Thursday, November 29, 2012

May I Suggest....

This came a few days ago in the mail:

It always stirs a level of extra excitement in our family.

Years ago, when my children were much younger, World Vision began sending out this gift catalog in November. I recall the first time I gathered my young ones together and explained what it was.

After explaining to them the needs around the world, I asked them to take it, one at a time, to their bedroom and pray as they looked through it to see what God would have us give as a family.  It was a part of their training in hearing Him.

From the time they were tiny,  I have operated with a strong belief they possess the ability to clearly hear God for themselves..... and  have given them numerous opportunities throughout their childhood to exercise said belief.  The precious thing to me is that they never doubted their ability.

With childlike faith, they seized the catalog - I do mean seized, as in "with great enthusiasm" -- and ran upstairs to seek His voice on what we were to give.  After having individual time with the catalog in the their rooms, we joined back together to reveal what each of them heard.  I can't recall a time where their hearing didn't mesh -- perhaps there was -- but I don't recall it.  I do recall, year after year, smiling with God as their eyes lit up and they boldly proclaimed as they pointed to something in the catalog, "This..this is it!" 

Our family was talking  together the other night when this year's catalog came in the mail. We were reminiscing about all the years we have joined together to discern God's heart for our family with regard to the catalog.  I asked them, "Do you recall what we gave the very first year?"   Without a moment of hesitation, they correctly recalled what we had given.  Such experiences leave a permanent positive mark in the souls of our children when we take the time to sow the seed.

In addition to locally looking for opportunities to pour out God's love this season, I encourage you - especially if you have children --  to consider this exercise for your own family as a means to internationally give.  You and your children may not can go to Africa, China, or elsewhere,  but looking through the catalog or the website catalog will give each of you a very clear picture of the needs of others. It is so easy to give, and not only will it benefit the receiver(s), it will plant permanent seeds of God's character into the lives of your children.

Blessings to you this blessed Christmas season!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What a privilege!

It was a bit after five this morning when I began.  After a good bit of time, digging and turning from this page to that page like a starving child digging into a soup bowl, I brought my head up -- leaned it back on my chair - and looking up said, "God, growth is such a privilege!"

How does a plant, or a child, or really anything for that matter grow?  It must consume something and then convert that something into usable energy that feeds cell growth.

May I ask humbly: How is your spiritual growth these days?

Are you skipping meals?
Eating the world's junk food?

Shudder the thoughts!

A good nutritious meal takes time; time at God's table.

(And may I say from experience it also goes a long way with the Cook to say "Thank you" when the 'meal' is served, and again after it is eaten!)

Growth doesn't "just" happen, and it certainly does not happen when nutrition is ignored or forsaken.  I think now of the pictures I have seen of teenagers in third world nations who don't even look ten, stunted from malnutrition or no nutrition at all.

I implore you, dear ones, in a land where there is plenty.... choose your spiritual substance wisely.   A good nutritious meal takes time to eat and digest, but such apprehending of a gift is a privilege.  The wise know what God offers, the real elements we need to grow and then GO.  They take it with gratitude, eat it joyfully, grow strong, and GO.   

Remember, dear ones, responsibility comes with growth.

The gift of feeding from God's buffet is NOT so you can be a spiritual glutton. I dare say we could all think of a face or two, perhaps even ourselves -- yikes!, that fit this lifestyle.  They run from one "table" to another, taking a bite of this food and that food from one ministry or conference to another, rarely leaving the buffet! Sadly, their lives do not demonstrate the love or life of Christ, giving all for the sake of another.  Theirs is a selfish mission with much intake, but little to no outpouring. They easily begrudge those who ask for a share of what they have should it not line up with what they want to give, when they want to give it, how they want to give it. Such people are perhaps willing to go to the mailbox with you, but don't ask them to go a mile with you. If you only take bite after bite after bite  -- seeking to fill yourself with little to no post-eating action, all you'll end up as is a spiritual glutton. 

Spiritual food is not meant to be stored in your "fat cells."  It is meant to be converted into ENERGY..... energy that is used to fuel outpourings. 

Take an athlete.  They don't just eat anything.  They monitor what they eat. They weigh the nutritional substance against the calories.  They weigh the calories against their workout.  Eating is a very conscious, deliberate act for the sole purpose of building up the body and equipping it to perform the workout, and ultimately, tackle the demands of competition.  So too must Christians approach their spiritual eating!

I'll leave you with these three pictures, BUT  look at them as representatives of spiritual conditions.

Eating the world's junk food?
 Or perhaps not taking the time to eat from God's table?
Do you eat and eat and eat,
but rarely, if ever, leave His table?
Or do you eat and then GO,
energized and ready to share Him with others?

It's not something we like to think about, is it?  The pictures perhaps make you cringe. They may have even been a little like shock therapy.

(I truly hope you won't write me off!  I do love you.  My prayer before God is that He would always use me as a conduit between Himself and people. I love people ....even to the measure that I am willing to risk you leaving my company over offense, than to stay your friend by remaining silent.  If you ask me, there is too much incoherent noise and too much deadly silence in the world today, while real communication from the heart is sorely lacking!)

You have to know that God sees the inner 'us' first and foremost, and if we truly desire to be like Him, we have to be willing to take an honest assessment of our habits. Spiritual habits have BOTH physical and spiritual consequences.... impacting our individual life AND the lives of those surrounding us.  

Before departing, ask yourself, "What picture best represents me, spiritually speaking?" 

If it is either one of the top two, humbly may I ask: 
What are you going to do about it?

I implore you to get together with God .....He has your answer, but be prepared after eating to then GO!  It's the only way to stay spiritually healthy and growing!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Refreshing Benefits

Have you ever taken the time to lie in the floor as worship music washes over your soul? 

For me, refreshing benefits come when I lie out on the floor,  my eyes closed, my spirit quiet.

I used to resort to this activity when I was "tapped out," seeking a touch from God to refill my energy and peace.

But the revelation came to me one day, "Why wait till you're tapped out?"

My husband used to joke with me about the gas tank in my car. Up until a few months ago (actually I can tell you exactly when -- August, when school began), it was not entirely uncommon for me to run around habitually with the gas light on.

I just didn't like to be bothered with having to stop (dare I say, waste my time) at the gas station. Underneath the initial layer of annoyance at the "bother" or waste of time was the equal annoyance of the cost. It irritated me how much a tank of gas cost, so I would find myself, when I took the time to stop, only putting a little in the tank.

I had this skewed perception that my method was "adequate" (after all, I just needed a little gas to get me here and there) and justified, saving both time (at least in the moment) and my bank account.

You know where I am heading with this, don't you?

Too many of us see just how long we can go in between "refills," don't we?

By God's grace, I never ran entirely out of gas. Spiritually speaking, by God's grace, WE never run entirely out of gas either. Oh, I can hear a few of you saying, "I don't know about that!" But the fact that you are reading this indicates you are still breathing.... and so, by God's grace, still living... maybe an inch at a time, if you have allowed yourself to get down to fumes, but I'm confident you are still with us - so your breath proves my assertion!

I'm not sure why we are compelled to self-torment ourselves, trying to see how far we can go before we refill in His presence.

In our rushed lives, do we see it as a waste of time -- somewhat of a "nuisance need" -- much like I viewed taking my precious time to have to stop at the gas station? Are we filled with trepidation at what it's going to cost us?

For many, they rush in to His presence for a "few dollars worth," just enough to get the light off, before they rush off to whatever clamors loudest for their time and attention.

I learned long ago that regardless if I have "need" to lie in the floor or not ... I lie in the floor. I don't get up until the Indicator signals "F"....FULL! The benefits of staying on "F" are life changing. Instead of my old mindset from years (thankfully) long gone of "just get me through my day," I go through my days now with a mindset of "With our full tank, where can we go, God?!"

So, how about your habit? Do you see just how far you can go before taking the time to lie in the floor and fill up? Or is your habit one of rush in, get a few dollars worth, and rush out?

If it be any other habit besides the one of keeping your tank on FULL, I encourage you to take decisive steps in His presence to break the old habit and embrace the "full tank only" habit! It will change your life! 


PS: Perhaps you'll be interested to know that my spiritual habit has overflowed to become a joyful habit with regard to my car. The gas indicator in my car stays on or near the "F" these days! And instead of rushing and begrudging the gas station, I have learned to be thankful there too, as it serves to be a wonderful reminder of what He does for me every day


Thursday, November 8, 2012

A few recent additions that make me SMILE

Recent kitchen counter addition.
 At night, it is a virtual, "soft lit"firework in my kitchen.
  It's beautiful and mesmerizing. 
Resist this face?  I don't think so.
We gave him a home this week.
This one captured the entire family's attention this week.
 Handmade by one of my most beloved friends.
 This picture of the picture does not capture the detailed beauty,
but perhaps the below picture will reveal a bit more of the detail.
  It is stunning, and the fact that SHE made it makes it priceless!

Oh baby!
This was lovingly put together by a gal
 who studied at the Le Cordon Bleu Institute.
 We will have a fun time with some Macintosh apples come Thanksgiving!
Two nights ago, my husband bought and brought home
 two "constant" mug warmers for me.
 Now, I don't have to constantly reheat my coffee, tea, or hot coco!
They work  fabulously!

"Smiles are the language of love."

Have you smiled today? 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I have been offline for several days.  In truth, our internet was knocked out late Thursday evening and remained off until late Monday afternoon.  I could imply a supernatural hand in it, but I'll not go there.  Instead, I can say emphatically  I used the opportunity as it was to hunker into Him with all diligence.

Sunday, after leaving church -- after spending time corporately praying and giving thanksgiving that regardless of the pending election, God is sovereign and wholly in charge -- I was struck with Jeremiah 5:7-9, so much so that I took up my Bible in the car riding home and opened it to these words:

“Why should I pardon you?
Your sons have forsaken Me
And sworn by those who are not gods.
When I had fed them to the full,
They committed adultery
And trooped to the harlot’s house. 
 “They were well-fed lusty horses,
Each one neighing after his neighbor’s wife.
“Shall I not punish these people,” declares the Lord,
“And on a nation such as this
Shall I not avenge Myself?"

Since reading these words, I have been silent and reverent before Him. I could give Him no answer to counter His charges against our nation.  It continues to be a most reverent time in my spirit before Him.  I grieve for this land... and it is by no means solely rooted in the elections of yesterday.

I grieve because of the choices mankind has made and continues to make on a daily basis.....choices that rise up in obstinate opposition to God.  A state of delusion suffocates the land where we believe we can say one thing and live another without consequences.  If one continues to read in Jeremiah -- God continues:

"Go up through her vine rows and destroy,
But do not execute a complete destruction;
Strip away her branches,
For they are not the Lord’s.
“For the house of Israel and the house of Judah
Have dealt very treacherously with Me,” declares the Lord. 
"They have lied about the Lord
And said, “Not He;
Misfortune will not come on us,
And we will not see sword or famine."

This is God's charge concerning delusional living.  A mindset that thumbs its nose at God and declares boldly, "He won't do anything! He doesn't really even exist! We will rule ourselves!"  

I would say, "God be merciful to us" -- but in truth, short of the Cross and to no reason whatsoever within ourselves, why should He be?

We are here at this point in time.  In your own heart, you know the part you have played.  We ALL have a hand in this.  None is righteous -- no, not one.  Some in His Church fell asleep. Apathy took root and put them to sleep with a mindset "as long as it doesn't upset my plans, I don't care."   Some in His Church prostituted themselves to the world -- giving their affections and talents to whoever would take them.  Some in His Church attempted to lock themselves away in a safe bubble. They didn't want their hands or clothes to get messy from the filth of this world.  But regardless, I sense that many are groaning from deep within -- attempting with everything in them to resist panic -- saying  over and over, "God is in control -- It's okay -- God is in control."  And again -- such groanings are not wholly rooted in the election of yesterday.  Many have been saying this for a variety of "superficial reasons" -- from unemployment, to economic woes, to world wide wars -- but at the core, we know the reason; mankind senses deep within a lifting of His increasing chasm between us and His favor, His approval.

I wonder today how many see His penetrating eye that probes the heart and asks, "Why should I pardon you?"

Do you hear His heart's cry?

While He deeply desires to be Father, 
He is first and foremost and ever will be GOD.

May the heavens hear our silence today,
as God looks to and fro for our repentant hearts.