Mar 30, 2009

Memory Monday

Merry Monday to you! The last week flew by for me, what about for you? I said I would review the last four verses. So Lord, I need Your help. Here goes:

Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witness both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.

I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Revelation 4:11 Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.

Woo-Hoo! I think I did it - thank you Lord!

Next week I plan to tuck John 1:14 in my heart: And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. This verse makes me think of this picture of Simeon holding our sweet Savior:To think that the Logos, the Lord Jesus Christ, tabernacled, pitched His tent, moved in the neighborhood is amazing to me. Glory! To think that He came in a veil of flesh...Glory! I see why this verse repeats the word glory. This picture hangs central in our home and I pray that He who came in the flesh and dwelt among us is central in our hearts too.

Mar 25, 2009

A New Do & Doing Something New

Since Victoria Leigh had been talking about donating her long hair to Locks of Love, I've been appreciating her hair so much more.I've been remembering all the times we've used the pink foam rollers and how she cracks me up by reading the dictionary while I roll. We both learn many new and interesting facts this way. She has a head full of hair and we have some wonderful bonding time over the hair and the hairdo's.Victoria Leigh would try many different styles with her long and lovely locks. Her profile here reminded me of a lovely Victorian lady.She's a darlin' teen indeed with her hair past her shoulders. But she had made up her mind, it was time to cut her hair. A call to our hairdresser in a nearby town, indicated that we could not get in till the end of the month due to her spring break schedule and her reduced hours in the shop. My baby decided I could do her hair. NEWS BULLETIN - I don't do hair - I'm not talented or gifted in that area. She encouraged me to watch the step-by-step video at Locks of Love.She donned one of her daddy's old shirts and was ready for me to get the scissors. Still I was hesitant...And it was here that the Lord allowed me to see a spiritual parallel in my own life. I measured and announced that it was almost 12 inches to send to Locks of Love. We had already measured. Several times. Has the Lord set a boundary and marked it in your life like He has mine? "I'm doing something new here," He says to me. Yet I want to keep looking back and measuring where I've been and making my life out of my yesterdays.I brushed her hair again. And again. It was at this point it was evident I was stalling. The Lord was speaking to me so loud and clear. Here was the evident going back again and again, the grooming and caring for what is no longer needed for the journey ahead.Then I re-adjusted the pony tail holder. I was still stalling. Here in where my heart is wanting to question and say, "Lord, are you sure? You want all of this old to go?" I hear two teens say, "Mama, please cut!"I finally picked up the scissors and started to cut. It did take a while to cut her pony tail off. Dear child has enough hair for three people. I was so glad Audra had snapped some pictures for us. I don't remember smiling. I remember being intent on cutting the hair. I had never cut hair before. I had trimmed Audra's bangs one time. We had to go to the hairdresser to straighten *things* out... But I was smiling. There was joy in the journey. I held on tight with one hand and focused on the opening and closing of the scissor blades until the job was complete.And there was also a very delighted young teen. I love this picture because when she went to flip those long locks (as she always use to do), they were gone. And I loved the smile! Then her older sister (who had a friend over) joined in on the excitement and wanted to help her with styling...oh, the sweet love of a sister! This delighted my soul. Audra stood on a step stool and curled her sister's new bob. Then after she curled each and every lock and they saw what the new do looked like with a headband; Victoria washed her hair and they scrunched it and did styles with the hair gel. In so many ways, as a mother, Audra's actions blessed my heart. Her actions made me think of the "great cloud of witnesses" the Lord talks about in Hebrews 12:1 "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." This spoke to my heart. God is not going to call me to some *thing* and leave me alone. NEVER - EVER. We are shoulder to shoulder in this battle of life. There is a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us - just like what Audra did for Victoria.Victoria Leigh had the form filled out to send in with her hair donation before a cut was ever made. She had a baggie for the ponytail and an envelope to mail it all in ready to go. Just like the Lord, who has every detail in place before we see any activity. Yet, it took me five days to take it to the post office. I wanted to hang on to the old hair, brush it, think about the old styles. But look how darlin' this new do is. And all this curl is natural.No foam rollers or curling irons, just natural beauty that was weighted down.
Lord God, You flat out amaze me and bless my heart
Through every day occurrences, Your Truth, You impart
Lord, You know, how hesitant I am to try something new
And here You teach me through my baby's hair "do"
Just like the rubber band dividing her hair
You've marked my territory and You are there
I hesitate and Lord, it is obvious, I stall
Still I hear You gently to my heart call
Cut off the old
Take from Your courage and be bold
Cut off and send the old out
Your glory longs be be displayed and shout
I've got to make the cut
Stop living in a sinful rut
Obedience is obeying when you call
Help me Lord, I find I stall
I look back to brush and measure
But I do not want to miss Your good pleasure
Help me not to dwell on each yesterday
But with an open heart, be guided today
As the old is cut off and sent out
Your glory has room to shout
The lightening of my burden, my load
The Spirit prompts, no need to goad
I will not worry if *it* has NEVER EVER been done before
My heart Lord is willing and before You I stand, an open door
Keep my eyes focused on You
You will lead me and tell me specifically what to do
I'm ready Lord
I'm waiting for You
I'm ready Lord
I want the joy you promise all along the way
My heart is surrendered to You, today
With a great cloud of witnesses You surround
May You exceedingly amaze me and Your Spirit abound
Cut off and send out the old
New things are coming, in You, make me bold.
Amen

Mar 23, 2009

Memory Monday

Merry Memory Monday to you! This week I tucked Revelation 4:11 in my heart:

Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.

This verse from the scene penned by John from around the throne just amazes me. As I started to memorize, I love that the verse says "our Lord and God". Yes, He's mine and yes, He can be yours too; but around the throne, He is our God.

This week, the phrase "all things" just tugged at my heart and mind. So I looked up *all* in the dictionary and found it to mean:

on every occasion, at every time, ceaselessly, continuously, forever.

That is good news to me that the Lord has it all covered. Then I looked up *things* and got tickled with all the examples:

Some *thing* has come up.
*Things* are going well today.
I don't have any *thing* to wear.
I just have one *thing* to say.
Pack your *things*.
His baby is a cute little *thing*.
There is a *thing* on the *thingee*. (This one was mine - I have been known to give this very descriptive description before!)

The word *things* pretty much covered the gamut from impersonal objects, to thoughts and people. Here are a few of my personalized *things* from the revolving list of *things* that I have:

my dad's health
children
marriage
the move
a new direction
the economy
__________ (fill in the blank, insert your own *thing* to the list, if you'd like)

So when I get to the line where it states "for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created", I personalize it with one of my *things*:

"for You created ____________ (all things),
and because of Your will __________ (they) existed, and were created."

Seeing my *things* in light of this verse, God has created my *things*, and because of His will they existed, and were created - Whoa, I think it's time to give Him some praise:

Ruler, Creator, Ancient of Days
My heart resounds with words of praise
You have my all *things* in Your plan
Help me to press on, and for You alone to stand
You are mighty and in control
No matter how my emotions like a coaster roll
You are Worthy of glory and honor and power
I praise You Lord, this very hour.

Next week I plan to review the last four verses I've memorized:

Acts 1:8
Philippians 1:21
I John 1:9
Revelation 4:11

Lord willing, I'll write them for you from memory, next Monday.

Mar 20, 2009

Inside, Outside and Upsidedown

Our in-house budding Betty Crocker has discovered Bakerella's website. Victoria Leigh whipped up these wonderful creations Bakerella calls a Sandwich CookieI thought they were just the delicious medicine I needed since my allergies have been in full bloom since I'm drawn to Audra's colorful flower garden. The daffodils long stems and yellow trumpets seem to call me outdoors.And nestled beyond the daffodils, are the prettiest hyacinths.Inside the delectable sweets:And outside, the whole earth is singing creation's song!But I thought I'd found a way to have my cake and eat it too...

Picture taken from looking down at the lovely little vase and blooms.

I picked these grape beauties very close to the ground and yet their total height was less than three inches. When the teens were just little ladies, my dear friend, Sarah, gave them the most adorable stickpin vases! Victoria Leigh shared hers with me and it was perfect for these tiny and delicate clustered blooms.

I couldn't resist pinning them to my lapel. They were beautiful in the teenie tiny vase! But then it occured to me that I was pinning on the very thing that literally is sending my allergies off the radar screen! So I'm sticking close to the sandwich cookies. And feeling much better.

Mar 18, 2009

Letting God Heal Your Hurt

I'm baaaaaack! :)

This is a devotional I wrote going on almost two years ago. The events (the friend that called me in tears) behind this devotional and another similar one are actually the bases for my first novel, which I'm still currently working on. Mom shared this with a couple of her friends, and it was then later published in a church devotional book. I'm a little unsure about sharing this with you all, because honestly, my writing voice has changed A LOT since I wrote this, as well as the fact that I don't think I developed this enough, I think I jumped around a little too much, and there are grammar and fluidity problems galore. However, Mom asked me to post this since she's still feeling a little under the weather. So, please forgive anything that sounds ridiculously silly.
___________________________________________________

2 Corinthians 1:4
He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. (The Message)

Yesterday afternoon, I got a splinter in my finger while tutoring my 10 year old neighbor. I ran home and my mom helped me get it out. The splinter was small, but it was very painful! Mom poked and prodded my finger, and I cried out in pain several times.

Last night I was lying in bed, my mind wandering into the land of sleep, when I touched the band-aide on my finger. I thought, "Maybe I should take it off and let it get air. No, I'll leave it on." That's when I the thought occurred to me, "That's just like our hearts when we are hurting. We can open them up to healing, or we can shut them off, and never let them heal."

How many of us are hurting? Are we willing to take our "band-aides" off and expose our pain so God can heal our hearts, our lives, our feelings? If we won't let God heal us, we are choosing to carry the weight of that hurt, anger, disappointment, and bitterness which will lead to an unfulfilled life, where one looks back and thinks, "What was I doing?"

In 2 Corinthians 1:4, we are told that God brings those who are hurting to us so that we can help them, just as God has helped us. What about our friends who are hurting that God has brought to us? Are we praying for them? Are we asking God to show us ways to help them? Sometimes the most meaningful thing is just to be there when a friend needs you. I am convinced that one of my friends decided to call me recently when was upset and in tears because she knew I would be there for her. She knew I would listen to her; I wouldn't push her off; she knew that I really cared about her.

God is like that. If we will go to Him, He'll always listen; He will never push us off. If we open up, He can heal the pain. And He wants us to be an example of Jesus in the same way to our hurting friends.

-Audra
P.S. Here's the one eyeball picture that I promised you last time. ;)


Mar 16, 2009

Memory Monday

Merry Memory Monday to you! This week I tucked I John 1:9 in my heart:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9

Woo-Hoo! That is good news to me. If we will admit or acknowledge sins (don't you just love that this word is plural?!) He who is faithful and without sin, will forgive and clean us from all impurities! Glory that is good! I think I've mentioned that with the Salesman working from home and homeschooling our teens, I feel like my most used phrase is "I'm so sorry, please forgive me?"

On Saturday, the Salesman stopped by the garage with my car. He called me to ask about the service book for the vehicle that I had put in the front passenger seat. I knew it was in there. I had rubber banded it to the leather-like pouch that holds all the manuals and service papers. Well, he told me it wasn't there. I insisted that it was. I asked if the mechanic had maybe looked at it and not returned it to its spot. I knew I was right. He knew he couldn't find the service book. I was riped (that is my word for when my fruit of the Spirit has passed by and I'm in my flesh and I'm ripe - I say I'm riped.) Well, I was riped. I was sick. I was tired. I was sick and tired. And I knew that I had put the service book in the car. We hung up. It was not but a few minutes later when the Spirit prompted me to call back and apologize.

When the Salesman answers, I say,"I'm really sorry for the way I talked..."
Salesman: "What?"
Me: "I'm really sorry for the way I talked....."
Salesman: "What? I can't hear what you are saying."
Me (thinking to myself): OK Lord, now the children are going to hear my apology because there is obviously some heavy duty work going on in the background at the garage.

So, I gave my apology again, seventeen decibels higher than I had squeaked it out earlier. It was received and accepted. Later that evening when the Salesman sat down for dinner, he mentioned that *the service book* he called me about, was in the car after all. I was truly thankful that it was still in the car at this point. I'm convinced that had I continued on in my riped state and not apologized, I would have had a *told-you-so* attitude when the Salesman revealed this information. I had let go of the whole service book ordeal. I'm so thankful for I John 1:9. I'm also thankful for the Salesman who is such a great help with my vehicle maintenance. I have no doubt that the Salesman's attention to lights, bells and whistles on my car (that I have no clue about) is the reason my twelve year old vehicle is purring smoothly. The Salesman and the Lord our God. Which brings me to my verse for next week:

Revelation 4:11

Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.

Mar 15, 2009

The Salesman & His Stuff

Victoria Leigh presented me with one of the first signs of spring from our yard last week when the bug that Miss Audra Elizabeth had made it to me. I set it beside a tissue box on the nightstand and it brightened an otherwise dreary few days.The teens and I are like little kids when the Salesman brings *stuff* home or receives *stuff* in the mail. This week the teens enjoyed a viewfinder he received promoting a meeting.It amazed me how long they sat in his recliner and enjoyed the viewfinder. I'm certain the teens viewed it far more times than the Salesman.I love this picture of Victoria Leigh with her darlin' baby face leaning on her dear sister's shoulder. Seeing her thumb in this picture, reminds me of when she was five years old and I'd ask her if she was sucking her thumb and she'd pull her thumb out and give me the sweetest look.For the record, she was not sucking her thumb. She did stop when she was six. Seeing my baby at fourteen years old, I am enjoying to the fullest the glimpses I'm getting in the view finder of her life that remind me of when she was a wee one. And this next picture is so funny to me because Victoria Leigh got creative and used the viewfinder box as a viewfinder while waiting for her sister.Thank you all for your prayers for Audra! She started feeling better by mid-week and just at the time Victoria Leigh started to feel a bit under the weather. Praise the Lord, we are all on the mend!

Mar 11, 2009

Me and The Trees

As soon as we turned down a lovely lane, I saw this interesting bark and *had* to stop and take a picture:The whole earth is full of His glory! Then I saw this weathered and much older looking bark on this tree, and I *had* to stop to take another picture:I had never, ever seen a tree like this one, so I *had* to take a picture:Well, I actually took two, because, like I said, I've never, ever seen a tree like this before. I've felt like this before though, like almost all the bark is gone.When I saw this tree with the deep bend to the left, I could relate to feeling this way to. Going and growing straight and then the sudden change in direction. What amazed me about this tree is the amount of growth in the direction it was bent. It did not stop growing when it's course was changed. Oh, I needed to see this tree.I loved this post, it represented use and purpose to me. And before the use and purpose, dying had to take place. From death, comes life. A post usually is placed in a hole dug specifically for it, secured by the cement, and attached to others by the bonds of wire. I could just see the symbolism in the church, the body of Christ. Founded on The Rock, joined together in a bond of unity by His Spirit and lined up to serve. One post can make a difference; but think of the impact that could be made from joining for the sake of His Name.These stumps bothered me. I thought of the Nebuchadnezzar's dream in the book of Daniel. And Isaiah 10:33 says: "Behold, the Lord, the GOD of hosts, will lop off the boughs with a terrible crash; those also who are tall in stature will be cut down and those who are lofty will be abased."This tree bark had visible growths on the bark, almost in a line. Made me think of how the enemy is up to the same old thing over and over in our lives. Like he says, I'll hit her here. Oh, I'll do it again. And again. But still standing because of 1 John 4:4: "You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world."This stately old tree was still hanging on to some old leaves when it's almost the season for new growth to form. Oh, this one spoke to me. What old *things* do I need to leave behind in order to experience the new works of God?Visible signs of pruning were evident on this tree. John 15:2 "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit."John 15:6

The texture of this tree most intrigued me. By far, it was the most interesting to me. I've tried to figure out what it looks like. Well, why I was enlarging it trying to decide, I noticed the bark was covered in moss. Much like the trappings of the world, it looks attractive to me; but up close, it's beauty and purpose are covered by the enemies lies.Although this is one of my favorite pictures from the drive up the lane, I know the Lord is speaking Truth to my heart. As I look at the two directions the tree is going, I know that the Lord tells us that we cannot have life two ways, with two masters.As we neared the end of the lane, I saw this secured gate. The lock and chain reminded me of the the hope of heaven's gates talked about in Revelation 21:25 "In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed;" GLORY - that is good news!All the pictures are listed in the order I saw them and took them. As we drove back up the lane, I asked Audra to stop so I could take a picture of these branches that had been cut off and in a pile. It looked to me like they were ready for someone to gather up. The scene spoke the seriousness of John 15:6 to my heart: "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned."
Lord, Magnificent Creator, You daily just totally amaze me
Teaching a visual learner spiritual lessons from looking at trees
Thank You Lord for Your amazing and splendid creation
The variety of trees makes me think of every tribe, tongue and nation
What a varied and delightful group as Your church, we are
Some old, stripped of bark, and some bearing moss and visible scars
May I live to enjoy and fully experience and see
Your specific, intended purpose fulfilled in me
When you move me from the direction You have me heading
On Your new course, let me no thing be dreading
I don't want to hold on to any thing in the past
Keep me pressing on to the eternal, to what really lasts
Prune from me the dead and dying branches
And fill me with the Spirit who enhances
Let me LORD, for Your kingdom bear much fruit
Keep me grounded in the Word, there let me grow and root
Don't let my heart ever be sorely divided
Let my wrongs by Your Spirit, be chided
As part of the Body of Christ, secure me at my post
I want to bring You glory and in You alone boast
Don't let my life be cut down by the Enemy's rapid fire
Don't let my life be kindling, but realize the Enemy is a Liar
I long to hear You say to Your faithful servant, "Well Done"
In heaven safe and secure, forever illumined by The Son.
Amen.

Mar 9, 2009

Memory Monday & Speaking on Sunday

The early morning moon was gorgeous today! Did you all see it? It was big and bright and just ready to go to sleep behind the mountains as I peered out to a dark sky this early morning. Our God is amazing!

This week I tucked Philippians 1:21 in my heart:

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

I just love to reading the apostle Paul. The Salesman asked me where I wanted to be buried this week. What?!? I'd never thought of it before... Had he seen my memory verse for this week? Oh, I'm getting sidetracked and am so excited to share with you all about the devotion the Lord allowed me to share last night, that I'm not going to go down a rabbit trail. I pray that I would live like I believe Philippians 1:21. To live is Christ and to die is gain. God has so much more in store that Paul considers it a gain!

Next week I plan to tuck I John 1:9 in my heart:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

This verse is such good news to me. I home school two teens. My dear husband works out of our home. My most used phrase seems to be "I'm so sorry. Please forgive me?" The opportunity to confess and be forgiven and cleansed is good news to me. I need this verse!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your prayers yesterday afternoon for the impromptu devotion I was asked to share last night. I'm so in the habit of coming home from worship and getting my pajamas on, that I did yesterday. The peace came from the Lord because I'd just been asked after church to share a devotional that evening at 6:30 PM. After lunch dishes were left to dry, I peeked into Victoria Leigh's room to ask her if I could borrow her blue marker to re-do one of my sign boards for the devotional. She said yes and asked me to snuggle. I thought I needed to be reviewing the devotion; but how could I resist my baby tucked under an afghan? As I joined her, I asked the Lord to give me back the time I needed to review, because I thought it was important to do what my own darlin' teen asked me to do. She was so near sleep and the sweet melodies Audra was playing on the piano made for the perfect setting for a restful Sunday. I was also praying I would not fall asleep... After Victoria Leigh was snoozing soundly, the blue marker and I quietly eased out of her room.

Our dear oldest teen, Miss Audra, had a scratchy throat and did not think it would be best to go with me to play the piano. I was disappointed. As I was reviewing my notes, I had written down the four songs she had practiced Sunday afternoon. I might have been counting my eggs before they hatched (even though she told me when I asked her to join me to play the piano, that she was not sure about going and would let me know by a certain time). The Salesman was not feeling well and was soaking his aches when I left. Victoria Leigh woke up from her Sunday afternoon snooze just before I left. And guess what my topic was about? What was I feeling? Alone... And the topic was the Always God. But I headed out the door alone. But God was so gracious in granting His favor - thank you all for joining in asking.

Right before I left, I received a call from the man who I would be filling in for and found out that I would need to talk loud because most of the people couldn't hear! I was speaking at an assisted living home - oh my, were they precious, just precious! And they knew the Word. They delighted my heart from the very beginning! And a lady was visiting from Music City USA and played the piano while we sang - God is good. The song leader was full of pep and energy. They shared prayer requests and listened attentively as I shared what the Lord had given me back in September about my alone feelings (lies of the enemy) verses the ALWAYS God (Truth of the Word). He is soo good!Their sweet spirits and kind words of encouragement just blessed my soul. This was my first time sharing at an assisted living home and I loved it. Fourteen dear ones attended (fifteen if you include me!) I loved them - the stories they shared with me, their kind smiles and loving words, the sparkle of bright eyes against aging skin, the wisdom of their years. I left blessed and with a heart so full of joy and praise and thanksgiving to our God!

Miss Audra Elizabeth is still not feeling well today. In addition to her sore throat, she has head congestion. Please lift her up to our dear Father. I praise the Lord for each of you and pray you share in His goodness today.