Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Guitar Giveaway!!

Are you children musically inclined!!?? Check out this giveaway for a guitar, and enter to possibly win it!!

What Footwear Do You Have On?

God's Cleats
24 Feb 2010
Rachel Olsen

"Wisdom and money can get you almost anything, but only wisdom can save your life." Ecclesiastes 7:12 (NLT)

The Vancouver Olympics have me glued to my TV. Figure skating, downhill skiing, snowboarding, even curling - I'll watch most any Olympic sport. I relish the competition, the teamwork, the medal ceremonies, and especially the stories of athletes overcoming odds to perform well.

In fact, it reminds me a little of my husband Rick.

My husband grew up with a single mother, and very little money. In high school, Rick wanted to try out for track and field – he dreamed of running fast and long, and throwing a javelin. The problem was he didn't have the right shoes, and couldn't afford them. Thank God for good friends and a kind coach.
< br>One of Rick's close friends invited Rick over to his house one day and said, "Try these running shoes on. They just don't fit my feet right and I'll never wear them." Rick wasn't sure if J.T. was telling the truth, but the shoes fit Rick fine. Those shoes helped him qualify for the state meet in the 800 meter race.

Running shoes allowed Rick to run much faster than his old sneakers would, but he would slip and slide in them while trying to throw the javelin. One day after practice, Rick's coach called him over and held up a big box of cleats. "Here's some unclaimed shoes students left in their lockers at the end of the school year. Find your size if you can." Rick found some that fit and the cleats made all the difference. Even the "crunching" sound they made on the track sent shivers of confidence and purpose up Rick's spine. Rick discovered it's much easier to strive for the goal when your footing is secure.

Many athletes dream of standing atop a podium during an awards ceremony with gold medals around their necks. For most, it takes talent, hard work, plus money to get there. But there is an ornament even more valuable than a gold medal. Proverbs 3:21-23 reveals:

"My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble."

Sound judgment and discernment are medals that become ours when we walk in wisdom. Money can take us places, for sure, but it can only take us so far. It provides but a measure of security. Wisdom is the footwear each of us needs to run the race God has set before us. Wisdom will help us make the important trek from this world into eternity.

When we walk in His wisdom – in God's cleats – He promises us solid footing. He does not promise a road that is always flat, or a route that is easy to run, but He promises us solid footing no matter the terrain. Wisdom – proper respect for the Lord and His ways – affords us ultimate security. Eternal security. Money can't do that.

Rick went on to compete successfully in high school, and on his college cross-country team. He also went on to gain godly wisdom. I'm so thankful for the friends and coaches that ensured Rick had what he needed to run his best.

God ensures – through the Bible, His followers, and His Spirit within us – that we each have what we need to run our best as well. He equips us to follow hard after Him. No money is necessary to be well-heeled in God's kingdom. Whether we're wearing nursing shoes, work boots, high heels, hand-me-downs, or flip-flops, we can walk securely by walking wisely.

Dear Lord, grant me wisdom and sure footing as I follow after You. I trust You to equip me with all I need. Whatever my path, I believe Your principals can keep me from slipping. You lead, I'll follow. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Are you thirsty?

In An Ordinary Coffee Shop
2 Feb 2010
Marybeth Whalen

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." Matthew 5:6 (NIV)

I sat down with my cup of green tea and breathed a sigh of relief. My kids were occupied for the morning and I was looking forward to the brief respite that I had coming. Three hours of quiet—no one asking me for anything, no one fighting, no one complaining. Just some good old-fashioned peace and quiet. I planned to make good use of my time by making an appointment to meet with God. But could I trust Him to show up?

I had originally planned to use this rare time alone to "get things done." I had even made a list of all that I hoped to accomplish. But after frustration with my kids, angry words exchanged with my husband, and a nagging feeling that something just wasn't right, I felt God whisper to my heart: Put away that list and spend some time with Me. I knew that was exactly what I should do.

The coffee shop was far from quiet. Loud jazz music played on the speakers and the voices of patrons and machines intruded on my thoughts at first. Could God speak over all the noise? I pulled out my journal and began to write how I felt, what was on my mind, and asked God to speak to me in the midst of this most ordinary of places.

I wrote down that I felt dry, barren, like my soul was cracking from lack of refreshment from Him. I confessed that I had not made time for Him like I should and that my soul felt the gap that had formed. And then I wrote "Speak Lord, for your servant is listening…" and I waited for Him to do just that.

I turned the page of my journal to find Psalm 107:9 written at the bottom of the next page: "For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things." Astonished, I found the verse in my Bible and began to cross reference the word "thirsty." I had come thirsty. I had come dehydrated. I needed Him to water my soul.

And He did. Frantically I scribbled what He was speaking through His Word. Again and again that morning I was astonished and amazed by what His Word had to say—the many promises of what He would do for those of us who come thirsty. Two hours later, I closed my Bible and journal with a big smile on my face and a full tank of the joy that can only come from spending time with Abba. Like Moses stumbling upon a burning bush in an ordinary desert, I had had an encounter with the Living God in the midst of a most ordinary place.

Do you need Him to meet with you today? Are you wondering if He will keep the appointment? I can promise you that there was nothing special about the way I approached Him. I didn't have a magic formula or extra special direct line to Him. I simply came to Him thirsty—parched and desperate for His living water. I opened up my heart and my life to Him and then I listened to what He had to say. It was that simple and that complex all at the same time. I am grateful that I put away my to-do list, cleared my calendar for that morning and kept the appointment I had made. God showed up and changed my life all over again. All in an ordinary coffee shop.

Dear Lord, thank You for being the God Who Is Near. Thank You for meeting with me wherever and whenever I seek You. Thank You for Your word, which speaks to me, reminding me of Your promises and refilling my soul. I need Your living water, Lord. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Wow, I'm still here

Holy cow it's been a long time!!! February was the last post!! A lot has happened since then. Nothing extremely exciting, but a lot nonetheless. I'll just touch on the latest thing - a family Reunion on my Mother-in-Law's side. It was absolutely a blast. We stayed at his Uncle and Aunt's ranch in Westcliffe, Co. we roasted marshmellows and made s'mores, 7/8ths of the family hiked the side of a mountain nearby, while those of us with youngins 'hiked' the short trail (3 mins.)and let the kiddos play by or in the stream by the bridge where we were to meet up with the rest of the fam (45 mins. later). The kids were asked by Auntie to look out for walking sticks on the hike because they were going to decorate them later in the weekend. We also had gunny sack races, three-legged races - kids w/kids, kids w/ adults and adults w/ adults; horse races (Auntie had these adorable plush horse 'costumes' that the kids slid on over their shoulders), made gak, lassoed 'bulls', had church in a barn, and decorated the walking sticks, went to Garden of the Gods and went to The Royal Gourge (which we happened to get in free because we went in the south entrance and the woman working that 'gate' was awesome!!!!!) My family and I got to sleep in the Greenery? I can't remember if that's what it is called. We used a Port-a-Potty all weekend, had some yummy food, and saw some family that we hadn't even seen in years. It was nothing short of a blessing!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Take Back the Reigns

I was working on finishing up a Beth Moore study that's been done for quite some time, when I a song washed over me. The lesson that that I last finished was on the Power of the Tongue, how we can use it "to praise our LORD and Father, and use it to curse man." (James 3:9) I have tongue issues, as verse 2 and 8 state, we all do, and at the end of the daily portion of the lesson, it asks you to bring your issues to the LORD and let him know what's on your heart and how He can help. I am a nurturer by default, so much so that I want to fix things, mainly people. Sometimes the only part in their mending I should have is to just be ears, or a shoulder. James 1:19 asks us to take note of this: "to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." Three areas that are my weakest when it comes to my mouth.

Back to the fixing thing. I am utterly and completely guilty of trying to fix my husband. I have been convicted, many times, of being in God's way of growing my husband. This is not a good lesson to be stubborn about learning! I really pray that I would GET OUT OF THE WAY, for good. Not only am I causing myself heartache, but also damaging my relationship with my husband because I think I need to fix it. Are there any doctors who'll staple mouths shut? Sign me up!

I love how in James 1:19 the first thing that we are to note is to be "quick to listen." Which if you rearrange the letters also spells SILENT. Not a coincidence. I'm not always the best listener, especially when I get passionate about something. Whether I'm right or not is not the point, it doesn't matter if I don't have love for the other person to listen to what they have to say as well.

Now, back to the song that washed over me. One of my past Youth Minister's and his wife made an album and one of the songs on the album is entitled 'Give me the Reigns' and which the words to are:

Jesus' time had come to give his life.
He said, "Everything will be different now, but that's alright.
I will go to Jerusalem and declare who I am.
I will go to my Father and prepare the way for man,"
but Peter said, "No! Lord I know best, give me the reigns.
LORD listen to reason this isn't a game
I have decided, to give it my all, do it the best
show everyone that I'll stand up to the test,
do what I can, never will fall, never will stumble, but I'll always stand tall
go it alone, never with you, LORD you don't know what I've been going through
And I still wonder why it does wrong.

Take off your shoes, Moses.
He said, "I've chosen you to lead my people.
You will go to Pharoah and declare who I am.
And I will go there with you and reveal to you my plan,"
but Moses said, "No! And I wonder why, when I'm on my own
it never turns out the way I planned?
LORD, why, when I'm all alone? I just don't understand."

Don't make me go, Sprit.
There's so much more I need to know about my future.
My life seemed so wide open till you came with your call
but LORD it's not that simple just to give to you my all
I want to say, "Lord you know best, take back the reigns.
Lord give me your reasons, I'm living in pain
I have decided
to give up control, only to you
fall on my knees, chasing only what's true
take it to heart, learn that I can't
find that on you I can depend till the end
show you my love, that's all I know
LORD, please lead me where you want me to go
Jesus oh Jesus, show me your way
Show me Your way

I often "wonder why." Why "it never turns out the way I planned?" Hmmm, as easy as it is for me to believe satans lies that I'll never get "it" - getting out of the way, so why even bother. I know that I have the victory!!! He that is in me, is greater than he that is in the world! (1 John 4:4) And as long as I'm faithful to the One "who began a good work in me," He will be faithful to "carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus"

I pray that I would see the obstacles in my life, not as discouraging stumbling blocks, but as empowering spring boards. I can either chose to praise my LORD and Father or curse man with my tongue, "As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD!" (Joshua 24:15b) I chose to give back the reigns, what will you chose?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It's been a long time, but that's okay, things have been busy. But I've just got to share. My sweet Kelby did the most sweetest thing last night. I was on the computer checking mail and such, and Kelby starts putting the dishes from the dishwasher away. At first I was like, "Oh hunny, no, no, no, those aren't cleaned yet...." But then I realized they were and let him proceed. I helped him put a couple of the plates away, but other than that, he did it all! And he wiped the table down too! He asked me "Mommy, do you know why I'm doing this?" "No baby, why?" "So that you don't have to." My heart melted, as you could imagine. I then asked him if he wanted water or lemonade and he said lemonade. So, I made him some. He asked me if I was getting him some lemonade because he was working hard :oD, "Yes sweet boy, you are working hard." I pray that that selfless servants heart continues to grow. I pray that I can nurture it respectively. That was a beautiful way to end the day.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"God's Mirror"

This is part of an excerpt from the book I'm Not Good Enough by Sharon Jaynes. You can read the rest of the excerpt by clicking on the title of the this post. Wow!!! I'm hooked!

When we look into God’s mirror, His incredible love letter to us we
call the Bible, we discover the truth. God does love you (Colossians
3:12). You have an entire cloud of witnesses cheering for you (Hebrews
12:1). You are God’s masterpiece…a work of beautiful art (Ephesians
2:10). You are good enough because Christ lives in you (John 14:20).
You are a chosen, holy, dearly loved child of God. Th at’s the truth.
Let’s get out of the house of mirrors and start seeing ourselves as God
sees us.
In one of John’s letters, he wrote, “I have no greater joy than to hear
that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 4). I believe that
God has no greater joy than to know that His children are walking
in the truth. When we are walking in the truth, the lies are exposed.
We can recognize the lie, reject the lie, and replace the lie with truth.
Th en, and only then, can we be all that God has created us to be and
do all that God has created us to do. We can experience the abundant
life He planned all along.