Sunday, April 29, 2012

My Office

This afternoon I took the time to move partially back into my office. I dusted. I cleaned. I rehung pictures.Then I sat behind my desk and looked around.  I was reminded of the Scripture verses I wrote on the sub-floor when it was built... 360 degrees all the way around I am surrounded by His Word.  It is a special place.  Extremely calming.  It sits up on the second floor of my home, surrounded by windows.  The views are that of big beautiful trees. I will be unboxing hundreds of books in the month of May.  I can't wait to have them readily available and just in time for summer, too!

Everything... and I do mean everything ... in my office holds a message or a meaning to me.  Nothing is just in it for "decoration."  I could give a flying fig for "decoration" for decoration sake.

Space only becomes meaningful when it is filled with things of meaning.

Take this picture that God gifted to me when I began public speaking:

Or this picture He gifted to me right after "Beyond the Greenhouse" was published: (If you have read my book, you get why this is meaningful.)

Yes, these and more decorate my office.  Everywhere I look there is a richness of His presence... a gift He gave to me at a timely moment.  It is "our space".... and I love it!

You know, it's six o'clock.  I think I'll go close this evening out on "our hill" with Him.  I just wonder what He'll share.  Perhaps we'll just sit together. I can think of no other place I'd rather be, so you all take care and have a great evening.  If you haven't read the article posted today, pop on over to JITM's website and take a read.

And thank you; thank you for letting me share my special space with you!

Loving you,

Friday, April 27, 2012

Deep Exhales...

Good morning, dear souls!

How's your week been?  I trust you, too, are exhaling deeply this morning with the knowledge it is Friday, and if you know God as Lord and Savior, He is right there with you to bring peace, joy, and order to your day!

Remember His promise, dear one!

For I, the Lord your God,
 will hold your right hand,
Saying to you,
 ‘Fear not, I will help you.’
(Isa 41:13)

I don't know about you, but I sure am THANKFUL He is ALWAYS right by my side..... not just to help me... but I am profoundly addicted to His companionship... His fellowship!

For me, it's been a great week... a productive week.

We did get the website server switched over, and the website is NOW back on line! A little tiny oversight delayed it past the 72 hour mark, and we thank you for your patience.  (exhaling)

We did get the book inventory done, and the rest of the office requirements should be accomplished by the end of today. It's the end of the month, so the to-do list is a bit longer.  (exhaling)

Always a blessed thing to hit goals!  Amen?  Amen!

In all the activity, I have been pondering a number of subjects before the Lord. No surprise there, right?  Well, I hope to blog about a few of them over the weekend!  (I'm sure that comes as no surprise either!)

So, come on back and join me over a cup of coffee this weekend!  Until then, enjoy JITM's website being back on line.  The next installment of our "Straight Talk" series is soon to come!

Loving you!  Have a blessed and ordered Friday!

Monday, April 23, 2012

JITM Website Down

Just as a quick FYI, Joy In The Morning's website is temporarily down as we make the transition to the new server.  It should be back up within 72 hours.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Gorgeous Evening!

My whole weekend was such a gift of rest, but to cap it off on my special hill with this sunset just lit my spirit up, even as God lit up the evening sky!

High up in the sky was ONE bright star. How I wish the camera could have picked it up better! You can click on the picture itself to blow it up a bit. The star is in the black circle.

As I sat and took in the sight, the lone star caused me to ponder how unbelievably important God is in my life, always leading me in the right direction.

He is my "North Star."

Is He yours?

May you have a wonderful start to your week!

If He is your Lord, stay focused on Him and do with excellence what He brings to you to do!

If He isn't your Lord and Savior, I pray most earnestly that you consider Him.... Life is far too complex to go it alone!

Loving you,

Friday, April 13, 2012

First Month

Today completes the first month to our new season. We are continuing to joyfully adjust and acclimate.

For one, our kitchen overhaul is just about to come to completion. They bring in the new counter tops week after next, and thus conclude the project. It turned out better than I imagined!

Secondly, Brian and I are making decisive moves to rest. Our schedule for the past two years has been, well, busy.
I awoke this morning aware my body was not at all ready to start the day. For the "go-getter" that I am, that is a potentially frustrating start to the day, but then I heard the Lord say, "Have patience, daughter; in a month, you'll be just fine." Okay, so His agenda for me in the next month is to rest.... literally to stop and smell the roses. I can work with that!

Third, school is wrapping up in five short weeks, completing my tenth year of home schooling. For the most part, it is a down hill run for me from here on out. At the end of the next five years, they all will be driving, they all will be out of braces, and two out of three will be in college. Can you tell I am just a little bit excited about the coming years?! I can hardly believe I have arrived at the harvest years. Sixteen years is a long time to sow, but SO worth it! God has been my Pillar and my Leader through my parenting years, and I cannot thank Him enough for my children and who they are becoming in Him!

Fourth, whispers from the west coast have blown my direction again! I can hardly contain my thrill! The organizer of last year's west coast conference has contacted me with a tentative proposal for another woman's conference this fall! Thank You, Lord, for how You continue to use Joy In The Morning! Cause us to steward it well, Lord; cause us to steward it WELL!

Fifth, speaking of Joy In The Morning, we will be shifting the website to another server in the next two weeks. Prayerfully, it will go off without a hitch, but should you attempt to access and come up with an odd message, just know it is being worked out, and we'll back better than before!

And so, as I look to today, it thrills me to reflect back on a month of exceptional living. Much has shifted and changed... blissfully so.... and much is to shift and change in the coming months, but it is all welcomed and all good!

I praise the Lord for being Captain of the Kirby household. I praise Him for the leadership of my Godly husband, and the nest that man of mine has provided for me and our children. God's presence, purpose, and power invades our lives.... may it always be until I breathe my last and step across the death veil into His utter fullness!

Now all this means very little if I don't ask the question so solidly on my heart right now...... Do YOU know my God?
Do you know what it is to rest in Him? To have Him guide your days? To know of His presence, purpose, and power? Oh, how I pray you do!

I'm a person who does NOT want the world to see my blessings for the blessings' sake. NO! I'm one who wants people to know the source of my blessings and to know He longs to be their intimate Savior, their All-in-all. We are blessed to be a blessing, and the greatest blessing there is is to KNOW God as Lord and Savior. Life blessings come out of, first and foremost, a captivating love He extends to us and we then return in kind. Is your love for Him the kind that captivates Him? Or are you in it for what you can get out of it? How I pray it is the former and NOT the latter!

Too many Christians are stressed out, running about with an orphan mentality. They hand things over to Him, but when things don't go as they desire, they take control back in an effort to figure life out on their own. With much effort, they place on themselves the burden of having to make it work "somehow."

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of 1) turning your "life car" over to God, 2) finding the back seat of your "life car" and settling in to it, 3) making a conscience decision to grow and mature such that you are a good traveling partner for God.

A good traveling partner does not whine. They do not ask every few minutes for a break. They do not unbuckle and turn around, looking out the back window, lamenting "yesteryear." They do not fret if they have sufficient gas to make the journey, or what the weather will be like up the road, or, or, or. No, they know their Driver, and they rest in His awareness, His ability, and His provision to get them where He desires to take them.

The backseat truly is a peaceful habitation. I'll warn you though; it does not come natural to us "independent" humans! This is a part of what Paul said when he instructed us to take all things and place them under subjection to God! We are a work in progress, so understand, no matter where you are in your journey, 1) express gratitude for His hand upon your life, 2) express gratitude that through Him you will learn, grow, and mature, and 3) express gratitude that through your commitment to sit in the backseat and learn - you'll partake in lateral movement down your life road..... saying goodbye to circular motion that gets you no where but dizzy!

As He stops and picks up passengers, crossing your path with others daily, all He wants you to do is share Him with them!

So today, may you ensure that you KNOW Him. May you ensure that you are properly buckled into the backseat of your "life car," dedicated to being a good passenger. Then enjoy the journey as you are given opportunities to share Him with those temporary passengers He brings your way TODAY!

Life is to be an adventure!
Live it fully with Him and for Him!

Loving you!

Monday, April 9, 2012

An Irksome Comment....

Recently I heard someone in a leadership role at a church make a comment on tithing that left me grieving.....again.

Try as hard as I do to escape this topic, it finds me. My family has given over to observing my face any time this particular topic comes up. Their habitual hope is that I will not blow up like a keg of dynamite when it comes up in conversation. I am convinced this topic finds me because when one knows truth, we must be prepared to defend it.

They said something very close to these words: "I've heard those who don't support the tithe. They say, 'I'll give what the Spirit says give,' but we all know that doesn't happen."

I could not disagree more.

You see, my family does not and will not "tithe."

It is not a concept anyone who belongs to The Church should support.

If you doubt me on this, go HERE -- scroll down until you come to the tithing article (currently it is the sixth article down) and then READ! Educate yourself.... even by digging beyond the facts I have shared in the article!

Way too many people do things because they have been told it is correct without a thread of personal digging into the Word. And for the love of all that is holy and right, please, STOP using the Malachi scripture to support tithing. Understand those infamous words were NOT words of promise, but a part of a curse upon Israel just before heaven went silent for 400 years.

Do you really want to stand on that ground for a "promise" of good? Think about it!

The degree of ignorance that runs through The Church these days is shocking. If that offends you, so be it. The truth is very few people study God's Word. I'm not talking about "quiet time." I'm talking about STUDY. I see herds of people running with everyone else "just because." If you're going to stand for something, at least study and know why you're standing where you are!

Well, try as I may to shake this individual's comments, I could not. One evening, after hearing what the individual shared with me, I awoke in the middle of the night from a dream. In the dream, there was a bridge, linking two steep cliffs. Interestingly, the bridge did not entirely close the gap. It was many feet short. To the point, one could not have leaped successfully to the other side from off the bridge. I heard the Lord say in the dream, "Their system comes up lacking, but they rely on it out of fear."

You see, tithing today is a part of the bridge believers build to make themselves feel "okay," but it comes up lacking and is rooted in fear.

"Well, what if I don't tithe?" Those who care have been programmed something bad will happen if they don't, or they will actively forfeit a blessing if they don't tithe.

(Keep in mind that what God required of Israel in the form of the tithe is SO VASTLY different than what churches call the tithe today. It truly is a part of the "system" modern generations have come up with.)

We like formulas, don't we? We have a formula for everything. A "safe debt" ratio. (Whatever that is; don't get me started!) A mortgage ratio. An income ratio. An investment portfolio ratio. A college savings ratio. And on and on our formulas go. What's one more? As in the tithe ratio.

Well, for one, ratios imply "CEO" concepts. The CEO is the one who determines what is invested, where it is invested, and when it is invested. Last time I looked God is to be the CEO of your life, but who is determining your giving? A formula? Your pastor? Or the Spirit who leads us into obedient, secret, generous giving?

Guaranteed -- someone is the active CEO in your life, but sadly the one we label as CEO is often NOT the one we give "CEO rights" to! (Think on that one for a minute or longer.)

The big kicker for me is that even the TRUE practice of tithing was not preformed by Jesus. Under Jewish law, HE did NOT pay tithes. He was not required to! (I'll give you a minute to pick yourself up off the floor...then if you did not take the time earlier, go read the tithing article at JITM's website. (Sixth article down.))

And as if the truth surrounding the tithe was not enough, it irks me that while churches overtly support the erroneous "tithe," they seemingly turn a blind eye to Matthew 6: 2-4 that says, "keep your giving secret."

Oh, I know, I know, the IRS "requires" they track their giving for tax purposes. That's if you choose to play the IRS game for 501 (3c)'s.

So, question: Why do churches become 501 (3c) "corporations" in the first place if the government's ways are in direct conflict to Scripture's commands?

What churches have done is to forsake God's ways of handling giving and default to IRS regulations. Keep in mind churches place their ministries VOLUNTARILY under the IRS as 501 (3c) corporations that require record keeping that violates Scripture (ie: keep giving secret).  (There are no qualifiers on that Scripture that say it is acceptable for even church leadership to know your giving.)

Oh I know... I know ... the system is there... why not use it for our benefit? Simple. Because it violates God's principles. Again, Matthew says you can either take your own reward by making your giving known to man, or you can trust God with your reward by keeping it between you and Him. Your choice.

I just wonder what would happen if:

--- churches stopped encouraging "tithes" -- (Did you read the tithing article yet? If so, you would have discovered the tithe was NEVER money (even though money was in existence as far back as Abraham), but produce and animals off the increase of the land only in Israel.) --- and instead encouraged RADICAL, SECRET giving....

I just wonder.


To begin your own research on the tithe, do an Amazon search under "Books," using the following authors' names:

Dr. David A.
Croteau (Received his Ph.D. on the subject of tithing in 2005 from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, in my backdoor of Wake Forest, NC. He is a professor at Liberty University.)Dr. Russell E. Kelly (Born in 1944, Dr. Kelly received his Ph. D. on the subject of tithing.)

Alfred Edersheim (This author lived in the 1800's.) (Title: "Sketches of Jewish Social Life" not only addresses the tithe, but other aspects of Jewish life.)

By listing these three gentlemen, it is NOT my intent to recommend any *one* person's books, but instead I list these to GET YOU STARTED with your own digging.
As you dig, you must always carefully lay out what an author writes with the Word of God in the Holy Spirit's company. The Word of God is to always be THE plumb line by which we measure some one's work. Happy studying, all! DIG! It's FUN!
Again, this is just intended to get you started! My personal library contains hundreds of books. I am a self-confessed chronic reader/studier of all things relating to God and His Word, so understand these three authors should be, in my assessment, a potential beginning.