Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Living in expectation of Blessings

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!!  And now, so begins my favorite time of year!  The Christmas season is not only one that is full of joy and laughter but also reflection and charity.  It is, I feel, when people become the best versions of themselves.  Like many, a few days after Thanksgiving was over we returned home and began decorating for the holiday.  My daughter is beyond excited this year.  She is four now and is starting to really understand what a big deal Christmas is.  First thing she says to me this morning when I woke up is, "Mommy, why aren't there any presents yet?"  Ah, gotta love kids!! 

But this got me thinking.  How many of us wake up in the morning and ask God, "What are the blessings you have for me today?"  Do you believe that God has good things for your life the way a child believes Santa (and her parents) have good things in store on Christmas morning?  Is there anyone in fact who can out-give God?  I want to live in joyful expectation of the blessings God has for me each and every day.  I want to wake with a smile and hope in seeing how God is going to work in my life to bring glory to Himself and to bring joy and love to others.  Often our expectations become our realities.  If this is true, I want to have positive expectations of blessings so that my days will be enjoyed and lived to the fullest. 

Tomorrow morning when you wake up let your first words to God be, "I thank you Lord for the blessings you will bring into my life today!  May I have eyes to see them and may I also be used as a blessing to others!" 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanks and Giving

Have you ever seperated this word into 2 words?  This holiday is meant to be about giving thanks for all of our life's blessings but there is a second, just as important part.  Giving.  We are to give to others too.  Both thanks and giving are forms of praise to God and awesome ways to draw closer to Him in our daily life.  You can give in more ways than just monetary.  You can give of your time, you can give of your resources, and you can even give of your love and kindness.  I want to challenge you (and myself) to not only be thankful this Thanksgiving, but to give as well. 

Proverbs 21:26b says "the righteous give without sparing."

Matthew 10:8 says "Freely you have recieved, freely give."

Romans 12:8 says "if it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously." 

2 Corinthians 9: 7 says "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver!!"

So let's GIVE and GIVE THANKS this holiday week!  Be blessed!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I attend a mom's group called MOPS which stands for "Mother's of Preschoolers."  It is such a great group of women and has been a huge encouragement to me the last few years.  Every other week we have a special speaker and yesterday was no exception.  A woman came and spoke about thankfulness.  We have all heard this speech many times over the years and it's always a good reminder however this woman had a slightly different spin on it.  She was talking to us about being thankful for the good things in our lives AND the bad things.  Hmm...thankful for the bad, haven't heard that one too often.  She was saying how we need to be thankful for the hard times in our lives because of how they change us and make us better and stronger women.  The bad times give us power in our faith because we can look back and see how God carried us through and how we made it to the other side.  I am sure every person right now could think of a very difficult time in their life, and although they would never wish to relive it, can now look back and see how God provided for them through it.  God provides through friendships, through financial means, through family support, through the kindness of strangers.  There are so many ways that He is there for us through those hard times, we just don't often see it until they have passed. 

A few years ago my husband and I were going through a very difficult time financially.  It was November and he was working for a 100% commision job and I was a school teacher at a small christian school.  We were living as bare as we could and still not making ends meet until one night when our car got reposessed due to not making payments.  I was scared, frustrated, and very unsure about our future.  I remember after the repo guys left, my husband and I went up to our room and got on our knees and just prayed together.  We knew there was literally nothing else we could do and we had to leave it all in God's hands.  The next day I went to school and my Principal called me to her office.  She gave me a check for over $2000 to help cover our bills.  It turned out that a friend of mine who was also a teacher there had talked to her about our situation and they had gotten all the teachers from the whole campus to donate money.   I was shocked.  Then on the way home my husband told me that a friend of ours had given us a check for $1600 with no strings attached.  They just felt God leading them to do it.  That $3600 was the exact amount of money that we needed, to the dollar, to catch up on every bill that we had including car payments and getting our car back.  We started that January of the new year completely current on everything and two months later my husband got a great new salaried job. 

Romans 5:4 says, "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." 

Like this verse, that suffering time really did develop perseverance, character, and hope in us.  We have had many more financial struggles since then but we always look back to that time and remember how God took care of us.  And we know to be thankful in the good and thankful in the bad because in the end, all that matters is that we are being built into the people that He created us to be.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Letting Go= Freedom

Do you remember the first time you ever rode a bike?  I do.  I was about 5 years old and I remember being terrifeid that my dad would let go of the back of my bike seat and I would fall.  I would make him promise before I even got on the bike that he would not let me go.  He gently told me that he would only let go if I asked him to.  My dad knew something that I didn't know.  He knew that it was only when he let go that I would truly learn to ride.  He  knew that sometimes it is worth the risk of falling to learn something new.  One of the biggest problems that plagues our community is laziness.  We have stopped taking the risk of letting go.  We get into a daily routine that doesn't challenge us or deepen our understanding of this great, big world or our great, big God.  It is God's desire for us to ride this life with passion and purpose!!  He calls, beckons, and pleas with us to trust Him and step out in faith.  He does this because He knows that it is only when you take that step of faith, or let go of what comes easily to you, that you truly get to expereince His power in your life.  There are many areas in which He may be asking you to let go. Some people may be holding on to family or relationship problems.  Some may be holding on to their own perception of how life "should" be.  When we let go of these things and trust God with them, we expereince a freesom and peace that only He can give.  Galations 5:1 says, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage."  Let go of whatever it is that is holding you back from truly riding through this life and the amazing plans God has for you. Pedal like crazy, keep your hands on the bars, eyes and heart always focused on the goal Jesus Christ and you will experience a freedom to live like you have never lived before.

Monday, November 15, 2010

But First...

Luke 9:61 says, "As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go."  Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."  He said to another man, "Follow me."But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."  Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God."  Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family."  Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."

As I read this passage a few things really stick out to me.  One is that Jesus calls everyone to follow Him.  Second is that when He asks us to follow Him, he asks us to not only leave the bad things in our life but also some of the good.  Both of the men in this passage, said YES, they would follow him.  But then they said "But First..."  They wanted to follow God but first they wanted to do something that they felt was more important at that moment.  Burying their dead and saying goodbye to their family were not bad things in and of themselves but they weren't as important as what God was calling them to do...follow Him. 

God calls us to leave the bad to follow Him, that we can understand.  But why does He call us to leave the good?  There is only one reason.  He has something Great for us instead!!  Maybe you are in a job that is a good job, it pays the bills, it has good benefits, and it's easy.  But maybe, just maybe God wants you to leave that good job because He has a great job for you!!!  Maybe He has plans for your life that are beyond your wildest dreams and maybe you will never get to see what He could do in your life unless you are willing to step away from the good and FOLLOW HIM to the great. 

Ephesians 3:20 says that He is able to do immeasurably more than we could EVER ask or imagine!!  I can imagine a lot of amazing things and yet God is able to do more than that!  I want the great that God has in store for my life!!  Don't you?  What good thing are you holding onto before opening your heart to fully Follow God??  A job?  A friendship?  A home?  An idea of what you think your life should be like?  God's plans for your life are so much greater than any plans that you have!  So, today, make the decision to Follow Him and leave your "but firsts" behind.  There is no better path to take!

Friday, November 12, 2010


A couple days ago I decided to take Hailey, my daughter, to Chick Fil A for lunch.  I decided to take her to the one by the mall instead of the one in our city.  Hailey says to me, "Mom, I don't want to go to that Chick Fil A because it is offensive to me."  Um, what?  I asked her if she knew what the word offensive meant and she said, "it means bad, like something you don't like."  Wow.  I couldn't believe that she actually knew what the word meant!  But it really struck me how much she has been imitating me lately in the things I say and do.  When I am frustrated my first instinct is to audibly grown.  Guess what Hailey's first instinct is when she is frustrated?  You got it. A phrase I started saying lately is "Say whaaaat?" (you know, in the high pitched silly way?).  Well, Hailey is saying that now too.  She eats what I eat, she watches to see how I react in situations and she follows suit.  It is an enormous responsibility to be a mom.  I am literally shaping her with every single thing I do and say.  Wow. 

This morning I was reading in Ephesians and a verse stuck out to me that really hits this subject on the head. Ephesians 5:1a says, "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children...."  God recognized that our dearly loved children are imitators of US and He used that as an example of how we should be imitators of HIM.  He wants to shape us to be more like him, and like children, the way to do that it to imitate Him in action, in word, in faith.  The Bible lays out his life for us so that we can imitate Him to become more like Him!  He is our perfect example!! 

We are all imitating someone.  Who are you imitating?  Are you imitating the characters you see on TV, are you imitating your best friend with the potty mouth,  are you imitating the neighborhood gossip, are you imitating your abusive family member, are you imitating the joneses of the world that only value possessions?  Or are you  imitating God?  I want to imitate God.  I want His peace, His compassion, His heart for the unsaved, His patience, His love, His hope, and His unending never wavering forgiveness. 

Just a thought...if you are imitating God, and your children are imitating you...aren't they inadvertently imitating God as well...

Thursday, November 11, 2010


So, I have been mulling over the whole concept of what it means to be "on fire" for God vs. "lukewarm" towards him.  An analogy popped into my head yestererday morning.  It is kinda like being "in love" vs. "in like."  When you LOVE someone, you want to spend all of your time with them, you talk about them constantly, and they are always just a sigh away.  When you just like someone, you can take em or leave em, you are distracted by other likes, and they are just around.  I think that to be "on fire" means to be "in love" with Jesus.  I  believe this is why new believers are so passionate, so on fire!  They have just discovered God and can't shut up about it!!  It's all so new and exciting!  But just like marriage, that honeymoon period only lasts so long and you have to find a way to keep that fire burning, not just for your spouse but for God as well.  This is the reason Christians have churches, revivals, ministries, outreaches, and bible studies!  These are all geared towards keeping your fire alive for Christ.  Similar to marriages that have date nights, family vacations, marriage retreats, and anniversaries to keep the marriage love alive. 

Revelation 3:15-16 says, "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I wish you were either one or the other!  So, because you are lukewarm -neither hot nor cold- I am about to spit you out of my mouth."

God does not want us to be lukewarm towards Him any more than our spouse wants us to be lukewarm toward them.  We need to have a passion for God, a daily life of praise towards Him, focusing always on His purpose for our life!  It is not something that will just happen without our effort.  We have to DO, BE, and GROW in our faith!  We can't sit still and wait for it to come to us, we have to take that first step and see which way God leads. 

Is there a step that God has been calling you to take?  You will never know the great things God has for you if you don't take that risk!  Trust Him, he won't let you fall!  It's time to stoke that small flicker into a wildfire for God! 

Dear God, please let my faith be fanned into a wildfire for you!!  Amen

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lukewarm or On Fire?

My friend Julie Mitchell recommended this podcast to me by Francis Chan called "Lukewarm and loving it."  It is beyond challenging. Especially for someone like myself who has been a Christian for 28 years, since I was 5 years old.  Keeping that fire for God burning is something that has to be constantly worked on.  If you think about it, a real fire does not stay strong unless you add wood to it and stoke it with a stick and maybe add some lighter fluid or blow on it.  So how does that relate to my own walk with God?  Well, the wood could be the Word of God, the stick could be the Holy Spirit's prodding, and the lighter fluid could be acts of godly service to others as well as blowing could just be covering it in prayer.  It's not easy to stay on FIRE with God, it takes effort and care and lots of encouragement.  I found myself questioning myself as I listened to this podcast.... am I on Fire, really?  And what does that mean for me? 

Francis Chan asked the audience to pray to God and ask Him these three questions...
1. Reveal areas in which I am lukewarm.
2. Give me strength in my areas of weakness.
3. Am I willing to do whatever it takes get myself on fire for him?

I spent some time in prayer tonight, asking God these things.  In my heart of hearts, all I want is to please my heavenly Father, to honor him with my life.  I want to spend my eternity with Him. 

It's not easy admitting you are lukewarm, but admitting it and being ready to change is a start that could be the beginning of many incredible things that God has been waiting to do in your life. 

Below is the podcast, and I encourage you to watch it and pray about what it means to you. 


What's in a Name?

It is really quite difficult to pick a name for a blog.  Do you do something cutesy or clever?  Or do you pick something that has a deep meaning and significance to you?  Do you pick something catchy or something understated?   I think you have to pick something that goes along with the theme of your blog.  I am going to be using this blog to write about the things God is teaching me and I wanted a name that invoked the emotions that I feel when God is near. 

Everyone has a different "cozy place."  It is the place in your home or life that you feel God closest.  For some people it is an old chair or couch with a view out of window in which you can sit and reflect on who your God is.  For others it may be outdoors, walking through the woods or even on a porch swing.  More simply it may just be those 3 minutes from the moment you open your eyes in bed to the time you get up and start your day in which you just breathe and reflect on your life and your faith. 

I have had many cozy places over the years, some outdoors, some indoors, some in the peaceful moments of life and some in the adventurous moments.  But the most important thing is that you have your own cozy place.  We all need to have a place where God feels near, where we can hear him speak to us.  It is in the day to day normalties of life that God is trying to teach us how to live and live for Him. 

So where is your cozy place?  If you don't have one, find one.  Go there for at least 5 minutes every day.  You don't have to say anything, you don't have to pray or talk or read.  Just be available to God.  Show Him that you care and you want to hear from Him.  It's such a small thing but can make such a big difference.  Some days you may need just a few minutes to reconnect and others you may need an hour to pour out your heart to Him.  Just go there.  Find your cozy place, get comfortable, and prepare yourself for God to do an amazing work in your life. 

I am going to write about what God is teaching me and I'd love to know what He teaches you as well!  Many blessings as we go on this adventure together!