Sunday, September 09, 2012

When It Hurts So Bad That It's Hard To Breathe...

I heard a sermon once about the man who was lowered by his friends, through the roof of a house where Jesus was in the hope that the Lord would heal him.

For the life of me, I can't remember what the pastor was teaching because I couldn't stop thinking about the man's friends.

The story is found in both Mark 2:4 and Luke 5:17

Here are the verses from Luke...

17  One day He was teaching; and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea andfrom Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing.
18 And some men were carrying on a bed a man who was paralyzed; and they were trying to bring him in and to set him down in front of Him. 
19 But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus. 
20 Seeing their faith, He said, "  Friend, your sins are forgiven you." 
21 The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, "Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?" 
22 But Jesus, aware of their reasonings, answered and said to them, "Why are you reasoning in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins have been forgiven you,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'? 
24 But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,"—He said to the paralytic—"I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home." 
25 Immediately he got up before them, and picked up what he had been lying on, and went home glorifying God. 
26  They were all struck with astonishment and began glorifying God; and they were filled with fear, saying, "We have seen remarkable things today."

Think with me about these friends for a minute.

How they must have loved this man! They heard that the Healer was home and they were trying desperately to get their paralyzed friend inside so they could lay him at the very feet of Jesus!

But they were shut out. 

No room.

Standing room only would be an understatement for this story.

That didn't stop this man's friends, though. 

Instead they climbed up on the roof, and Mark tells us that they had to remove the roof and dig an opening in it so that they could lower their friend down to Jesus.

Can you even begin to imagine?!

They had to get up there first. 
Then they had to get him up there, stretcher and all. 
Then remove the roof, 
then dig the hole, 
then finally lower the pallet upon which he was laying paralyzed, 
all. the. way. down. without dropping him.

See why I've never been able to forget the friends?!

Friends like these are often few and far between. 
They're the ones that you hold so closely that your hearts are laced together as Jonathan and Davids' were.

I am so awesomely and amazingly blessed to have a friend like this. In truth, I have a few.

But this one..."my Jan" as I call her, is so much more than a friend to me. 

She's my Nathan. 
She's my sister. 
She's my Hur.

Nathan because she speaks truth to me in a way that always hits the nail on the head, and she does it so lovingly in the power of the Holy Spirit...but I am always changed by what she says...changed in a way that matures me as a follower of Jesus and draws me deeper into relationship with Him.

My sister because she truly means that much to me...having the same blood running through our veins couldn't make her any more dear to me than she already is.

Scripturally misguided are those who tell us that friends are not family.

Another of my precious sisters puts it this way, 
"We have our physical families, and we have our spiritual family that God gives us in Christ."

Perfectly said. The Apostle Paul would agree 
whole-heartedly, as he always referred to Timothy as his true child in the faith and as his son.

Often times, our spiritual family is more family to us than the ones we were born into. 

How gracious God is to give us the body of Christ!

And Jan is my Hur because she prays for me, and lifts my "arms" when I'm weary, and encourages me with the washing of the water of the Word.

I would lay my life down for her without pausing to think about it for a second.

She is also one of the most faithful servants of the Lord that I've ever known, in addition to being one of the best Precept leaders I've ever had the sheer gift of learning from!

The last 5 years or so have been incredibly hard for my dear friend, on countless levels.

She moved from California to Arizona because they discovered that her health had been badly compromised by mold, and were told that the air in Arizona would be better for her.

In Arizona, she contracted a very rare virus called Valley Fever and has been incredibly sick from it.

Her body is frail and has been through the ringer from chemotherapy treatments.

We thought she was doing better, but this week she received news that the spot on her lungs has grown drastically.

My Jan.

"Oh God, not my Jan. Not again. Please Father, not again."

Would you please, please, please pray with me for Jan?

This week she and her family will be moving cross country, from California to Corpus Christie, Texas.

Please pray that she will be given abundant grace for the drive.

Please pray that the Lord will direct her right to the doctors that she needs and that she'll be able to quickly get the care/surgery/medicines that will help her.

Please pray for the Lord to heal her completely.

Please pray for her family.

Please pray that she will connect quickly with others in Corpus Christie who will help and serve her.

Please pray, as would be her request, that God is glorified in and through every bit of this trial.

Oh that the Lord would see the faith of her friends and choose to heal her!

I don't think for a minute that this disease is about sin in her life, so please don't read that into my story just because that happened to be the case with the man in the Bible.

Jesus forgave that man's sin in order to demonstrate his divinity to the scribes and Pharisees. Period.

I don't profess to know why God is allowing this to happen to my precious friend. 

But neither of us doubt 
that God has a plan
that God is just
that God is love, and 
that God is good.

Even in the bad, God is good.

I know that many of you have prayer chains at your churches and within your Bible study groups.

Would you please add my Jan to them?

If she were the only friend I had in my life, I would consider myself one of the most blessed people to have ever lived. How gracious God is, that He has given me others as well.

Many of you are some of those friends, so I plead with you to help me remove the roof and dig the hole and lower her pallet before the feet of our Lord, through prayer.

I will be forever grateful.

I love you Jan. So, so much!

And I love you reader, thank you for praying...


Tuesday, May 08, 2012

He Will Baptize You With the Holy Spirit and Fire...

I found the post I wrote a few years ago about this portion of Matthew chapter 3.

Read it in context of Matthew 3:7-12.

Much love...

Matthew Chapter 1 - 3 Observations...

I'm writing now from my iPad, and haven't a clue as to how to format my entries with color or cool fonts. Sorry if the layout is boring...hopefully the content won't be. :0)

I'm so excited that some of you want to join me and journey together through the New Testament over the next several months!

As you know if you've read much of this blog, or even the mission statement for it, I love studying the Bible inductively, and deeply desire for you to learn to do so as well.

However, I've found that I can be working through an inductive study and still have 10-15 minutes a day to simply read and soak in more of the Word.

Thus, as we walk this road through the New Testament together, I won't be treating it as an inductive study, per se, but without a doubt much of my training in studying that way will come out.

I find that after using the method of inductive study that I've learned through Precept Ministries International for these past 13 years, even when I'm reading I'm thinking inductively...which makes for an even richer reading experience.

Today was my start in reading the New Testament through for the second time, and I so enjoyed doing it with my children.

I'm just going to highlight some of the verses that jumped out at us this time through, but I want to encourage YOU to please post your "ah-ha" moments, as yours will likely be different than ours. This is where doing this study together will be fun and interactive.

My precious friend and spiritual mother, "Momma-Nan" as she's so lovingly called here, shared with me that when she first became a Believer she read through the entire Bible, and as she did so she underlined in red anything that really stood out to her.

That might be a neat thing to do to help you...I love that idea!

A word about Matthew chapter 1. It's IMPORTANT! Please don't skip it just because it has a bunch of names in it. Each one of them is important, and tells a part of the redemptive story of who our Lord is. Perhaps you'll even see a name that jumps out at you as one that you're familiar with.

OK...these are the verses that stood out for us today:

Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David the king.
David was the father of Solomon by Bathsheba who had been the wife of Uriah. (Matthew 1:5, 6 NASB)

I want to take a second here because these verses are so HUGE!!!

Salmon was married to Rahab...remember her? She was the prostitue who protected the spies when they went in to spy out the Promised Land before taking Jericho. The fact that she is in the geneaology of Jesus is so AWESOME to me. You see, Rahab forsook her life of sin and allied herself with the One true God of Israel, and God in His grace provided a Godly husband for her and blessed her with a son.

Instead of her story being all about her sin, through Jesus it became about her redeption...and then the redemption of of any sinner who puts their faith in Jesus Christ.

Ruth is a very similar story. She was a Moabite...born and rasied under hideous pagan worship. During a famine in Israel, her soon-to-be-father-in-law took his family into Moab where he and his two sons (who took Moabite wives even though they were told by God not to) lived long enough for Ruth to marry one of his sons.

Both sons and her father-in-law ended up dying in Moab, but God spared her mother-in-law Naomi, and Ruth made a decision to forsake her family and the pagan worship that she'd been raised under to make the same decision that her soon-to-be new husband's mother had enter into covenant with the One true God...the God of Israel.

The Lord went on to bless her with a Godly husband and with a son who was the grandfather of King David.

I love this story so much, because it gives me such personal grace.

I too was like Rahab in many ways. I too was raised under false teaching and had to make a decision to turn from it completely. I too have seen the unmerited favor of God in my life through a husband who loves Him and cares for me as Boaz did for Ruth.

And I too have been given a mighty son in Christ...a young man who loves the Lord and is so hungry for His Word.

I just think it's AWESOME that Boaz was raised by a former prostitute turned redeemed daughter of the LORD, and that he didn't hesitate to take Ruth (a former pagan) as his wife when he saw her heart for the LORD GOD...and that together they raised a son (Obed) who raised a son (Jesse) who raised a son (David) who raised a son (Solomon)to know and love the LORD.

Not that any of those men were perfect...and certainly Solomon found himself in the very cesspools of pagan worship from which his great grandmother and great-great grandmothers had been saved...yet he had been given TRUTH...what he chose to do with it was up to him.

Next verse:
Josiah became the father of Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. (Matthew 1:11NASB)

I love that because of Josiah's obedience to God, by tearing down all of the high places in Judah, God protected his time in the land and he didn't have to live through the deportation. Again, God's grace...

But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 1:20 NASB)

Not sure where I've been...but this was the first time that I "saw" that God called Joseph "son of David." WOW! Super cool!!

but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus. (Matthew 1:25 NASB)

This verse makes it clear that Mary was not a virgin forever. That, along with the verses that we'll see as we go along that show us who Jesus' brothers were.


When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. (Matthew 2:3 NASB)

We all found this interesting...why was all Jerusalem troubled? Hmmm...


After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11 NASB)

Their first reaction to seeing the King of you see it?

Can you even being to imagine what yours will be?

Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi. (Matthew 2:16 NASB)

According to the time determined from the magi...this seems to clear up the question about how old Jesus likely was when the magi found Him. He likely was about two years old, not the baby in the manger that we think of.

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? (Matthew 3:7 NASB)

A viper is a snake found in that area of the world that looks like a stick. Yet they are incredibly deadly. One may pick the "stick" up and be immediately struck to their death. John calls the Pharisees and Sadducees a BROOD of vipers...deadly, deceptive, looking one way while being something completely different.

"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. (Matthew 3:11 NASB)

This verse, and the ones that follow it are SO IMPORTANT to read in context. When you slow down and study them in this way, you'll see that John is making several contrasts...being baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire are two different baptisms, not one.

One of them is a blessing, the other a these verses slowly, and ask the Lord for discernment.

You do NOT want to be baptised with fire!

I wrote about this in detail some years ago. If you do a search in the box above, you can read that post in it's complete form.

Next and final:
and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased." (Matthew 3:17 NASB)

Jesus had just told John that they had to baptize Jesus in order to fulfill all righteousness, and immediately upon doing so, God the Father lets everyone know that Jesus is His Son, and that He is well pleased with Him.

Throughout the gospels we will see that Jesus came to fulfill every prophesy God the Father ever made about Him, and that Jesus obeyed every command the Father gave Him.

One thing you might want to do as you read through the gospels, is highlight every time that you see a prophesy fulfilled. You'll be blown away!

In closing...when you're reading the New Testament and see words in ALL CAPS, those are words that have been quoted from the Old Testament. Your Bible may have the cross-references in the margins. If so, I encourage you to read them in context of the chapter from which they come.

If that's too much this first time through...don't sweat it.

OK...time to share your little or as much as you like.

My posts won't always be this long, as I won't have this much time...just wanted to share today, I suppose. :0)

When you do post, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE let it be what YOU are seeing from your own personal reading time. Please don't quote what your commentary tells you; what your Momma told you; or what you heard on the radio.

This whole adventure is so that you and I will read and listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

In closing...if the same person who sent me anonymous comments when I was blogging before chooses to do it again, I will no longer refrain from letting others know who you are. This blog is for God's glory, and not to be used to propogate your false teaching. I DO NOT want comments from you, and I expect you to respect my wishes!

I know EVERY SINGLE TIME that you visit my blog, and I see EVERY SINGLE PAGE that you may read all you like, but do NOT download another picture of my family and do NOT comment.

To everyone else...sorry you had to read that little digression above...but it had to be said.

I'm not proofing - sorry for any misspellings today.

Much love in Jesus,

Monday, May 07, 2012

Through the New Testament in 90 Days...Give or Take

I'm beginning my second read through the New Testament, and I'd love for you to join me.

The goal is simple...three chapters a day, 260 in total. That means we should be able to read through it in 90 days.

I started a 30 day plan through the New Testament last November, and realized very quickly that I simply couldn't digest THAT much meat in 30 days!

I'm not interested in shoving in the Holy Word of God...I want to revel in it, soak in it, enjoy it...have time to mull through what I'm reading.

So, in short order I decided just to take it at my own pace...and that turned out to be 6 months.

This time through I'm hoping to read it in 3...but I want you to know that if it takes me 6...or if it takes you 9, it simply doesn't matter.

What DOES matter is that we are going to be disciplining ourselves to be head down in the very Words of our God...and that as a result, our walks with Him are going to GROW and DEEPEN, and our lives will never be the same as a result of having met with Him through His Word on a regular (goal is daily) basis.

I'll be blogging about what I'm learning this time through, and I would be SO, so excited if you'd post some of your observations as well.

Please know a few things going into this...

1. There will be so many days/nights that you won't FEEL like doing it. Those will be the very times that God will have something so RICH for pick up your Bible, pray for the Holy Spirit to teach you, and DO IT ANYWAY!

2. The same will happen to please pray for me as well.

3. Please, if you're committing to do this with me, post a comment below so that I will know to be praying for you as well.

I can't wait to hear from you through our journey together.

It will never be too late to if you read this post and find that I'm already in Jude, just jump in at the beginning and post your comments and observations. I'll read every one, and as I do, I know that I'll be encouraged afresh and excited anew!

Much love to you tonight,

Friday, April 27, 2012

My Fearful Trek Into Revelation

I want you to know that I realize it makes very little sense that I've been afraid of reading the book of Revelation.

Yet, it's true.

There are parts of it that I've studied over the years, as cross-references have led me to do so and I've always reaped much from those times of digging in.

However, if I have ever read it cover to cover I have since forgotten that I did so.

I've been dragging my feet, if you want to know the truth.

There. I've said it!

Here's a little background, and then I'm going to actually tell you what I learned from Revelation today.

What an idea, eh?

I grew up under a false teacher, in what I most definitely believe was a cult. This teacher pounded on and on about the future, and painted some pretty scary pictures in the mind of a 7 year old little girl, as to what my destiny was going to look like.

Then, in my 20s I landed in my first Precept class. I only went one time, as a guest of a guy I was dating at the time. Their class was in part 2 of Precept's Revelation study (I think each part takes 6 months, and there are 4). I was absolutely CLUELESS during the discussion time, and when they played the video of Kay Arthur teaching I was absolutely sure that her head was going to start spinning around any minute.

The most humorous part of this story is that Kay is the very person whom the Lord used in my life to teach me how to study His word, just weeks after I became a believer. She is now a beloved friend, and cherished mentor.

Yet, at the time that I first heard her teach, I was lost...and spiritual things are only discerned by those who have His Spirit.

No wonder I felt like I had landed in a room full of aliens when I went to that first study.

Fast forward many years to today...

I'm now in a role of teaching other women how to study God's Word inductively, and our group has been doing a study called "Marriage Without Regrets" since last September. It's a wonderful, marriage-changing study and it's been such a blessing to see all that God has used his Word to do in the lives of the precious women with whom I study.

Last November I found myself wanting more. I was so hungry for even more meat, and I couldn't comprehend doing another Precept study while leading the one on marriage. So I sought the Lord on what to do, and felt very clearly that He was calling me to read through the entire New Testament.

I started a reading plan on my YouVersion app on my phone called "New Through 30," meaning that it's set up for one to read through the NT in 30 days.

I began the plan with great intentions, yet quickly realized that eating that much MEAT in a single sitting was way too much for my mind to be able to digest.

Thus, I took it at my pace and enjoyed the journey. I reveled in learning more about Jesus through each of the Gospels, and found it quite interesting that Luke ended up being my favorite Gospel author.

I was captivated by every word of the book of Acts.

Romans....ah, Romans. My life chapter.

Paul's letters...what LOVE he had for the churches!

I could go on and on...and perhaps I will one day soon.

BUT then came Revelation.


Can you hear the sound of my brakes being slammed straight to the floor?

I'm not kidding when I tell you that I've been trying for days to start.


So I confessed this truth to my kiddos in passing - I forget if it was today or yesterday.

And tonight, when we all crawled up for night time snuggles and prayers, my young warrior man came armed with our Sword of the Spirit.

That kid astounds me!

He turned right to Revelation and started reading to us...although both he and I know that he did it for ME.

Bless his heart, he made it through just a few verses and was coughing so hard that he handed the Bible to Shane, who then continued on and led all of us through both the reading, and the revolving of the mind that goes into dialogue when we study the way we've been trained to.

So here's what I learned from Revelation tonight...just a few high points from chapter 1.

v.9 John mentions the Lord's Day - historians say this is Sunday, and explains why we worship on Sundays instead of Saturdays now that we're not under the Old Covenant - I just didn't know that John mentioned it.

v.17, John fell at the feet of Jesus, "like a dead man" and Jesus' first words to him were, "Do not be afraid..."
Jesus holds the keys of death and of Hades.


If John was told not to be afraid, and he was literally having the future laid out for him to see and record, and Jesus was so kind as to touch him and tell him "Do not be afraid...," then I truly have nothing to fear in reading this book.

I wonder if I'm the only one who has been afraid to dig into Revelation?

Sure was amazing having my son and husband read it over me tonight. Talk about a way to start!

Love to you tonight,

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I Asked to be Slayed by God

That's gotta sound a little odd, I'm guessing.

But it's true, I did. Just tonight.

I was driving home from a MEGA Costco trip that just about set me over the edge...but I digress.

I plugged up my iPhone to my car cassette deck (yeah...nothing beats a 1997 Chevrolet Van!) and the first song that came on was a David Crowder song. The lyrics talk about how we are HIS forever, and ever, and ever, and ever...

As I was singing along at the top of my lungs, really more like rocking out in my uber-cool 1997 mini van, I was stuck with how very true the words of that song are for me.


Nothing can separate me from the love of Christ. God has etched me on te palms of His hands.

I am His, and He is mine.

Wow...what humbling, AWESOME, PRAISE HIM AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS truth that is!

But then it struck many people that I love dearly, can't sing that song.

So many of them are on their way to eternal damnation once this life is over.

There is one family in particular whom I love with every fiber of my being, and I know without a doubt that they are watching everything I do....the way I'm handling MS; the decisions that we make for our family; the jokes that I choose to laugh at, and the times that I remain silent.

They are lost. At least some of them are. I think some of them are prodigals, and I have peace with that because Romans tells me that it's not up to the one who wills, nor the one who RUNS....BUT GOD. (The two sweetest words in the Word!)

Tonight I cried out to God, BEGGING Him for their salvation, and for the return of the prodigals.

I realized in that moment exactly what my life is worth compared to theirs...theirs which are not on the way to eternity when they die. In comparison to living in eternity without them, I count my life of no earthly value.

And I told the LORD..."WHATEVER You need to do to me Lord, if it will mean salvation for them as they watch me walk through it, PLEASE don't withhold it from me!"

I told Him that I trusted that if He needed to put yet one more great trial in my life for them to observe me walk through, I knew He would give me the strength to continue to praise His name.

I made myself a willing sacrifice with my words, because the eternal destiny of this family MATTERS THAT MUCH to me!

In praying, I also BEGGED the LORD to pursue them madly.

Is there someone in your life whose salvation means enough to you that you'll willingly offer yourself to God as a sacrifice to His glory?

Please don't tell me that God wants us all well, and that lack of wellness denotes a lack of faith.

That simply does NOT prove out Scripturally.

Why didn't God take away Timothy's frequent stomach problems? Did Timothy have a lack of faith?

Um, NO!

So I there someone in YOUR life for whom you'd willingly ask God to slay you, if by Him doing so and you walking through the challenge praising His name, they would surrender their life to Him?

Here's a YouTube video of the song.

Love you tonight,

Monday, March 05, 2012


This request just came in from Mia and Costel, two of my heroes of the faith. If you go to the search bar of my blog and enter either of their names, you'll see how I've written of them in times past...of how their courage and faith have inspire my own walk with Jesus.

They are the European ambassadors for Precept Ministries, and work with pastors, trainers, students, widows and orphans all over Europe.

They, and those they train and love, truly understand what it means to lay their lives down in order to take up their crosses and FOLLOW Jesus.

For those of you who are still blinded to truth, and think that all Jesus was was a great need to ask yourselves if people would really be willing to DIE or suffer imprisonment just to study the words of a great man.

I challenge you that they would NOT.

But, to lay their lives down in order to study the Word of the living God, who tells us to love our enemies...that takes FAITH, and a deep conviction to live for a purpose that greatly supersedes oneself.

I've had the great and humbling privilege to be in the presence of, and hear the testimonies of many of my European brothers and sisters in Christ who are working with Precept Eurasia.

My heart is deeply concerned for them tonight...wondering if it's one of those that I've met who is now imprisoned.

If it is, all I can think is...their captors are in for quite the blessing!

Please join me in lifting these precious saints up before our sovereign Lord.


Urgent Prayer Request:
A group of our Precept students were arrested as they studied a session in the book of Philippians in Uzbekistan. They were interrogated and tomorrow they will be judged and sentenced. Please pray for their protection, and for them to continue to serve the Lord with boldness.
Mia & Costel

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Marriage Mender

"Praise makes me brave."

I am told that Hans Christian Andersen said that..

Last Christmas our homeschooling group from church took the most fantastic tour. A very precious woman decorates her home each Christmas and fills it to the brim with the most interesting collection of Christmas goodies from all over the world.

I enjoyed seeing everything that she featured...all the toys and the stories that accompanied them. 

However, what I was completely enraptured with were all of the profound quotes that she had framed and hanging on every square inch of her walls. They were hand painted on lovely wooden plaques and some were delicately cross stitched in cute little oval frames.

I could seriously spend an entire day in her home just jotting down all of these nuggets of truth!

One that jumped out at me was the one above.

"Praise makes me brave."

Truer words were never spoken in my case.

I am married to a man who praises me often. He praises me in our home to our children, and he finds every opportunity to do it openly when we're with others.

Every edifying word that he speaks of me makes me stronger, braver, and creates in me a feeling of true loveliness.

These precious words are also balm to my soul, and erase the hurt of years of critical words that I felt bathed in for much of my life.

In return, I find that when I praise him he rises to each statement of encouragement - arching even higher in that given area than he already was.

When I say to him, "You're such a wonderful father," I find that he will grab one of our kiddos shortly thereafter and hug them tight and whisper afresh a word of loving encouragement to them.

When I tell him, "You are so handsome," he beams that million dollar smile from ear to ear and swoops me up in his arms to give me the hugs that I so need and cherish. The warmth of his big, strong arms around me makes me feel loved, protected, and safe. 

In the early years of our marriage there were times that it seemed so tough to find something in him to praise. We went through some very, very hard years. Simply put, we had work to do to become one flesh, and in the euphoria of dating I hadn't planned on WORK, for goodness sake!

One of my best mental measuring tools was the proverbial "He's not being the spiritual leader of our household!" comment.

If I had a dollar for every time that I said or thought that, combined with the dollars for every time that other women have said it to me, I'd be loaded!

I have a challenge for you, ladies:

Take the focus off of how you think you're husband is doing in his role of being the spiritual leader of your home, and mercilessly check your own heart for how you're doing as the spiritual follower of the home.

Better yet, ask the Lord to examine your the Apostle Paul exhorts us to do in I Corinthians 4:3-4...
But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. 
For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. 

I promise you that if you take the time that you're spending evaluating your husband's performance as spiritual leader, and you put it into face-down time in God's Word, you won't be so displeased.

Instead, you'll find that you're praying for your husband more. You may even find a dear and trusted friend who will pray with you that the Lord will place an undying hunger for His Word into your husband's heart.

Ask the Lord to reveal to you the things that you can tell your beloved the minute that he walks into the house tonight that will make him brave.

Ask for things that you can praise about him...right where he is, today.

Here, I'll start...

Shane is the hardest working man I've ever known who is relentlessly unwilling to compromise his family life for worldly success.

He gives it everything he has to give when he's at the office, and does likewise when he's at home. When he leaves the office each day, he's left his best "on the field," thus he can fully enjoy and invest his time with us.

I believe this makes him much more effective in both business and family. He has his priorities straight!

As a result, both his employer and his family recognize how hard he works for us and value him beyond words.

As a side note order to allow your husband to give his employer his all, show them the same respect that you ask of your husband for your family when he comes home. Don't call him at work with family issues unless it is absolutely necessary.

Think of his time at the office as time on the battlefield. 

If your husband was in combat, you wouldn't be ringing him on his cell phone to tell him that the dishwasher quit working. Save that for when he comes home, and AFTER you've let him unwind a bit...preferably even after his tummy is full.

OK, now it's your turn. What is one thing that you can praise about your husband (or wife if you're a man) today?

Your comment may encourage someone else to find that very same trait in their spouse, so please don't be shy...comment to help other marriages as much as to thank God for your own.

Much love to you today,

Friday, January 13, 2012

Learning to Love Through One You CAN NOT STAND!

I know that I can't be the only person in the world who has someone in their life that they truly

Nice way to start a blog post, eh?...especially when I have refrained from writing for so long.

I thought I'd just come out of the gate fast and hard, since this will likely be my return to blogging. 

There is someone in my life who is SO HARD for me to deal with!

Their words, the snide little faces they make, the backstabbing things that they do...all make me want to schedule a sit-down with them and let them HAVE IT!

My mother used to tell me (usually when we were in a fight) that I would have made a great lawyer. 
I'm able think on my feet very clearly, and when powered by my flesh I can tear someone to shreds with my words in mere moments, and convince myself that I'm brilliant all the while.

Don't miss those key words though..."when powered by my flesh."

Oooh! My flesh has a FIELD DAY every SINGLE time I think about this person!

That is, if I'm walking by it, instead of by the Spirit of God which dwells within me.

However, I don't live like that today. That's not the woman that I am, or desire to be. If I blow it, it's usually only seconds before I go back to the person and tell them I was wrong and ask for forgiveness. 
My days of truly ripping someone to pieces with my words just don't occur anymore, but I'm fully aware of the fact that I could all too easily slip right back into that behavior.

I've heard and read over and over that I'm supposed to die to myself, but it wasn't until I listened to this song by Lecrae that I really understood what that means.

(When you click on the link, reallyl listen to what he says at about 4:25-4:45 minutes into the song.
 I love many of Lecrae's songs, because they are so chocked full of doctrine.)

So, how does Jesus instruct me to deal with this person who incites anger within me, more than just about anyone else I know?

He bids me to come and die.

He instructs me to die to myself daily, to walk in the truth that my flesh has already been crucified with Him, and to humbly admit that it is impossible for me to walk by His Spirit and spew hateful words upon this person at the same time.

The truth is, regardless of the fact that they claim to be a Christian, their life defies their cultural church talk.

Thus, I pray for their salvation, and for God to heal their heart.

I take many a Salvation Shot for this person...and I keep thinking that the more I pray for them, God will truly put a love for them in my heart.

That hasn't happened yet.

God doesn't tell me I need to feel something toward them in order to live as Christ before them.

He tells me to obey Him, and by doing that I'm able to allow His Spirit to lead and direct my words and my actions.

How about you? Do you have the same struggle?

I am clear on the fact that the Lord has shown me that it's through having this very person in my life that I will learn to love as He did...sacrificially...toward even my enemies.

I pray that this post encourages you to die to yourself and to allow His Spirit to control your words and actions toward those in your own life whom you can't stand.

Much love to you tonight,