Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My Birthday is actually Jan. 30th, but it posted on the 29th...

Today is my Birthday! Yippie!

In truth, I love celebrating June 11th better...that's my New Life Birthday! And, for that one, I'm much younger, and have way more to celebrate! :)

I just received the funniest Birthday card from a friend. It was priceless. I wish I could figure out how to share it with you'd love it! I love funny birthday you wouldn't have guessed that about me, but I do.

The only exception is from Shane. I don't like them from him...from him I want them dripping with love and appreciation. (Those aren't too high of demands, do you think?!) :)

My children keep asking me what I want for my birthday. I suppose it's the getting older and wiser part of me that told them, "I really don't want anything, but a cake." So, we got one today at Costco.

I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE butter cream icing! I really could do without the cake part alltogether. Just give me about 10 mulitcolored icing roses, and I'm good to GO! I have this dream of one day getting a birthday cake that is made completely out of buttercream cake at all. :) Yummy! Makes my mouth water just thinking about it!

I love that feeling that comes over me when the sugar HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITS! OOOOOOOOHIEEEEEEEE! That's worth waiting all year for my birthday to roll around again!

Sugar Highs! ;)

Seriously, though. I've lost just under 20 pounds..have about 1. something to go to hit the 20 mark, and I'm not messing it up with this cake. I've had one piece, and I'll have one tomorrow, but then I'm done. I've already cut it up a bunch and packaged some for Shane to take to work tomorrow, and some I took to my neighbors.

That's a HUGE shift in thinking for me. Usually, I'd dine on my birthday cake for a week!

But, I see now that God really has been faithful to help me get this area of my life under His control. I prayed and prayed for His help, and He has answered.

I'm not going to turn my birthday into an opportunity for gluttony. No way, no sirrie!

Today I was looking for something to wear, and put on a pair of jeans that I haven't been able to even get over my belly for some time, and lo and behold, they were TOO BIG! I mean, WAY TOO BIG! It's like I just skipped right past that pair of jeans in my weight loss journey.

I had to put them in the Goodwill pile. Dig that!


I can't wait to go out with my precious friends this weekend..they're taking me out to celebrate my birthday with me.

Who wouldda thunk that a girl who just 10 years ago spent the majority of her time stepping on people to get what SHE wanted, would today be a woman as blessed as I am with friends like these?

God truly does turn ashes into beauty for His Glory.

Thank you, Lord. I love you!


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Just a Little Heart Share....

I've got so much on my mind tonight, and so much I want to share with you all, but first I just had to share a snow picture of the kiddos with you! Note the "sticky up" hair that they gave the snowman! :)
Brennan has a fascination with sticky up hair...I think it's because her daddy doesn't have ANY, so anytime she draws a picture of him, she adds some that looks just like the bush above!
Here are the highpoints I want to share with you:

1. Our Precept ladies study is such a blessing in my life! Tonight, I just looked around the room at the faces of the women there and it hit me what a precious gift it is to have women that I dearly love who are hungry to dig into God's Word with me, and I with them.
I mean, I could be studying all by myself..but instead, God has brought these amazing women into my life, and I have the great priviledge of digging in with them...and hearing what God is teaching them each week! It's so awesome! I love you all so much!

2. It seems that God is working to put together another ladies retreat this summer. Last summer we studied "Having a Real Relationship With God", a 40-minute inductive Bible study from Precept Ministries.

So far, for this year, it seems that God is putting all the pieces together...the big difference is that this year the retreat won't be denomination specific. The vision God has given us is to invite women from all over the area to come and learn to study inductively. The retreat last year was a super way to introduce women to Precept studies, and we hope to see even more this year.

I'm not sure what we'll be studying yet, but I am pretty certain it will be another 40-minute study. Those are so effective for a retreat, and then each woman leaves with a basic understanding of inductive study, and of how to lead another woman or women in one too.

If you are a Precept leader or student already, and you're reading this and would like to join us, we'd love to have you! Just leave a comment or send an e-mail and I'll get back to you with the details as we firm them up.

3. My kids can almost recite Matthew 3 by heart...just from studying it inductively the past few weeks! God is so good!
Brennan is asking all kinds of questions about God. I love her sweet little ponderings on Him.
Caedmon is so black and white about things, and he had a CLEAR understanding of what he wanted to do with regard to Jesus at age 4, and has never turned from that. Brennan has been slower about it. She keeps talking about baptism, because she remembers when Caedmon was baptised, and I think she wants to be too.

However, when I ask her if she wants to talk to God and confess to Him, or when we talk about repenting..since she's been learning about that from Matt. 3, she says, "Ummmm...I'm not weady for 'dat yet." :)

I appreciate that she has to be "weady" for that part, and has to understand her need for Jesus. So, I rest in knowing that until that time, He will be faithful to draw her by His Holy Spirit.

Oh, she is such a pumpkin!

4. I had an invitation to go into the local Catholic Church fellowship again this week, and had such a blast! I just love the children in that class..they are precious! We studied Romans 5 and Matthew 3 and then we Scripture acted John 3:16. It was a HUGE joy, and I hope beyond hope to be able to go as often as they'll have me!
Thanks, Steph! I love you!

5. My back is getting better slowly but surely. Thank you to each and every one of you who have prayed for me. It had gotten excrutiating. I had the epidural shots last week and the week before and the pain has gone from about a 10 to about a 5. I'll take that any day! :)

OK...I gotta retire for now. Have a wonderful day!

Love you,


Friday, January 25, 2008

On Baptism....

Our Precept Ladies class is studying "The Sermon On The Mount" right now. Last week we did our overview which basically included Matthew chapters 1-7.

We camped for a while in Matthew 3. Here's the text, so you can follow along with me as I share what I learned:

Mat 3:1
Now in those days John the Baptist *came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying,
Mat 3:2
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Mat 3:3
For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, "THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, 'MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!' "
Mat 3:4
Now John himself had a garment of camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.
Mat 3:5
Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan;
Mat 3:6
and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.
Mat 3:7
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Mat 3:8
"Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance;
Mat 3:9
and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father'; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.
Mat 3:10
"The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Mat 3:11
"As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Mat 3:12
"His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
Mat 3:13
Then Jesus *arrived from Galilee at the Jordan {coming} to John, to be baptized by him.
Mat 3:14
But John tried to prevent Him, saying, "I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?"
Mat 3:15
But Jesus answering said to him, "Permit {it} at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he *permitted Him.
Mat 3:16
After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove {and} lighting on Him,
Mat 3:17
and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased."

First I want to challenge you to find the answers to a few questions...

1.) What was John telling the people to do before he baptized them?
2.) How many were baptized that didn't first do as he was emploring them to? Or, to use the words straight from Scripture, that he was "preaching" to, to do so?
3.) Why was he telling them to do this?
4.) What was his response to the Pharisees and Sadducees who were coming for baptism?
5.) Why was John not baptizing them, too? What were they lacking that had to come first?
6. ) What were the Pharisees and Sadducees banking on to give them entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven?
7.) What were they missing?

Here's the biggie...the thing that God showed me through His Word, which is so powerful. I hope and pray that you will see it too.

If there was something special in the water that would have saved people, John would never have kept anyone from being baptized. John's whole reason for being, was to make ready the way of the LORD, and to proclaim to the people their need for repentance.

There are people today who think of baptism in much the same way that the Pharisees thought about having Abraham for their father. They believe that baptism is what saves.

If baptism saves, in and of itself, then Jesus died in vain.

Do you see it? If water was all that was needed for salvation, why then didn't John baptize the Pharisees? Why in the world would he refuse them?

What was required of them FIRST? It's the same thing that is required of anyone who accepts Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

There is another place in Scripture, where Paul actually says that he is thankful that he didn't baptize any of a particular group in the church of this:

1Cor 1:12
Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, "I am of Paul," and "I of Apollos," and "I of Cephas," and "I of Christ."
1Cor 1:13
Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
1Cor 1:14
I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius,
1Cor 1:15
so that no one would say you were baptized in my name.
1Cor 1:16
Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other.
1Cor 1:17
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.

Now, if baptism alone saved, do you really think the Apostle Paul would have been thankful that he didn't baptize people?

So, I'm guessing that you're wondering if I believe in baptism? Do I believe it is important?

You betcha! I believe that it's a Biblical precept, and an act of obedience on the part of the believer.

Just as I don't believe that someone can say, "I went under the water, so I'm all good", and live however they choose..not bearing fruit in keeping with repentance; I also don't believe that someone who truly belongs to Jesus Christ would refuse the first act of obedience that He asks of us.

In Him,

The Work of Precept Ministries Around the World...

Dear Friends,

When I was introduced to Precept in 1999, I had no idea the reach that this ministry has around the world! All I knew at the time was that my life was being RADICALLY changed as I learned to study the Bible for myself, and listen to God as He led me in the application of the Truth I was learning.

Now, 9 years later, Shane and I have had the priviledge of meeting some of the amazing brothers and sisters in Christ who are working so hard to teach others, in the Middle East and other areas, how to study the Bible for themselves, too.

Below is a note that one of the directors recently sent to Precept, and I share it here with you, by permission. Names and locations have been removed on purpose, and you will notice that some of the English is a bit rough, but it's not their first language, so that's why.

The things that really stand out to me in this letter are:

1. Sometimes God allows illness in the life of the believer in order to accomplish His greater plan.

Will we trust Him?

2. The Word changes people....children, fathers, inmates, teens, moms, the elderly...we must be faithful to teach people how to study for themselves...for it's when we are face-into God's Word that He will speak through His Word and pierce our hearts.

Where would God have you go to teach others how to study the Bible for themselves? An elderly home? A prison? Across the street? A coffee get-together? One mom in town is about to start "Being A Disciple, Counting The Real Cost" and her class is meeting at the park...already there are over 10 moms who are going to be learning to "Discover Truth" for themselves!

3. People in these areas are so HUNGRY for God's Word. Many of them have lived in areas where it was against the law to be anything but a communist until only a few decades ago. Makes me think of Josiah, and how he responded when he finally had a copy of the Word for himself. He was diligent and hungry and QUICK about obeying God's Word, once it was in his hands.

Do we take for granted our freedom to study the Bible without concern, anywhere we like, at any time?

4. Even public school children are studying God's Word! In school! How amazing is that?!

How many public school children in your town might show up if you offered to lead "The Truth About Sex" as an after-school class? It's not like they aren't hungry to know the truth about it! Who will tell them? Can God send you?

5. Sometimes we need to think outside the box in how we reach people. They are teaching children computers at the same time they are teaching them to study the Word.

In another area, kids who want to take martial arts classes must first take a Precept class. For each Precept class they complete, they get to go for their belts. Imagine how much of the Word these kids have in their hearts by the time they get a black belt!

How might God be tugging at your heart to share the gift of inductive study in your home town?

6. We need to be in prayer for these faithful leaders. They are humble, and love the Lord. They have given their lives so that others may know Him, and know His Word. Won't you please join me in praying for them?

Thank you!

7. Remember, every time you buy a book or a workbook from Precept Ministries, you are helping to send books and Bibles to people in other lands where they can't afford them. If you have a choice of buying your class materials from Precept, or from a discounter. Please buy from Precept.

Thank you again!

Here's the letter...I pray it blesses you like it did me. :)




A camp was held for elderly people, and they studied 1 Peter. A lady said, "Do you really believe God is still doing miracles today?". After the camp one woman working with Precept had a stroke and entered the hospital. All the sisters and brothers from the camp came to visit her.

Since she was in a ward with many people, these visitors came to share the Gospel one on one with the sick people. Some rejected, but many received the message and some received the Lord. Now our Precept friend considered that her sickness brought people to the Lord, and she rejoiced over this miracle saying, "Now I understand the sufferings 1 Peter talks about!"

Every day it gets better.

At a camp, the director of a school participated so she could see how the Precept teachers relate to students. A "trouble boy," whom the director had tried to discipline many times to get him to say, "I am sorry," and obey her instructions, after the first day of camp said, "I am sorry" when he was confronted. The director was amazed and wanted to know how it is possible for a child to change in one day!

It was an opportunity for leaders to share God's Word with her.

At the session using the Book of James and Homiletics in another town in the Middle East, where another Precept Trainer taught, the trainer's brother came.

He has nine children, and as he studied about "wisdom" for the first time, he understood that God gives it without reproach. The Holy Spirit rebuked him for not having patience with his nine children who constantly ask for help with their homework. "If God is so patient with me not to rebuke me, I decided to be a different father to my children."

His children saw in their father a huge change!

There is another Precept student in another town in the Middle East. His ministry is to teach Precept in penitentiaries. As he went to the market, his name was called, "My name is Art. Thank you for coming to the prison and teaching God's Word. You may not know, but I received the Lord, I was released from prison, and now I attend a local Baptist church."

A group of six troubled youth with lots of problems of their own came to church in yet another town. Their behavior was unpleasant. The church youth leader, was advised to start a Precept class with this group.

After prayer, this man began to train the church youth leader and others how to lead a class.

The church youth leader started teaching "The Truth About Sex" to this group. To his
surprise, these young men became much disciplined during the lesson and very interested about the knowledge they found in the Bible about this hot topic. When the church youth leader said, "We will see you in two weeks," they said, "No. We want to come next week to the class because we are eager to hear what God says about sex."

The Precept leader who introduced the church youth leader to Precept is happy that the youth leader understands the value of teaching God's Word to these youth.

After our trainer had a seminar in a large church in another town, the pastor said, "We want on Sunday afternoon to study "The Sermon on the Mount" with the whole church. Five hundred people come every Sunday, and they are on Lesson 7 now. The pastor is amazed how young and old come with Bibles and notebooks and write down everything that is on the board.

One by one people come to our trainer and say, "We want to study more. When can we come to the institute?"

In a church in another area, the pastor asked the trainer to study I Samuel with others pastors, teachers, deacons, and youth leaders in this church (30 people). After a few lessons the pastor said, "I want God to raise godly servants after my departure," just as like Samuel.

A Precept trainer held a workshop for leaders from all churches in another city using the Book of Leviticus. The leaders rejoiced over the discovery of the message of this book. "Now we see God's desire for His people to be holy and in fellowship with Him. Now we understand this book to be more than "blood and sacrifices." "

They are encouraged to take this study to their churches.

At Christmas 2007, Precept students organized many events to reach out to the community. Christmas for orphans and for widows were events held in local churches where the Gospel was presented, and people were motivated to come to local Precept classes.

Also Christmas events were organized in public schools where we teach Precept during the year. The students are encouraged to continue to study Precept during the school year.

Work in public schools continues to be a success. In a village middle school, all 350 students study "Computers, Gospel of John and Numbers."

"The Truth About Sex" was presented at another school to 450 students and 15 teachers. Five public schools in another town study "God, Are You There?" (The book of John), "Lord, I Want to Know You" (The Names of God), and "The Truth About Sex" according to the children's ages. There are 1,185 students and 30 teachers involved.

In a penitentiary in the Middle East, Precept students of the institute go four times per week to teach Precept classes. The same students go to four public schools and teach 340 people.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Pharisitical Spirit and the Clanging Cymbol

href="" width="425" height="355">
Before you start reading, I beg you...leave a comment below and commit to call me on it if you ever hear me starting to act like this monkey again! All you'd have to say is, "Monkey Girl!" and I'd get it!

As you may know by now, our Precept study group is working through "The Sermon On The Mount". This has been a special time of preparation for me this go 'round. So sweet. I feel more ready than I ever have before, and so excited!

God keeps waking me up EAAAAAAAAAAAARLY telling me that we've got a date for love, and I don't want to miss it!

It's precious to me, really.
Have you ever had that in your life...a time when you just knew that the Father was BECKONING you to come and sit at His feet, and soak in HIM. It's like the best date in the world, and I really don't want to miss even one! I invision getting to crawl up in His lap and hug on Him once I get to heaven. Wouldn't that be the COOLEST?!

Through this time, He is graciously molding me. (I'm hoping He'll take off about 30 pounds of external clay, but I think what He's really doing is carving on my heart.)

You see, I love the Lord dearly. I love studying His Word...I cherish it. Yet what I have found in my life, hiding deep down where not many could smell it out, has been pride.

YUCK! I hate having to tell you this, but it's true. I think pride is all too often the sin that is crouching at our doors, ready to devour us, especially if we allow the evil one to puff us up with how much we know, due to our time spent in God's Word.

In our culture today it has been sugar coated in some cases, and called "self esteem". However, I don't think we're supposed to esteem ourselves. Scripture makes it pretty clear that we're to esteem when we put the focus on ourselves, and on how "learned" we are, we run the risk of finding ourselves full of ugly pride.

One would think that the natural progression for a believer who is growing in grace and in the knowlegde of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, would be to find themselves DAILY humbled before His holiness and graciousness....broken, not trying to figure out how to elevate themself.

Why then, is it such a temptation to judge others in their walk with God?

OOh..THAT sounds like a friend I'd want to hang out with! (not!)

Repeat after me....there's ONE GOD and ONE JUDGE of MAN...and it's not you or me!

It's so subtle how satan can take that which was meant for good and try to twist it to honor himself, by tempting us to allow it to honor ourselves! And how we let it happen due to our own selfish pride.

I was reminded recently about what my first love first love is my Jesus and God's second love is to my family, and my third love is teaching women who want to know how to, to "Discover Truth For Themselves" using the tools of Precept Bible Studies.

But you know what? It doesn't end there...I want to be known as the Christian in town who loves at all times. I don't want to use Scripture to allow me to be a clanging cymbal. A monkey with bad teeth, an irritating voice, and those annoying cymbals!

I want to be the person who willingly lays my life down for my friends, AND ENEMIES...and that starts with my pride. For to do so, I must walk a life of total humility.

I want to be the person that others know will act in love, no matter the infraction, and will be quick to forgive.

Simply put, I want to love people...genuinely love them.

That's it. That's how I want to live the rest of my life. I want to be known as she who loved much, forgave quickly and often, and pointed people to Jesus.

I'm donating my clanging cymbals to a drum line. ;)

God has been using my study of Matthew 4-7 to show me the areas that I have failed in this endeavor, and it breaks my heart.

Doesn't it stink when you finally find the rancid rat that's been stuck under your stove for 3 months?! So with this. It's not fun. And action is required.

But, I praise God that He loves us enough to point out our failures to us. If our lives are to be lived to His Glory, and not to our own, it's quite important that we follow His lead on things.

For those of you not familiar with the clanging cymbals reference, here are the verses:

Corinthians 13:1-10
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have {the gift of} prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
And if I give all my possessions to feed {the poor,} and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind {and} is not jealous; love does not brag {and} is not arrogant,
does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong {suffered,}
does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails; but if {there are gifts of} prophecy, they will be done away; if {there are} tongues, they will cease; if {there is} knowledge, it will be done away.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part;
but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.

I'm starting this week with my children on that passage...we're all going to learn it. A life lived loving people second only to God. What a simple, but perfect guide for life.

Love you all!

Friday, January 18, 2008

It's a Sweet Day Here...

It's been a good day in our house, a sweet homeschooling day.

It started with me getting up in the wee hours to spend time with the Lord. We've just started "The Sermon on the Mount" in our Precept class, and it's amazingly rich. I'm learning SO much!

While the children and I were having lunch, we started a discussion about God. These are some of the best questions and comments that I can recall from memory...

Brennan: "Mommy, when God looks down at us, do we look like ants?"

Brennan: "Mommy, do you think when we get to heaven that God is going to have popcorn movie nights with us?" (Our little family thing we do here on the weekends.)

Brennan: "Mommy, when does God sleep?"

ME: "Well, baby, He doesn't sleep."

Brennan: "NOT EVEN ON THE SABBATH?!?!?!?!"

ME: "Sweetie, I guess I don't know all the things to tell you about that. Jesus is our sabbath rest, and God's work was complete after 6 days of creation, but I suppose there are things I still need to learn about all of that."

Caedmon: "Mom! He does still work. He has to take care of all of us!"

Brennan: "Mommy. When I die, I want you and me to die at the same time!" (This one amazed me, because I can remember telling my mother the same thing when I was little.)

ME: "I know baby. I can't imagine you going before I do. That would break my heart."

Caedmon: "Remember Mom, when we get to heaven one day, we get to rule over the angels! Cool!"


Then we did a little Precept discussion time. We've been studying the book of Matthew, and we're currently on chapter 3, so I thought I'd just quiz them a bit and see what's been sticking.

ME: "What was John the Baptist's purpose in life?"

Caedmon: "To make ready the path of the Lord."

ME: "What was he making it ready for? How was he doing that?"

Caedmon: "He was telling the people about Jesus."

ME: "What was he telling them to do, Brennan?"

Brennan: "Be baptised. Oops! No! Not 'dat. Not 'dat. Repwent. He was telling them to repwent."

(translated: repent) ;)

ME: "Brenn, what does repent mean?"

Brennan: "To change your life."

ME: "So, I could change my life without Jesus' help?"

Brennan: "Oh! No! NO! I meant change your mind."

ME: "Change your mind about what?"

Brennan: "Sin. Change your mind about how you are walking to the sin line and turn around and walk to the Jesus line." (insert Mommy's stick figure drawings here)

So, this was the big question...and I was pleased to hear that they understand what they've been learning.

ME: "If someone told you today that they wanted to go to heaven when they die, and spend eternity with God, what would you tell them that they needed to do?"

Caedmon: "Repent. Turn from sin. Follow Jesus."

Nice, my boy. You're listening.


Have a super day!


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Our New Legalistic House Rule...

Now yes, I know, I'm supposed to submit to my husband. I know the Biblical precept on that...and no, I haven't gotten his blessing on this new rule that I'm implementing in our home. But, he's just going to have to roll with me on it...because it's a non-negotiable for me.

I have decided that our children are not allowed to give their ages in fractions. You see, when that happens, it only solidifies in my mind how very quickly they are growing up!

Brennan, or "Brennie-Bren" as I usually call the sweet little dumpling, is so concerned with knowing how close she is to 6, that it's killing me! She just turned 5 in August...give it some time for goodness sake!

So, she asked me for several weeks, "Mommy, am I 5 and 1/2 yet?" To which I responded, "No baby. You're closer to 5 and a quarter."

I then heard nothing more about it until yesterday, when she danced right up to me, big bright brown eyes just 'a shinin', and said, "Mommy! Today I'm 5 and a nickel!"

It took me a minute to understand what she was saying, and once I got it, I thought I was going to laugh myself to the bathroom! :)

She is such a ray of sunshine in my life. I can't begin to tell you what a precious little breath of air she is! I love that little girl so much that sometimes I'm just certain my heart will burst within me when I see her sweet face!

Now, don't you think my new legalistic house rule is in total order? :)
Go hug on your babies! If you don't have any, hug on someone else's. I just recommend that you choose one you know. Picking up a child in a shopping mall, just so you can "love on them" doesn't often go over very well. :)
What a gift! No wonder Jesus loved children so much!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Ah, the difference a definition makes...

Today in homeschooling, Caedmon wrote this verse in his wisdom book, and then we talked about it. Mom was winging it a bit in trying to explain some of the words, and then decided just to pick up the dictionary for a thorough definition.

Amazing what I found! My heart was ministered to as much as Caedmon's was!

Here's the verse:

Psalm 40:4
How blessed is the man who has made the LORD his trust,
And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.

And here's what we learned as we studied it inductively, armed with our definition...

This is a picture of 3 groups, if you will.
1. The blessed man
2. The proud
3. Those who lapse into falsehood

The word I was trying to explain to him was the word lapse. But, I was flailing, so that's when I pulled out my trusty copy of Webster's.

Here's what lapsed means: 1. to commit apostasy 2. to sink or slip gradually 3. cease

So, then I had to know exactly what apostasy meant: a renunciation or abandonment of a former loyalty

We talked about how the man who chose to make the LORD his trust had actually had to choose at some point. He could have followed the proud..those impressed with themselves and their own strength, or possibly even their rote religion.

Or, he could have follwed those who had lapsed into falsehood.

We talked about how the ones who lapsed were people who had at one time obviously wanted to follow God, but who had somewhere along the line decided to turn their backs on Him, and were now following lies.

It just opened up such a great opportunity to share with Caedmon about how easily that can happen, and about why knowing God's Word is essential.

For, when we spend time in His Word, and learn more of His character, the likelihood that we would surrender all of that to serve a lie, becomes less.

It's just so easy to fall into the lies of the enemy. They are everywhere in our culture!

Books like "The Secret" and celebrity talk show hosts who choose to follow the New Age movement and try to convince us that it's "modern" Christianity and the countless false teachers out there today, are snares that many unsuspecting people fall prey to every day.

I want my children to learn that God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble. Pride is as sneaky as falsehood, in my honest opinion. Any of us could find ourselves prisoners to it.

Which is why, "How blessed is the man who has made the LORD his trust...".

The LORD is his trust.

The LORD is my trust...

Not me. Not my culture. Not the person whom so many others in my generation revere. Not the pop-psychology book of the day. Not the feel good karma book of the day.

Only the LORD.

I will make the LORD my trust. That's what I want to hear my children say.

That's what I want to live by.

In Him,

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

AWESOME site for Bible Study Preparation

If you are looking for a site that will be a resource for you in Bible study preparation, I recommend this site. It's chock full of great information.

One word of caution though, as I'm learning this lesson myself...don't get so wrapped up the the theological discussions that you miss Jesus and the gospel.

Head knowledge is useless without the penetration of the heart, and the fruit that comes from a changed life through Jesus.

Here's the link:

In Him,

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Would you agree to die for Christ?

What I learned from the Word tonight impacted me so much that I couldn't fall asleep, and just had to get out of bed and write about it.

The book of John opens, in verse 1:35-42 with the calling of Peter. It's at this point that Peter realizes that Jesus is the promised Messiah of Israel, and chooses to do as Jesus says, "Follow Me".
Jhn 1:35
Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples,
Jhn 1:36
and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and *said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!"
Jhn 1:37
The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
Jhn 1:38
And Jesus turned and saw them following, and *said to them, "What do you seek?" They said to Him, "Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?"
Jhn 1:39
He *said to them, "Come, and you will see." So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.
Jhn 1:40
One of the two who heard John {speak} and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.
Jhn 1:41
He *found first his own brother Simon and *said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which translated means Christ).
Jhn 1:42
He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter).

What Jesus was doing by changing Peter's name from Cephas, was making a covenant with him. In a covenant, one party agrees to live and die for the other party. So, Peter was making this agreement to live for Jesus, and die for him if necessary. Jesus was doing the same.

Yet, as we know, Peter wasn't perfect. His humanity failed him over and over again, even though I believe his heart wanted to follow Christ faithfully. It's just my opinion based upon Scripture, but I believe Peter was not yet clear on how his flesh could never sustain him in a walk with Christ...that it would always fall short.

Praise God that we aren't called to follow Him by the power of our flesh, and that God has so graciously demonstrated that to us through Peter's life.

(However, I learned Peter's lesson in my own life this past summer. I learned it at a deep heart level, that my love for Christ will never be enough to carry me through the dungeon times. I MUST rely on the power of His Holy Spirit...and you know what? When a believer does that, GOD is the one who gets the glory. No one who saw me through this summer could praise me...they saw me and knew that ONLY GOD could have pulled me through it.)

For,after having failed repeatedly when trying to be holy of his own power, and then being clearly told by Jesus in John 21:14-17 what his new job description was, Peter's whole walk with Christ was about to change dramatically.
Jhn 21:14
This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead.
Jhn 21:15
So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus *said to Simon Peter, "Simon, {son} of John, do you love Me more than these?" He *said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He *said to him, "Tend My lambs."
Jhn 21:16
He *said to him again a second time, "Simon, {son} of John, do you love Me?" He *said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He *said to him, "Shepherd My sheep."
Jhn 21:17
He *said to him the third time, "Simon, {son} of John, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus *said to him, "Tend My sheep.

This is the part, though, that really stood out to me tonight. This is what propelled me out of my warm bed at 2:30 in the morning because I just HAD to share it with you...

Jhn 21:18
"Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to {go.}"
Jhn 21:19
Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He *said to him, "Follow Me!"

Do you see that? It's powerful, and it speaks VOLUMES about Peter's commitment to following Christ now I mean now that he's on the other side of his failed humanity. By now, Peter has been humbled and broken. He has seen how his own power is so weak, and that it would never be enough to make him a faithful follower of Christ.

He MUST have the indwelling Holy Spirit in order to truly Follow Jesus. He MUST, for his flesh is weak, as is ours.

Peter had just seen his Savior crucified on a cross, and now Jesus is prophesying for Peter that the same will happen to him.

The next line is so powerful: "Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would GLORIFY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Do you ever think about that? Tradition and History teach that Peter was crucified under Nero's reign. History says that Peter refused to be crucified upright,saying he wasn't worthy to hang as his Savior did, and rather was hung upside down.

The thing that was so huge to me in this statement of Jesus' was that He was clearly telling Peter that his DEATH would glorify God. We forget that sometimes, don't we?

We spend our time crying out in anger, "WHY HIM, GOD?! WHY HER, GOD?!"

Instead of asking God, "HOW are you going to be glorified through her death God? Show me LORD, how his dying will bring you glory!"

It's hard to remember that God can and is glorified even through the death of the believer, especially hard when those who don't understand the full counsel of God tell us that God wants us alive. That He wants us healthy. That He never wants us to die.

That's just not Biblical teaching.

If Jesus prophesied to Peter, his cherished friend and disciple, His apostle, that he would die on a cross....and then the very next words that He said to Peter were, "FOLLOW ME", it seems to me that Jesus was calling Peter to a standard that didn't weigh Peter's personal comfort into the equation.

It's as if Jesus was telling him, "Look...there are lives to be saved. There are mass millions who need the good news of the Gospel. You're going to have to die to self and be real willing to Tend My Lambs, Shepherd My Sheep, and Tend My Sheep. Then, after you do that, you'll die a horrid death so that God can be glorified through it. So, FOLLOW ME. You'll be doing the things I did here on earth."


That's a high calling, don't you think?

No promise of fame or fortune.
No guarantees of winning the Roman popularity contest.
No hope that all his Jewish brothers would love him.

And no living to a ripe old age and dying in his sleep to comfort him.

So now, how about you and I?

What kind of followers of Christ are we?

Are we willing to stand on the truth of God's Word, even when it means that others will call us zealots?

Are we willing to put all in God's hands, full knowing He can take it as His leisure?

Do we ask God, "Lord, be glorified in my life..whatever it takes....just be glorified in my life, today!"

What might our walks with Christ look like if our prayer life changed and we aligned it with God's will and God's designs for our lives?

Just think...even at that point, Peter could have walked away. Instead, he chose to follow Christ, and at Pentecost, not much later, about 3,000 souls were added as new followers of Christ.

You can read about it in Acts 2.

But, Acts 1 makes it clear that Jesus told the disciples to wait until the Holy Spirit came upon them. It was at THAT TIME that they'd have all they needed to be His witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.

But they had to WAIT for the Holy Spirit.

Good lessons here tonight.
1. Will power will fail us in our walk with God.
2. God can be glorified in anything He chooses to be...even the death of one of his saints.
3. To be in the center of God's will, we must wait upon the leading of the Holy Spirit, and then we must follow....period!
4. Following Christ may mean giving up things that are dear to us...either in the here and now, or in the future. Will we love him enough, trust him enough, and wait on the Holy Spirit enough to follow Him through even the painful times?

Will we be like Cassie Bernall when faced with our future, or lack of it? Will we stand firmly and say, "Yes. I believe in God", no matter the possible outcome?

Will we live our lives in such a way that we are cities on a hill, as Jesus told us to be in Matthew? Will we let our light so shine before men that they will see our good works and glorify (NOT US!) our Father Who is in Heaven?

I encourage you, if you are a disciple of Jesus Christ, to talk to Him. Talk to the Father. Be honest about where you need help, about where you're failing, about what your fears are.

Tell Him you want to be faithful, trusting, and trustworthy.

Ask Him to put you up on the potters mold you into the you He designed you to be.

It may take refining fire. It may take molding and shaping.

I promise you, though, as one who has been through a LOT of God's maturing work, and continues to go through will come out on the other side with a deeper love for your Lord, and an excitement to be used of Him, as He desires, for His glory.

There is no better life than that, if you ask me.

In Him,

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

This is PRECIOUS...a must read!

This is such a sweet blog entry, that I just had to share it.

When I was a brand new Christian, struggling through a painful first year of marriage, I took Beth Moore's class on the tabernacle.

In one of the videos she said something that I took like an arrow to the heart, and for many years I couldn't bear to take another of her studies. I just couldn't get past it, but I now understand that ANY teacher can say something without really thinking about the way it may come across to some...and I've learned that as a student, I need to be willing to extend grace.

I learned that because I so often need grace extended to me when I teach. ;)

I also learned that there really is a maturation curve for a new believer. I had a lot of growing up to do!

The truth is, Beth is so sold out for the Lord, and He has gifted her to speak right to the heart of women.

A few months ago my "spiritual Momma" as I love to call her, Janan, wrote to ask if I'd be willing to go to a Beth Moore conference with her, if she flew into town.

Now, I would go Death Valley with Janan...seriously, I'd go anywhere she invited me to, just to be with her. I love her so much! So, of course I told her I'd go. :)

Well, let me tell you, God ministered to my heart in such a mighty way through Beth's teaching that day. I think I expected a sermonette, but what I got was inductive teaching! ( Which you know by now is my heart!) It was a wonderful day!

So now I make a point of reading her blog. She is a gifted writer, and I love her heart.

When you click on the link below, go to the entry that she posted on December 30th.

I hope it touches your heart like it did mine.

Happy New Year!