Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My Cracked Life...

God has this way of giving me illustrations in many different places. One such illustration is one that I get the opportunity to think on several times a week, as I clean our church. This particular illustration involves the women's restroom in our church. 

By now you are probably wondering where I am going with this. Well in this restroom there is an ongoing problem with a leak somewhere in our roof. 

 This is what the ceiling and walls have looked like all winter. Its a source of stress for our property guys who are trying very hard to find the leak. Each summer there is work done on the roof and we think, yeah its fixed. So the walls are fixed with new drywall and are prepped for new paint. By then it is winter again and the snow begins to fly. It is then that the leak shows up again and makes us want to pull out our hair!

No matter how good we try to make that wall look, it will always return to this state. That is until we find and fix the source of the problem.



So application time. I've begun to see this wall as a view into my spiritual life. What am I trying to cover up with drywall and paint? What is lurking underneath? Do I put on my mask on Sunday and allow people to think that all is well underneath? Do I even fool myself that all is ok? Am I willing to dig deeper into my life and see what needs to be done to fix my leaks? As Patsy Clairmont says, we are all cracked pots! God is the ultimate sculptor. If I allow him access to my leaky, cracked life He can create something beautiful; a person who is fully submitted to Him!!!



Monday, April 25, 2011

My Feelings His Facts...

My Feeling His Facts
by A.N.H.

My Feelings. His facts.

Having nothing. Having everything.

Having no one. Having the One.

Feeling rejected. Feeling accepted.

Totally abandoned by them. Totally abandoned to Him.

Feeling empty. Feeling filled.

Overcome with loneliness. Overcome with wholeness.

Wanting them. Having Him.

Seeing them fail. Watching Him heal.

Wanting them to see me. Knowing HE’S watching me.

Wanting to be liked. Knowing He Loves.

Satan’s lies. God’s truth.

Harsh world. Caring Savior.

My feelings. God’s facts.


This picture is of my daughter Abby. It totally embraces her and her love for Jesus. She is totally abandoned to Him. That does not mean she is without struggles, we all are. I wanted to share this picture and one of her poems with you today. They inspire me and hopefully will you as well. Abby is in the process of a major life decision and I am asking you to pray with me for her as she makes this decision. She is trying to listen to God and do His will. 

** Abby has made her decision, thanks for praying!! She knows at least what she's doing next year with her life.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Week...


This has been a strange week for me. I've been extra emotional and some days just plain cranky. The week started off awesome with baptisms at church, those always make me cry, and my heart was full. But then came Tuesday, the day we woke up with SNOW covering the ground. April 19th and it snowed, its golf and track season, not ski season! I love snow, but enough is enough!

Then I got to thinking. This week has been an emotional roller coaster for me, was God using this week and my emotions as an object lesson? The week Jesus died was a week with a far greater emotional roller coaster ride.

I began to imagine what it would have been like to be a spectator on Jesus' last week. To be there waving palm branches as He entered Jerusalem that day. To shout hosanna and to watch my King enter the city! Wow, what  a celebration that must have been.


Fast forward to Thursday. Can you imagine hearing that Jesus had been arrested? That the King you just celebrated is being beaten over and over. Then to see the crowd who welcomed Him so joyously turn on Him and ask for his crucifixion. 



Can you imagine the horror of watching Him carrying His own cross? With the guards taunting Him and the crown of thorns digging deeper into His head?



Can you hear the nails as they pounded them into His body? The horror of seeing Him up there bleeding on the cross? Then to see Him take His final breath? We can only partially imagine the actual cruelty of His death.





Then came those dark days of trying to adjust to what you have just seen. Did it really happen? Why did my King have to die? Where is my hope? What do I do? Then you hear that his tomb is empty, He is gone! Who would do such a thing? Hasn't we suffered enough? Just when you are at the bottom of your emotional roller coaster, you are told, He's not in the tomb because He's alive! Yes! It's true Jesus lives! Oh the joy and excitement, as all the pain and anguish from the past three days washes away.
My Redeemer Lives!!!!


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Resurrection Rolls...

Several years ago I came across a recipe for Resurrection Rolls. At the time the kids were still pretty little and I was always looking for creative ways to illustrate Easter to them. This recipe caught my eye due to the simplicity of making them and the power of what it illustrates. The rolls go in the oven filled with a marshmallow and come out empty inside. We made the rolls that year and they have become an Easter tradition in our home ever since. I thought I would share these with you as we get ready to celebrate our Lord's Resurrection.

The first step is to buy a pack of frozen dinner rolls, you could make your own rolls, but we're talking tradition and I've always bought Mrs. Rhodes Frozen Dinner Rolls!

Be sure and spray the pan first, then defrost the rolls for about an hour...


Next flatten the dinner roll out...





Then add a large marshmallow to your dough....



Wrap the dough around the marshmallow, being sure to pinch the dough together...



Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 2-3 hours...



 Brush the rolls with melted butter...




Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar....put in the oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.



Ready to come out....they are smelling really good about now!



Enjoy and be sure the kids notice that where the marshmallow was, is now empty....just like the tomb.

 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Contentment

This is my cat Mickey. See how relaxed and content he looks here. He has this ability to sleep for hours and look so comfortable and content. He will be content like this until he hears us open the cabinet where his food is kept. Then he is suddenly meowing and thinks he needs to eat, no matter what time of day it is. All of the sudden he is no longer a content kitty, but a very annoying one!

 Contentment, we all struggle with this, just like Mickey. How many of us love our home, our car, or our clothes; and then we visit someone with a cleaner house, a newer car or cuter clothes. This can cause us to want something we don't even need.

Sometimes we struggle with contentment in our situation. Perhaps we are in high school, dreaming for college; in college, dreaming for life after college; newlyweds, anxious for a baby; parents of a newborn looking forward to the kids being older; or empty nesters wishing we still had kids at home. It seems whatever our life stage we are always dreaming of a different one.

Lately the verse 1 Timothy 6:6 has been one that has continually appeared before me. This verse says; But godliness with contentment is great gain. It seems like whenever God gives me a verse he gives me an opportunity to practice that verse! Sometimes I don't like it when God does that! I just want to throw a pity party, but God doesn't let me stay that way for long.

God, in His wisdom, uses those low moments to show me what I need to do. God never wastes an experience, He will use this for His glory! I am coming to realize that my current circumstances are molding me, making me into the person God wants me to be.

No matter what your circumstance, cling to 1 Timothy 6:6. Be content, remember you are in this circumstance for this season. Allow God to use it!! Don't be like Mickey, who thinks that he's hungry when his belly has just been fed!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spring Cleaning

It's that time of year. Time when spring cleaning happens in most homes. I love going through my stuff and throwing or giving away the stuff we no longer need! I love knowing that even my closets are clean. All this cleaning  got me thinking about another type of spring cleaning; a spiritual spring cleaning. How does one do a spiritual spring cleaning?

The best thing to do would be to take a day and go on a personal retreat. This doesn't have to include going far away. A day at a local park, ask for permission to use a room in your church for a day, or you could find a quiet corner in your house. Be creative and do what will work for you.

As with any cleaning job, you will need the proper tools to complete your spiritual spring cleaning. I suggest your Bible, a journal, your favorite worship music and Kleenex. Just as we all have our personal cleaning styles, I believe your spiritual cleaning will need to be your  own as well. But here are some ideas of things I have done.

 I evaluate my life. Just as when I clean I look for hidden cobwebs and dust bunnies, I must look for those in my own life as well. Am I harboring some attitude that is ugly, is there sin in my life. What am I hiding from God? (or think I am hiding from Him). Once I make a list I pray through each of these and leave them at the foot of the cross, I ask God for forgiveness and the ability to change my bad habits or attitudes.

I evaluate my personal Bible reading plan. Am I making time everyday to read my Bible? What am I reading daily? Am I just doing it to do it? Sometimes a change in translation for awhile or just to be deliberate about a reading plan helps. Personally, I set a goal to really study the Old Testament this year and I am using an online reading plan to help me achieve my goal.  http://mybibleplans.com/  That daily reminder really helps me.

Next I evaluate my prayer life. Am I spending time praying every day? Do I tell people I will pray for you and then do I follow through? Do I pray for more than just myself? Am I praying for my family, friends, church, pastor, persecuted church, the sick, those who are suffering? The list of who to pray for can be quite long, but I still need to pray!

After you've done those three things, just spend time with God and let him guide the rest of your day. Perhaps God will give you a new direction for you, a new ministry to dive into, maybe He will prompt you to seek forgiveness from someone you have offended, maybe He just wants you to spend the day worshiping and praising Him. The key is to do it, to clean out your spiritual closets, get rid of what doesn't fit you anymore and rearrange somethings. You won't regret it!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Right Foundation...

When Brian and I were first married, he worked putting in foundations. He actually did it for several summers during college as well. I remember driving around the Parker, Co area and having him point out houses that he had done foundations on. He did it so much, I just rolled my eyes. He would try and explain just how important this job was; as a building with a poor foundation will not last. I, tried to pay attention and care, but it was hard! To be honest, I didn't really care what went into a strong foundation. I just didn't find construction to be that important to me!

Looking back now, there was more to his job than I realized! His job was important, anyone who's had a foundation crumble beneath their house realizes just how important the right foundation is. All those  houses that Brian pointed out to me; they were all still standing! So Brian and the crew he worked for knew what they were doing. They were laying the right foundation!

Brian also laid another right foundation, this foundation is many times more important than any house foundation ever will be. He made sure Christ was the center of our marriage! He made sure we had the Right Foundation! In fact it was one of the "conditions" he listed for me when he asked me to marry him, that Christ be the center. We sought premarital counsel that focused us on God and how we needed to build our marriage on Him.  The first thing we did alone as a married couple was kneel and pray. I can remember early in our marriage memorizing scripture together. Psalm 1 was the first scripture I ever memorized. I remember hiking in the mountains and us reciting our verses.

 
Psalm 1
 1 Blessed is the man
   who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
   or sit in the seat of mockers.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
   and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
   which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
   Whatever he does prospers.

 4 Not so the wicked!
   They are like chaff
   that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
   nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

 6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
   but the way of the wicked will perish.

New International Version 1984, ©1984

Christ has always been the foundation of our marriage. Does that mean its always been easy....no! But the fact that we built our marriage on the Solid Rock means that even when shaken it will not be destroyed. Trust me, many storms have tried and in the end, they have failed.

If you are married, thinking about it, or even single, you need to build your life on the Right Foundation, Jesus Christ. One of my absolute favorite songs is In Christ Alone. I get emotional every time we sing it at church or when I hear it on the radio. It is just full of so many truths. I can only get through life in Christ alone, He is my strength, my comforter, my all in all, my cornerstone. I do not look to Brian to be all that to me, he can only be what God created him to be, my spouse, my hero, my best friend, and companion. Christ is where I find true strength, Christ is where my marriage finds true strength. Think about it, isn't a life built on the Right Foundation, the best life possible?



Friday, April 1, 2011

How much do you love your Bible??

 This picture represents all the Bibles in the upstairs portion of our house. There are 12 Bibles here and I didn't even go downstairs to where our bookshelf is, which I'm sure contains at least 12 more. This does not include any of my daughters' Bibles as they are away at school and my husband has several at his office, in his truck and in my van as well. I estimate the five of us own at least 40 Bibles!! We have them in every translation, from New King James to the Message, we even own at least two Greek New Testaments!! As you can see from this picture some are well loved and others seem brand new.

Now, I know not every family has as big of a Bible obsession as we do, but in America the average family owns at least 6. Did you know there are countries where owning even just one Bible is illegal? I found a list of 51 countries, this includes China, Indonesia, Libya, Iran and Iraq.

What would we go through to get God's word if we lived in one of these countries? There is a story told in On This Day by Robert J. Morgan of three men who came to know Christ and wanted to bring His word into Korea. This was in the 1800s and the Gospel was illegal back then, so by trying to take God's word across the border they were risking their very lives. The first two men were executed when the Bible was discovered on them. The third man devised a plan to get God's word into his country. He carefully tore out each page of his Bible and folded them into long strips. He then wove those strips into a rope which he tied to his pack. He made it across the border easily. Once across he carefully unwove his "rope" and put the pages back together to make his Bible whole again. He then spread God's news across Korea.

Can you imagine going to those lengths for God's word? It got me thinking, which is something I do a lot. How thankful am I for all those Bibles in my home? How often do I sit down and read it and meditate on it. Currently I am reading through the Old Testament, I am now in Leviticus, and it is slow going at times. If I had the right attitude I would be drinking up even that one book, because it is the inspired Word of God!! How often do I skip a day, or two or ten of reading my Bible? While at the same time there are men and women in this world risking their lives just to have one Bible to share. How greedy of me, to waste the freedoms we have here and skip out on God's word. Why? Because it may be "boring" or I slept in too late, or I'm just too busy?

God's word is precious, God's word is true, God's word is living and 
active, sharper than any two-edged sword.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 
Hebrews 4:12

Many years ago when we lived in South Dakota there were some kids in our church who did a special number for Sunday night church. The song they sang has stuck with me ever since, "I Like the Bible". I can still hear those little voices screaming this song, so all could hear. I don't have a copy from that night but here is some kids performing that song. We need to love our Bible and read and do it...EVERYDAY!