

The Bible says in Hebrews 4: 16 (AMP), “Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God's unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].

What is it you long for today?

Maybe you’re looking in the wrong places.

Maybe what you’re searching for has been with you all along.

“… for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee, “ Hebrews 13:5b.

Keep on asking and it will be given you; [b] keep on seeking and you will find; [c]keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you,” Matthew 7:7.

How can I pray with you today, friends?