Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Be Still

This morning I’ve been humming the chorus “Be Still and Know I am God”. It has such a peaceful melody. After continuously humming the song I thought I would read the scripture from Psalm 46:10 (NIV)"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

What would really happen in our lives if we took time to ‘be still’? Be still and stop worrying about children, home, career, finances, problems, family, politics, government, friends, marriage, pressures, and the past. What would happen if we could for a few moments cease to dwell (to linger over, emphasize, or ponder in thought, speech, or writing) on the thoughts which consume our minds and realize or know that He is God.

Simply knowing He is God may not change the situations in our lives but knowing He is God gives us the ability to stop worrying or fretting over those situations we cannot change. It empowers us to know the one that is able to change every circumstance. Every day I want to be still and allow Him to be sovereign.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Seeking? He is Interceeding!

Before my husband asked me to marry him I began to feel such horrific frustration of wanting to know God’s will for my life. Little did I understand I was really seeking His will for my spouse and not His will for my life. It seemed it was such a huge nagging feeling that once I settled the issue all of the other issues in life would be settled. How funny that seems these 29 years later! It was really only the beginning.

I have learned that finding His will means I must continue doing what I know to do and God will take care of my steps otherwise. Yesterday I shared with a minister since coming to Conroe Kent has never tried out for another church nor inquired about another church. We know that God sent us to Conroe and should He ever direct us differently He will open the door. In the mean time we do not have to expend our energy walking around searching doors rather our energy needs to be spent doing the things He has called us to do in Conroe.

As a pastor’s wife the “will of God’ comes up often with young people and r mature adults, too. I’ve prayed many prayers about the will of God for people. Often young ministers and those trying to decide if they are called to ministry become so consumed in the process of finding “the will”. Some stop ministering and begin seeking where God wants them to be or what He wants them to do. Our daughter, Redonia, has the most incredible insight to this turmoil. Being a PK and having often heard the conversations with others has sent her on a quest for the answer. Recently she stated to her Dad and me, “If so and so is really feeling God is leading them to do ______ then why are they not doing that here? How do they think God is leading them somewhere else when they can do the same thing here and are not?” All we could say was “Good questions, Redonia!” She didn’t let the conversation die but passionately talked about Conroe has every opportunity of any other city or any mission field. She questioned if a person really feels God leading them somewhere else maybe they should get some practice or experience here before moving on. We explained sometimes people become consumed seeking God’s will and they miss out on God’s work and pleasure for the day. Of course she agreed and said that is exactly what she was trying to say!

It’s Graduation time and this week I’ve been praying for our high school seniors. I know this is a time when they are trying to soar into new heights. I don’t want these young adults to be so consumed with trying to figure out the “will” that they miss a key moment of opportunity today. Every day they must continue to walk and do whatever it is they know to do that is good. God will take care of the rest.

Ironically this morning as I read a devotional from the catchy title “Eaves dropping on Jesus” caught my attention and opened my thinking. A scripture used was Romans 8:34 (NAS) “Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.” How amazing to think we are on God’s prayer list – He intercedes for us!

Today I plan to do the wonderful things for God that present themselves to me knowing with God I am fulfilled and do not need more to satisfy. He knows my needs and it gives me great confidence knowing He prays for me and will direct my path.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Listen to Him

Mark 9:7 (NIV) Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: "This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!"

Being the Mother of children with a love for music there always seemed to be noise in our home or vehicles. I do not share the same love or appreciation for music as the other members of my family. At some point along the way Kent’s passion for music switched to Talk Show Radio and soon after the kids learned to love it, too. I learned to be in a car or room with a talk show or music playing loudly yet not hear a thing that was being spoken or sang. Honestly, I heard the “noise” in a very loud and annoying sense yet I did hear anything specifically spoken. My family cannot understand how the volume is loud and with perfectly good hearing I cannot hear.

Maybe Mark 9:7 leaped from the page with a different meaning to me than some because of my natural abilities or ways. “Listen” may mean to grow still, stop talking, or may imply the person speaking is talking softly. However, “listen” to me implies pay close attention to what is being said.

Before our first child was born a concern of mine was I would not hear her cry in the night. Amazingly however, I didn’t have to hear her cry loudly nor for long periods to awaken me. The slightest movement in her crib would awaken me. I loved this new bundle of joy and my ear was attuned to her.

Of late my husband’s hearing has declined. In a normal office or home setting he has no problem hearing. Most of the difficulty is in a loud restaurant. Background noises prohibit him from hearing the persons speaking sitting near him. This has become a great point of frustration. When entertaining guests I endeavor to be considerate of Kent when making dining out plans.

Listening and hearing are very important concepts in our relationship with the Lord. Often, we make decisions in our lives based on our feelings, emotions or others and never consider the Lord. Then, again we feel our decisions are based on God when every principle of the Word is violated. God and His Word cannot be separated therefore God is not a part of such decision.

Last evening a lady shared with me a situation that occurred on her job which is an environment of non-believers for the most part. However, one coworker shares similar religious beliefs. This person began to tell my friend things that “God” had spoken to her. Unfortunately, she was accusing ladies on the job including the lady from our church of things that have not happened. Finally, my friend proclaimed God did not tell you this because what you are saying is a lie and God cannot lie. This morning upon reading Mark 9:7 I could not help but question how many times have I heard voices and confused it with the voice of God. Fears, personal desires, frustrations, the crowd can be factors of confusing thoughts.

Regardless of circumstances or noises around me I want to listen to the voice of God. Just as I very carefully heard the noises of my babies and can clearly recognize even the footsteps of my husband I want to be in such an intimate relationship with the Lord that I know the difference of his voice and confusing spirits.

NOTE: Again the scripture is derived from a devotion on Crosswalk today. There are many online resources for scripture reading and devotions. Though I enjoy reading from devotionals I never want to allow these to 'think' for me. I always ensure the scripture is posted correctly and the interpretation is accurate or measures to the Word of God. Then I sit and meditate upon it I am thankful for so many wonderful places to provoke my thoughts.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fresh Start for Strong Faith!

This morning my routine of web devotions led me to the following as my very first scripture:

Ephesians 2:14 (Amplified Bible)
14For He is [Himself] our peace (our bond of unity and harmony). He has made us both [Jew and Gentile] one [body], and has broken down (destroyed, abolished) the hostile dividing wall between us,

Ephesians 2:14 (The Message)
14-15The Messiah has made things up between us so that we're now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders. He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped. Then he started over. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody.

Have you ever needed a fresh start? I certainly have needed a new beginning more than once in my life. In fact there have been days as a Mother I realized it wasn’t my children but rather me that needed a fresh start. I had gotten in the habit of seeing their bad behavior, saying no before really considering what they were asking feeling grouchy, etc. Then often I have made mistakes while not even necessarily sinful in nature mistakes they were. During time of mistake I needed someone to give me a fresh start. Maybe I was too temperamental and it hindered my relationship with my husband or others surrounding me.

This scripture is really an eye-opener to me….every day God has a fresh start planned for me. All of my faults and failures from yesterday or wiped away. It’s up to me to walk in that fresh start! A fresh start leds to STRONG faith!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Powerful Verse

Each day I endeavor to read scriptures and/or the devotionals from A few moments ago I scrolled to the bottom of the home page and read the POWER VERSES for today. Both are definitely powerful. After reading the scriptures then I went to as I normally do for some Bible reading. Tonight I decided to read one of the power verses from crosswalk. I thought it would be interesting to read different translations of the verse. Check out this powerful verse:

Isaiah 43:16-21 (The Msg) This is what God says,
the God who builds a road right through the ocean,
who carves a path through pounding waves,
The God who summons horses and chariots and armies—
they lie down and then can't get up;
they're snuffed out like so many candles:"Forget about what's happened;
don't keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand-new.
It's bursting out! Don't you see it?
There it is! I'm making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.
Wild animals will say 'Thank you!' —the coyotes and the buzzards—
Because I provided water in the desert, rivers through the sun-baked earth,
Drinking water for the people I chose,
the people I made especially for myself,
a people custom-made to praise me.

How powerful to be reminded that we were made especially for God! My previous post today I refered to being alert or sensitive to know when evil comes but I want to be alert and present because God is about to do something brand-new!!!! This week CUPC is hosting a Parent's Day inviting all of our bus children's parents to church Sunday. I am alert and expecting GREAT things.

A Lesson from a Dream

Last night’s sleep/awake cycle has dominated my devotion this morning. I dreamed the same dream several times but awoke each time to pray. During each prayer I felt a calm assurance all was well. Then I drifted back to sleep and the cycle began over and over again.

I dreamed there was a bent over person wearing a black cape and hood moving my door knob in attempt to quietly sneak in my front door. I walked swiftly from my bedroom to the front door. Our front door is leaded glass with a leaded glass side light. Before approaching the door I could vividly see the person turning the knob. As I approached the door the person obviously saw me and fled. I never touched the door and would then go back to my bedroom. At this point I woke up.

This morning in reflection I am reminded of several things. First, it occurred to me this was an evil spirit. How horrible to think than an evil spirit was attempting to walk into my home one might say! However, I challenge this thinking and say evil spirits try everyday to get into each of our homes. I’m thankful that I was keen enough to hear the slight rattle of the door knob or maybe it was just that I sensed someone was at the door. What if I would not have heard or sensed something? The spirit could have come in and attacked me or one of my family members. Maybe he would not have been brave enough at that moment to attack but could have hid in a closet or under a bed and oppressed us with his presence until we became weak and vulnerable for his attack

When I saw the evil spirit I didn’t run, hide, or scream for help. I simply kept walking towards the door confronting the very presence of the spirit. It didn’t take a war to get him away from my door. He was persistent and came back several times or at least I dreamed it several times. Maybe God had to be persistent with me several times so I would understand all the dynamics of the dream. Either way, I realize that there was not a fight rather I confronted the spirit and he left.

After the dream I woke up and prayed asking God to protect us and tried to determine the meaning. How many times have I not been sensitive and let something creep in robbing me of my joy, strength, health, emotions, and torment my family? I want to be sensitive and recognize the power that resides within me. I have no reason to fear or be tormented by evil spirits. I can confidently address the spirit. In prayer God will give me the calm assurance that everything is alright. Too often when a tormenting spirit comes we become overcome in the battle. From now on I want to confidently address it and then walk away. In my dream, I did not open the door to ensure the spirit was not there nor did I stand guard of the door. I didn’t call my husband to go out with his gun or call the police because someone was trying to get in the house. I simply walked back to my room and rested.

Normally, when I dream something I feel is spiritual I wake up and move to the living room to pray. Last night was different for some strange reason. I stayed on my pillow and softly prayed then very quickly drifted back to sleep. This morning this has been an important part of my devotion. I have felt the Lord speaking to me saying we don’t have to be tormented or overcome in the battle nor expend lots of energy fighting against things that come to rob us of doing the things we are called. I wonder how many times I have wasted time and energy guarding against something coming back that doesn’t even have the power to come back. From now on I want to confidently address evil spirit and then walk away in the same assurance that everything is going to be ok with God on my side.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Am I Part Giraffe?

Giraffes have the shortest sleep cycle of any mammal. They sleep between 10 minutes and 2 hours in a 24-hour period or an average of 1.9 hours of sleep per day. For Giraffes it is not a sleep disorder that keeps them awake. It is just the way God made them.

Last week I had surgery. While I am not in pain I am not comfortable sleeping at night nor am I sleeping during the day. Even the 2 nights I took pain medication I was not able to sleep. During my interrupted sleep I have prayed, thought, planned, etc.

Last night I had a comforting thought during one of my long awake times. My heavenly Father never sleeps and He was awake with me. David declared, “He who keeps you will not slumber” (Psalms 121:3). God’s sleeplessness is for our good. Verse 5 states, “The Lord is your keeper.” God keeps us, protects us, and cares for us.

I know I’m not part Giraffe despite the fact I have a long neck and long legs. I also know this season in my life will pass but I’m thankful my Heavenly Father is with me every step of the way.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Facebook or Jesus?

Facebook is a social networking site I belong and enjoy. It is totally private if the account is set to be viewed by 'friends' only. I don't recommend meeting new people on Facebook (accepting friends with those you don't know or having the account set as public) In fact I feel it is dangerous for everyone and more especially teens to utilize it for making new relationships. Some times, however, I have become acquainted with someone - a visiting minister's wife, etc and later connect to them on Facebook. Facebook allows me to get to know the person better. It has also proven a great tool for me to keep up with family and friends who live 100's of miles from me. I have also been blessed to reconnect with friends of years gone by using Facebook.

Facebook should not be used as a sole piece of communication relaying important information to those who may need to know. The more friends a person is connected to the more difficult it becomes to read every status update or comment. I currently have 763 Facebook friends. When I read updates I never take the time to go back and read everything since my previous time to read. In other words I leave gaps and miss MANY updates. Hence, don't use facebook to tell me something important. Now if you choose to send me a private email via Facebook I will eventually read it but again I may not connect to Facebook for a while and may not get the message in a timely manner. Remember Facebook is for SOCIAL networking and not for proper communication.

Another frustration I have with Facebook is people use it to say things they would never say otherwise and feel justified because they are saying it to a Facebook "friend". Now I don't have a problem being connected to EVERYONE you may know but some things should not be said to some people. For instance I am a pastor's wife and from time to time I read discouraging words from members of another church. It is NOT my place to be the Facebook Pastor's wife to encourage a saint from another church. First, I don't know the whole story and I may say something wrong. Secondly, the appropriate pastor/pastor's wife may not be on Facebook at all or for a season and the devil can plant a seed that "Sis. Smith cares for me more than my pastor's wife." Ministerial ethics should alway supercede Facebook ethics. Those involved in ministry KNOW the ethics, too.

I don't feel Facebook is the forum for seeking advice or answers to problems. With the internet we can search out causes and cures to problems of any kind. Many medical problems have similar symptoms yet treatment for a specific problem can vary greatly. For instance many illnesses include fatigue and muscle weakness. A such illness is Guillain-Barre-Syndrome, a nerve problem that can lead to paralysis while a thyroid disorder is another. The chief complaints of both diseases are very similar yet the diagnosis is medical miles apart. The treatment is even a wider distance. Seeking advice via the Internet can lead a person on a wrong trail of help. In fact a person could spend hundreds of dollars and countless hours pursing the wrong medical attention only to start over while the suffering continued. Wrong temporary treatment can even cause a problem to grow worse.

Several times of late I have endeavored to caution people of their words on Facebook. I have asked people to think of a scripture and post it when their thoughts would be negative. Or would remind a person of the love of God. Sadly, others had already read the negative comments and possibly were giving wrong advice or forming wrong opinions. We all have bad days. I do not want an opinion formed of me in the midst of a bad moment.

Facebook can be a great place to solicit prayer or post prayer requests. However, just as most churches no longer have 'spoken' prayer request time because many used it is a gossip time neither should Facebook be used to exploit or spread gossip.

Often a person feels a need to carry something to others or talk. Really before carrying to our Facebook friends we should carry to our Friend, Jesus. The old song "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" sums up much of my thoughts this beautiful Sunday morning.

Enjoy the lyrics and if you know the tune sing along as you read.

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear, May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Who Shall I Obey

Romans 6:15-18 (The Message) So, since we're out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we're free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it's your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you've let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you've started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!

Thinking this morning that many things that we CAN do will only hinder liberty and freedom in our lives. Just as many criminal offenses revokes certain rights and privileges as an American citizen, I believe taking certain Christian liberties into our lives hinders the power and the anointing to operate freely in our lives.

Which means more partaking in these liberties or having HIM in complete operation in my life?