Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Extended leave?

I apologize for not updating recently...I've lost internet access on my personal computer and am only able to access my blogs and all other internet related "stuff" on Scott's computer. And...since he tends to be at work in his office most days and well into the night...that's rather difficult to do on a regular basis. Please forgive me if you really, really look forward to reading these Apples of Gold! *grin*

Here's the latest entry....

Deuteronomy 1: 34-37

34 “When the Lord heard your complaining, he became very angry. So he solemnly swore, 35 ‘Not one of you from this wicked generation will live to see the good land I swore to give your ancestors, 36 except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see this land because he has followed the Lord completely. I will give to him and his descendants some of the very land he explored during his scouting mission.’

37 “And the Lord was also angry with me because of you. He said to me, ‘Moses, not even you will enter the Promised Land! 38 Instead, your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will lead the people into the land. Encourage him, for he will lead Israel as they take possession of it.

This passage astounds me. God told MOSES he wouldn't enter the Promised Land because he didn't believe 100%!! MOSES!! But Joshua and Caleb ~ two men who simply believed that God would do what He said He'd do ~ would be the only Israelites over the age of 20 who would enter the Promised Land when it came time. Astounding.

So many of us call ourselves Christians and yet we never quite believe that God will do exactly what He says He'll do. So we live our lives as we wish ~ making sure we are "good" and "do mostly the right things ~ and don't give sanctification or repentence a second thought most days. But when things get tough we call on God to heal us...or bless us for our efforts...or miraculously make things better in our lives. What fools we can be!

Asking God to come into our lives is easy ~ He makes it so amazingly easy! But being like Caleb and Joshua? That's the hard part.

Because I am so aware of my Moses-like tendencies in my own life, I've come up with a way to help me pray more fully. Maybe it will help you, too. It comes from what I've said above ~ Christianity is not a One-Way street, we've got to do our P.A.R.T.

P: Praise God for who He is. Not for what He's done for you, but simply for who He is...the example I think of is Creator. Give praise for where you've seen His hand today.

A: Ask forgiveness for your sins. Repent and turn from them. Allow Him to clean your heart so there is no wall of separation between you.

R: Requests...this is the place to lift up whatever requests you have. Healing, guidance, comfort, strength, wisdom, etc. These are for yourself and others.

T: End with a Thankful heart. As Christians, even on the most horrible of days, we have something to be thankful for. Ending our conversation with God on a heart of thanks allows transition into "the world" with a better perspective.

God is not some fairy-Godfather waiting to bless us as we live sinful lives. (sidenote: I am NOT saying our Christianity is based on works!! Please understand that ~ what I'm saying is that we cannot live 90% for God and 10% for ourselves and expect Him to give us the Promised Land. Joshua and Caleb believed 100%.) We need to do our PART.

Go with God today and everyday...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Philippians 1:20

Philippians 1:20 “For I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that causes me shame, but that I will always be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past, and that my life will always honor Christ, whether I live or I die.”

A life that honors Christ is a life of purity and surrender to Him in all areas of our lives. Today is a new day! If you are unlike Paul in being able to say you’ve been bold for Christ in the past then start being bold today. If you, like many others, cannot say your life has been a life of purity in the past you can rejoice in the fact that your sins are washed away and you are a brand new creation who is alive to tell the world of His glorious work in you. Surrender today. Pray for a heart that is pure and holy as you dig into the Word of God and allow Him to clear out the sin that so easily entangles and instead gives you hope for a future that honors Him.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Deuteronomy 31:8

Deuteronomy 31:8
“The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

What a verse of HOPE and ENCOURAGEMENT! The very God who created the heavens…the earth…all things under the earth…and all things above the earth IS ON YOUR TEAM!! WOO HOO!! He’s watching the competition’s tapes. He’s studying your team members, and He’s bringing ‘em out of training and making trades at times when it will benefit the team the most. And in the midst of it all we are commanded to surrender the fear and to live in courage and hope. He never lets go!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Vote Now!

You may have notice there's a little "survey" on the side bar ~ if you have, make sure you "vote." (even if you haven't...make sure you vote! :) )

It's not a formal survey, and there is no personal information gathered by it, it's just for my own curiousity. It seems that God works in so many different areas in different people...and it's always good to see where He's working...

Proverbs 17:9
“Disregarding another person’s faults preserves love; telling about them separates close friends.”

Here’s a personal zinger! As moms we are called upon to correct papers, fix mistakes, look for details out of place and formulate better, more efficient plans for regular duties. We do this so often, in fact, that it becomes second nature to look for what’s wrong…in homework, housework, and humanity.

As employees and bosses we're called to the same kind of "constructive criticism" type of mentality. We are constantly looking for a better way, a better employee, a better this or a better that...

Ask yourself what faults you regard…do those you're closest to have annoying habits? Do your children have character flaws you pray no one else will notice? Do you often think that “they” have a lot of learning to do? Then take them to the Father and release them asking Him to help you DISregard the faults of others and simply love them through His everlasting love.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ecclesiastes 12:13

Ecclesiastes 12:13
“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”

This verse comes at the very end of the book of Ecclesiastes ~ the same book of the Bible from which, “to everything there is a season…” comes from. In one verse at the beginning of the book (1:3) the writer basically asks what this whole life is all about? Throughout the book, he says repeatedly, “everything is meaningless.” However, this statement often comes in response to looking for meaning in the things of this earth. Emptiness will always remain if we think we will find fulfillment in our jobs, our homes, our friends, our kids or activities…or even in our church/ministry involvements. We may find enjoyment for a while, but our purpose on this earth is to live in such a way as to bring glory to God knowing HE is God and everyone ultimately answers to Him.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Psalm 118: 5-6, 8

Psalm 118: 5-6, 8
“In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and He answered me by setting me free. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?...It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.”

I just found out a good friend of mine has breast cancer. It’s far enough along for her doctors to tell her on Friday and ask her to schedule a mastectomy and lymph-node-ectomy for the following Friday. She is understandably scared, and yet when I talk to her there is a foundation of trust that God hears her cries of anguish…and that through His Son, Jesus, He has already set her free. Although the future of her health and her family is uncertain they stand resolutely on the promises of Christ as life storms all around them. Amazing Grace! And you…? What storms are raging, or maybe just rumbling in the distance? If Jesus is your Lord and Savior you, too, can stand firm in His promises. If He’s not…it’s never too late to invite Him to be.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Philippians 3: 12-21

"12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

17Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body."
Philippians 3: 12- 21

Whenever I read this passage I think of the story below...


Olympian Hits Wrong Target

Matt Emmons had the gold medal in sight. He was one shot away from claiming victory in the 2004 Olympics 50-meter three-position rifle event. He didn't even need a bull's-eye to win. His final shot merely needed to be on target.
Normally, the shot he made would have received a score of 8.1, more than enough for a gold medal. But in what was described as "an extremely rare mistake in elite competition," Emmons fired at the wrong target. Standing in lane two, he fired at the target in lane three. His score for a good shot at the wrong target? Zero. Instead of a medal, Emmons ended up in eighth place.

It doesn't matter how accurate you are if you are aiming at the wrong goal.

Source: (8/22/04)


Could you imagine being that athlete? How horrible would you feel if you thought you had made the shot that would win you the GOLD medal ~ highest honor ~ but it actually left you in eighth place? Knowing you had worked so hard, but your target wasn't the real target? It seemed like the real one ~ looked like it, sounded like it, but it never quite lined crossed that line that said, "nope, not this one." I have a feeling he probably wished with all his might he could go back and do it all over again. I know I would want to hide my face in shame for a very long time ~ or else I'd run from the rifle range, move away, change my name, and pretend I knew nothing about it so I could escape the awful reminder that when it really mattered I failed to do what I knew I could do.

It makes me turn to the verses in Philippians, though...knowing that like that shooter we all are standing before a target, if you will. We're all lined up and wondering if we're going to hit a bullseye with our works...with our efforts...with our yearnings and earnings. The problem is, our rifles are greatly flawed. Everyone has a rifle that is missing the one thing that will allow it to hit the target dead-on. Maybe it's that your sight is slightly off kilter, or the trigger has a stick to it, whatever it is, there is a crucial flaw in each and every one.

However, there is a perfector of rifles available to everyone. He is the one who makes the rifle ~ flaws and all ~ in order to let the shooter understand the need to be teachable in the ways of the rifle range. He's there, in the background, waiting for you to understand...and to look for Him. Because it's when we realize the need for help that we look for it...and when we look for His help we'll find it. It's beautiful when we finally realize it, too. When we see Him and hand over our rifle knowing that He is the only One who could make it shoot straight to the right target...and hit the bullseye...we will never shoot better. When we do, we can stand amazed at the glory of The Shooter ~ the Master Shooter to whom no one can be compared. And knowing we have become His student only makes us want to know Him more, for when we learn from Him, seek Him and learn from Him, our bullets fly straighter and we know that we have already made the ultimate bullseye ~ the one that brings us to Glory. The one that gives not a gold medal, but streets paved in gold.

Have you handed over your rifle today? Have you handed over the rifle that is your life and asked Him to make your paths straight? It won't be easy ~ our nature is to hold onto it and try to do it ourselves. To earn our way to a better rifle. To be a "good guy" and "do good" unto others. It's not enough. It's simply not enough...and yet, what is enough seems to be too easy...just ask Him to take over. And then let Him (that's the hard part).

Sorry, a little long today, but I can't think of anything more worthwhile to spend my words on. John 20:30 & 31...

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Isaiah 42:16

"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth." Isaiah 42:16

Is God calling you to do something, but you're fighting Him because you don't think you have the skills or ability to do it? Is He relentless in His pursuit of you to this? I have learned two things about this subject:

1) He won't give up on His pursuit of you
2) He will give you His strength to do what He is calling you to do.

I've learned two other things about this, too:

1) Fighting God doesn't work
2) Surrendering to His ability to do through you what needs to be done is the most satisfying and fulfilling place to be.

What's holding you back? I recently watched "Akeelah and the Bee" with my boys...I encourage anyone who longs to do something with what they've been given to watch it there is a quote Akeelah reads in preparation for the series of Spelling Bees she will be entering in order to get to the National Spelling Bee. The quote is from Marianne Williamson, and although I don't subscribe to all of her theology she hits it square on the head with this one. I pray it encourages you to put feet to your gifts and talents and do what God has prepared you for in this life ~ to do all things as to bring glory to Him. I leave you with the quote...have a wonderful, God-centered and eternity-focused life!

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to manifest the Glory of God that is within us...And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Monday, October 8, 2007

Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

Do you read this verse and grasp what David is saying? It is exactly what each and every person who has ever been formed by God's hand can say, "I am an amazing creation! I was made to be exactly who I am! I am not a mistake ~ my faults are there for a purpose as are my gifts and talents! I am an amazing creation!!" Even better is what we who have cosen to live for the Creator can say, "Lord, YOU created me for a purpose ~ I am a child of THE KING!! You did not create me and once say, 'oops,' You created me in Your image, and I am wonderful because I am one of Your works." Spend some time over the next month being amazed and thankful at what your body CAN do...and remember to thank God for creating you just as you are...and for not leaving you there. :)

For those who may find this difficult to find right now I'll be praying with you that God will open your eyes to the blessings He has brought even in the midst of pain...whether physical pain or the pain of looking in the mirror and not loving who you are. God never gives up on us...don't give up on Him.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Romans 12:2

Romans 12:2
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is.”

I recently began to doubt how good, pleasing and perfect God’s will for my life really was as my marriage hit a low point. Looking back I can see the way I was thinking was the world in spiritual clothing. I wanted my husband to be a spiritual leader, but when he didn’t do it fast enough I stepped up and took on the role. I compared him to other Christian husbands I knew and sold him short every time. There were others, too, of course. Thank God, though, for transformation only HE can bring about…transformation of my thinking. My marriage isn’t perfect ~ it never will be ~ but I can say in releasing my stubborn will to allow God’s light in I can see a glimpse of His good, pleasing and perfect will in bringing my husband and I together. How is your thinking today? About your life….yourself…your relationships…how are you thinking about God today? Ask Him to reveal and transform your thinking and allow you to see His will being lived out in your life.