Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Stand Here

How are you?  No, really...How are you?  Has your fall been as crazy as mine? All good things, but just a lot of LIFE and a LOT of lessons.  God is faithful in everything isn't He?

Not too long ago, I was sitting in our bedroom studying in Luke. (Yes, I'm still in Luke) It was a few days before we were to leave for our mission trip and I was in Luke 6.  The passage I was focused on is a familiar story, the man with the withered hand. You can find it in Luke 6:6-11

On this day, a particular phrase stood out to me.  It's found in verse 8. But first, here is a little summary of what is going on. Jesus knew that the good old "church people" were looking for any reason to accuse him of breaking Sabbath, but Jesus saw a need. That need was more important than any discussion those scribes and Pharisees wanted to have. 

Verse 8 says:

But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man with the withered hand, "Come, and stand here." And he rose and stood there.

Come and stand here.

In my life there have been times when I believed that to stay wounded in the broken place was easier than taking a step toward the healer.  That was a lie.

I am convinced that sometimes we miss a healing encounter with Almighty God because we refuse to move.

There is so much more to this short little passage, but for today God has put the brakes on.  Here is the question I feel impressed to ask myself... and you....

Here you go...

Is your unwillingness to move keeping you from experiencing the healing hand of God?  

Is God asking you to "Come, stand here" today?

I promise you, a step toward Him is a step to healing, to freedom...

Return to your stronghold (JESUS), oh prisoner of HOPE! (Christian!)
Zechariah  9:12 (bold, my emphasis)

Monday, October 1, 2012

He Still Shops With Us

They were tiny little things when we started this.   With Chloe, a 45 year old woman in a two year old's body, and Emma my tiny newborn, we began the  "Parson Pre-Shopping Power Prayer." 

It really did not matter what we were shopping for, as we would pull into the parking lot we prayed. It normally went something like this,
Dear God, thank you so much for giving us the things we need.  You know that today we are (grocery, clothes...) shopping.  You know the amount of money we have to spend and the things on our list. We ask that you would help us to be good stewards of the money you have given us.  Also, please help each of us to shine for you in our words and actions.  

Why did I start this?  Because my Bible study teacher told us she did this.  I knew what her children were like and I wanted godly girls more than anything, so we started praying before we shopped.

While we have certainly had our breakdowns and less than Christlike moments in the mall, for the most part shopping has been a faith building time with my girls.  Last Saturday was one of those times. 

Chloe has entered her Freshman year of high school and we have entered this season of life fairly uneventful.  She is adjusting to the work load and being diligent to complete her studies.  Her grades are good and her attitude (even when she is having to choose joy) has been positive. :)  SO....

When her...well....her.....

best "guy" friend asked her to his homecoming dance.....we said yes.  (Plus...we like this kid.)

This was the two of them at our school spring formal last year
Saturday morning we set out in search of a dress.  As we started the drive, I asked Chloe to pray. 
She did. 
She asked God to show us the exact dress that would be hers. Not please help me find one today..but show me the exact dress. She was prepared to wait on the EXACT one. 
We hit the first store, loaded up our arms and locked ourselves in the dressing room.  Every.Single.Thing. she put on looked great, but got a quick NO.  Until a specific dress...
That dress caused quite a reaction. Big eyes, a slight twirl, and a "hmmm.....well....maybe."  I knew it was the one but was not about to say it. 
We wound up in three other shops that morning. No other dress she tried on fit like a glove.  No other dress made her eyes dance.  No other dress.....was THAT dress at the first store. 
We got back in the car and she gingerly asked, "Mom, could we just go back and take one more look around the first store?" I agreed and we pulled back in. 
"Her" dress was hanging right where we left it.  I grabbed it and we walked through the junior section looking on each and every display for anything else that just might be an option.  As we picked up one dress, a lady walked past us. 
She stopped, turned around and said "Excuse me. I have this store cash stuff that I am not using.  I have walked this entire store and can not find ONE THING I need or want.  It expires today, please take it and use it."
We were shocked.  I asked her if she was sure. (Surely she could find a candle or some jewelry...something!) She assured me she didn't want it and put the "cash" in my hands. We thanked her, and she walked away. 
Chloe looked at me with BIG eyes and said..."I am getting a dress!" 
We did wind up with THE dress.  :)  But God was not done thrilling us. 
We got to the check out.  I knew that the dress was not on a "sale" rack.  It was at the top end of our budget, but still okay. The "cash" was a treat and Chloe and I had already said that God had definitely come shopping with us.  
The cashier was a darling twenty something who asked Chloe if this was for homecoming.  She said yes and we chatted a little bit.  She then announced the dress was...
 My mouth dropped. That was WAY less than it should have been.  She had NOT deducted the "cash" or my on-line coupon.  I may have squealed, "WHAT?!?!" The cashier said..."WOW. this is really on sale!"
THEN she started scanning my coupon and the "cash" from the mystery shopper.
When all was said and done, Chloe got her dream dress...for.....
We were standing there remarking at how God had really shown off for us. That little cashier just smiled. We may have scared her a little.
You better believe God got a big ole' hand clap when we got in our car. 
I drove home and Chloe texted as fast as her fingers could type, sharing her news with her friends. 
I smiled because as much as my girl loves this midnight blue homecoming dress, she was the first one to say..."God really did answer my prayer today."
Yes baby girl, He did. But He answered mine as well...
You see, when they were little and we would pray before we shopped, I always finished that prayer silently...God, please help them understand it is not about the shopping.  Please help them see that you want to be involved in the everyday activity of life.  Give them hearts that love you, the GIVER ,more than any earthly gift you give to them. 
 After 12 years of taking God shopping with us, He still amazes me. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Lessons from Luke - In the Barren

I'm still in chapter 1.  :)  Today I was down in verses 53-56 and God spoke big time to this heart.  But I'm still soaking in that and in no way ready to share it.  Today, I'm posting my notes from Luke 1: 5-13.  It was neat to go back over these notes this morning after God knocked the breath out of me in verses 53-56.  It was as if I connected two puzzle pieces. He is so good like that. So without any more chatter...here are my notes and thoughts from verses 5-13.

In the Barren
Luke 1: 5-13

Zechariah and Elizabeth had a holy reputation. People respected them. In fact, in this portion of Luke we learn that Zechariah, a priest, had just been chosen for a once in a lifetime opportunity to enter the temple and burn incense on behalf of his people. As he is in the temple burning the incense God sends an angel. An angel whose first words were, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, your prayer has been heard…..”

This angel goes on to explain that Elizabeth, (Barren and as verse 7 reminds us, was advanced in years) is going to have a son. We know that this son is John the Baptist, the one who would prepare the way for Jesus.

As I sat with these few verses that are full application, verses 6 and 7 seemed to be highlighted in holy yellow.

And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.

B.A.R.R.E.N. Childless. In a culture that placed value on the ability to have children, this righteous, blameless woman was barren.

Here we find a couple who had most likely been married for years. (end of verse 6 says they were advanced in years) A couple who Luke describes as righteous before God, walking blamelessly in ALL those commandments and statues, and yet they wore the label barren. Whether spoken or unspoken I am quite sure there were people who questioned. Questioned what great “sin” they had committed to be this dreaded “B” word.

We do the exact same thing today. We see people who are in a barren place. Could be financial, physical….just people going through hard stuff and we “assume” that because they don’t have success as we see success, that they have messed up life in some way. Sometimes, hard times do come as consequences to poor choices or sin. Sin has consequences. But sometimes…..

Sometimes, God had different plans. Zechariah and Elizabeth were careful to obey God. They loved Him.

Their reputation preceded them in a way that Luke describes as blameless. God took two people who loved Him.

Served Him.

Obeyed Him, and in His sovereignty, kept them from having children.

Yes. I said it. God allowed them to wear the label barren. Why?

Simply because He knew He could trust them to wear the label WHILE seeking Him.  There was greater glory at stake.

Now, in their “advanced years”, God was going to do something so incredible He had to send an angel to prepare Zechariah. At just the right time, God was going to give them a new label. They were to become parents.

The barren would give life. And not just any life. A life of a child, a son. A son with a holy agenda.

Each of us is wearing or has worn a label such as “barren”. Often times, they are labels we would rather not think about much less talk about! But God has been so tender to point out to me that it is in my barren places that HE has made himself known.

Those are the places where I can say “But God.”

In your life, could it be in THAT barren area, the one you would rather forget about and definitely NOT talk about, that is an area God has entrusted TO you? Perhaps He has trusted you to wear that label so that at just the right time He can showcase His glory.

It is in the barren times and places, the times when “I” have nothing that I realize God is more than enough.

It is in the barren times and places I am taught that His grace is sufficient!

It is in the barren that I hear Him say “Do Not Be Afraid.”.

It is in the barren that I have come to expect Him to speak to my heart.

It is in the barren that I experience the strong arm of God in my life. 

It is in the barren that God strengthens my faith. I can pray "I believe, but help my unbelief" and He does!

Is the barren hard? Yes. But God….

God’s thoughts are not my thoughts. His ways so much higher than mine. His words… His words do not return empty.

They accomplish HIS purpose. And He is faithful to complete the good work He begins in each of us.

So today, I thank Him. I thank Him for the barren area because I know that it has purpose.

There is reason in the barren. And when I am seeking Him and living for Him...

There is beauty in the barren.

There is glory in the barren.

Thank you God, for bringing beauty from the barren.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Lessons From Luke - With Certainty

This summer, I am soaking in Luke.  Line by line. Verse by verse. Little by little. :) It has been almost a month and I am still in chapter 1.  These "Lessons from Luke" are part of my journal and what God is showing me.  I will say this:

He has amazed me at the way similar themes have been "dropped in my lap" during this time.  What are you studying this summer? 

Luke 1:1-4

that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.
Luke 1:4

This was the reason Luke gave for writing this gospel.

Luke 1:3 tells us that it was important to Luke to give an “orderly account” of what he had seen and “followed closely”. Why? So that we could be certain of what had taken place. Seems like the logical answer, right?

Reading these four verses brought more to my journal page than I anticipated. I was faced right off the bat with this question: Do I know, and believe, WITH CERTAINTY what God’s word says to me?

Knowing God’s word and believing God’s word are two different things. I have been taught truth my entire life and this summer, God has asked me if I really believe it…WITH CERTAINTY.

Luke 1:1 tells us that many had taken on the task of compiling a narrative of the “things that have been accomplished among us” I did a little research on the word accomplished. The Greek word used here is plerophoreo and part of the definition is: To be fully established as true. As I read on into the explanation, I discovered one of the derivatives meant: FULL CONVICTION. That, my friend is where God stopped me.

While God wants us to know and believe His word WITH CERTAINTY, He wants us to apply it to our lives and live it out with: FULL CONVICTION.

I believe that THIS is what God is calling me to. I feel that now, than ever before we do not have time for the same old casual, lukewarm Christianity that we have allowed to become the “norm”.

Living with certainty and in full conviction means change. It means we are going to look a little different, sound a little different, dare I say stick out a little more? Hear me please: NOT in a pious or, well…..pharasitical (that is Stephanie for holier than thou) attitude. NO. The world has seen enough of that.

We must KNOW and BELIEVE God’s word to us and live it out each day in sincere devotion with KINDNESS. We must live with certainty and full confidence that the principles we find in His word are applicable to today.  We must be gentle and willing to take a stand when asked to.  

My daughters need to see me be confident enough in God’s word to say “NO. That is wrong and that is not acceptable because it does not line up with God’s word.”

All year He has been showing me how important a pure heart and mind are. This time in Luke 1 has just confirmed what God started way back in January.

My theme verses for 2012 are found in 2 Timothy 2: 20-21:

Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.

My prayer for my family is that God would get us over ourselves and make our desire for Him so strong, that we cannot do anything but live with certainty and full confidence that His word is truth and life.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Personal Reminder..If Not for the Grace of God

Doing a little writing this afternoon and came across this post that was never published.  Felt like today was the day it was intended for. 

We just wrapped up an incredible weekend at our church. (Disciple Now)

To say I am tired is an understatement. At 3:00 Sunday morning I let God know that I do not do late night well and that next year perhaps I should simply be on the prayer team. You think I'm kidding. After a few minutes I finally just quit praying and was still. The girls in our group had finally settled in and I was almost asleep when this passage came to mind.

Isaiah 55:10-12

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return to it without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

God is so sweet to speak right when we need it.

Just a few hours later, we sat in a gym and listened to just a few of the testimonies of what God had done in the hearts of our middle and high school students. I needed to hear their stories and I am so thankful our student pastors pulled those students up to share.

My prayer today is that the seeds that were planted this weekend will continue to go deep into the hearts of all those students.

So, where does the grace show up? Well.....

In one of our sessions grace was the topic...but...

God gave me a little lesson in it on Sunday afternoon.

All year God has been dealing with me about holy living, guarding my heart and making sure that I am in proper relationship with Him...we have talked about it here and here.

Philippians 4:8 is my verse for goodness sake! I have been completely immersed in this topic for almost three full months. And I blew it.

In one simple conversation...I blew it.

Before I knew what I had happened...the word that came from mouth was NOT pleasing or acceptable to the Lord. Far from it.

Thankfully, it was with two believers who know me and know this is not my character.


This afternoon as I replayed the event in my mind AGAIN. I was so thankful that God is faithful. Faithful to extend grace to me. Thankful he is not stingy...like I am. We all have moments where we need a little grace, but at the same time...

We all have moments where we need to extend a little.

To the person with 25 items in the 10 items or less line. Grace.

To the person who never picks up after their dog! Grace.

To the spouse that overlooks the daily chores. Grace. No, I am not speaking to my husband here.  He goes out of his way to help out around the house! 

To the person, who thinks they are being funny, but hits you in the back of the head with a roll of toilet paper. GRACE.

If I want to be the recipient of grace, I must be willing to extend it.

Today was a day when Lamentations 3:23 came to life.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;his mercies never come to an end;they are new every morning;great is your faithfulness.

Grace. Mercy. It never ceases to blow my mind. My heart is so thankful for it.

Maybe you needed the reminder that YOU have not traveled too far. God's grace is unending.

His mercies never come to an end.

His love is steady. It is solid and will never cease.

His grace is enough.

As long as you are breathing the grace of God is available.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Duty or Delight Weeks 5 and 6

The last week of Bible study is always a little bittersweet. This one was especially difficult for me.

Week 5 continued a theme that God has been working in me long before we began the journey from Duty to Delight. The theme or concept that God was working into me was basically loving Him first and then loving others. I mean REALLY loving others. Nothing new or incredibly "deep". Just basically getting back to what is most important. And don't you know that there has been quite a bit of practical application during that process! :)

One day last week I found myself hanging up the phone and saying, "I am done." Everything in me wanted to just walk away from a particular relationship. Close the door, lock it,move a dresser in front of it kind of done! As soon as I got through telling God how done I was...He was faithful to remind of 1 Corinthians 13. Love is not easily angered and keeps no records of wrongs. Yikes.

Forgive. Again. Move forward in love. Set some boundaries, but as far as it depends on me, I will choose to live in peace (Romans 12) and yes, LOVE. Sincere Love. (Didn't you love learning that the definition of the Greek word used for sincerity in Romans 12:9 was inexperienced in the art of acting?! LOVED THAT)

Week 5 was a difficult one, but at the same time it was just like God to speak tenderly to this hurting heart. He is so faithful.

How did week 5 speak to your heart? Did you have a light bulb moment like I did?

Week 6. Oh week 6. P.O.W.E.R.F.U.L. BUT, what amazed me was that as hard as last week was for me, God spoke so many things to my heart. SO many times He would bring scripture to my mind that was "just right" to what I was feeling. Sometimes for me and sometimes to share with the person standing in front of me. Everything we have been learning and focusing on had taken root and was living in me. Amazing.

Monday evening I was sitting on the front porch going over week 6 and preparing for our Tuesday morning group. Emma was riding her bike up and down the street. She was FLYING around the cul-de-sac and down our driveway with the biggest grin on her face! She and Pixie (what she calls her bike) were quite a show. Emma's laugh is contagious and she was LOVING life. It was my delight to watch her.

After all that riding, she parked Pixie and began to "decorate" our driveway with sidewalk chalk. After a few minutes she called me over to check out what she had done.

I looked down and saw that she had written in LARGE letters J E S U S on our driveway. In her words "So the people in airplanes can see His name written on our driveway". I thought it was cool, but what she said next was straight from God's mouth to me.

I told her how awesome I thought her project was and she said,

"Well..if you look at it right now, it's okay. Really, it's kind of just flat Not really very exciting It's just a name."

My response, "Well, okay...but it is still pretty cool, Em"

"BUT MOM. When I put on these glasses it TOTALLY CHANGES the picture. These glasses make Jesus just pop off the driveway. It's 3-D chalk and 3-D glasses, MOM! If you don't have them both, then you only get part of the picture. You miss the best part!"

Oh my sweet friend that is exactly what Duty or Delight taught me. Going through the motions of reading my Bible, serving, being a wife and mother, writing music, leading Bible study.... all that stuff is completely flat and dead until...

I "put the glasses on" :) Until the Holy Spirit (My To-Be-Able) makes it POP off the page and changes my perspective.

Duty or Delight was like putting on 3D glasses and seeing my relationship with God in a totally different dimension. Why? Because I finally "got" that God Almighty, The One and Only, delights in me. Not because He "has to", but because He LONGS TO. From before the foundation of the world...He chose me. (Ephesians 1:4) He rescued me!Why? Because He Delights in me! (Psalm 18:19 and 2 Sam. 22:20)

I thought I loved Him before, but I am overwhelmed at the extravagance of His love and I can't help but pray "Oh God, help me love you more."

As we close this season of Bible study, how has Duty or Delight changed your perspective? What have you learned and how will you apply it to life?

This song is at the top of my playlist right now. I challenge you to not just watch, but worship the One who not only loves you, but delights in you.

YOU are precious to Him and to me. Thank you for taking this journey with us! Your e-mails, facebook messages and responses have been incredible. I know this was an intensely personal journey at times and I am so thankful you were on it with me!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Duty or Delight Weeks 3 and 4

My auto post did not work last week! SO, I am combining two weeks.

Weeks three and four were the turning point in this study for me. What I mean by that is that these two weeks were the point where this study began to take root.

In week three we explored the confidence booster I Am Promised. Of the six promises we dove into, two were extra special to me.

First, was in the very beginning of our homework.

God is our faithfulness. Particularly this quote from page 63

"His blood is our only hope for security before a holy God. We cannot keep God's righteous requirements no matter how hard we try."

Have you ever tallied up your Christian "Scorecard"? Oh come on, you know

church attendance - check

prayer - check

Read (or glanced at my Bible) - check

These are good things! Necessary things for a growing Christian. BUT...

They have NOTHING to do with our eternal security. Nothing. Hear me out.

Only the blood of Jesus changes our eternity.

We can keep a near perfect "scorecard" our entire life, and spend eternity in hell.

If you have not acknowledged Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, friend...eternity is not going to be pleasant.

I cannot and you cannot keep a perfect scorecard. Our good deeds and well meaning intentions do not mean a hill of beans without Jesus Christ being Lord and Savior of our lives.

John 3:16 is for you. God so loved YOU that He gave His only Son so YOU will not not perish...but have everlasting LIFE. Jesus died for you.

Remember all those scorecard items? Church attendance, prayer, Bible Reading..

In my life those good things are now a delight. God uses each of them to teach me something, to challenge me, to chip away at the parts of me that do not represent Him well.

The second promise that really spoke to me in week three was number 6:

God is Our Inheritance and We are His.

It was such a tender reminder that we can ALWAYS know where we stand with God. You don't have to wonder if He likes you today. :) He is crazy about you.

Personally, this was a good reminder to keep my focus on eternity. In a world where so much value is placed on what you have or what you are achieving, I needed the reminder that God's opinion of me is not based on this world's view of success. He gently reminded me that my goal in life is to glorify Him with every breath and every step I take. When I take my last breath, I want to do so knowing my daughters, my family knows Jesus as Savior.

He is my inheritance, and He is more than enough.

Question Number 1: What promise meant the most to you and why?

During week four our confidence booster was I Am Supplied. We were given six areas where we could trigger more of the Holy Spirit's power in our lives.

This week. Oh, this week of homework. At times I had to close my book and walk away because what we were asked to do was H.A.R.D. but as I came back and pushed through...

God brought freedom.

If you did not finish this week's homework, let me encourage you to go back! Press on and through it! There is freedom waiting for you!

I will share one phrase from the 4th trigger "Inspect your crops often" that just made me say "YES" out loud in my car! It is found at the end of a series of statements on page 98.

SIN is duty, but repentance is delight

Isn't that truth?!

Sin is oppressive! We know when we are allowing sin to govern us. To DRIVE us. It is cruel. It lies.

Sin tells us that repentance (turning from) will be horrible. That what we will have to "give up" is worth the separation from God. Unconfessed sin keeps us from LIFE.

But God sent Jesus so we could have LIFE. Abundant Life! A delightful life.

Repentance can become a delight. Is it hard? Well....if you completed your homework you know that it can be hard!

But honestly, it is so worth it. Why?

Because after surrender and repentance comes transformation.

God loves us too much to allow us to stay in the condition we are in! When we come to Him with a sincere repentant heart, He begins a work of transformation in us. Talk about a makeover. :)

The God who created this universe, wants to transform our hearts so we can adequately reflect His glory.


He is delighted to do so.

Question #2: This is a personal question...Are you holding back? Are you hesitant to finish that portion of your homework that asked us to go face down in repentance? If so....why?

Question #3: How have the first four weeks been for you? HONEST answers only! :)

Thanks for taking this journey with us! I have enjoyed your e-mails...and I believe you will encourage each other so comment!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Duty or Delight- Week 2

How I pray this study is moving in your heart and soul! I found that this week, it was hard for me to get my scripture "down pat". :) OR word for word...so I am going to retype it here before we go any further.

Confidence Booster #2 I Am Redeemed!!!!

Power Verse #2 Ephesians 1:7-8 We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

Acceptance and Satisfaction. If we are all honest, those two things have been or ARE part of our motivation for life.

We all want to be accepted. To fit in. To feel like we are an important part of something. At the same time, we also want to be satisfied. Satisfied in our relationships, our jobs, our family....our "religion".

Tammie describes acceptance and satisfaction as "Cavernous Hungers" that tug on our human soul. Goodness knows I could share example after example of trying to satisfy those hungers. BUT, I can also look you straight in the eye and say the only way those hungers will ever be satisfied is with THE One and Only...Jesus Christ.

This week we dove into three statements. Eat More Bread, Drink More Blood, and Remember Your Redemption. Each of these sections had WOW moments for me,but Drink More Blood was my standout section.

Revisiting the cost of Jesus sacrifice for MY sin was much needed. I believe that if we are not careful, over time we can become almost numb to the magnitude of His sacrifice. That is a very dangerous place for a Christian to be.

We look back not to glorify past sin or heap guilt upon ourselves..NO. We look back to awaken or stir our hearts to gratitude! Sometimes we need WAKE UP OUR ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE!


Because today, yes today...

There is someone who needs to hear that Jesus loves them right where they are. They need to hear that regardless of what they have done or haven't done....

His blood is enough. He died to ATONE...(fancy word for cover, cleanse, reconcile and to FORGIVE) our sin. ALL of it.

EVERY last one. Jesus is enough.

If we have become numb to this in our own life then how in the world can we effectively share the power of the gospel with another? May we never forget.

As I prepared for Tuesday morning's group God gave me a few verses in Psalm 65. This Psalm was part of my daily reading..it was "assigned". :) I can not express to you how excited I was to SEE our first two confidence boosters referenced in these verses.

Here is Psalm 65 (ESV)

Praise is due to you,[a] O God, in Zion,
and to you shall vows be performed.
2 O you who hear prayer,
to you shall all flesh come.
3 When iniquities prevail against me,
you atone for our transgressions.
4 Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
to dwell in your courts!
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
the holiness of your temple!

From verse 4 Blessed is the one you choose...Booster #1 I Am Chosen.
From verse 3 you atone for our transgressions.....Booster #2 I Am Redeemed.

Oh friend, I am praying that today you realize just how precious you are to your Savior. He went to great lengths to Redeem you. You can, as verse 4 says be satisfied with the goodness.....He is enough.

Alright enough of my rambling. I want to hear from you.

First. Which of the three statements meant the most to you and why?

Second. Take some time to watch this video. The lyrics to this song have been on my heart for two weeks. Let's not forget what Jesus did for us.

I pray that this song will move you into a personal time of worship of your Savior.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I Am Chosen....Duty or Delight Week 1

I am so thankful you are joining us! What a week we have had. God is so faithful isn't He?

Click here for this weeks video and then COME BACK...

And share with us your thoughts regarding week one, "I Am Chosen". I am praying for you and look forward to reading how this study is impacting your heart.

This week, would you make some time and pray for the author Tammie Head? Let's thank God for her obedience to write and her willingness to pour out her heart.

I am getting up from here and headed to start week two homework! Let's keep pressing in even when it gets tough.

Hugs and prayers,

(Do you remember the question? Which of the four pitfalls resonated with you and why. Also, did you have a WOW moment? If so, share a little of that!)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

You Are Invited!

So here it is! YOUR invitation to join a small group of us online as we work through Tammie Head's Duty or Delight.

Excited is not even close to what I am feeling as we begin this journey. I believe with all my heart God is going to do something massive in each of our hearts. My prayer is that we will have courage to stick with it, even when it is hard.

Our pastor is preaching through Nehemiah right now and this verse from chapter 6 has become my personal "theme" verse as we begin Duty or Delight. "I am doing a great work and I cannot come down."


Will you join us? Click here for more information.

(I need to say thanks to Chloe for helping me with the video and yes....I was in my house cleaning clothes and slippers..because that is how I roll at home!)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Holy Living - Guarding Your Heart

On this journey to holy living, the very first thing God has impressed on me is that I must guard my heart. Proverbs 4:23 says:

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Above ALL else. Pretty strong words aren’t they?

Guarding our hearts has to become more than a nice Susie Sunday School phrase.
Guarding our hearts must become a way of life. As one of my daughters like to put it, let’s talk about the “why” before we talk about the “how”.


Our heart. The place where choices are made. It is the unseen holding area of our emotions. It is our core being or the center of our spiritual man.

Contrary to popular belief, following your heart is absolutely the worst thing you can do. Why? Jeremiah tells us that The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick. (Jeremiah 17:9) Look at how the Message words the same verse along with verse 10.

The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things .I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.

God tells us way back in Genesis 21 that “the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” (vs.21b)

We are born with a sick, deceitful, wicked heart. A heart of stone. A heart, that when untouched by the holy hand of God, WILL bring harm. A heart that will hurt, disappointment and will guide us in a way that is opposite of the way God has purposed for us. BUT…look what God offers us in Ezekiel 36:26

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

That is our God. Once He has replaced that old dark and deceitful heart, it is our job to guard the new one.

Luke 6:45b tells us that out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Quite frankly, what is IN that thing is going to come OUT. Look at the first part of verse 45:

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil.

Friend, we may fake it for a while. We may memorize some scripture. We may sit in Sunday School, go to Worship and even attend small group Bible study…but at some point

What is IN will come OUT.

Why do we guard our hearts? As a Christian we guard our hearts because…..

First God tells us to. His word is truth and when He says guard something it’s not for His health, it’s for ours!

Second. God has detailed, thought out plans for each of our lives. He has specific fruit that we are to produce! (Check out Luke 6:43-45 and then go read John 15) I speak from personal experience when I say this: A divided, wicked, unguarded heart cannot fully accomplish what God has planned. Ask me about the year 2005 and I will share with you what happens when you serve with a divided heart.


The first thing that comes to mind is what I call the P4-8 verse. Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

The longer I am intentional about holy living the more this verse enters my mind. I find that as I scan the radio, I hear “Is this song praiseworthy? Is it true?” OR, as I’m flipping through the DVR to see what is recorded, “Is that story line honorable? Is it lovely to me?” AND yes, in conversation…”Is this conversation pure and truthful? Is it building up or tearing down. Are your words bringing me glory?”

P4-8 has become the measuring stick. It is the power tool for me!

Holy living starts with guarding our hearts. Not guarding FROM something…but guarding FOR something.

We are guarding so that we are READY and properly positioned to be used for the glory of Jesus Christ.

Guarding Our Heart is simply:

Protecting the place where choices are made.

Being intentional about what we allow to influence the unseen holding area of our emotion and the core being or the center of our spiritual man.

Guarding our hearts, I dare say is imperative to holy living.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Holy Living

Last fall, I knew that God was calling me to REALLY enter into Philippians 4:8.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

That passage was and is to become more than lip service, it is to become my way of life. I honestly thought my word for 2012 would be “whatever”. But it isn’t.

My word for 2012 is: Purpose.

As 2011 came to a close and I finished reading through the Bible, each day the word purpose or plans seemed to pop up in the passages I was reading. The last verse I memorized for 2011 was the very familiar Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that HE who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” God seemed to be weaving a theme together.

Here is just a sample of the verses that God placed in front of me the last few weeks of 2011.

Isaiah 46:10b My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish my purpose.

Isaiah 55:11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Job 42:2 (Job speaking) I know that you can do all things, and that no plan of yours can be thwarted.


For so long I have felt my purpose has been to be the best wife, mom, pianist, teacher….that I can be.

Wrong. I was created with one purpose.

My purpose is to glorify God. Your purpose is to glorify God.

As He began to place PURPOSE on my heart, He was also placing scripture about holiness in front of me. Remember Philippians 4:8? That was just the start.
I continue to hear “Guard your heart, be careful what you expose your mind to. Ask yourself if this (book, show, song…) is a ‘whatever’?”

Guard your heart. Purpose. Two “themes” that I knew God would somehow weave together. And He is. Which is the reason for this focus on holy living.

2 Timothy 2: 20-26 has become my chunk of scripture for this focus on holy living. I am sharing verses 20-22 here from the NIV because that is the translation that God used to connect my two themes for the year.

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart

My purpose is to glorify God. I can’t do that if I am an unclean vessel. Look at how The Message states verses 20-21:

In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets—some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage. Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing.

Holy living is making a conscience effort to not just read God’s word, but to apply it. TO LIVE IT. Why?

It’s simple. God has plans for me, for you. We have PURPOSE.

SPECIAL PURPOSES. He says nothing can thwart or hinder those plans from happening. He WILL accomplish them. This life, MY life is not about me at all. It’s about bringing glory to my Savior. THAT is purpose.

I believe He has special purposes planned for us each day. Holy Living is as 2 Timothy 2:21 says (from The Message) being the kind of container God can use

A container that is focused on whatever is:
True Honorable Just Pure Lovely
Commendable Praiseworthy Excellent

This week, I'm asking God show me what changes need to be made in my life. They may be small things and they may be big! What He asks me to step away from maybe okay for you...no judgement! :) I'm approaching the week with anticipation, expecting Him to move in my life. I pray that you will join us!