Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Cherished Treasure

Surely you've heard the line: One man's junk is another man's treasure. Keep that thought in mind.
Together, my husband and I are finally reading the book The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. I'm not used to reading only one chapter in a book a day, but as he suggests, that's what we're doing, giving time to think about each chapter throughout the day.
Yesterday we read the chapter that drives home the idea that everything belongs to God, we are merely stewards or priviledged users of what truly doesn't even belong to us. Mr. Warren has given me much to contemplate in the first few chapters of his book - but I found this chapter particularly convicting.
I don't consider myself a materialistic girl. I could care less how big our house is or how new my car is or if there's a label on my jeans. Honestly, I often shop at the Goodwill Store for the bargains, you'd be amazed at what other people get rid of, many times with the original price tags still on them! (Yes, that's where I got my perfectly new looking copy of Rick Warren's book for only 75 cents!) Recall the thought: One man's junk is another man's treasure.
So, yes, everything belongs to God. Okay. I have no reservations about that. I'm good with it. But as I read through this chapter an emotional charge blasted away at my heart as I heard God speaking to me, convicting me and drawing me to repentance. Graciously, God has forgiven me, so there's now no shame attached to what I have to share.
My father in law lives with us and has for several years now. He's not a particularly likeable person. He's paranoid, unkept, has quirky habits and a disgusting past. He doesn't hear, so we write down everything we want to communicate to him. When we took him in I don't think I realized what a long-term responsibility this would be. I admit it, I have some very carnal-minded days.
But as I read, the words on the pages faded and gave way to the images permeating my brain; my whole demeanor fell.
I saw God holding my father in law in His hands, protectively as if holding the most precious treasure on earth. With a look of intent on His face He looked around His creation for the perfect place to put His treasure. He smiled with delight, almost giggling as He said, "Oh here! There's plenty of room in Dave and Helen's hearts." -And he deposited this man into our lives.
What I've shamefully found revolting is one of God's greatest treasures. My father in law. I'm humbled. God has entrusted this treasure to our household -to our hearts and I've resented it far too much for way too long. Recall again the thought: What was one woman's 'junk' is God's greatest treasure!
Believe it or not, after asking God to forgive me and love this man through me - something inside of me has changed. My hearts now breaks over this man. This man that won't even acknowledge there is a God, is one of God's favorite treasures. Pray with me if you will, for God's treasure: Donald Lee Williams.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Earlier this year I read a book by Erwin Raphael McManus called 'The Barbarian way.' It's an outstanding book, easy to read - and I recommend it to everyone! He says things that will challenge your thinking about God and shake up what you've been calling your faith!
On one page he says, 'God would never choose for us safety at the cost of significance. God created you so that your life would count, not so that you could count the days of your life.'
He does talk about martyrs and their faith, saying that 'They were not disappointed in God because they did not misunderstand who He was.'
He talks about the safety of being 'in Christ...' When talking about the apostle Paul he says, 'Somebody forgot to tell Paul how safe the center of God's will was...'
I wish I could type in here all the lines from this book that I underlined. But that would be far too much. Things like, '...Jesus' death wasn't to free us from dying, but to free us from the fear of death....'
'Your expectations of Jesus will change as your intimacy with Him deepens.'
'To know God in the Scriptures always went beyond information to intimacy.'
'His [God's] intent is never to domesticate us, but to liberate us.'
'I'm happy to say that while Jesus can wonderfully make you healthy, He has no ambition to make you normal.'
'The Scriptures are filled with stories of women and men who heard God speak and acted as if hearing Him were normal.'
'When we fear God and God only, we are no longer bound by all of the other fears that would hold us captive.'
' and sacrifice cannot be seperated.'
' is not the absence of pain. If anything, love is the promise of pain...'
'If our children are going to walk away from Christ, we need to raise them in such a way that they understand that to walk away from Jesus is to walk away from a life of faith, risk, and adventure and to choose a life that is boring mundane, and ordinary.'
'When our faith becomes refined, it is no longer dangerous to the dark kingdom.'
'If you dare allow God to unlock your primal spirit, He will unleash the raw and untamed faith within.
I recommend this book strongly to all who believe..... and especially to all who believe they believe..... if you take the time to read it (an afternoon or two is all it should take....) let me know your thoughts! I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Nike Says It All

Some advertisers are exceptional at what they do. Nike sums up a hundred sermons and pep talks and motivational meetings when they tell us to 'Just Do It!'
Did you know the Bible clearly states that '...any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin.'? This is found in James 4:17 for those of you who may not believe me. That's the Amplified version, but check out a few other versions: The Message Bible says, 'In fact, if you know the right thing to do and don't do it, that, for you, is evil.' And the NIV says it this way: 'Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.'
So what is our oh-so-exceptional excuse that will get us out of this mess? We have none.
True, God is ever forgiving, but He also says, 'My spirit shall not always strive with man' in Genesis 6:3(KJV).
God is not the God of playing games. Although He obviously has the most incredible sense of humor and totally enjoys His creations and authors fun itself, His purposes in our lives are not simply fun and games.
When He created us and gave us our purpose, it was ON purpose.
So many of us are 'waiting on God' - myself included. But we know that He too is waiting on us. The next move is OURS! Our pastor made mention yesterday morning that the trip from Egypt to the Promised Land was a 30 day trip that took the Israelites 40 years! Disobedience makes our journey longer and harder.
I've jokingly said that if there's more than one way to do a thing, the Marine Corps will choose the hardest way possible to get it done. But not so with God. God most definitely uses our stumblings around in the wilderness to teach us and prepare us for what lies ahead, but He's more than willing to take us through in the most timely manner, creating ease for us - if we'll submit to Him and obey. Just do it!

Yes, I preach to my choir of one all the time. I'm caught in this desert journey myself, knowing to do good, yet sometimes not doing it. Knowing to submit, yet sometimes rebelling. The Bible says, 'For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry' in 1 Samuel 15:23, yet we (especially us American Christians) find rebelling second nature and acceptable. God does not.

We're all accountable now. We know to do good, what is right in God's eyes... and that includes submitting to Him, completely. We're accountable to do it.
Submitting is NOT a bad thing, its His most freeing provision for us. If we're not completely free, we're not completely submitted to Him. Its really just that simple.

Merry Christmas to you! Let this season of focus on the Christ be a season of submitting to the Christ!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

It's The Law!

Isn't it amazing that here in America the adult population is often considered too stupid to know how to protect themselves. We have silly laws telling us what we can do and what we cannot do. For example, it's just common sense to wear your seatbelt when you're in a moving car. However, we need a law to tell us that we have to do it. Some states require that you wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle. (Although that too is common sense - I have to admit that once I rode without one and it felt great!) Why is it that we cannot be trusted to do what's right or use common sense - especially when it involves protecting ourselves?!? Why does our government feel it's necessary to protect us from ourselves? If we are seriously so stupid that we will injure and kill ourselves - shouldn't that be our perogitive? We generally know what the consequences can be! Survival of the fittest and all that stuff!

Think about it. Our eternal salvation is much more important than anything else that could happen to us in this world - yet God allows us to freely choose to love and worship Him, or to go to hell. If He trusts us, and seriously, sometimes I don't know why He does, why can't we be trusted to make much more simple decisions by ourselves?

This morning in church, as once again the offering buckets were passed among us, I found myself thinking about why we make stupid choices and then make excuses for those choices when we wind up getting hurt. In God's Word He clearly tells us to tithe. By giving Him just 10% of our income, He promises to bless us way above and beyond what we can imagine. But either out of fear or stinginess, so many of us hang onto that 10% as if God can't be trusted with it. Seriously, if you can't trust Him with your money, how can you trust Him with your life?

The mean, fleshly part of me wants to write my pastor a letter and tell him to stop telling us over and over and over again what the Bible says about giving our tithes and offerings. If someone wants to live below where they can, or without the blessings of God on their life - LET THEM! If they want to rob God, LET THEM! If they want to live a life of fear and poverty, LET THEM! If they want to ride in their cars or on their motorcycles without protection, LET THEM! We look around us and see so many people perish because of their own stupidity and lack of knowledge.

But the compassionate part of me, the part of me that is more like God -and more like He wants me to be concedes - persistance. God will never stop loving any of us. He is SO persistant. Even if we choose to die and go to hell, He will still love us. I cannot imagine the pain it brings Him to allow us free will. But He trusts us that much.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cutting Away

As queer as it may sound - I found myself googling circumcision today. So you don't think I'm too odd, I was looking up spiritual circumcision. In the New Testament Paul tells us that it's our hearts that need to be circumcised. That word just brings with it an awkwardness that makes you want to shake off any images that come to mind. Its such a painful sounding word. Makes me glad I'm an American woman! (I've heard some tribal women in other countries are sometimes circumcised too, but we won't go there.)
This morning I went to hear Bishop Tony Miller bring God's Word to a congregation of eager listeners. My note writing is slower now than ever, but he said something like: When you come to Christ, you get rid of the stuff you don't like (about yourself). When God knows you're ready, He starts getting rid of the stuff He doesn't like.
As I read up a bit on circumcision I learned in part, that just as physically its a cutting away - of the flesh, spiritually its a cutting away of the flesh-man, the sinful nature of our heart. It was also pointed out that circumcision is not something one does to themself. Its an act of total surrender (although, its usually done in infancy and the poor little guy has no idea what he's surrendered to).
For us as Christians, once we've begun to surrender to Christ He can begin to circumcise our hearts, cutting away the things He knows we'd be better off without. If He hasn't done any cutting away yet, maybe that means we haven't really surrendered to Him at all. But on the other hand, if we're feeling the pain of the knife cutting away things in our lives we thought we couldn't live without - that just might be a good thing. I could mean we're finally giving in to our Savior, surrendering our will to His. : )

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


One of my favorite scriptures is Mark 6:31. Our hectic schedules compell us to burn the candle at both ends far too often. Just surviving various phases of life can be so emotionally draining we sometimes wish we could simply escape. I do anyways. And I have an incredibly easy life! My dear husband has his military pension and works a pretty good paying job -which provides for our needs so I don't have to seek employment. But from time to time I toss around the idea anyways. I've been married to the love of my life for more than 32 years now - and I love him more everyday. I have three perfect children - and don't you dare challenge me on that! LOL [Okay - they're being perfected in Christ...] But I love them so much and I'm so very proud of each of them. They're all married to spouses that love them and they appreciate each other. They've given me six gorgeous grandchildren. Truly - I am blessed beyond measure.
Maybe it's just because I'm a woman, or perhaps because I'm a wife and mother - but I can become an emotional wreck sometimes. Those umbilical cords may have been cut when the children were born - but the invisible umbilical cord that will forever connect a mother to her children gets strained at times. In particular when those children move away, taking your grandchildren with them..... Or when they go off to war, again and again and again...
My Jesus reminds me so often to cast my cares on Him because He cares FOR me. He does the caring in my place... so I don't have to! Since He is for me - who can possibly be against me? But He has to remind me to cast those cares on Him so often because I tend to take them back. Is it simply because I'm a woman? No - I think it's because I'm human. But He never grows weary of my human-ness.
He couldn't bear to exist for all of eternity without me - so God our Father sent Jesus His only Son to bear the punishment for my sins so that we could freely exchange His never-ending love forever.
When He sees me in overload mode again, He reaches out for me and whispers into my heart:
Come apart with me to a quiet place and get some rest..... Mark 6:31
I even painted it on my bedroom wall.......

Rest. God's rest. Synonymous with peace. God's sweet peace!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Where's My On/Off Switch?

Okay, so when I'm laying there in my comfy bed, snuggling my cozy pillow - why can't I fall asleep? Where's my on/off switch? Nighttime isn't the only time I notice a need for one either... certainly those who spend much time around me can tell I haven't located the switch and turned it on before I dive into a conversation and say something that clearly I didn't think through first.
Perhaps people around me wish there was an on/off switch for my mouth, too.
But there are definitely times I wish I had one for my brain. It would be nice to have a pause button, a rewind button and maybe even a fast-forward button. When I'm presented with a lot of information, I don't seem to process as quickly as I use to -that's when a pause or rewind button would come in handy. I'm not sure when I'd use the fast-forward button, but I'm sure there will come a day when I might find it useful.
Since I am fearfully and wonderfully made in my Creator's image - He made me the way I am for His good reasons. His Word tells me that I'm the apple of His eye, His favorite. 'But' -
There should be no 'but'! 'Buts' are lies of the enemy. My current position involves exposing the lies of the enemy and replacing them with the truth that's found only in Christ.
I need to take authority over the things in my life that don't glorify Him, that is a fact. If I spend the time with Him that He desires to spend with me - I'm thinking my brain will turn on and off when it's supposed to. Spending one-on-one time with Him allows me to become more and more like Him, and enables me to reflect Him to the lost world around me - sometimes without saying a word.
I'm only human is a cop-out. I'm not merely human, I'm a spirit, with a soul[mind] living in a human body. Any limits are self-imposed.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I've Been Dieting for SO Long...

I wrestle with why I can't get down to my goal weight and stay there. I CAN stick with a diet. I CAN exercise. So why can't I get to my goal weight and stay there?
When we have questions like this we sometimes avoid asking them to God. He knows the right answers. He knows the answers we tend to shy away from. Somewhere in the recesses of our heart, we may already know the answers.
For me, the answers I've been getting lately all revolve around my lack of discipline.
Not only could I quickly arrive at my weight goal and maintain it, but I could be healthier, more fit, have more energy and feel so much better about my physical self if I could tap into self-discipline.
The Bible speaks quite negatively about laziness, so I don't want to admit I can be lazy. But seriously, I can be very lazy and very selfish. That chocolate cupcake or piece of cheesecake is NOT a reward for something stressful I've just gone through or a prize for using the treadmill. It's simply me being selfish, not to mention rebellious. I want that cupcake and no on can tell me I can't have it! When I listen to my own thoughts, I sound so childish. I want what I want, when I want it and no one is going to stop me.
Knowing that the Bible also says that rebellion is as witchcraft before God, I shudder at the thought that I could be rebellious. But today is the day. Today is the turning-point. I've been very lazy, selfish and rebellious. And I didn't expect it to effect me at all. How childish!
Today I will apply 1 Corinthians 10:3-5 to my life and put a demand on the discipline that I know can be found somewhere in my being to walk in this decision one day at a time.
1 Corinthians 10:3-5 says, For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive everythought to make it obedient to Christ. (NIV)
I will be healthy. I will be strong. I will be slender and fit, with terrific endurance. I will reach or even exceed my goal and remain there until Jesus calls me home.
Just imagine what doors will open for me when I apply this to the rest of my life, too! :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

FarmVille Addict

I'm a self-professed FarmVille addict. But why? It's not as if I have nothing more valuable to do with my time. It's not because it's challenging in any way. Sure, I get to be a little creative, but come on - there are far more constructive ways to be creative.
FarmVille is mindless relaxation. It's quiet (because I've turned off the farm sounds) distraction from my everyday preoccupations.
Philippians 4:8 tells us to 'think on the good things...' -and we apparently need to be told to do this, because we humans normally tend to find it easier to dwell on the negative or the troublesome. Dwelling on the negative only gives the negative forces in our lives more power. God wants us to think on the things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report. An old gospel song says, 'I'm gonna think on the good things, cuz what I think is what I'm gonna be.'
How much more power would I draw into my life if I allowed my mind to escape into the things of God rather than the things or escape routes of man? Sure, FarmVille is harmless -unless I allow this addiction to steal me away from the things I need to be doing. If I'm playing around on FarmVille so much that it's now time to leave the house and I haven't even opened the Word of God or taken a few minutes to pray - I go out into the world weaker than God knows I need to be to face my day.
All work and no play makes Helen a dull girl - so I'll probably continue to play around on FarmVille - but I need to check my priorities.