Monday, August 30, 2010

A Special Grace for Women...

For my female friends...

You probably know by now that you and the men in your life are not the same. At all. Let's go back to Genesis for a minute and see if perhaps God has put a special grace on your life in certain areas.

God created man from the earth and woman from the man. So, in a sense, females are doubly complex and more emotionally in tune with things. Obviously, women have the ability to conceive and give birth to things.

Women have a special grace given by God to bring life into situations. Men have a unique capacity to bring order and structure to an environment. But a woman enlivens that place. It is like the old saying...only a woman can make a house a home.

So, what does this mean in the spiritual realm? I think that when it comes to prayer, you, female friend, are very, very powerful. You have the ability to conceive how a situation can glorify God and then you have the ability to pray forth life over the situation until it actually gives birth and becomes reality.

I am not saying that men shouldn't pray...but women seem to be bent towards this since they are better in tune with things emotionally.

You have the ability to birth breakthroughs and release life through your intercessory prayer! Your prayers for your children, husband, church, friends, and country can literally release new beginnings...beginnings that will glorify God!

I believe our nation is at a crossroads of sorts. It is either going to continue on the decline or have an awakening. What if our prayers for our nation birthed a return to God and His righteous ways? What if our prayers bring forth life into situations that would have otherwise ended in death?

Satan doesn't want you praying. He knows that Jesus Christ (God with us) came to the world through a woman's power to give birth! (God obviously didn't need a female's help, but He allowed her to participate...just like in prayer!) He also knows that your intercessory prayer does powerful actually releases new beginnings!

Lord, release the women of God and release the power of prayer in our lives! Don't let us believe the lie that says we can't make a difference or that our prayers don't actually bring forth life!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Rhea Lana Sale/Giveaway!

The Rhea Lana Children's Consignment Sale opens today to the public! Here is a link to some more info about times/location/half price sale/etc.

If you have never shopped this sale, it is a great way to get clothes, toys, baby equipment, shoes, bedding, etc. for a very reasonable price! I heard they are even restocking things tomorrow, so don't feel like you have missed out if you can't get out there today!

I have a free pass for the early "half price" sale that is from 8-10 pm this Thursday nite. (The sale for half price opens to the public on Friday.) If you would like to shop the half price sale first thing, then leave me a comment. If more than one person comments, then I will select someone via

Have a great week, peeps!

Oh, and check out this fam...we had a fun downtown shoot!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Water From the Rock

Can you imagine being the leader of a grumbling, quarrelsome people? What if their basic needs weren't being met and they decided it might be better to stone you to death? That is where we find Moses in Exodus 17. He decided to take the Israelite's complaints of "lack" to the Lord and the Lord proceeded to tell Moses exactly how to proceed.

God tells him that He will stand before him (Moses) on the rock at Horeb. Here, Moses is to strike the rock and water shall come out of it and the people can then drink.

God seems strange sometimes, doesn't He?

Everything He does points to His glory and the future glory of Christ, the glory of His Son that would be further disclosed in the New Testament. We grew up singing "Rock of Ages" in our little church. There are many bible verses that reference God as our rock. Just one is Deuteronomy 4a: "The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice."

So, when God tells Moses that He is standing on the rock, Moses is to assume that God's very presence is all over that rock, and in essence, Moses is to strike God Himself in order to have water flow.

Is something in your mind saying, "this seems familiar???" The Holy Spirit helped me make sense of the this the other day and I am so blessed! I believe God was foreshadowing what would happen to His Son, Jesus Christ. He would be struck, and living water would then flow freely to all who would receive.

But, God was serious about His Son's sacrifice being a once and for all kind of deal. So, when Moses finds himself in a similar situation in Numbers 20, God gives different instructions. He tells Moses to speak to the rock in order for it to yield its water. Whether Moses was angry or not listening very carefully, He disobeyed God's instructions. He struck the rock with his staff twice.

God didn't like that.

God told him he would no longer be the one to lead his people into the promised land.

Why is striking the rock a second time such a big deal? To God, it meant that there was no belief in the Resurrected Christ...only the Crucified Christ.

Because of grace, we only need to speak to the rock in order to receive blessings. The New Testament is quite clear that Jesus is the rock, as well. 1 Corinthians 10:4 says, "and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ."

This all makes the story of the Samaritan woman at the well that much more interesting. Jesus tells her that "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, 'give me a drink.' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.' (John 4)

The Rock is Christ and He possesses living water that will take away all of our thirsts. All we have to do is speak.
Do we thank God for redemption but refuse to live in regeneration?

Friday, August 20, 2010

ESV Study Bible!

I have to tell you a fun little God-story. I knew I wanted the ESV study bible, but at CBO it was $70. Eric said he would gladly get it for me for Christmas, but I didn't want to wait! So, I checked on Amazon and it was $45! Still not wanting to spend that much, I waited. After keeping some kids for a friend, they blessed us with an Amazon gift card!!! I have never received an Amazon gift card before and they didn't know about my desire for this Bible. So, can you believe God gifted me with this bible for only $20 and I didn't have to wait til Christmas! How fun is that?

I received it in the mail yesterday, Kiley's birthday. I think God just wanted to bless me with something a little special on that day. I opened it up, inhaled the fresh leather bible scent and allowed my fingers to peruse the gold-rimmed pages. There is something holy about getting a new bible. It speaks of a new journey with you and your Redeemer. It shouts promises of knowing Him on an even deeper level. It is a terrifying thing, getting a new bible, because all the sudden, you don't know where a single book of the bible is to be found. It is as if you have to relearn where everything is. But I am willing to take that journey.

Let me tell you how much I think I am going to love this study bible! The day before I received it, I was reading in 1st Kings 19, where the Lord speaks to Elijah. You know, where God wasn't in the wind, earthquake, or fire, but in the low whisper. I was confused at why this demonstration was needed, because in just a few previous verses, it says that "the word of the LORD came to him..." We already know that Elijah can hear God's voice, so what was the point?

Elijah had come off a huge victory (Mount Carmel where the fire of the One True God consumes the burnt offering...including the rocks. Have you ever seen fire consume rocks?) Jezebel hears about her Baal prophets getting slaughtered and decides to put a hex on Elijah's life. Elijah freaks out and runs. He runs without hearing from the Lord.

So, God asks him (19:9), "What are you doing here, Elijah?" And Elijah goes into this spiel about how he has done everything that God has asked and now his life is in danger.

Then, we see God tell Elijah to go stand on the mount (come out of the cave where you are hiding.) Does Elijah obey? No...not til God's demonstration of wind, earthquake, and fire is completed. (In our house, we try and instill in our boys that if it isn't first time obedience, then it really isn't obedience at all.) So, he finally comes out of the cave and God asks him again: "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

He gives the exact same response. Word for word.

According to the study notes, (which have I mentioned I love?) the whole point of that demonstration was to get Elijah to see things get him to answer the question that God had asked in a different way. To maybe see things from God's point of view.

Seeing God in the way that God chose to reveal Himself didn't seem to change Elijah's current attitude. He seemed to forget all that God had done with him and through him...miraculous provision, raising of a dead child, etc. Elijah is so consumed with his fear that he has forgotten just who His God is.

I know the above only touches on the many awesome things about 1 Kings 19, but I wanted to share about how this bible is already starting to expand my thinking!

Have a great weekend!

The Artist

This little boy marches to his own beat. And I love that about him. He loves to paint. His paintings are very abstract. While Cade and Eli painted people, animals, and trees, Sam paints images. Google "Abstract Art" and you have his style!

I can't wait to see how God uses his creative side. I believe that when I can only see a blob of colors on paper, God can see a reflection of what makes him unique and called according to His purposes.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Kiley's Birthday...let's party.

August 19th...Kiley would be 27 years old. I had an that came to me after a sweet friend made a donation to a charity in memory of Kiley's birthday this week. What if we all did a random act of kindness for another to celebrate Kiley's life in heaven? I am sure God is throwing her a huge party, after all, He dreamed her up. But, we down here can get in on the celebration by doing something for someone else in the name of Jesus and in her memory. A random act of kindness doesn't even have to cost anything! I would love to hear what you come up feel free to post...even if it is anonymous! Happy 27th Kiley, and happy eternity.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

On the First Day of School, Cry She Does Not.

Perhaps I am a strange Mom, but I confess: I have never cried on school day. Not when Cade started. Not when Eli started. And, today, I continued that trend when Sam started. For some reason, once we get to the school phase, it just seems like the most logical next step. It makes sense...the kids are ready, I am ready, and therefore, no tears are shed. I know this is actually quite strange for moms all around. In fact, I talked to a mom of a 5th and a 2nd grader and she said this was the first year that she hasn't cried. I was shocked out of my tree. I didn't tell her that I was rejoicing and singing the Hallelujah Chorus. She might think I was insensitive...and well, I am not...I am just always ready for the next phase. I hope this trend continues when they start college and eventually get married, because it will definitely be the best thing for everyone around (especially Eric!)

So, to start off the 2010-11 school year, this first picture sums up how we all feel! Praise God to whom all blessings is upon us!

My little studs. Sam is really not so little. In fact, two mom-friends didn't even recognize him today because he has grown so much lately.

Sam has been looking forward to school for a loooong time, after all, he wants to do what his big brothers do!

This can't be my child. Look how handsome and grown up he looks.

Look at my swollen eyes. Someone is going to have to get used to getting up at 6 am once again.

Get out of the tree, kid! It is time for schoooooool!!!!!
Sam marched himself right into class, ready to go! I am telling you, he is ready!

Have fun and learn lots, guys!

After I picked them up, I got the low down:
Me to Sam: What did you do today?
Sam: Listened to God
Me: What did God say?
Sam: (insert 1 minute pause) I don't remember
Me to Eli: What did you do today?
Eli: Got chased by all the girls at recess
Me: Ohhhhhh. sigh.
Me to Cade: How was your day?
Cade: You didn't pack me enough lunch.
Me to myself: I need to up the food budget once again.
So, here is to school! YES!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

My Aunt

This is my Aunt Karleen. She is my Dad's older sister. Since my Mom has no siblings, she is my only aunt...except those that married my Dad's brothers. My Dad was the youngest of 5...and quite the surprise. A good surprise, if you ask me. Karleen was old enough to dote on him as if he were her own, so I think she had a good hand in helping raise him...and I will forever love her for that.

Karleen is the most generous, compassionate, and giving person. She truly has the gift of service. She is always cooking for someone...and I happen to love it when that person is me! Her homemade noodles are to die for and she has an amazing ability at making cakes. She even made my wedding cake, transporting it 3 hours to the destination!

I admire my aunt because she managed to grow up with 4 brothers and still hold her own. She has a touch of stubbornness and sass in her and I find it quite charming. When her husband, Jackie, was alive, she was always able to keep it under check and submit to him in every way. She submitted even when she knew he was wrong and I think God has blessed her for that.

Since Jackie died, she has been able to go on many trips. She has a knack for adventure and a fearless spirit.

My aunt has a work ethic to be envied. She still runs her small farm, cooks for the small farm help she does have, and is able to serve those in her church body.

I am pretty sure that she has never failed to send me a birthday card. As a girl, there would always be a five dollar bill enclosed. She would always sign it: "love and prayers" and you knew she meant it.

One of my favorite memories was when she, Mom, and I got to fly to Florida to watch Kiley in a basketball tournament. I guess I never realized what good manners she had til then. Instead of saying she hated or didn't like a particular food, she wouldn't smile and say, "I don't care for it, thank you."

It was on the plane ride when I realized we had identical hands...thanks to my Pops/her Dad. Our knuckles are large and wrinkled and our thumbs are just plain deformed. ha! I wish I had my Mom's graceful hands (and ankles) but it is sweet for me to share something that resembles my aunt.

Here she is doing what she does and serving!

God truly blessed me with her!

Friday, August 13, 2010

2 years and 6 months

2 and a half years. What makes me sad today is realizing all that you have missed out on. You haven't met Kirby's new girlfriend. You aren't here to encourage Amelia as she starts her student teaching. You don't know about my passion for photography. You don't know that Eli lost his two front teeth in the same day. You weren't here to celebrate one of your best friends having a baby girl. You left us and you have missed out on a lot these past 2 and a half years. And today, that makes me sad.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What to Wear!??

Do you always struggle with what to wear during your family photo sessions? Well, over at LuLu, there is a link that will help you pull it all together!

No matter what photographer you use, be sure and book NOW for the best possible dates! Fall weekend sessions fill up very quickly no matter who the photographer is, simply because fall is usually the busiest time of year. If you want to ensure a good slot, then call your fave photog soon!

His Name is Jealous (Part 4 and final)

...well, maybe it will be the final! Ha! I just got in a Beth Moore CD teaching of this very topic, so if I learn something that I think will tickle your fancy, I may have to share! But for now, we will call it final...hee.

"For the Lord, whose name is jealous, is a jealous God." Exodus 34:14

Speaking of tickling your fancy, I am not sure this has been a topic that has hit my funny bone. Reminding myself of His holiness and jealousy over every part of my life doesn't seem to send me into a crying fit of laughter. Maybe a crying fit of woe at how unworthy I am of His grace...yep, that would be more like it.

Today I want to wrap this thing up with the fact that God is jealous over you, if you have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus. The Lord is jealous over His own people. When we entered into that covenant relationship of grace, we entered into the ever watchful eye of our husband, since redemption puts us in a marital relationship with the Almighty. He is very concerned about the purity of His church...His Bride.

He is very jealous of our love. I can't say it better than just soak it in.

"He cannot endure that you should think you are your own, or that you belong to this world, He loved you with such a love that he could not stop in heaven without you; he would sooner die than that you should perish; he stripped himself to nakedness that he might clothe you with beauty; he bowed his face to shame and spitting that he might lift you up to honor and glory, and he cannot endure that you should love the world, and the things of the world. His love is strong as death towards you, and therefore will be cruel as the grave. He will take away that husband; he will smite that child; he will bring you from riches to poverty, from health to sickness, even to the gates of the grave, because he loves you so much that he cannot endure that anything should stand between your heart's love and him. Be careful Christians, you that are married to Christ; remember, you are married to a jealous husband." (C. H. Spurgeon)

Goodness, I read over that and realize that our gospel is so watered down in this country that it makes me ill. I often turn on the TV, only to hear Christian preachers talking about prosperity and that God wants us to have all good things because we are His. Spurgeon seems to say the opposite...if we value anything at all more than Him, He just might take it away. What if the taking away of that thing leads us back to Him and loving Him more than anything else? Would that not, indeed, be an act of mercy from God? We sure don't often hear things like that on the television. In fact, I bet it almost sounds like heresy, doesn't it?

Let's get to the part that will hopefully bring a smile to our faces. The jealousy of God over us should be a great comfort to us. His jealousy is rooted in pure, good, divine LOVE. I can remember one of my boys coming home one day and telling me that someone was downright mean to them. I can't even remember the details, but I will never forget the emotion that welled up in me. Some sort of holy rage came from a place that I didn't even know existed. I was totally taken back at the intensity of the emotion.

I think God works on a similar basis. Any bad word spoken against us, any evil deed done towards us, any threat of harm that comes our way...He is there and He takes vengeance on those adversaries.

Spurgeon says, "Our jealous Husband will never let His church be in danger, and if any smite her He will give them double for every blow. The gates of hell shall not prevail against His church, but she shall prevail against the gates of hell. Her jealous Husband shall roll away her shame; her reproach shall be forgotten; her glory shall be fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as any army with banners, for he that is jealous of himself is jealous for her..."

Piper says that "anyone who threatens the good of His faithful wife will be opposed with divine omnipotence."

That brings me comfort. Jesus has got my back. The evidence is in the deep and scarred crevices on His back.

How I want my heart to pray:
"Therefore I pray, whatever of Thyself Thou hast been pleased to disclose, help me to search out as treasure more precious than rubies or the merchandise of fine gold: for with Thee shall I live when the stars of the twilight are no more and the heavens have vanished and only Thou remainest." Tozer

Give us grace to see you as El Qanna, our jealous and good God.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

His Name Is Jealous (Part 3)

"For the LORD, whose name is jealous, is a jealous God." Exodus 34:14

We've learned that the Lord is jealous of His deity. But He is also jealous of His glory. Every mighty act that God performs points to His glory. His actions always point to His nature and character, which is glorious as well.

When we are doing things for the Kingdom, we must be careful not to congratulate ourselves. In my life, Satan seems to vacillate between shouting words of condemnation over me and whispering words of praise over me. The condemnation always leads to doing nothing at all for Jesus while the words of praise always lead me to pride. Neither is acceptable before my tender and humble Savior.

It is always tricky to be part of the worship team at church. As a member, you want to know that everything sounded OK and that it was indeed worshipful. But, when a person praises you instead of God on High for the worship, it can lead to pride. On the other hand, encouragement is vital and when the congregation is silent, it can lead to feeling like your talents aren't making a difference. Perhaps there is only one solution to this: I think we want to hear that people are saying "To God's name be the glory!" We want no glory...hearing that God's name is being exalted confirms our talents.

We have to daily choose not to be glory thieves. The only way I know how to do that is to walk humbly before our God. There is only room for the Almighty to have glory in any situation and I assure you, He will always receive it. Who wants to try to come against the One True God? He will reject a proud soul every time, simply because it stands in His way.

What do we do with every thought of pride that tries to compete for the glory of El Qanna? I think we have to take those thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5)

Spurgeon says, "How careful, then, should we be when we do anything for God, and God is pleased to accept our doings, that we never congratulate ourselves."

Tomorrow we will talk about the Lord being jealous over his own that will bring a smile to your face.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

His Name Is Jealous (Part 2)

"For the LORD whose name is jealous, is a jealous God." Exodus 34:14

Trying to delve into the topic of the jealousy of God is a daunting task. The topic is simply too large and deep to come to a full and all compassing realization. But, that doesn't mean that God doesn't want us to try. It is like telling ourselves that God is "holy," totally unique, and different than our frail frames and therefore, we should make no effort at all to seek and know Him.

If we can just get a glimpse of Him, then maybe God will be pleased to reveal an even bigger portion of Himself. When we choose to behold Him, love for our Savior will shine through the cracks of our brokenness until wholeness and victory fuse those cracks shut.

Let's look at just one way that God is jealous: The Lord is exceedingly jealous of his deity. We, as Christians recognize that Jesus is the One True God, and so for us to hear that we are to worship no other God than the triune God, we exhale with relief. Whew, we have this one down, because we don't carve wooden images nor bow down to them.

But, at second glance, we know that God knows our hearts. He came to take up residence within those hearts and He is quick to know that many of His own children set up idols in their hearts instead of before their kneeling legs. But, really, is there any difference?

Spurgeon says, "To you (those who serve another god) Jehovah is nothing. God is not in all your thoughts; you have no fear of Him before your eyes. Like the men of Israel, you have set up your idols in your heart. Your god is custom, fashion, business, pleasure, ambition, honor. You follow after the things which perish, the things of this world, which are vanity. God can perceive the idols in your hearts; He understandeth what be the secret things that your soul lust after; He searcheth your heart, He trieth your reins: beware lest He find you sacrificing to strange gods, for his anger will smoke against you, and his jealousy will be stirred."

I know this is heavy stuff today and please know that I desire freedom in our lives. It sometimes just takes some conviction to get there.

How many of us are scheming up ways to purchase our dream vehicle or home?
How many of us live for the next meal, wondering what savory food will enter our mouth next?
How many of us peruse the fashion catalogs, wanting to merely exist for vanity's sake?
How many of us dare enter the church's walls with a flippant attitude, simply because going to church is the socially correct thing to do here in the south?
How many of us put our spouse or child on a higher level of worship than our Creator?

Then to us, Jehovah is nothing.

And yet, He should be everything. He resides in our hearts. He redeemed us from the pit. He should have our whole beings, not just what is left after we feed our lusting idolatrous hearts. It is like throwing God a bone after devouring a steak.

Surgeon says that grief can even become a source of idolatry. I tread very lightly and reverently with this topic because I believe that after losing a loved one, a person may always be in some stage of grief. It isn't that God doesn't want us to grieve, but "a grief carried to excess, a grief nurtured until it prevents our attention to duty, a grief which makes us murmur and repine against the will of Providence is sheer rebellion; it hath in it the very spirit of idolatry; it will provoke the Lord to anger, and he will surely chasten yet again, until our spirit becomes resigned to his rod. "Hast thou not forgiven God yet?" was the language of an old Quaker when he saw a widow who for years had worn her weeds, and was inconsolable in her grief. We may weep under bereavements, for Jesus wept; but we must no sorrow so as to provoke the Lord to anger, we must not act as if our friends were more precious to us than our God. We are permitted to take solace in each other, but when we carry love to idolatry, and put the creature into the Creator's place, and rebel, and fret, and bitterly repine, then the Lord hath a rod in his hand, and he will make us feel its weight, for he is a jealous God."

Again, I type those words with utter respect to those in grief. I wouldn't dare write them at all if I didn't understand what grief does to a heart or if I hadn't in some way had grief as an idol in my life. I know how all consuming it can be. And I know what it is like to put the lost loved one on some kind of pedestal.

I know this is heavy stuff today. May our prayer be:

"Let me seek Thee in longing,
let me long for Thee in seeking;
let me find Thee in love,
and love Thee in finding." Anselm

El Qanna, give us grace to see what threatens our relationship with you.

Monday, August 9, 2010

His Name Is Jealous (Part 1)

What does that title do to you? Does it stir up warm fuzzy feelings, knowing you serve the Holy of Holies that happens to have your back? Does it create anxiety deep down, knowing there are areas of sin in your life that He simply can't be pleased with? I think for me, it is some strange combination of both.

I have been trying to simply behold God over here. (As if trying to behold God Almighty is a simple task!) One way has been through the study of His attributes. Another has been through the study of His various names. I think I may have come across a word that is both His name and an attribute. JEALOUS. I always thought of that word as an adjective...describing His character. But, Exodus 34:14 goes deeper. It says, "For the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God."

Have you ever thought of Jealous as being one of His names? In Hebrew, it is "El Qanna." I have come to know Him as Jehovah Jireh, El Roi, and Yahweh, but El Qanna is a new one to me and I think that He is starting to reveal Himself to me in that way.

And that both excites me and terrifies me all at once.

When God says His name is jealous, He is saying that whenever sin threatens the relationship between He and His child, then a zeal arises from deep within His being. Jealousy is having an earnest, anxious concern for the holiness of his people. It isn't an evil thing for Him to be jealous because it is out of purity...He is a consuming fire, eating away everything that doesn't point to glory in our lives.

He isn't jealous over us because He is weak or needs our attention. It is more like John Piper describes..."God is jealous like a powerful and merciful King who takes a peasant girl from a life of shame, forgives her, marries her, and give her not the chores of a slave, but the privileges of a wife--a queen. His jealousy does not rise from fear or weakness but from a holy indignation at having his honor and power and mercy scorned by the faithlessness of a fickle spouse."

We'll talk about things that God is jealous of in the next couple of days.

The Buddy Weekend

Eric and I have sweet friends that wanted to celebrate their anniversary the best way possible: without kids. So, we had a couple more boys over the weekend. My boys loved having someone to play with that didn't have the title "brother."

The first thing I did was kick them all outside to play in the kiddie pool. (The trick is to wear them out so they will eat well and sleep well, right?) They played in the kiddie pool "boy" style with lots of jumps and tricks and shenanigans. I even captured some of those moments.
This is Sam going head first. Cool shot, but I am not sure he loved the feeling of it.

Buds...same age and grade.
One of these kids is not like the others...
His Momma assured me that 4 year old sweetness insisted on packing his suit to wear to church. We tried to tell him that all the other boys were wearing shorts, to which he replied, "But, Miss Becke', we are going to church!"
As if I didn't love him enough, he later told me after church that my burritoes were "Dang good!"

Who can resist a little man in a suit?

Come back real soon, fellas!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Rendered Effective

Satan wants you rendered ineffective. He doesn't stop pestering a person once they become a child of God. In fact, I think he kicks things into high gear once a person is redeemed because he doesn't want the glory and freedom that shines through that person to dare reach another person. Grace results in bloody and bound wrists being unchained and once a believer has experienced that, the devil will do anything to convince that child of God to put the yoke of slavery back on.

He wants you ineffective for the Kingdom. He knows you inside and out. His plan for you being ineffective is different than his plan for me. He is cunning and knows how to do it in a way that you don't even know what is happening. He may bring up feelings of insecurity so that you don't participate in something, even though you know you are gifted in that area. He may tell you not to study the Bible because he convinces you that you don't do it the right way. He may tell you that you have no friends so that you are forced to sit at home every night, having nothing to offer those that truly need to hear what you have to say.

He is sneaky. And we need to be onto his schemes.

What areas are you gifted? What do you participate in that makes the very essence of you sing for joy? What talents do you have, when offered to those around you, make you feel like your life is full of purpose for the kingdom? I guarantee you that you have gifts. Ask the Holy Spirit to whisper them into your being if you are unsure of what they are. Fan them into flame!

As Beth Moore says, the Forgiven is characterized by what she DOES for God. When you get it down deep into your being that the Almighty has set you free, then the only response is one of action. One of worship and adoration and a desire to use your gifts for His glory alone.

I know Satan renders me ineffective 80 percent of the time by using fear. It is the tactic that works with me and he knows it well. He tells me I will fail at something, so I don't even give it a go. He tells me that God Almighty won't be pleased with the outcome, so I don't even try my hand at it.

I need to quit playing everything in life so safe. Risk for God is a good thing. Matthew 25 even tells us that the Master was quite pleased when people risked what they were given in order to seek a return for God. On the other hand, the Master was furious when people hid their talents, knowing they were safe from the enemy and other's eyes if they were buried.

I am about the most cautious person I know. And I am tired of not living. I want to be effective for the Kingdom. I want to shackle Satan himself with the chains of fear that he is trying to use to choke the very life out of me. I want whatever talent or gifting I have to be multiplied back to God Himself...for His glory and not my advancement. Even if those giftings require going out on a limb.

God, please render me effective!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

On my heart...

I have felt at a loss as to how to read the Bible and approach the Ancient of Days. I have felt convicted of my "flip" method of bible know, where you randomly open the pages, praying for God to speak a fresh word. He has graciously spoken to me in the past when I do just that, but I feel like I need to approach His Word with more reverence. With more purpose. With more discipline. With more of a desire to learn what He is saying in the passage that may or may not apply to my life.

I feel like I need a better vision on how to do this. But I am at a loss.

In the desperation of not knowing how to approach His Holy Word, I have let Satan whisper into my soul that I am a wretch and not worthy of reading His words because I don't do it the "right" way...whatever that right way is. Therefore, I have neglected His Word more and more because I don't want to offend the Most High. It is warfare, for sure. Satan will do anything to keep us from seeking Him...and that has been his latest trick with me.

I am not falling for it anymore.

I need God to tell me how He and I are going to do this thing called abiding. I need to be more purposeful in my study and prayer life. And yet, somehow, I don't need to fall into the trap of a list of rules. I want this journey of knowing Jesus deeper and deeper to be all about faith. Because we know that a list of rules meant to be perfectly kept will always fall short of His glory.

In the past, the Holy Spirit will often whisper a certain theme or topic upon my heart. I will research it to the best of my ability and praise Him for teaching me something new about our Redeemer. Right now, that topic concerns a particular name of God: Jealous. Let's just say I am quite convicted over here in this hot living room.

But when I am not researching something in particular, I sometimes feel at a loss. I just want to know Jesus as much as possible and not lose reverence in the process. Does that make sense?

I am tossing around the idea of buying an ESV (English Standard Version) study bible. Have you heard of this? Do you have one? Do you love it? It is supposed to be a perfect combination of "story telling" with "accurate word translation." I don't believe He speaks just in one version of the Bible...sometimes He will speak different things to me in various translations. But, I am curious about the ESV.

That is my heart today...wanting to know the Trinity as much as possible...wanting to do it with reverence and purpose...and wanting to do it in the way the Father desires. (And wanting Satan to get off my back.)

Praying He makes that path clear...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


New Sessions over at Lulu!


Eli has had two front loose teeth forever. We have begged and pleaded with him to wiggle, wiggle, wiggle. Even his dentist told him it was time to get pulling. Every night, I would try and yank them out, but they just weren't quite ready (or I couldn't get a good grip.) Not wanting to tie a string around his tooth, tie it to a door, and yank the door shut, I decided to wait.

Saturday, sitting in his Uncle Kirby's lap, I tried again. (Things seem more fun and appealing for Eli when Kirby is around.) I got my nail under a loose spot and yanked! It came free! Eli didn't cry and we stuffed a wet washcloth into the socket.

Realizing that his other front tooth seemed even looser once the first one was out, I decided to see if it would come out. It did!

So, there you have it! My kid has no front teeth. And he is the cutest little thing you have ever seen. Listening to him talk is precious as everything comes out with a slight lisp. All I know is that his teacher will have even extra cause to fall in love with him in a couple of weeks. :)

I think he kind of resembles one of his favorite movie characters..."Toothless" the dragon. What do you think?

Monday, August 2, 2010

40 years!

My parents' 40th anniversary was last Saturday. So, we had a little celebration!
The couple!
My Aunt Karleen is the cake QUEEN! She even made my wedding cake! She whipped us this special creation for the party!

Homemade rolls
Homemade noodles
Mandarin Orange Cool Whip Salad
Spinach Salad with Bacon
Green Beans
Cucumbers and Onions in Vinegar
Baked Potatoes
(we ate well, people!)
Karleen did most of the cooking. I made a couple of things, but it didn't really compare to her feast.

This is my aunt. She is my only aunt. I'll write more about her on another day.
Mini and me.
Well, hello beauties!

Kirby and Jennifer
Eli took a lot of these pictures. He is my new assistant. Look, he even used the rule of thirds in the bottom photo.
Our little celebration was filled with lots of laughter and retelling of some funny stories. I thank God for bringing my parents together.