Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

I recieved this declartion in an email this morning, and thought it was great! Be blessed. Let's run to win this coming year!

A Call to Radical Commitment
By Rick Warren

Today I am stepping across the line. I'm tired of waffling, and I'm finished with wavering. I've made my choice; the verdict is in; and my decision is irrevocable. I'm going God's way. There's no turning back now!

I will live the rest of my life serving God's purposes with God's people on God's planet for God's glory. I will use my life to celebrate his presence, cultivate his character, participate in his family, demonstrate his love, and communicate his Word.

Since my past has been forgiven, and I have a purpose for living and a home awaiting in heaven, I refuse to waste any more time or energy on shallow living, petty thinking, trivial talking, thoughtless doing, useless regretting, hurtful resenting, or faithless worrying.

Instead I will magnify God, grow to maturity, serve in ministry, and fulfill my mission in the membership of his family.

Because this life is preparation for the next, I will value worship over wealth, “we” over “me,” character over comfort, service over status, and people over possessions, position, and pleasures. I know what matters most, and I'll give it all I've got. I'll do the best I can with what I have for Jesus Christ today.

I won't be captivated by culture, manipulated by critics, motivated by praise, frustrated by problems, debilitated by temptation, or intimidated by the devil. I'll keep running my race with my eyes on the goal, not the sidelines or those running by me.

When times get tough, and I get tired, I won't back up, back off, back down, back out, or backslide. I'll just keep moving forward by God's grace. I'm Spirit-led, purpose-driven and mission-focused, so I cannot be bought, I will not be compromised, and I shall not quit until I finish the race.

I'm a trophy of God's amazing grace, so I will be gracious to everyone, grateful for everyday, and generous with everything that God entrusts to me.

To my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I say: However, whenever, wherever, and whatever you ask me to do, my answer in advance is yes! Wherever you lead and whatever the cost, I'm ready. Anytime. Anywhere. Anyway.

Whatever it takes Lord; whatever it takes!

I want to be used by you in such a way, that on that final day I'll hear you say, "Well done, thou good and faithful one. Come on in, and let the eternal party begin!"

What does this mean?

Today, I affirm this commitment to God and submit to his plans and purposes for my life, no matter what it takes.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Thankful Thursday

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4

As always, on Thankful Thursday there are always so many things to consider to talk about, but today I'm most grateful for the HOPE I have as a believer in Christ. Yes, this listed as one of the three greatest gifts God has given us, Faith, Hope, and Love. To have Hope is crucial in the life of a believer. No matter what has happened in the past, what is going on in the present, or what will come in the future, God’s promise stands firms that He will always be there for us. In Hebrews Hope is called the “anchor for the soul”. There are so many illustrations of what an anchor can symbolizes, such as, stability, security, safety, and the list goes on, but the real question is, “How do we obtain this great hope the Bible speaks about”?

Paul said we gain Hope through endurance, and by the Word of God”! It's holding on when you want to let go. It's believing and trusting even when things look bad. It's standing on the promises, even when you feel like all your strength is gone. Hope gives us a reason to “keep on keeping on”.

David truly understood what Hope was when he wrote, "My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my Hope in your word”. (PS 119:81). And a little further down in this same Psalm he wrote, "You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word." (PS 119:114). It seems Hope centered on the unchangeable character of God and of His eternal promises spoken to us in His Word.

Thank God the He has given us so many precious promises. Our Hope keeps us from settling for human solutions, and it turns our eyes away from our momentary afflictions and helps us focus on the glory of God! I think if anybody could write about Hope it was Paul, who suffered so much affliction in his life and yet could still say to us, "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." (Romans 12: 12).

Yes, Hope is truly a gift, and one that I am so thankful to have received from Jesus who is the Hope of the World.

My prayer for us all in this New Year is found in Romans 15: 13: "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Thanks Lynn for hosting this week's Thankful Thursday. Looks like we were on the same track!

You can go see what other's are thanking God for at Lynn's site now!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Mary Did You Know?

Please remember to turn off my music for this video!

Thanks so much for stopping by. I pray you will have a wonderful Christmas.

It's been such a blessing getting to know you all.

Looking forward to all God has in store for 2008!

God bless you!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Thankful Thursday

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15

On this Thankful Thursday my focus of thankfulness will be on the most wonderful gift I have ever received. On June 21st, 1977 I whispered a prayer that would change the course of my life forever. I invited the King of kings, and Lord of lords to come into my heart, and I made a commitment to live for Him.

So what did I get in exchange for surrendering my old life to receive this most “indescribable gift" we call Salvation?

Immediately I was granted citizenship in His kingdom. Before, I was a foreigner and an alien, separated from God because of sin, but on that day, I became an adopted daughter of the Almighty God. Everything that belonged to Jesus also became mine to share. All because I yielded to his call and accepted His gift.

Another special gift I received was "the Gift of His Holy Spirit". Now He is always present in my life to guide, counsel, protect, and comfort me each day. I have been empowered to live an overcoming and victorious life.

I was also given the Gift of Peace. Not the kind of peace the world offers, but the Peace that passes all understanding. Peace that allows me to cope with everyday situations.

I also inherited some very valuable real estate. I have a mansion in heaven, all paid for. A dwelling place that will last for eternity! An indescribable place of beauty that I long to live in one day.

Another gift was the Gift of Rest. After living a life of striving, stress, and uncertainty, Jesus offered to carry this load with me. He said: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." What an offer, how could anyone resist such love?

It would take me a very long time to continue and list everything He brings to those who put their trust in Him, and maybe I could never finish the list. In fact, throughout all of eternity He will continue to reveal the greatness of His goodness and the boundless limits of His love.

So for now, I will end with just one more thing I am so grateful for, and that is for one precious sister’s heart that was surrendered to God many years ago. The Apostle Luke recorded this story in Luke 1:26 – 38.

“In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.

But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

“How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. For nothing is impossible with God."

“I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered." May it be to me as you have said."

Yes, and because Mary was willing to surrender her own future plans, her reputation, and her whole life to God, we have all benefited eternally by the birth of her son, Jesus Christ, who has become our Lord and Savior!

My soul too glorifies the Lord, and my spirit will forever rejoice in God my Savior. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and I'm so thankful.

Merry Christmas to you, my blogging friends. I pray for the Lord’s favor, His love, His mercy and His presence to fill your hearts and home in this most Holy season and throughout the coming New Year!

Thanks Lynn for hosting this week's Thankful Thursday! I'm really excited about all the neat things God is showing you for the new year. You can go see what other's are thanking God for at Spiritually Unequally Marriage.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

In Other Words

“Don’t blame suffering in the world on the anger of God. He’s not mad; he didn’t mess up. Follow your troubles to their headwaters, and you won’t find any angry or befuddled God. But you will find a sovereign God.Your pain has a purpose.
Your problems, struggles, heartaches, and hassles cooperate toward one end — the glory of God.”
~ Max Lucado ~It’s Not About Me

I must admit I was tempted to not to participate in Tuesday's "In Other's Words". Like everyone else, I'm just so busy. However, when I read this awesome quote by one of my favorite authors, I simply could not resist! This topic is so personal to me for many reasons, and it is something that has carried me through some of the most difficult times of my life.

If there is one principal in the Word I fully embrace and stand on unmoved it is "the sovereignty of God". I like the way Paul addressed this subject when he said, "For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be the glory for ever. Amen" (Romans 11:36). He also wrote in Eph. 1:11 "who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will"

To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the Almighty, the Possessor of all power in Heaven and earth. No one can stand against His counsels, thwart His purpose, or resist His will (Psa. 115:3).

I also believe that God will use the many heartaches and struggles we must deal with here on earth, and will cause these circumstances to bring glory unto Himself in the end, but the ultimate choice of how we face these problems is ours.

Will we become distraught, loose sight of His is purposes, and allow our faith to fail? Or will we trust and hope in the power of the sovereign Lord to bring us through, knowing He works all things together for our good?

Many years ago I was receiving counseling to help me work through some personal struggles after the death of my mother. My mother was such a woman of faith, and never stopped believing that God would heal her right up until her last breath. I had such a hard time when God took her home, and I began to question God. I will never forget an illustration my counselor shared with me.

He said, “you can take two men that have been to war. Both come home with no legs. One sits on a palate, with a cup in his hand, bitter, angry, blaming God and begging on the street just to survive. The other one is in a wheel chair. He has learned to live life without his legs. He goes back to college, and gets a job on campus. Plays on a wheelchair basketball team, and has lots of friends. Goes to church and loves to witness about how God spared his life in the war so that he could be a voice to bring glory to God. He knows his life has value and he is making a difference in spite of his struggles.”

You see our greatest handicap is not our outward circumstances, but it’s our heart and our mind. Two men, same hardship, one bitter, one better. Which will you be?”

The word is filled with examples of great men who went through so much pain, hardship, loss, and great disappointments. Naturally Job comes to mind. What a great response he had when he said, “Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly”. (Job 1:21-22)

But I also really like what Paul said when he was in prison locked up in chains. "Now I want you to know brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly”. (Phil 1:12-14)

Wow, what an example and awesome testimony to all of us of someone who completely trusted God's plan for his life. In spite of his circumstances Paul recognized the sovereignty of God.

Since the diagnoses of my son's brain tumor God has brought me into contact with many people that I would never have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. On many occasions I have had the opportunities to speak words of hope to these precious people in their times of despair or loss. Then God has turned this around and given me the courage and faith and to face the difficulties in my own life.

The Word says, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over” (Lk. 6:38). How true it has been in my own life. I know God has a plan for all of us. No matter what may happen to us in this life, God will make all things beautiful in HIS TIME. He is sovereign, He is loving, and He is good. In this revelation I find rest each day.

Be glorified in my life each day O Lord...

If you would to read what other's are writing about on this quote you can go over to Hopeful's Spirit's site. Her post is just incredible!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Something to ponder...

A group of alumni, all highly established in their respective
careers, got together for a visit with their old university professor.
The conversation soon turned to complaints about the endless stress of
work and life in general.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went into the kitchen
and soon returned with a large pot of coffee and an eclectic
assortment of cups: porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal - some plain,
some expensive, some quite exquisite.

Quietly he told them to help themselves to some fresh coffee..
When each of his former students had a cup of coffee in hand, the old
professor quietly cleared his throat and began to patiently address
the small gathering... ''You may have noticed that all of the nicer
looking cups were taken up first, leaving behind the plainer and
cheaper ones. While it is only natural for you to want only the best
for yourselves, that is actually the source of much of your
stress-related problems."

He continued...''Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to
the coffee. In fact, the cup merely disguises or dresses up what we
drink. What each of you really wanted was coffee, not a cup, but you
instinctively went for the best cups... Then you began eyeing each
other's cups....''

''Now consider this: Life is coffee. Jobs, money, and position in
society are merely cups. They are just tools to shape and contain
Life, and the type of cup we have does not truly define nor change the
quality of the Life we live. Often, by concentrating only on the cup,
we fail to enjoy the coffee that God has provided us... God brews the
coffee, but he does not supply the cups.

Enjoy your coffee!'' The happiest people don't have the best of
everything, they just make the best of everything they have...
please remember: Live simply. Love generously. Care Deeply. Speak
Kindly. Leave the Rest to God. And remember - the richest person is
not the one who has the most, but the one who needs the least.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

“Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare”. PS :40:5

On this Thankful Thursday, I want to give thanks to God just for thinking of me. David declared that “God's thoughts were innumerable, too many to be counted or numbered”.
The Lord loves us so much that He cannot keep Himself from thinking about us. How wonderful it is to know that we are always on His mind and in His thoughts.

Psalm 139:17 says – “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand.”

God knows and understands every aspect of our lives. He knows about the joys and He knows about the sorrows. He sees every victory, and He is there with us through every trial, heartache, sickness, and pain. How marvelous it is to know that in Hebrews 7:24-25 (speaking of the ministry of Jesus) the Bible says,

“But because He (Jesus) remains forever, He holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is always able to save those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them.”

No matter what may be happening in our lives today, the word of God reassures us that Jesus is there for us, not against us. He has a plan and a destiny for us, and He will watch over us until all is fulfilled according to His will. He is praying for us right now. We have a High Priest and an advocate who is intervening continually on our behalf with the Father. How thankful I am to know that I am safe and secure in His arms, and to know that if God is for me, who can be against me?

So today I thank you Lord, for all the thoughts and plans you have for my life. I am so grateful for the gift of your precious son Jesus!

If you would like to see what others are thankful for today go to Laurel's Wreath!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

In Other Words

1Peter 2:21 – “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps.” (NIV)

God calls believers to live out a life of example for others. While many people learn about Christ from what they read or hear, many more learn by example. So, it becomes so important that we act out our faith in all areas of our lives.

There are many ways we can show the love of God, and today I'd just like to use 2 examples that stand out to me.

The first would be to manifest the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. In Galatians 5:22-25 (NTL) says:

"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. "

The next area that I believe critical to living a life that would cause this earth to be like "God's paradise" would be that we would determine (key word here) to respond to others mistakes with the same forgiveness that God has so graciously given to us. A great example would be found in Galatians 6:1 where it says:

"Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself."

Gosh, I know this can be so hard at times, and I'm so guilty of not being so gentle and humble. But my prayer is that I would have the eyes and mercy of Christ as I journey on the path He has laid before me.

Lord, help me be a reflection of your great love today and everyday you grant me here on earth.

If you would to see what others have said about this beautiful quote you can go to Lori's site, at All You Have to Give.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

A Light that will always shine...

The Compassionate Friends is a national nonprofit, self-help support organization that offers friendship, understanding, and hope to bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings.

Tonight at 7:00pm they will hold a "Worldwide Candle Lighting" to honor and remember children who have died at any age from any cause.

I'd like to ask you to stop a moment and ask God to comfort and uphold each family represented. During our Journey with Jordan we have had the privelge to meet and become close to many brave young warriors who in the end won their battle with cancer and now are sitting at the feet of Jesus. Today, I remember each one and the lessons we learned as they taught us what it truly means to fight the good fight of faith.

Here are the names of some very special children that have went before us:

Brent Nason
Timmy Pauxtis
Haley Girl
Jeremiah Averhart
Shae Pierce
Randon & Reid Miller
Jake Raborn
Jacob Duckworth
Spencer Boyer
Emma Grace Hampton
Tony Horton
Dakota Micheal Gay
Maddie Adams
Jessica Randall
Brayden Breaux

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Thankful Thursday

Each year I gather together with a group of my very special friends to share a cup of tea, laughter, friendship, and lasting memories. Over the past ten years, our Christmas Tea has become one of my very favorite holiday traditions, which I look forward to so much every year.

On this Thankful Thursday, I want to thank God for all the wonderful women that He has brought into my life. Friendships are a special gift given to us by God, and I cherish every one of those gifts that have so enriched my life. In Proverbs 17:17 the Bible says, "A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need." Oh, where would I be if it were not for my faithful friends and family?

In Psalm 133:1 David wrote, "How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!" I believe this brings glory and honor to our Father as we walk together in unity; upholding, comforting, and encouraging one another. This really is the clearest expression of what we as the Body of Christ need to be about.

In closing today, I'd like to share a few pictures from our Christmas Tea that capture some of those special moments and memories that live on forever. I pray that all of you checking in will have a wonderful day today, and that you will also have the chance during this holiday season to celebrate the friendships that God has so graciously brought into you life!

Pam & Cyndy, we go back many, many years!

My daughter in law Kristin!

~Thrista & Nancy~


My precious treasures...

If you would like to see what others are thankful for please go to Laurel's site!

Wordless Wednesday

Need one?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Labor of Love

Please remember to turn off my Music Playlist!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Those Three Words...

I didn't think I had time today to participate in Marriage Monday, but when I saw the topic, "What Makes a Marriage Christian, I thought, let me slow down, take a minute and think about this one".

As I was driving home this morning after dropping my son off at school, I had time to think about and reflect on this topic. The very first thing that came to mind was FORGIVENESS. Of all the many things that should set a Christian marriage apart from all others would be forbearance and forgiveness.

I have been so blessed and privileged to have so many wonderful examples of what a Christian marriage looks like. My precious mom taught me what patience and forgiveness really means. I also had two "spiritual moms" in the Lord who also taught me about the characteristics that should be a reflection of Christ and his bride, the church.

Personally, forgiveness has been something I have had to work on daily. God has blessed me with a wonderful, patient, (oh so very patient...) husband, and he seems to be able to offer forgiveness toward me in such a generous way each day. Now on the other hand, it is very easy for me to want to nurse my wounds and keep Rick reminded of his shortcomings.

A few years ago my precious friend Bunny Wilson, (the author of the wonderful book "Liberated Through Submission") gave me a challenge that changed the course of my marriage. The mission was learning to say three very painful, yet powerful, words. Now, to make things more difficult, I was challenged to say these words even when I felt I was offended or justified.

OK, I am sure you are wondering what those words were. Well, here they are…"I was wrong." Ouch. I tried to argue this theory with her, and justify many situations where those words were unnecessary, but it continually came back to me having to say them. Just the act of taking “an offense" for things that have been done to us is wrong, even when we may be right. That’s hard! However, I soon realized that I did not have any rights, except the right to offer the same kind of unmerited forgiveness Jesus offered to me. Well, I began using those words on a daily basis, and it began to change my life.

At first, it was very painful, but as the days and weeks went on, they just came out more naturally, and then my husband started catching on. We began to get into spats over who was really in the wrong! We both kept saying, “No, I was wrong”…”No, it was me - I was wrong”! Can you imagine trying to stay upset when the other person is trying to argue that they were really the one who was wrong?

God loves when we are obedient to His word, and the fruit from this is always so sweet. I cannot end this post without sharing the best guidelines I have ever found for marriage. It is recorded in the famous "love chapter" in I Corth. 13 and I love the way the Message Bible brings these words of Paul home:

The Way of Love

(1) If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. (2) If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. (3-7) If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.

Love cares more for others than for self.

Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.

Love doesn't strut,

Doesn't have a swelled head,

Doesn't force itself on others,

Isn't always "me first,"

Doesn't fly off the handle,

Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,

Doesn't revel when others grovel,

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

Puts up with anything,

Trusts God always,

Always looks for the best,

Never looks back,

But keeps going to the end.

((I love you Rick!))

Thanks E-Mom for being yet another great spiritual mom and example for me. I learn so much each time I come go to your site, and especially when I participate on Marriage Monday, because it makes me stop and really think about what is important in my life. If any of you reading this today would like to see what others are sharing about Marriage you can go and visit Chrysalis.