“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor 9:7)

I just love Christmas :) Sure, I love getting stuff from people, who doesn’t? And I really love Christmas Cards-- especially the ones with pictures so I can see how people have changed and grown...But do you know what I really love? I love giving a gift that I think is really meaningful and that I think someone will enjoy. I get soooo excited about seeing people opening these kinds of gifts.  I don’t even want acknowledgement, but I do want to see their face light up with delight! The anticipation until that distinct someone in your life opens the specially picked out gift rivals the anticipation of waiting for Santa Claus to come bring presents when you are a child!

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11-13)

I think Jesus felt that way when he gave us the Holy Spirit. He knew that He, Jesus, could only be in one place at a time while He was here on earth in that human body, but He was going to send us a wonderful gift-- an outpouring of Himself that each of us, at all times, could keep in our hearts if we asked for it.

Jesus knew that we would need a continuous renewing of our faith. We are an anxious, fearful bunch of people and we need constant affirmation that everything is going to be alright and He knew exactly what we needed to get through this life.  He gave us an advocate, a true gift of love. Sure it would be fabulous if each of us could memorize the whole Bible, God’s Holy breathed word... and then live in the confidence it grants us...but we won’t.  So we have this reminderer, who Does have the whole Bible memorized!

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14: 25-27)

“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5, emphasis mine)

Reflection Question: Have you called on the Holy Spirit and asked Him to live in you and be a part of your life?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Limited Time Offer

(said in the best infomercial voice)

Are you tired of trying to be 2 people at once?
Is living a double life confusing and too much work? 
Well, I have THE solution for You! Live your life full out for Jesus.

But Wait!  Don't... Buy... Yet! 

With this purchase you will not only be free of your double life, but you'll also receive a great many blessings from Jesus including, but not limited to, your own real-estate in Heaven unexplainable joy and more from Him than you could ever ask or imagine!

We just couldn't put a price on such an amazing deal... so for a limited time only we aren't charging you one cent. You must only give your promise not to return to that double life and offer your life for transformation to Christ-- the giver of every good and perfect gift.

This is only a limited time offer; available only until Jesus returns to collect His payment. Jesus may return at any moment without notice. There is no limit to the number of people who can receive this offer, but there are no rain-checks available so make your decision before it is too late.

To redeem this offer simply turn your thoughts upon Jesus and offer Him your life. Thank Him for this once in a lifetime gift and spread the news to others!

"For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ." (Philippians 3:18-20)


For so many years I tried to live a double life. I tried to fit in with the church crowd and also with the not-so-churchy crowd. But it's exhausting to try to be two people.  I think it's pretty exhausting to be one person!

I started writing this blog because I really needed a creative outlet. I am a creative minded person and I wasn't getting to use it. This blog gave me a chance to release my creativity without tying me down to a time structure I couldn't really commit to with my current job. 

I didn't realize it at the time, but it also helped cure me of double life disease.  When I put myself out there as a full time Christian for all to see, and aired out my struggles and triumphs, I no longer had to worry about being "cool" to those non-Christians. I just had to love on them and be myself, my one and only true self, around them. No judgment, no condemnation, just real life love! People aren't stupid either, they can tell the difference between real love and acceptance and faking the funk. You must fully accept the offer from Heaven to become a Real Life Christian.

"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So because you are lukewarm-- neither hot nor cold-- I am about to spit you out of my mouth." (Rev 3:15-16)

Reflection Question: What is holding you back from letting go of your double life? Will you wait until it is too late to cash in on this once in a lifetime deal?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Island of Misfit Toys

(Make sure you pause the "music" before playing the video)

Have you ever felt like you belonged on the Island of Misfit Toys? You know... from the old Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer movie, where the toys that didn’t fit the mold got sent to. Whether you’re different than the “cool” people at school, or you’re not quite like the people at work... or even the black sheep of your family. Hopefully you don’t, but most of you probably know what I’m talking about. You have felt alone, like no one knows or cares who you are.  That is what the devil would like you to think, and he is the king of lies.

“Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!” (John 8:42-45 emphasis mine)

But if that is a Lie then what is the Truth? The truth is that we ALL belong to God and therefore we all belong! Notice that the night Jesus was born, also came Great Joy for ALL PEOPLE.

“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for ALL THE PEOPLE. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”(Luke 2:4-12 emphasis mine)

There is a place where each of us belong. It is in the only place worth being, in the body of Christ. We belong in His “crew”... with the “cool people”. The ones who “really know what’s going on”. Each of us deserves to find a Church, which IS that body of Christ, where we can be who we are and be loved exactly where we are. If you don’t have that love in the body of Christ, take the time, find it...it’s worth it. It is one of the only things Worth doing.

Reflection Question: Do you belong to the “cool people”? 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sleep Like a Baby

I am grieving. No, no one has died, but I feel like crying. I have been yelling at my children and treating them harshly.  Surely they are not neglected. They are not abused. And they are Loved. But my heart cries out as I take Holy Communion this Sunday to ask for forgiveness for my behavior. 


"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Cor 12:9-10) 

As I get ready to get in bed myself tonight, I make sure they are tucked in their blankets and I see their little angel halos in full glory. And at this sweet peaceful time as I kiss them each on the cheek softly, I thank God for the grace He grants me to take care of His babes even though I do not deserve it. 

And I know that the way I feel love for my little angels as I watch them sleep and the way they love me unconditionally as "the best mommy" even when I'm harsh, are only a fraction of the unending love we receive from our Father in Heaven.  

And with that.... I shall drift sweetly off to sleep myself. 

Reflection Question: How will you let God grant you Grace this week?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Choose Your Own Adventure

Is it just me or do you look around lately and see a bunch of weak women?  The more I talk to women... and Worse, the more I talk to men about women, it seems like they've traded their love of adventure for the daily grind. What happened to those high school or college ladies that had aspirations to climb Everest? Or at least hike out to a beautiful place in the woods and then rappel down the side of a rock-face. The world has tried to tell us that "good women" take care of the home, rear the children and still make a six figure income. That is supposed to replace our adventure. But something is missing...... In our hearts...... isn't it? We often feel used and abused and there is something more that we desire. I think that "thing" is the desire for adventure that God places in our heart. We don't want to be a damsel in distress really! We want to be worth rescuing, but then we want to be part of the rescue.

I don’t want to BE the adventure! I want to be a part IN the adventure!!

Let me tell you that God did not say "Adam fill the earth and conquer it and Eve you cook and clean." that's not there in Genesis. He speaks directly to Both of them when he says "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the Earth and conquer it." (Gen 1:26)

Stop taking it! Stop thinking it is “good” to only do what “they” think you should be doing. Listen to the things God has placed into YOUR heart. Then get out there and do them!!! He won’t fail you!

Reflection Question: What adventure is your heart aching for? How are you going to go for it?

Sunday, November 28, 2010


One of the very first prayers I asked my pastor to pray for me when he started the Starbucks Bible Study was for girlfriends. It seemed kind of silly at the time to be praying for friends. Not to be pompous, but I've never really had a hard time making friends. This season of my life was very different for me. I didn't want just any friends; I needed friends who would "get me". We prayed for a long time, but slowly it started building. 

My sweet husband is by far my very best friend and my soulmate, but there is an internal need for female companionship. Someone who can understand how you feel when you have an uncontrollable desire to cry and no heavenly idea why. 

I am sad to say that I have loved and lost many a dear girlfriend due to neglect on my part. Thankfully, though, my God of grace continues to bless me with the opportunity to start fresh. 

Certainly I will fail these new deep friends of mine, and they will fail me too, but it's all worth it. 

 "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
" (Ecc 4:9-10)

Reflection Question: How are you working to build meaningful friendships?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What is that Noise?

What do you do when you get in the car? When you get home? Even get to the office? If you're like me, you turn on the radio, the TV or call someone. Anything to fill up the silence! Why do we do that?

The very few times that I have heard the small sweet voice of God, in the back of my mind, it has always been when the world around me has been silent... and I have been listening. I must have my full concentration on Him. He demands my ALL if I want to hear from Him.

I'm not saying that the radio is bad. I'm not saying that the TV is bad in moderation. But if you ever want to hear from the Lord Almighty, the maker of heaven and earth, you need to turn off the noise and "be still and know that I am God." (Ps 46:10)

I like to meet Jesus with a cup of coffee, a Journal in hand ready to write down what I hear, and a Bible close at hand to bounce what I hear off of His word. He would Never contradict Himself, so if it doesn't match, it's not from Jesus. Sometimes when I meet Him, and ask to hear His voice, I do... and sometimes I don't... but every time I am obedient and take the time, He is glorified.

Jesus, Himself being in very nature God, took time to get to a quiet place to for time with God. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)

Reflection Question: Will you take time this day, this week to be still and know God?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Airing Dirty Laundry

I was at the laundromat recently cleaning some much overdue Army equipment that some mice thought they would take up residence in, about a year ago.  As I was trying to catch up on some reading, I noticed that the lady who oversees the laundromat was trying to fill up a map with each of the state quarters. Since I was doing laundry and had a pocketful of quarters, I offered her any of mine that she needed. Sure enough she found 2 or 3 she needed and was overly grateful!

Ms. Sonya, the "quarter lady", was listening to some music in Spanish- let me just say she is not Hispanic. I heard her telling another man that she doesn't actually speak Spanish, but the she felt like the Spirit was speaking to her soul when she listened to worship music in Spanish. She wanted to learn to speak the language, but she found it to be too confusing.  As I was folding and packing up my stuff, she walked over to me and I piped in saying that Spanish is actually much easier to learn than English.

We got to chatting a little more and I recommended that she sincerely pray about moving to a Spanish speaking country and following that call of the Spirit. Her eyes lit up. She had never thought of that before! She told me that once her daughter who is a sophomore in HS graduated, she had nothing else tying her to this area. She thanked me over and over again for bringing this idea to her and asked me to pray for her. As I left we embraced in a hug and I promised to pray for her and her for me. And just think, had I been too preoccupied or selfish to share a couple measly quarters that all spend the same to me no matter what state it has on them I could have missed out on this special opportunity to encourage.

“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:  Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” (2 Tim 4:1-2)

I just know that all of you reading this will pray also for Ms. Sonya and her Spirit's calling.

Reflection Question: Are you listening in a way that you can encourage others?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

When You Pray, Say...

I had the opportunity to teach my 5 year old son about the Lord’s Prayer recently. Every night before bed, together we say the Lord’s Prayer; one night I asked him if he knew what it meant. Well of course he didn't, so I went through line by line. Afterward, I realized how very much it had also taught ME!

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Like your daddy here on earth, God has given us life. He has given us sustainment to take care of our needs and we are made in his image. His name is sacred - very important.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
We need to work to do what God asks us to do like the Angels do in heaven.

Give us this day, our daily bread.
Everyday we need to read our Bible to feed our spirits.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those, who trespass against us.
Please forgive us for the bad stuff we do, and we will forgive other people who are not nice or do bad stuff to us.

Lead us, not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
We ask God to help us not do bad things.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.
If we do all these things, we will go to heaven, God will make us strong, and he will be proud of us.

(Luke 11:1-4) (explanation mine)

Reflection Question: Are you following Jesus’ example of how to pray?

Sunday, October 31, 2010


God must have a fully realized sense of humor. He likes to play “practical jokes” on me constantly!  Stuff that I just have to laugh at or I’d cry!
Wednesday night was the “first night” of the College group I offered to start at my lovely church.  I have really felt a calling toward college students for awhile now. It was in college that I personally found my relationship with Christ. Plus there has never been a college group here. We have youth group for the high schoolers, we have Sunday School for the kiddos, we have Bible Studies that cater to the “adults” aka parents and non-college age, but nothing for that vital time in life called college.  “See a need, fill a need.” – I just love animated movies, such great lessons they teach!! (from Robots for those less-animated movie-versed folks)
My worst fear was that no one would show up; that I would be left all alone at a table with no one to talk to. Hard to believe, I know, since I’m so quiet and reserved… ha ha ha.  So my prayer has been “God, please let someone show up.”   Sure enough, the Bible Study Coordinator announces my study and asks if anyone is here for the college group…. crickets.  I smile through the anxiety and sadness building up in me. I remind myself that ministry is not easy, or everyone would do it. I remind myself that God is always faithful; I just need to stay the course and continue to seek him.
After a moment, the coordinator realized that one of the regular Bible Study leaders was not there, and suggests that her members attend my Bible Study.  Six people made their way to my table. Isn’t God so faithful? No, it was NOT the way I expected him to answer my prayer that someone show up.  But it IS an answered prayer. He also taught me a valuable lesson.  Essentially my worst fear did come true. No college students actually showed up to my Bible Study this first week… but I survived! I got a “practice run” of leading a Bible Study again, which I haven’t done in probably 5 or 6 years (Holy Cow- I didn’t realize it’s been that LONG!) and got some great feedback and met some wonderful people in my Church Family. God taught me that even if my worst fears DO come true, He will always be there with me, the whole way, and WE will always make it through together.  My worst fears will not defeat me.
 6 "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."  (Joshua 1:6-9) (emphasis mine)
Reflection Question: Are you missing out on God's faithfulness and answered prayers because they are not happening the way You expected?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Against Us

If we could get all the affirmation we need in life from the people around us, we wouldn't need to put our hope in God.

I work with a guy who is higher than me on the totem-pole, you could say. I don't officially work for him, but I do have to listen to him.  Every time I see an email pop up with his name on it, my heart starts to race as though my body knows that an anxiety attack is about to ensue. Then, after I read whatever non-sense he has sent, a rage builds up in me.  I usually want to either throw my blackberry down the garbage-disposal or take a hatchet to my computer depending on where I am. He Never has anything positive to say. And often gives directives that are wrong or don't pass the commonsense test. Ugh. I know you're probably following me here. You know someone in your life just like this. Maybe it's your mother-in-law or your neighbor. But certainly you know someone who can take a perfectly good day and ruin it just by sending an email or opening their mouth.

So if we can't get the encouragement we need from the People of this world where Do we get it??

Well, after my last post, I'm looking to God's word for what He says about me.

"If God is for us, who could be against us?" (Rom 8:31)

"...we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Rom 8:37)

Hmm this is a good one too ;)
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Rom 15:13)

"Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession-- to the praise of his glory" (Eph 1:13b-14)
Whoa- God has marked me?? as HIS??

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you" (1 Pet 5:7)

Just this week, while I was prepping for the small group of college students I'm going to start leading, I came across something that really hit home. “Our fulfillment in this life depends not on our skills to avoid life's problems, but on our ability to apply God's specific solutions to those problems.” (Search for Significance)

Reflection question: Are you letting the people around you determine your mood? Or are you taking it to Jesus?

Sunday, October 24, 2010


In the movies you hear God with a great big resounding voice that echos. Have you ever wanted to just Hear God like that?  Ahem, God.... I’d like to hear from you today.  Should I quit my job? What book should I read? Why is life so crazy lately??  I don’t hear God like they do in the movies.  But I do know that God writes to me... love letters you know. He says:

“All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you.”Song of Solomn 4:7

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”Ephesians 2:10

Who of you wouldn’t love to get a love letter saying that you are a masterpiece and that you are beautiful with no flaw in you.... everyday?? Yeah, me too!!  Plus, I just Know that my Bible has power and that by reading and memorizing the actual Word of God I will thus have that power... but why is it so darn hard for me to get into it everyday?  I have no problem doing my devotional by some great Christian people, named “not-God”, but to actually read The Bible itself... hmm, not so much.  Why is that?

I have truly tried lately to make it a point to read the Bible. To do it in an order, or even just read Something!  But yet somehow I always get in my own way. I make an excuse, I do something else, gosh sometimes I just don’t even think of it at all!

Hebrews 4:12 says “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Sharp, Living and Active. Those are the way I want God's Word to be in my life. I want the Holy Spirit along side me every step of the way.

Reflection Question: Is the word of God alive and active in you? Will you ask Him to make it so?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


6 months ago yesterday, an American Hero gave the ultimate sacrifice. I had the honor of serving his family as their Casualty Assistance Officer. My Hero left behind a 21 year old wife and 18 month old daughter as well as a loving mother, father, sister and brother.  I laughed and cried with my new family as I did my best to ensure they had all of the available resources afforded to them, but no matter how much help I brought, it would never bring back their Hero.  He knew the risks and faced them anyway. I wear my bracelet to remember this Hero in my heart always.  May we never forget.

As I reflect on the sacrifice of My Hero, I can’t help but think about the fact that we are not guaranteed another day, we may not have a tomorrow. If you knew that tomorrow you would face your maker what would you do differently?  What if you would face Him in a month, or a year? Would you spend that year loving your neighbor? Would you spend more time in prayer? Would you finally find a church to be active in?

James 4:13-17 13Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." 16As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins."

This very same reflection changed my life the day after the twin towers fell on 9/11.  I realized that my number could come up Any day and I wasn't going to make excuses for living for God when I was out of college or when I had more time or I got married anymore. I turned my heart over to Him on September 12, 2001. Now I could never go back for He is faithful!

Reflection Question: What excuse would you make to God for not giving Him your all if you met Him today? How are you going to stop procrastinating TODAY?

**This Blog Entry is posted in Honor of ALL Gold Star Family Members**

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Keep Your Eye on the ..... Quarterback

One fall afternoon at a little league football game, a young boy named Josh was playing defense. He was really good at his job of tackling the quarterback. Too good. The other team double teamed Josh, and he was still getting through. One of the blockers was obviously getting frustrated and on the next play he grabbed Josh’s face-mask and took him down. If you know anything about football, you know that grabbing a face-mask is not only against the rules but dangerous.  Josh was angry. He ran over and told his coach what happened, and the coach calmed him down and said “Josh, don’t worry, the ref will catch it next time.”

On the next play, the offensive lineman did the very same thing. He grabbed Josh’s face-mask and threw him down... still no call from the ref. Josh was furious! He ran back to the sideline and asked the coach what to do... same response from Coach. “Josh, just keep doing your job, the ref will call it.” Josh was more than visibly agitated at this time, and as he ran back on the field he told the ref that he better be watching number 77 because the offensive lineman keeps grabbing his face-mask.

Before the next play was run, Josh’s dad said to the coach, “I’ve seen that look before; this isn’t going to go well.” Sure thing, during the next play, the offensive lineman went to grab Josh’s face-mask, but this time Josh was more than ready for his revenge. He picked number 77 up and dropped him on the field, not legal. Then he proceeded to grab the kid’s pads and drive him into the field over and over again, definitely not legal!  You can believe that the ref caught that one.  The worst part of all, was that if Josh would have look up for a second, and not focused solely on his revenge, he would have seen that the quarterback was only 2 feet away!! The prize, the goal, the whole reason Josh was there was so close but he was so focused on revenge and blinded to the fact that his prize was so close.

Don’t we do this all the time?  Our prize is Jesus and God is our referee. God doesn’t always make the call right away, but it’s His timing.  Sometimes he lets things happen to build our character. Sometimes it’s to build theirs. And sometimes we have no idea why he doesn't make the call right away. Often we tend to focus all our time on something that is just in our way of Jesus -- our prize. We focus on the road block and get caught up with moving the entire road block in stead of going around it and focusing on the goal destination ahead.

Philippians 3:12-14- 12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Reflection Question: Where are you trying to get revenge that is blocking you from seeing the prize? 

Story borrowed with permission from Charles Martin

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mean Girl

From the beginning of time we were selfish.  Eve wanted to “be like God” so she ate of the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3). Adam and Eve’s son Cain killed his brother Abel, not because Abel did anything to Cain, but because God found Abel’s sacrifice to be worthy of His blessing and He found Cain’s to be lacking (Genesis 4).  He was jealous of his brother’s good favor.

Why do I do this? I am frustrated with something... maybe something from work, or some person who cut me off while I was driving. The next thing I know I’m yelling at my kids because they’re laughing too loud (yes, laughing... Really laughing?!?) or I’m being snappy or critical of my husband for something he’s done that is helpful for the family!! Ugh!

I want TO LOVE!

1 Cor 13:4-8
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  8Love never fails.

I want to be able to say “Loren is patient and kind; she is not self-seeking, easily angered, rude and keeps no record of wrongs”. I can’t say that about myself. Right now I feel more like “Loren is impatient and mean; she is selfish, easily angered, rude and holds a grudge.” So where does that come from? Why do I do these things and feel this way? How do I combat this?  

We are in a spiritual war for our hearts everyday. Our decisions and actions point to the condition of our hearts. We have the ability to choose which way our hearts are going to point. I can pray and trust God to change my heart to be of love, like His.

Reflection Question: Are you going to let the devil control your heart or are you going to give it over to God?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I Found HOPE Today!

I had some extra time for lunch and since I didn't get to do my devotional in the morning, work gets in the way sometimes, I set off for some time alone.  I decided I was feeling a little bloggy. I had no logical reason for bypassing my usual "God Spot" of Starbucks to tryout Greenbeans Coffee Shop for THIS "God Time". They had a Greenbeans at my base in Iraq, and that was a wonderful haven for escaping reality for me then, but I still prefer my Starbucks now that I'm stateside.

When I got to the register for my Chai I noticed the girl's name-tag said "Hope" which made me smile since I was there to spend time with the Lord of Hope, AND my Blog's name is Overflow with Hope. :)  I ended up writing and publishing my last blog post right from my iPhone. Hope was kind enough to let me take a picture of her name-tag to include with this post.

We can find Hope anywhere! But really, I think that God wanted to send ME some specific encouragement. He wanted to send me a present in the way only He can. God gives us these little gifts because, like us, he likes to be romantic. Most people just aren't observant enough to receive them and be thankful to the giver. I have been reading "Captivating" by John & Staci Eldridge and during one of the chapters John talks about him going to the beach and God giving him the gift of seeing a whale. John is wild and adventurous and a whale is exactly the gift John would have wanted. He told his wife Staci about it and she asked God for her own whale.  God, in his infinitely love, didn't give Staci a whale that day... He brought her to find bunches of Starfish! Much more Staci's style, gentle, peaceful and lovely. He is so good! He calls to our very own hearts. I literally asked God for MY whale and he gave me HOPE.

Reflection question: What romantic gifts have you received this week that you have yet to thank the lover of your soul for?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

How Do You Describe God?

How would YOU describe God? What kind of adjectives come to mind? Go on, really think about it for a minute before you continue reading. I already know what I think.

Most people think of God as a man. Man was created in God's image right? So calling God Him and thinking about Him in
masculine terms just seems to go hand in hand. How would you describe a man then? As strong? Confident? What about provider and protector? Yes yes yes! My God is all those things!

But I think God is more! "He made them in His image...male and female he created them." (Gen 1:27) Let's think now about how you would describe a woman. As compassionate? Nurturing? Would you even say romantic? Adventurous and beautiful?

Wait just one second, assuming you're following me here and that maybe you can agree, how many of you had beautiful in your original descriptive words about God?

It just makes sense though doesn't it? What about that sunset or the amazing colors the leaves make before they fall? All stunningly beautiful. That wonderful beach haven that calms your soul, coincidence? Beauty is so inherently God and so inherently feminine.

A woman knows she yearns to bring beauty to this world, as does God.

Reflection question: How are you misconstruing God in your mind? Who is He really?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Great Expectations

I tend to pray for things I already expect to come true. What kind of faith is that?  I want to have Great Expectations and therefore pray for big powerful things to a big powerful God.  Was he not the one who said “let there be light” and there was light?  Why then do I pray to get to work on time instead of an end to world hunger, with a focus on how I, myself, can make a difference.  Sure I give my $10 a month to feed starving children in Africa... but what does that mean?  

Do you know how big a mustard seed is? About 1-2mm! Yeah, it’s like one of the tiniest seeds. If I have faith the size of one of the tiniest seed available “I can say to that mountain, move, and it will move” (Matthew 17). Really! Move a mountain? Wow, how can I have that kind of faith?!?

I also read a wonderful explanation this week about this parable.  Beth Moore in "Believing God", told it this way, before Jesus told his disciples that they could move that mountain, they all climbed up the mountain to see Him transfigured. So it is also for us who put our faith in Him; if we ask God to move the mountain and it won’t move, assume that Christ wants you to climb that mountain instead and see Him transfigured. I don’t know which is more amazing! To see a mountain move or to see Christ transfigured!

Reflection Question: Are you prepared for mountains to be moved? 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Horse and Buggy

There I was speeding along a back road trying to get where I was going when WHAM out of nowhere I have to slam on my brakes for an Amish family trotting along on my road with their horse and buggy going just as slow as you can imagine. As soon as it's safe, I speed past, a little annoyed I might add, just to have to do the same thing at least 10 more times along this road.  Each time about a minute or two apart and each time I think that I MUST have passed the last one. Good gosh how many Amish people could live in this area? And are ALL of them out right now?!? 

I was learning about Mary and Martha this week also and the two seemed so tied together.  Here Martha is preparing a meal for Jesus and His disciples, whom She invited over I might add, and her sister Mary, of all people, is just sitting there doing nothing but listening to the conversation. Not helping at all. And Martha gets fed up, and says (paraphrased) "Jesus, can't you make Mary come help me?" and Jesus in his infinite wisdom says (also paraphrased) "Martha, Mary has figured out how to slow down and enjoy this life I've given her and she's enjoying time with the Word of God (aka me, Jesus) and I'm not going to make her start hurrying up and just do do doing all the time." ~at least... that's how I read it ;) Check out Luke 10:28-42 for reference.

So hmmm, maybe the Amish people had it right in some ways.  Maybe they were not annoyed as I was trying to just get where I was going. Maybe they were just enjoying where they were while they were there.  And who says it was my road anyway?  I wanted them to get out of my way, but all my rushing about probably threw up some dust and rocks at them.  How selfish of me. 

How often do the busy things of life become the "important things" just because they're the most urgent, not because they are truly the most important?  And how often do we ignore the truly important things just because they're not screaming at us with urgency?

Reflection Question: What is important in your life that has been pushed aside by the urgent things in your life? What are you going to do to change that?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Devil Is Against Me (and my blog)

Yes, sure that seems obvious, but hear me out. First Google just stops working and I lose half of my last post... so I restart it and try to remember what I said that most certainly was way better the first write. Then out of nowhere my computer restarts itself.  My almost brand new computer that my sweet husband got me for mothers day that has never had an issue Ever since I got it, up and restarted!!  This time I had saved my blog as I went along, but it got me to thinking... maybe I’m effecting something... or someone. Maybe I’m just effecting my own heart and spiritual well-being enough to cause some extra “irritation”. Maybe the devil wants me to quit this blog because if it’s irritating enough with all the other junk I have going on, maybe I’ll just give up.  

WELL BUDDY-- wrongo!  Jesus didn’t die on the cross and rise again to make my life safe and easy. He died to make me dangerous!!! And with danger will come difficulties and hardships... so not that I want to say bring it on... because I’m certain I’ve been pretty overwhelmed lately, but “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)  and gosh darn it, I’m going to LIVE that way, not talk that way!

Reflection Question: Are you living in a way that you’re dangerous to the devil? 

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Whale

It’s funny when you know where you are... and you know how to escape... but you can’t. And by funny, I of course mean that you have to laugh so you don’t cry kind of funny.

I am stuck in a place that goes against my very being. I am a doer, I am a go getter, I am an effector and I hate to admit it, but I’m a person who needs praise . My job right now has me stuck in a place where I not only don’t get any recognition really, but I don’t have much of an effect on meaningful things. I have people who work for me who don’t want to be there, who have more work than they have hours in the day, and they too would enjoy recognition for that hard work from more than just me... and it’s hard to come by.

One of my son’s favorite stories is Jonah and the Whale, and recently I had an idea that I am facing a Jonah time in my life. I know that my life has a purpose of serving God and not doing what I’m doing now, but I cannot physically leave for nine more months, so I sit... and pray... and continue to hope in the Lord that my day will come and that I will in fact be delivered from the belly of this whale.

This is a very hard place for me. I do not like to “be still and know that [He] is God” (Psalm 46:10). I want to DO. But there is truly a season for everything:
A Time for Everything
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NIV)

I’m not going to learn much by always doing what I’m good at. The Holy Spirit is going to teach me by placing me where I need to be “purified”.

6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:6-8 NIV).

So though it’s not comfortable and I wiggle sometimes, and I cry sometimes, here I sit trying to be still and know that He is God. I will appreciate my reward so much more when it comes at a price.

Reflection Question: How are you being purified by being taken out of your comfort zone right now? or how have you been in the past?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

How Shall It Start?

I have put some serious thought into how to start this blog. I have thought "well I want it to be really meaningful and potent." but then again I have thought "...no one will probably read the early posts so maybe I should save my 'good stuff' for later". So in the end, I thought I would just start by putting my thoughts down as they came. If it was 'good stuff' hopefully someone will read it or maybe I'll get something out of putting my words down. If it's not so good stuff, well... it's the beginning and hopefully I'll get a break ;)

So here we go...

I have been reading Beth Moore's book "Believing God" and it has really moved me. I have actually read it once before in college, but so much has happened in my life since then I feel like I'm reading it for the first time.

The premise of the book is to actually believe God. Sounds simple... but really what we're thinking about is believing IN God. Actually believing Him is a different thought process all together. Do you believe you're beautiful? I mean, really beautiful, right now. Not what you looked like at 18 or not what you'd look like if you lost 20lbs, but really beautiful right now! God says you are... and THAT is believing Him. Think about how you would live differently if you believed you were beautiful. How would you act or react differently. Would you smile more? Would you be happier?

I have decided to believe God, which means to me today to act as though I'm beautiful. I'm going to stop putting myself down and making the comments like "if I was prettier" and hoping for someone to shoot me down and tell me that I am pretty. I am going to live it. It's hard to believe something that the media and world speak against, but at least today I can begin to LIVE it, and then I will begin to actually believe it!

Reflection Question: What will you do this week to help you believe God? How will you live as though you believe you are beautiful?