Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Today I'm thankful for:

sweet smiles
baby dolls
Cinderella movies

long bubble baths
snuggling in bed
tickling each other
tea parties
little bows

big bows
frilly socks

the color pink
reading story books
and most of all grandchildren...

Today I'm grateful for Kayla, Karli and Grace!
So what are you thankful for? Drop by Iris's site at Sting My Heart and see what other grateful hearts are thanking God for today!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Lasting Beauty

"But remember, for all your adult life you'll be a woman. And how you live your life as a woman, all by yourself before God, is what makes the real you. Nothing on the exterior can touch or change that precious inner sanctuary, your heart, his dwelling place unless you let it. And God, who loves you very much has tailor made all your outer life, your circumstances, your relationships, to pressure you into becoming that beautiful woman he's planned for you to be.” ~ Anne Ortlund ~

Well ladies, I'm learning very quickly that no physical beauty lasts forever. Yes, as we age we change. Once soft, smooth, shimmering skin now begins to give way to lines and wrinkles. As by magic, grey hairs begin to appear out of nowhere, but it’s not an illusion. Before you know it, you look in the mirror and discover you have lost that woman you were many ago.

I'm so blessed to know that even though natural beauty will dissipate, our inner beauty can continue to flourish as we become conformed more into the image of Christ. This was really what our loving Father always intended us be, a vessel of honor perfectly designed by His loving hands.

"And God, who loves you very much has tailor made all your outer life, your circumstances, your relationships, to pressure you into becoming that beautiful woman he's planned for you to be."

So, herein lays the secret to becoming the most beautiful woman you could ever be. Our relationships, circumstances, and pressures. Sounds like the process of a diamond being formed from a lump of coal in the heart of the Earth. He does not change our nose, figure, hair color or make us taller or shorter, but He changes our hearts and minds. We work so hard to preserve the outer, and all the while, our Father is at work to renew the inner person. So what is beautiful to God?

“Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

Each new day we are given the opportunity to allow more of God's unfading beauty to be imparted into our lives. When I first was saved, Amy Grant sang one of my favorite songs. Some of you may remember it was called, "She has her Father's eyes.” That should our quest, to become more like Him in every way.

Lord, let your beauty and your holiness rest upon us today. May others be able to see Your eyes, Your heart, and a reflection of Your beauty when they look upon our faces.

If you would like to see what other's have written on this quote stop by Extravagant Grace.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bloggy Giveaway Carnival!

Hi Ladies. Well this is a big week in Blog-o-sphere! Shannon at "Rocks in my Dryer" is hosting another Bloggy-give-away. I told you I had something exciting to enter into the enough talk - let me show you what it is. With Valentine's Day right around the corner I found a really great book, and a cute teddy bear with candy that I know you will love to share with your perfect Valentine!

Here is a brief bio of the book.

"With wit and wisdom, happily married author Cindy Dagnan has created a chocolate-covered "guide" to enhancing your marriage relationship! Laced with sweet word plays and Scripture references, this up-to-date, straight-talking marriage manual will head you directly towards increased romance, rich dialogue and commitment to a never-boring marriage. Practical ideas from redecorating your bedroom, a list of 50 ways to affirm your marriage covenant, and sharing chocolate, i.e. doing life together. Well-written, with humor and insight in every page; 11 chapters with his-and-her survey questions and conversation starter list for married couples. Recommended for every wedding shower and every married couple's nightstand."

Dosen't this book sound great - and a lot of fun too?

OK here's the rules:

This contest is open to bloggers and non-bloggers alike. All you have to do is leave a comment, and a valid e-mail so I can contact you! I'm sorry to say that I will only be able to ship within the United States. The drawing will be held on Friday, February 1st, so please check back to see if you are the winner!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Tag Me-me

Earlier today Heather @Mumblings of a Mommy Monk tagged me with this meme. I've really enjoy visiting Heather's blog daily. Normally I do not like doing this, but since she was so kind to think of me, I will oblige. OK, here goes.

The rules for this meme are: (1) Link to the person that tagged you. (2) Post the rules on your blog. (3) Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself. (4) Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs. (5) Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

1) When I was a little girl, I always wanted to wear glasses. In the 5th grade I cheated on my school's eye screening exam. I got past the nurse, but could not fool the optometrist. Now I can't do anything without my glasses.

2) I began playing the flute in the 4th grade and was in the marching band all the way through High School. It is still one of my favorite instruments to listen to.

3) When I was 17 I met Paul McCartney. Oh boy, now that was a thrill. He was recording an album at a studio close by to my home. I went there everyday after school to see him. After a few weeks, he actually got to know me by name!

4) I live way down south in Dixie surrounded by water, but do not eat seafood! Not even these little creatures... 5) One of my son's once found a little hairless creature in the yard and brought it in to show me. At first I thought it was a rat. Since I am so afraid of rats, I took it to our vet to discover it was a baby squirrel. I fell in love with him, and for weeks had to wake up all during the night to feed "Squeaky" with an eye-dropper. We ended up having him as a pet for over 2 years. You don't want to know the rest of this story.
6) I've been on four mission trips. Three church planting trips to Russia, and one trip to Haiti. These were life-changing events.

So, now you know a little more about me. Here are 6 more people I would like to know more about:

Kathleen @The Open Window
Lyric @Chrysalis Song
Tiffany @Tea With Tiffany
Tonya @Safe In His Arms
Angie @ The Knightly News
Maxine @Scraps of Glory

Thursday, January 24, 2008

It's a Bloggy Giveaway!

I'm so excited to participate in my first Bloggy Giveaway! Please come back here on Monday January 28th and join the fun.

I have a really great gift to give away just in time for Valentine's day! You won't want to miss your chance to get your name in this drawing!

If you would like to join the fun, just hop on over to Rocks in My Dryer to participate. Last year there were over 500 chances to win some really nice gifts. Don't be left out of all the fun. See you on Monday.

Thankful Thursday

PS 30:11 “You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!”

On this Thankful Thursday I want to thank God for JOY. There was a time in my life when I was not joyful. Before I embraced the cross, all I could think about was myself. No matter what I had, or where I was, or whom I was with, deep down inside I still felt miserable and alone.

After finding Christ, my life began to Turn Around. Things began to become transformed. My world finally started to change. At last I was able to get my eyes off of “ME”, and focus more on Him. I could see His hand prints all over my past, and felt so hopeful about what my future might hold. I knew He had a divine plan for my life, and it was beginning to unfold. Quite naively, I thought everything would be just perfect now that I found Christ!

As we all know, being a Christian does not prevent bad things from happening in our lives. As a young mom with four children, I lost my best friend in the whole world, my mother. Just two years later I experienced the second greatest loss in my life, when my father was struck down by a speeding car and was tragically killed.

“Why God, why?” Is there any good answer? The only answer is the same one He gave Paul when He said, “... "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me”. No one in this life can flee the pain of loss, disappointments, and suffering. But in the face of it all we can still have JOY. “…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” Jesus willing laid down His life for us all. He experienced all the pain and suffering that was humanly possible, so we could experience JOY. In Hebrews 12: 2 the scriptures say, “For the JOY set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”. Excuse me, but did it say “For the JOY”? Jesus knew what suffering the cross would bring, but He also knew that His Father would once again restore His JOY!

So today, I’m so grateful there is more to this life then what we may be going through at this very moment. And I’ve also learned that what we own, where we live, what we look like, or how well we’re connected won’t bring true JOY into our lives. Yes, I’m so grateful that Jesus paid the price for my sins and I’m eternally forgiven. I’m so grateful I will once again see those who have gone before me. I’m so grateful that God has given me a true and lasting JOY, and that He has turned my mourning into dancing and clothed with a garment of praise!

Isn’t He wonderful?

If you would to see what many others are thankful for today please visit Iris at Sting My Heart, you will be glad you did! Thanks so much for stopping by today.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

My First Award!

Robin at Heart at Home has awarded me with the Excellent Blog Award! I'm just so humbled and so blessed to have been chosen. Being new to this blogoshpere world, I'm am truly honored.

I was really hesitate to dive in and start blogging. Now it's become such a source of joy and actually a great passion of mine. The Lord has used so many of the wonderful and gifted writers I have met to speak directly into my own life. I feel as though I personally know many of you already! Again, thanks Robin so much for this nomination. I'm so grateful.

Mother Teresa once said: "We are all pencils in the hand of a writing God, who is sending love letters to the world." The word instructs us to minister and encourage each other daily. Now in accordance to the rules of this award I will pass it on to 10 more people who's blog's have blessed, inspired and encouraged me greatly. (These are in no special order!) Here are the instructions I received:

By accepting this Excellent Blog Award, you have to award it to 10 more people who’s blog’s you find Excellent Award worthy. You can give it to as many people as you want but please award at least 10. Thank you out there for having such great blogs and being such great friends! You deserve this! Feel free to award people who have already been awarded…

And the winners are:

Amy @ In Pursuit of Proverbs 31

(A special thank you to you Amy. You have been my mentor and teacher in the blogging world. Thanks for being so patient with me. It's such a joy to have actually had the opportunity to meet you also!)

Lelia @ Write from the Heart

(Oh what a blessing your site has been to me. I'll look forward to getting to know you better!)

(There isn't a day I don't come over to your cozy site, you challenge me so much!)


Tonya @ Safe in His Arms

(Tonya, you are such a treasured friend, so close to my heart. Your love and zeal for Jesus has made me more hungry for him each day, I'm so glad we are now blogging buddies too! Thank you for being my Proverbs 17:17 friend.)


Vickie @ Windows to My Soul

(Thank you for being such a witness for Christ. Your blog continues to open my eyes to truth daily.)


Lori @ All You Have To Give

(Oh, what a joy it has been getting to know you, Thanks for being such an encouragement to me.)


Susanne @ Truly Captivating

(You are such a sweetie, I love your honesty and visiting your blog, I'm so glad we have met.)


Laurel @ Laurel's Wreath

(Laurel, your writing inspires me and I enjoy visiting your blog daily.)


Heather @ Mumblings of a "Mommy Monk"

(Heather, your writings, your thoughts, and convictions challenge me daily. I never leave your blog with out much thought and contemplation. You are such a blessing.)


E-Mom @ Chrysalis

(Oh, what a joy it's been to participate in your Marriage Mondays! I've learned so much from you. Thanks for being such a great example to all of us!)


Heather @ Faithful Froggers

(Heather, you are more then a friend to me, I feel like you are a sister. There is not enough words to describe how much your life, your love for your family, and your testimony of hope and courage inspire me daily. I'm so blessed you are now blogging. Love you...)

One of the most wonderful things about knowing God is that there's always so much more to know, so much more to discover. Just when we least expect it, He intrudes into our neat and tidy notions about who He is and how He works. Joni Eareckson Tada

Thank you all for being used by God to teach me more about Him daily!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Let No One Go Unwarned...

When I read today's quote by A.W. Tozer I could not help but think of a picture I once saw several years ago. I was grieved by this depiction of the sad state of the body of Christ. We must pray for revival within the Church, so that believers will turn away from complacency and return to their First Love.

“I want deliberately to encourage this mighty longing after God. The lack of it has brought us to our present low estate. The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us He waits for long, so very long, in vain.” ~A.W.Tozer~

Compliancy in the life of a believer is a very dangerous place to be. In the book of Revelations John wrote to the church:

"To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. 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.” (Rev. 2:14, 15)

So what does it mean to be complacent? To me, it means being satisfied with the way things are in life. It is a lack of hunger or desire to see change. It is being apathetic to the needs of others. It is believing, “I’m O.K,” and living life to satisfy the wants and desires of oneself. It is being in a place that breaks the heart of God who gave everything in the person on Jesus Christ to pay for our salvation.

I pray that our love and longing for Jesus will never grow cold and that we would deliberately and whole-heartily seek after God with passion and purpose.

One of my very favorite quotes on this topic is by Charles H. Spurgeon.

“If sinners be dammed, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for.” -- Charles H. Spurgeon

What more can anyone say?

Debbie over at Chocolate and Coffee is hosting today's In Other Words. She wrote a great post on this awesome quote. You will be blessed. You can also read what others have written today as well! Thanks so much for stopping by today.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

St Jude Ball~Part 2

Hi Everyone,

When I sent the slide show over to my blog there was no room for me to leave any comments!

Just so you'll understand the pictures, I'll explain in case you are interested. My son is a patient at St. Jude in Memphis. He is now in remission from a brain tumor and doing well. PRAISE GOD!

Here in my hometown, (let's see if you can guess where I'm from...major hint in one of the pictures), St. Jude has an Affiliate Clinic. Each year they sponsor a Ball to raise money for St. Jude. Jordan along with the children in the picture were presented on the court.

We are ever so grateful for St. Jude. I could go on and on, and one day soon I will.

We had a great night, met some other St. Jude families, and we are working on a really BIG surprise for Jordan after talking with a family there last night. Can't wait to share those details with you once they are confirmed.

Thanks so much for stopping by today!

The St. Jude Ball!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Being Changed Into His Likeness

The reward of Christianity is Christ.

Do you journey to the Grand Canyon for the souvenir T-shirt or the snow globe with the snowflakes that fall when you shake it? No. The reward of the Grand Canyon is the Grand Canyon. The wide-eyed realization that you are part of something ancient, splendid, powerful, and greater than you.

The cache of Christianity is Christ. Not money in the bank or a car in the garage or a healthy body or a better self-image. Secondary and tertiary fruits perhaps. But the Fort Knox of faith is Christ. Fellowship with him. Walking with him. Pondering him. Exploring him. The heart-stopping reali-zation that in him you are part of something ancient, endless, unstoppable, and unfathomable. And that he, who can dig the Grand Canyon with his pinkie, thinks you’re worth his death on Roman timber. Christ is the reward of Christianity. Why else would Paul make him his supreme desire? “I want to know Christ” (Phil. 3:10).

Do you desire the same? My idea is simple. Let’s look at some places he went and some people he touched. Join me on a quest for his “God-manness.” You may be amazed.

More important, you may be changed. “We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18).

As we behold him, we become like him.

I experienced this principle firsthand when an opera singer visited our church. We didn’t know his voice was trained. You couldn’t have known by his corduroy coat and loafers. No tuxedo, cummerbund, or silk tie. His appearance raised no eyebrow, but his voice certainly did. I should know. He was in the pew behind mine. His vibrato made dentures rattle and rafters shake. He tried to contain himself. But how can a tuba hide in a room of piccolos? For a moment I was startled. But within a verse, I was inspired. Emboldened by his volume, I lifted mine. Did I sing better? Not even I could hear me. My warbles were lost in his talent. But did I try harder? No doubt. His power brought out the best in me.

Could your world use a little music? If so, invite heaven’s baritone to cut loose. He may look as common as the guy next door, but just wait till you see what he can do. Who knows? A few songs with him might change the way you sing.


By Max Lucado

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Col.4: 2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

On this Thankful Thursday I'm grateful for the opportunity to be a part of a new season of prayer at our church. The Lord gave our Pastor a word that the year 2008 will be the year of "opportunity".

We are now finishing a 3 day total fast and entering into an extended time of a Daniel Fast. Daniel make a statement of faith when he asked for only vegetables to eat and water to drink, then dared the overseer to compare the appearance of the four sons of Israel with the young men who ate the king's food. Fasting brings one into a deeper, more intimate, and powerful relationship with the LORD. When you eliminate food from your diet for a number of days, your spirit becomes uncluttered by the things of this world and amazingly sensitive to things of God.

I want to be hungry for the living bread, and for God to call me to a deeper place in Him during this year. I'm so grateful I am able to do this with my husband and the rest of the body at our church.

I am open to any prayer requests you may have, and would be honored to pray for YOU during this time we have set apart! Just let me know.

I'm also grateful for Iris who is now back hosting Thankful Thursdays. If you would like to see what other grateful hearts are saying please hop on over to Sting My Heart, you'll be encouraged I know.

Wordless Wednesday

"But I have to keep my eyes closed"...Kayla's new way to take pictures!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

We Will Serve The Lord

“A family without a commitment to the God of the Bible has no hope of stemming the tide of cultural onslaught. If we mix a little biblical truth, a little secular psychology, a little romance novel ideology, and a little eastern mysticism, we will get a deadly mixture of lies. Unfortunately, this is what many Christian families do . . . If we are to experience multigenerational faithfulness we must come to a place where we throw off the shackles of our culture and live in the fullness that is found only in Christ. We must be people who live the Word in our homes.”

I would like to start out by encouraging you to read the book review Loni did for the book, "Family Driven Faith: Doing What It takes to Raise Sons and Daughters Who Walk With the Lord”, by Voddie T. Baucham Jr. In her review Loni said,”This book is convicting, motivating, and encouraging. It may show failures in our families and leadership (or lack of it), but points us to the goal of following Jesus and starting over, no matter where you are at or have been." Now, I'm excited about reading this book.

As a mother of five sons with three now out of our home now, it is hard not to feel like we have failed somewhere along the way. In fact, two of my sons are not serving the Lord right now. However, I won't let that deter me, and I will continually pray, fast and stand on God's promise for them to come back to their first love and serve God with all of their hearts.

The quote above is so true and hits home in so many areas for me. The stats are scary, and I believe now is the time we start living out our convictions like never before.

To me, the most crucial decision anyone future parent needs to make must take place at the very start of his or her marriage. That is a decision to keep the Lord first in everything. In Josh 22:5, we are instructed, “But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul.” This is a commitment we must first make as individuals and then as a couple.

Joshua goes on to say, "But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." Josh 22: 15

So, it all begins with a desire, a conviction, and a willingness to obey the call God has given us. It is our responsibility to train up our children to know the same God we serve. This takes courage, and we must be armed and ready to fight all those giants of human psychology, romance novels, secular ideology, eastern mysticism, and all the many lies that try to capture and deceive our children's hearts.

As I read that sentence, I could not help but think of I Corth. 5:6, which says, "Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?"

As a parent I will never stop praying for my children daily, but I find comfort when I get a little discouraged by the things I see in the natural and I’m reminded that God is always "watching to see that His word is fulfilled". (Jeremiah 12)

I would like to end with a declaration David made in Psalm 78:4-7 concerning the training of our children. And like David, I will proclaim the “praiseworthy deeds of the Lord” to my children, and trust God for their complete salvation.

" We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.

He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel,which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children,

so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.

Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Thank you Loni for hosting “In Other Words,” and for being such a great example to all of us out here. Your testimony brings so much glory to God, and I consider myself blessed to know you.

If you would to see what others have written about this quote go to Loni's Writing Canvas.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Time for a check-up...

At this time there is a nationwide prayer and fasting campaign underway that runs from January 1-21st sponsored by the International Center for Spiritual Renewal in Cleveland.

Our church along with many other churches across America is participating in this fast.

"Imagine what would happen in America if millions of believers united together in denying their flesh, pushing back their plates, and crying out to God for mercy?" An ever-increasing spiritual burden for our nation continues to overtake the soul of the America church. We are in a deep, spiritual crisis. The present state of our churches, the moral confusion of our citizens, and the lost condition of a new generation of Americans demands that we do whatever possible to make a positive spiritual impact."

I'm excited to be a part of this desperate move to cry out for our nation, our churches, our families, and especially what God wants to do in our lives personally in this coming year. It truly is time for a spiritual “check up”. I received an article today by J. Lee Grady with some guidelines God showed him to use during this time of prayer and fasting. I thought I would share them with you.

My personal prayer for you is that 2008 will be a year of breakthroughs, opportunities, and time that God's power will be demonstrated through your life and in your loved ones as well. I believe we are at a crossroad, and that this is a critical time in our history. Let's do what the prophet Daniel did as he as he spent three weeks (21 days) in mourning, fasting, and prayer for the Jewish nation. (Daniel 10:2-3)

Here is the list of questions from the article I read, you may want to consider and ask yourself:

1. What is my spiritual temperature? Jesus calls us to be fervent in spirit (see Rom. 12:11). The Greek word for “fervent” means, “white hot.” Too often I tend to adjust to my cool environment instead of heating things up. Yet people who are filled with the Holy Spirit should carry fiery zeal wherever they go. Has my spiritual passion been quenched by the busyness of life, selfish ambition or the lure of wealth? If I’m not careful, lukewarmness can become normal and prayerlessness can become routine.

2. What is my heart rate? I am called first and foremost to be a worshiper, but intimacy with God is not always my priority. Am I wholehearted in my devotion to Jesus, or do the distractions of entertainment, work and relationships fill up all my time? Does my heart beat fastest for Him, or have other interests replaced my first love? Do I truly live to please the Father alone, or have I become addicted to the praises of men?

3. Do I need an attitude adjustment? If I don’t walk with the limp of humility, pride will cause me to strut. Do I radiate the love, joy and peace of the Holy Spirit—or am I better known for anxiety, rudeness, cutting remarks and irritability? What happens when I am under pressure—do I manifest the sweet demeanor of a trusting heart, or throw a childish temper tantrum?

4. Is there anything toxic in my system? Am I harboring resentment toward anyone who has wronged me? If so, a bitter poison is taking its toll—and I could infect others and start an epidemic. I must forgive every offense, release every judgment and drop every grudge. Am I jealous of another brother because he makes more money or seems more successful? I must rejoice with him instead of secretly resenting his blessings.

5. Does my tongue need an examination? Does grateful thanksgiving pour out of my mouth regularly, or do I spend most of my time griping and complaining? Am I blessing people regularly with encouragement, or tearing them down with criticism and negativity? Have I grown so callous that I don’t feel convicted when I malign a person’s character by talking about him behind his back?

These questions don’t represent a complete list or examination, but they are a starting place in the process for taking a spiritual inventory during this season of prayer. I encourage you to humble yourself and allow the Great Physician to X-ray and examine every square inch of your spiritual life. The pain is worth it. Let’s repeat what David prayed when He was on the Lord’s operating table:

Search me O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way”. (Ps. 139:23-24, NASB)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

On this Thankful Thursday I want to thank God for FREEDOM!!

In June of 1977, I celebrated my true "birthday". Yes, for many of you reading this, that was probably around the time you were actually born! However, on that very special day, 31 years ago, I gave my life completely over to Jesus Christ. It is a day I will never forget, and one that I will always be thankful for.

Now I'd love to say, it was the day God set me free from all my many fears, insecurities, anger, selfishness, and the list goes on and on. Actually, it was just the beginning of a new life where those shackles began to come off one at a time, and even to this day are still coming off more and more as I walk closer to Jesus.

In Romans 6:6 it says, "We are freed from sin’s bondage so that no longer are we slaves to sin, but we are slaves to God." I'm so grateful for being set free from the horrible bondage of SIN that I once walked in, and even thought I enjoyed. Whether we know it or not, we are either slaves to sin are servants to God. No one can serve two masters. You must love one and hate the other. There is no real middle ground. This freedom that I found in Christ is the greatest blessings and joy anyone could every experience. And as I walk in this new life, I understand more each day what “true” freedom really means.

There are so many strongholds of darkness and bondage of sin that can strangle the body, mind, emotions, and spirit. But I love the way Isaiah described the ministry of Jesus 1,000 years before he was even born. In Isaiah 42:7 the prophet wrote: "I, the LORD, have called you (Jesus) in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open the eyes that are blind, to free the captives from prison, and to release from the dungeons those who sit in darkness.”
Oh, that was me 31 years ago, but now I am free and so grateful for all that God has revealed to me about this wonderful liberty found only in Jesus.

Atop the hill in Washington, D.C. stands the Capitol Building of the United States of America. The cornerstone was laid in 1793, but the crowning touch is the statue that sits on top of the rotunda known as the “Freedom Lady”, which was placed there in 1863. The Freedom Lady proudly stands nearly 20 feet tall (now that’s some lady) atop the dome of one of the worlds most notable buildings. A crest of stars frames her face, and a shield of Stars and Stripes is in her left hand. She is but a symbol of all the suffering, pain and bloodshed that others freely offered for us to know the great freedom that we have come to love here in America.

How much more a precious gift is the liberty we have in Christ? And the symbol we have come to know and love is that of the cross standing atop a hill called Golgotha. A place where great suffering, pain and bloodshed also took place. How grateful I am for that sacrifice and vigilant I will be to guard it in my life. I love those now famous words of Martin Luther King, Jr. in his “I Have a Dream” speech when he said, “free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we’re free at last….” And that legendary quote by Patrick Henry in his speech to the Virginia legislature when he said, “Give me liberty or give me death.”

We can see the leaders that have made the greatest difference in the world, are the ones who understood what a precious prize the gift of freedom really is. So today, I will remember the sacrifice that was made for me 2,000 years ago, and like countless thousands of others who have gone before me, will lift up my voice in thanksgiving and praise.

“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6-7
So, what do you want to thank God for today? Please join us over at Lynn's site over at Spiritually Unequal Marriage today to see what others are grateful for! This will be Lynn's last week to host this. Lynn, thanks so much for doing such a great job! You'll be missed.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Marriage Monday

"Three Things My Daughter Must Know About Her Marital Needs."

Now, when I first saw this topic I thought, well, I don't have a daughter! However, after thinking about it, I thought, well, the Lord has brought many young women into my life, I have spiritual daughters as well as a daughter~ in~ law now. The Lord has also blessed me with 3 grand-daughters, so yes, one day before I know it, I’ll be offering advice to them. I thought, now what would I sit down and advise a young woman before she got married?

When I was growing up, my mother always loved the Lord, and I learned many things from her, but she never really understood the teachings of the Bible. So my mom could not really teach me "biblical wisdom", but she did give me practical advice that she had learned. Once I truly found Jesus and gave my heart to the Lord, I actually helped her find a true relationship with the Lord and walk in greater freedom and forgiveness before she was called home to heaven. Praise God for that awesome opportunity. She was such a great example for me.

But now I know the truth and have a better understanding of God's design for marriage these are 3 things I would want to share:

1).The first thing I would share with my daughter would be how important it was that she would find a man that shared the same faith, passion, and love for Jesus. I would show her the passage in I Corth. 7:1-5 – “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” And also in Amos 3:3 where the Word says – "Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?" God has a perfect mate picked out for you, but you must wait patiently for Jesus to bring you both together.

Oh, the hardship and pain I have witnessed over the years when I have seen a believer marry a non-believer and they think she will win him over after marriage! It can happen, but for the most part it is a long and painful experience.

2). The next thing I would share with her is how important it is to honor and respect her husband. Women have such a need to be loved, but in order to receive this she must be willing to look to meet her husbands needs as well. When we are dating, the fact that we honored and respected the guy actually caused them to be attracted to us. The result was a man who wanted to continue to please us in return. My husband has told me many times, "give what you need". Many times these words have fallen on fallow ground, but I've found it is so true, and I try very hard to practice this principal.

I love the way the Amplified bible explains this best in Eph. 5: 33 – “However, let each man of you, without exception, love his wife as being in a sense his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband, that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, loves him, and admires him exceedingly”.

Wow, can you imagine the results you will see in your mate if you will practice this advice from the Apostle Paul?

3). Finally, the third thing I would advise her would be to learn to practice forgiveness. Women love to keep records, times and dates, and we are so good at pulling out our lists as soon as we are offended or hurt. We love to say, “you always” do this …, “you always” do that… When we utter those kinds of words, what we are saying is you are not forgiven and you are still under my judgment. Truly in the end, we don't have a choice in this matter because the word instructs us in Matt. 11:25 "But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too."

We must be willing to let go of things. The enemy knows a house divided will not stand, and he wants more then ever for us to be divided. Unforgiveness will cause us to build walls around our hearts, and emotionally and spiritually separate ourselves from our spouse. There is so much power in unity. Marriage is a life long process of forgiving and being forgiven.

There are so many other things I would tell my daughter, like always pray for her husband, be a builder of her home, encourage him, and be swift to hear, and slow to speak – just to name a few. That is for another time and discussion.

In the end it is always better to give then receive. I know I've learned there is so much power when we work as a team, and it brings glory and honor to God as we submit to each other. I have a long way to go myself, but after 29 years of marriage, while practicing these principals, I can say my needs have always been meet and more. I am one blessed woman, who is still learning each day.

What are some things you would advise your daughter? Please come on over to Marriage Monday and see what other women are saying today. E-Mom posted a wonderful article packed with some great ideas on many things we need as a woman and how we can achieve them! You will be blessed greatly, I promise!

Friday, January 4, 2008

My Dad Is Taking Me Home...

Years ago, I was enthralled as I listened to a pastor who for several years had faithfully served the church. His executive responsibilities had taken him all over this country. As he concluded his message, he told of one of the most frightening yet thought-provoking experiences of his life.

He had been on a long flight from one place to an other. The firstwarning of the approaching problems came when the sign on the airplane flashed on fasten your seat belts. Then, after a while, a calm voice said, "We shall not be serving the beverages at this time as we are expecting a little turbulence. Please be sure your seat belt is fastened."

As he looked around the aircraft, it became obvious that many of the passengers were becoming apprehensive. Later, the voice of the announcer said, "We are so sorry that we are unable to serve the meal at this time. The turbulence is still ahead of us."

And then the storm broke. The ominous cracks of thunder could be heard even above the roar of the engines. Lightning lit up the darkening skies, and within moments that great plane was like a cork tossed aroundon a celestial ocean. One moment the airplane was lifted on terrific currents of air; the next, it dropped as if it were about to crash. The pastor confessed that he shared the discomfort and fear of those around him. He said, "As I looked around the plane, I could see that nearly all the passengers were upset and alarmed. Some were praying. The future seemed ominous and many were wondering if they would make it through the storm.

Then, I suddenly saw a little girl. Apparently the storm meant nothingto her! She had tucked her feet beneath her as she sat on her seat; shewas reading a book and everything within her small world was calm and orderly.

Sometimes she closed her eyes, then she would read again; then she would straighten her legs, but worry and fear were not in her world. When the plane was being buffeted by the terrible storm, when it lurched this way and that, as it rose and fell with frightening severity, when all the adults were scared half to death, that marvelous child was completely composed and unafraid." The minister could hardly believe his eyes.

It was not surprising therefore, that when the plane finally reached its destination and all the passengers were hurrying to disembark, our pastor lingered to speak to the girl whom he had watched for such a long time. Having commented about the storm and behavior of the plane, he asked why she had not been afraid. The child replied, "Cause my Daddy's the pilot, and he's taking me home.

"There are many kinds of storms that buffet us. Physical, mental,financial, domestic, and many other storms can easily and quickly darken our skies and throw our plane spinning out of control. We have all known such times, and let us be honest and confess, it is much easier to be at rest when our feet are on the ground than when we are being tossed about a darkened sky. Just remember: Our Father is the Pilot. He is in control and ?"Daddy is taking us home!