Saturday, October 22, 2011

31 Days Transforming My Quiet Time Day??

Because I have spent the last week preparing for our mission trip, I have been quiet on the old blog. We leave after church tomorrow. The car is packed and we have done all we can do to prepare, and yet my heart is not sure it is ready.

I was thinking back to the day we committed to go and the excitement we all felt. It wasn't long after that day that God put a passage of scripture on my heart. That very passage was a huge part of this week in my 8th grade girls Bible study. Isn't it just like God to drop it right in front of me again!!?!?!

Genesis 16 tells the story of Sarah and Hagar.

Hagar had been used and mistreated by Sarah. She ran away. She left the family camp and found herself in the desert alone and pregnant. Then God, who had never taken his eyes off of her, sends an angel to give her some guidance.

There is SO much in this story, but the thing that has been on my heart for several months happens in verse 13.

Hagar identifies God as el-roi, God who sees.

God had seen her used. He was fully aware that Hagar despised Sarah and probably had a bad attitude toward her. He saw Sarah mistreat her and He knew the minute she fled into the desert to escape.

Can you imagine what she must of felt like? Sitting in the desert alone when the Angel of the Lord appears? In the next few moments she would realize that she was NOT alone. She was NOT forgotten.

All of us have had times where we feel a bit like Hagar. Used, mistreated, and maybe even forgotten. You may feel that way today. Perhaps you need to be reminded that God sees Y.O.U. He is fully aware of your heartache. You, sweet one, are not forgotten. God knows. God sees.

As we prepare to go this week, God has reminded me that we represent Him. We are to remind those children and their teachers that HE SEES them. He is VERY aware of
each detail of their life.

As we have prayed over the details of this week, I feel strongly that this will be a seed planting trip. I can not imagine sweeter seed to plant than "God sees you. God loves you."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

This will make someone mad. 31 Days Transforming My Quiet Time Day 12

This morning, I was catching up in Ezekiel. Instead of one chapter, I needed to read two. (Chapters 33 and 34) As I read chapter 33, verses 30-32 seemed very, well...strong to me. They made me think of other scriptures and I honestly thought about my 8th grade girls lesson tonight and how it tied into what we'll be discussing. And then...

I checked twitter. I saw a tweet that just absolutely burned me up and THIS passage immediately came back to mind. But this time, it came as a challenge to me.

First here is what Ezekiel 33:30-32 say. (This is from the ESV)

As for you, son of man, your people who talk together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, say to one another, each to his brother, 'Come, and hear what the word is that comes from the LORD.' And they come to you as people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear what you say but they will not do it; for with lustful talk in their mouths they act; their heart is set on their gain. And behold, you are to them like one who sings lustful songs with a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument, for they hear what you say, but they will not do it.

Oh, it gets it from The Message.

As for you, son of man, you've become quite the talk of the town. Your people meet on street corners and in front of their houses and say, 'Let's go hear the latest news from God.' They show up, as people tend to do, and sit in your company. They listen to you speak, but don't do a thing you say. They flatter you with compliments, but all they care about is making money and getting ahead. To them you're merely entertainment—a country singer of sad love songs, playing a guitar. They love to hear you talk, but nothing comes of it.

So here is the tweet that burned me up.

On the cover of Seventeen Magazine: Be His Best Hook-Up Yet!

As a mom of a teen and a tween I am absolutely infuriated at this, but at the very same time, God is convicting me.

Convicting me that we Christian moms have spent a little too much time doing church and "churchy" activities. We have listened to pastors, Bible teachers, worship leaders speak. We have said "Amen" and "That's so true" and then we walk away and live life.

We watch the same television shows the world does because it is "just entertainment".

We listen to the same music because we "admire the talent of the artist".

We dress in the latest styles and trends regardless of whether or not it's modest because we "need to be relevant".

The list could go on and on. But this morning.

This morning when I read that tweet...I got physically sick because in all our attempts to fit in or be well liked...

We have sacrificed personal holiness on the alter of being "relevant."

The purity of our daughters mind, body and emotions are now being assaulted.

As Christian parents, God has called us to more. It's time to makes some changes.

It's time to as James demands...quit being hearers only! (James 1:22)

It's time we quit saying things like "'s okay for them to listen, watch, read (fill in the blank) because they know what the truth is and it's just entertainment." Sorry. Not an excuse.

Three times it says in Song of Solomon Do not arouse or awaken love. THREE times. (2:7, 3:5 and 8:4) The vast majority of media (T.V. Music, Magazines, Books) our children are exposed to, are nothing but an alarm clock to passion. And this alarm clock? Well, until we say "I do" should NOT be ringing.

Here is what God pressed on my heart.

As Christian parents it's time to stop wimping out in regards to our children's emotional, physical and spiritual purity.

WE, have to be willing to take a stand. Willing to say "no". Willing to change what we allow to invade our homes. Through the television, the clothes we purchase, the books we read. And not just for our children, for ourselves.

We have to stop being "churchy" and be Christlike.

It's time we stop allowing culture to influence our homes and start asking God..."is this acceptable for our family."

Will we be asked to walk away from all sorts of things that right now may seem okay? Yes, we probably will. Philippians 4:8. I know at least 80% of what is in my DVR right now turns the stomach of God.

Will it be hard? Yes. Isaiah 55:8 His thoughts and ways are not mine and His, are much purer than mine.

Will we be faced with questions from family, friends and even other believers? Yes.

Is it really necessary to set ourselves apart and be so extreme? Yes. Why?

Because as 1 Peter 1:13-16 says,

Therefore, preparing your minds for action,and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy."

1 Peter 5:8 tells us that our enemy is waiting to devour us. We don't have time to worry about sticking out or being strange.

The physical, emotional and spiritual health of our children are at stake.

Mom and Dad, it's time to quit having our ears tickled and start applying what God's word says to our everyday life.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

31 Days Transforming my Quiet Time (Days 8-11)

Over the last few days, God has been reminding me why time with Him is so important. Our weekend was crazy busy. This is very unusual for our family as we are careful to guard our weekend family time. Last weekend was one of those few weekends where each day was F.U.L.L. BUT..

Each thing was very important and we had an awesome weekend! (Well, all good except TN's loss to GA which resulted in a tacky GA flag being placed in our yard for the week!)

I will admit that I did not get to my quiet time first thing Saturday morning. We had to leave our house at 7:30 that morning and I slept until 6:00. My body was tired and I needed that extra hour. It was totally okay, God gave me some time a little later.

Sunday morning was an early wake up. Chad left at 4:15 AM for a triathlon so I was awake SUPER early. I spent a little time just being still. Awake, but just thinking about God. I thought about how The Message words Psalm 46:10

Step out of the traffic, take a LONG, LOVING, LOOK at me, your High God.

God didn't prompt me to turn on the light and pick up my Bible. I felt at complete peace just being still in His Presence.

And He spoke to my heart.

Since the beginning of school I have felt like I'm on a roller coaster. (Which I do NOT like at.all.) God has totally changed my direction in some areas. I love what He has me doing but at times, it can seem a bit overwhelming. He is stretching me.

Last weekend, I was emotionally exhausted. The longer I concentrated or meditated on Him, the more scripture He brought to mind. I simply needed to be still long enough for God to do a little heart rejuvenation. :)

Those few hours early Sunday morning were precious to me. It was sort of like a mini-retreat before the day began.

Here is where I'm at in my daily reading.

For Today:
Psalm 71
1 Kings 6
Ezekiel 33
Romans 5:1-11

I still have to read Ezekiel and Romans tonight. So from what I have read today, my light bulb verse is Psalm 71:18

So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.

Friday, October 7, 2011

31 Days Transforming My Quiet Time Day 7 Praying for the Nations

God has certainly been showing off around these parts lately. One way He has shown His handiwork is in this weather. It has been absolutely beautiful today! When I came out of school today, I gasped at just how beautiful it was outside. In fact, I feel like I was living my light bulb verse of the day.

Psalm 67:1-2 May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among the nations.

Sunday evening our service will be focused on praying for the nations. I've been thinking about that service quite a bit. As I read this Psalm today, I couldn't help but notice a few things as I prepare my heart for that service.

First, this Psalm has 7 verses. In those verses the word nation is used 3 times.
(I should tell you that I'm reading in the ESV.)

Verse 2 states the sole purpose for God's way being made known is so His saving power may be known in all nations.

Verse 4 says "Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity, and guide the nations upon earth." We can rejoice that we have a just God. Our God's heart is for ALL to know Him.

The second thing that stuck out was the phrase "let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!" Twice it appears. That fairly long phrase is found in verse 3 and again in verse 5. The only difference was that in verse 5b it said "let ALL the peoples praise you!" Once again...ALL.

Side note - Our God is not exclusive. We do not belong to some hooty tooty religious organization that you have to do something to be part of. This is not some multi-level get to heaven quick scam. Nope.

God sent His son Jesus to do die for ALL. Our God is after a personal one-on-one, heart to heart relationship with you.

The last thing that changed my day was in verses 1 and 2. I posted it above but read it again here.

"May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among the nations."

This morning it was easy to feel like God had been gracious, has blessed and made His face to shine upon us. Just look at the country we live in. Despite our problems, we still have the freedom to worship. We are free to blog about what we believe. Free To educate our children in the manner we feel best. Our list could go on and on. But today.

Today, I realized that the very well known prayer "May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us" doesn't end where we often hear it end. How selfish of us for praying that way!

Properly positioned Christians pray this, dare I say, LONG for this blessing for one reason and one reason only:

"that your way" that would be GOD'S way, "may be known on earth, your saving power among all the nations."

One of my daughters is seriously praying for Christ return. It's heavy on her little heart. We've daydreamed about the moment God the Father looks at Jesus and says..."Go get them". Until that time we pray for the nations. The one we live in and the ones we have never set foot in.

Praying for those that have yet to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Praying that soon, very soon...that last person will say "Jesus, save me."

We have been blessed. God has been gracious to us and His has been shining on us.

Now it's our turn. Our turn to pour ourselves out.

And we do just that until the last person has been told.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

31 Days Transforming My Quiet Time Day 6

Yesterday I said that I needed a commentary for Ezekiel because I was just struggling. Wouldn’t you know that this morning my light bulb moment was the entire passage from Ezekiel? God is so good.

Before getting to that here is what my reading plan had for me this morning:

Psalm 66
1 Kings 1:28-53
Romans 1:18-32
Ezekiel 27

Oh Ezekiel. This morning, as I read the caption above chapter 27 my heart kind of sank. It said “A Lament for Tyre”, it was early and I wasn’t sure a “lament” was going to speak to my heart. I prayed Luke 24:45 asking God to open my mind and help me understand this passage.

Tyre. Its location enabled this city to become an international commodities exchange. Many nations traded there and this little dot on the map became quite wealthy during Ezekiel’s time.

The first part of the chapter gives you a vivid picture of that wealth. Words such as emeralds, purple, embroidered work, coral, and ruby are used to describe the trade going on. Tarshish, Syria, Damascus, Arabia and Kedar were all listed as nations that did business with and in this city. It’s fair to say this place was well known, busy and full of luxury.

Tyre is described in this passage as merchant ship. A ship that is exquisite in detail. Verse 25 says that Tyre was filled and heavily laden in the heart of the seas. There was great wealth. The best of the best in every area. From those who designed and constructed this ship, to the pilots, all the way down to the ones doing the rowing, only the strongest, most skilled people were employed.

This great city had it all. Verse 33 even says that, When your wares came from the seas, you satisfied many peoples; with your abundant wealth and merchandise you enriched the kings of the earth.

But all the wealth, all the success could not stop what happened next. This picture of success was shipwrecked.

Verse 34 says Now you are wrecked by the seas, in the depths of the water; your merchandise and all your crew in your midst have sunk with you. Verse36b ends the chapter saying you have come to a dreadful end and shall be no more forever.

What God spoke to my heart this morning was this:

Great wealth can be used to change the world. It can make a great impact on those in need. Taking care of the poor, the orphans, the widows and the hungry is a biblical concept. It is the heart of our God and we as Christians are called to do that.

However, if at the moment of our “shipwreck” or death…good works are not going to save us. Our good works, without Jesus are like filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6 says that all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.)

Each of us has been God given gifts, talents and abilities.

If we take those abilities and create things that change our world for the better – it is good.

If we take the money we make from those things and give it away- it is great!

If we do everything in our power to make sure our family is first and taken care of-we have done what we should do.

If we live a life of generosity, but die without Jesus……

Jesus says in John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me.”

This morning, God reminded me that any life that ends without Jesus ends as Tyre ended…dreadfully

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

31 Days Transforming My Quiet Time Day 5

This morning's reading started with Psalm 65. This Thanksgiving Psalm reminded me just how great our God is. Every breath of my being is thankful this morning for Him. As verse 5 says He is the hope of all the ends of the earth! He really is my hope. Even in lean times, He faithfully crowns the year with his bounty and His wagon tracks overflow with abundance. (See verse 11) Just another visual that HE IS FAITHFUL and that He provides what we need in each season.

Verse 4b was my favorite it says "We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple." My prayer today is that my family will be satisfied or full, not with earthly tangible things, but with the simple goodness of God.

After Psalm 65 my reading plan had me start a new book, 1 Kings. Today was chapter 1 verses 1-27 where God reminded me that even when men try to elevate themselves into positions designated for another, God is in control. Nothing and no one can stop God's plan.

We can manipulate situations to advance ourselves all day long, but ultimately, God's plan will prevail. 1 Peter 5:6 says to Humble yourself under God's mighty hand so that at the proper time he can exalt you. Maybe today you feel like you deserve something, or you feel called to a specific thing, but something or someone is already in that place. Can I just encourage you to put yourself under God's hand and keep your eyes fixed on Him. He will move you at the proper time. Don't rush Him! My friend Patty once said, you don't keep what you have received through manipulation. Don't try to make something happen before it's time. I can tell you from personal experience, it isn't worth it!

While that passage in 1 Kings was my light bulb passage for today, my reading plan checklist wasn't done. Next was Ezekiel 26 and I will just confess:

Ezekiel is hard for me. I'm thinking I need a commentary to go along with it.I'm making it, but for whatever reason, it is hard for me to focus. (Which means good stuff is in there and I need to go back and read it again.)

Finally, we were in Romans 1:18-32. So much good stuff in those verses. But in keeping with the stand out verses from Psalm and 1 Kings, verses 24-25 really hit home. Verse 25 says,

they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator...

God tied it all together with that verse. Sometimes we make an exchange. An exchange that when spoken makes our stomachs turn. I can say it because I have done it. Sometimes WE are the creature we worship. Sometimes we take the blessings, the gifts God has given us and we simply worship them. We place ourselves on an altar and worship the almighty "ME", instead of the Almighty. Speaking from experience, it's really a miserable place to be. In my situation, I took a good thing, a God given thing and twisted it into a god that I adored. It was a slow slide to the exchange counter and when I got there, I walked away with a divided heart. A heart focused on me. All the while labeling my little god "ministry".

Today, I am so thankful that God forgives. Thankful that in each season, He has specific things for us to do! (Even when we have failed in the season before!) His plan for me, for you is good. Nothing can stop what the Almighty has planned for you.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

31 Days Transforming My Quiet Time Day 4

Today, I finished 2 Samuel, and was in Psalm 64, Ezekiel 25 and Romans 1:1-17.

Before I share what my light bulb moment was, I have to say that God woke me up at 4:11. Yes, 4:11. He woke me up with a friend's mom on my heart. She had surgery this morning and I felt the urge to pray for her. So I stayed tucked warm in my bed and prayed. At 5:30, I got up to come downstairs for quiet time. Looking back, I should have put my feet on the floor at 4:11 when God woke me up. In some way, I feel like I missed something He wanted to show me early in the morning.

Today's light bulb moment wasn't a new verse, but with this morning's wake up call, it hit a little closer to the heart.

It's 2 Samuel 24:24b. "I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing."

This morning, my heart was reminded that I need to give God my best each and every day. Whatever I am doing, laundry, teaching Bible study, playing with my girls, cooking dinner, whatever He has for me today...MUST BE DONE with that mindset and attitude of worship. These daily actions are an offering to my Lord. An offering that is going to cost me something.

I wouldn't think of putting a partially cooked meal in front of my family. (Well, not on purpose!)So how dare I offer God a "partial" offering. That's how I feel about that 4:11 wake up call.

God woke me up and I stayed in my warm comfortable bed. THEN after a little while, when I was ready to, I got up to spend time with Him. I made the wrong choice. Sure, being out of the bed way before the sun comes up would cost me a few minutes of sleep. BUT, what God had to offer me would far outweigh that extra 10 minutes.

If tomorrow morning He sees fit to wake me up at 4:11, you better believe my feet will be headed downstairs to sit a while with my Savior.

The coffee is already set! All I have to do is hit that beautiful four letter word: BREW. :)

Anticipating Him!

Monday, October 3, 2011

31 Days - Transforming My Quiet Time (day 3)

Welcome! I'm glad you are here. I'm on a 31 Day journey to start my day with God's word. Over the next month, I'm making a very focused effort to dive into my Bible before I dive into my Bible study. You see, I have been putting those tools (as much as I love them and as awesome as they are)ahead of God's word and it should always come first.

I realized last night that I failed to list the scripture that I read yesterday. So today, I'm starting with that!

Psalm 63
2 Samuel 23:8-39
Ezekiel 24
Luke 24

A couple of things stuck out this morning, first was Luke 24:45.

This is after the resurrection and Jesus has appeared to his disciples. Verse 45 says:

"Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.."

I found myself praying God open my mind to understand your Word. If He did it for them, I know He will do it for me.

My biggest light bulb verse or maybe I should say passage was Psalm 63. Verse 1 says "earnestly I seek you." The word earnestly is the Hebrew word Shachar meaning to seek early, or to look diligently for. Rising in immediate pursuit.

I began to notice some SOUL references and those are what stood out the most.

"my SOUL thirsts for you" (vs 1b)

"my SOUL will be satisfied" (vs 5a)

"my SOUL clings to you" (vs 8a)

This morning God showed me that the more I make this deliberate effort to seek His word, the more my soul will crave Him and His word.

God, help me to be satisfied with you, yet completely unsatisfied. I am clinging to you. You alone can satisfy.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

31 Days - Transforming My Quiet Time (Day 2)

So I missed "day 1".

We had the joy of having some family in town this weekend and I have been completely away from the computer. :) So I guess I am technically a day late in starting. I'm giving myself permission.

Today my stand out or light bulb verse was from 2 Samuel. My reading plan had me in chapter 22 and the first part of 23. Chapter 22 is noted as "David's Song of Deliverance" in my Bible. I kept thinking it sounded like a Psalm and sure enough after a little bit of flipping back and forth,I found it. 2 Samuel 22 lines up with Psalm 18.

The verse that captured my heart this morning was 2 Samuel 22:20

He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.

This verse sums up my year so far. God has brought our family to a broad or spacious place and yes, God rescued us. But today, what struck me was the simple thought that God delights in me.

For a moment, I daydreamed about the things I delight in.

My husband and children, our extended family and nieces and nephews were at the top. My piano and the time with the Lord there, along with the friends God has given us here in GA came to mind. Your list probably sounds similar.

And then I thought of the rose bushes at our old house. The house God sold earlier in the year so that He could place us here. (We call it our spacious place because of the peace that He gave during that entire process.)

I loved those bushes.

At the first sign of a rose I would start watching. It never failed when one or two buds started to form, it wouldn't be long until all the bushes would be full. It was a delight to watch, water, talk to and wait for them to open up.

Then after a little while, it would be time to pinch off the old wilted flower so new buds could grow. It is the only thing from the old house that I really miss. They were a delight to this heart.

What was extra special this morning was the way God tied it all together for me.

Our Pastor preached this morning from John 15. As he taught, I was reminded again that as a Christian that is producing fruit, our vine dresser, Almighty God, will prune us.

Then it hit me, God tied my light bulb verse in with this sermon on gardening.

Our holy, righteous, most high God is constantly "gardening" us, not because He has to, but because He WANTS to. He has very specific fruit for us to produce. Fruit that is one of a kind.

He WANTS to see us produce this fruit because He delights in us.

We are His delight. I am His delight. YOU are His delight.

That absolutely takes my breath away. Sometimes you just need to be reminded that in all his holiness, his majesty, his power...

God Almighty is still our Abba Daddy.

And our Abba Daddy delights in His children.