Monday, March 31, 2008
John 15:19 says "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you."
I love how 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 reads. (Thank you Kris) I recommend reading from verse 14-18.
Verse 17 says
"Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing and I will receive you."
I do also want to add that there are some days that I have to get up and walk away. These are the times usually when I haven't been in the Word as much as I need to be, and if I'm not careful, the darkness will try to consume me. It is hard to walk away, but I have the promise that God will not let me be tempted beyond my strength, and He ALWAYS makes a way for me to escape so that I may endure. It's a choice.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
When I first moved to Branson I saw the Showboat out on a cruise in the middle of the lake, and I prayed right then and there. I wanted to work there. I applied and got the job as a server. This is my 3rd season there. Over the winter break I applied for a few different jobs. I have a decent resume, but I got no calls back. Seems the Showboat is still where God wants me. The part time hours work well with my family, but just like any other job there is always room for improvement. Like having Sundays off. No body out there likes to work Sundays. I prayed before going back that if this is where God wanted me He was going to have to work out the Sunday issue. I asked for that day off, and I dont know anything yet, but I have faith that if this is where I'm supposed to be He will work it out according to His plans.
I was a stay-at-home mom for alot of years. This is where my hubby wanted me. I was very resistant to it. As everyone already knows from my previous blog, I'm not cut out for housework. However my children are my life, and I knew that it was important to be with them. No body else can raise them the way Mom can. Now Im far from the perfect Mom, so dont get wrong ideas from that statement! When my baby started preschool and kindergarten I found myself with a little more free time on my hands. I took a part time job. I even worked a little bit in the classroom with my child and got paid for it. Imagine! Getting paid to brush my teeth, and take naps, and color, and put together puzzles, and eat graham crackers! I found it very fulfilling.
After this is was easier for me to be able to go home and do what needed done. I didnt feel like life was so monotonous. I was meeting new people, making friends, and earning a little extra money for the things we wanted.
Things are a little different for me today. I still work because I want to, not out of necessity. God has blessed me in that way. Work for me is an extracurricular activity. We could get by without my job, but I am sure a better person when I work. I just have to keep the right balance. I have to put God first, family next, then my job. Thats why it works.
I know God has a plan for me at the Showboat. Why else would He keep me there? It is a wonderful place to "work as if working for the Lord." Somedays can be very trying, especially since I am a server. Jesus was a "server" also! He came to serve and not to be served. I have days when I think of myself as "just a waitress", but I know it goes deeper than that.
Working in a restaraunt you find all kinds of different people. It is just a different kind of atmosphere. Most are good people, but not everyone is a Christian. That can make things difficult on those of us who are. I mean those of us who choose to walk the walk, and let others know who we "serve". I am not sure where the verse for this is. I really looked for it. It is the one that tells us to be in the world, yet set apart. Every day I have to pray for this for myself. There are some really fun people I work with! They just sometimes do "things" I can not, or have conversations I cant join in, etc..... They know why I dont. They respect that. Most of them also try to show respect when I'm around. They still like me. They just dont invite me anymore! I'm not an in your face preaching sort of person. I try to be that still, small voice. I try to live by example. I try to follow 1 Peter 3:15 which says, "But in your hearts, set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect."
I think the key here is gentleness and respect. If I give them the opposite, they arent going to want anything to do with my God!
This was just really on my heart today. I may never know "why" God wants me here. Thats ok. I will serve Him here, I will serve him there, I can serve him anywhere!
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
What a glorious day we had Easter Sunday. It didn't start out so great.
I woke up in a "mood". I have been struggling with some "things" for awhile and I believe they came to a head that morning. The house was a disaster, I had went to bed too late the night before, and the Easter outfit I had picked out to wear made me look fat. Now that part may sound trivial and silly to you. I had worn this outfit the last 2 years and it was fine. Since January 1st I have been doing an exercise routine FAITHFULLY. I started out at 10 reps each of sit ups, push ups, squats, kicks, etc...I am now up to 48 of each a day, five days a week. I have struggled through this for 2 1/2 months. When I first started this I was barely able to do 2 boys style push ups. If I missed a day, I made it up. I have not lost weight, I have gained it. I will continue to push on with my routine, because I committed myself to it. My family is trying to eat better, exercise, and feel better. If I don't do it, they certainly are not. There is just not allot of encouragement in it.
There are a couple of different situations like this in my life. One in particular that I have had to let sit and allow God to work. I have had to "Be still and know that He is God". I have had to truly walk in faith. Some days it seemed that things couldn't get worse, yet they did. Some days I would say I am not going to allow that to hurt me, yet it did. I try hard to raise my family correctly. I stay away from gossip, I read my Bible, I pray, I serve others, I am learning to be submissive to my hubby, etc.... Allot of these things people cant see. I know that is the way it supposed to be done. Some days there is just not allot of encouragement in it.
Before Hubby and I left for church I told him I didn't want to go. I didn't care what day it was, I just didn't have it in me. Thankfully he talked me into it. On the way I told him that I was just beat up and wasn't finding allot of encouragement in anything I did. He understood, because he knows me. He assured me that what I was doing was the right things, and I needed to quit being down on myself. Once we got there I lightened up a little and I even went around and shook hands of people I didn't know. I made my way to some of the elders and gave hugs, and tried to encourage another family who has experienced a loss this year.
It wasn't but a few minutes later, during worship, I lost it. I wanted to praise, but it was hurting. I clung to my hubby and just cried out for God. I was done for, I didn't have the strength to do it on my own anymore. That was the defining moment. A Red Letter Day, if you will. After the worship Pastor D told us to find one person to encourage and give a hug. Yeah right. Not me, not today. Out of the blue a person from the circumstance I spoke of earlier came up and gave me one. No words, no tears, just a hug. The encouragement I needed. I was shocked and surprised.
Hubby and I spoke of it in the truck on the way home. He voiced my thoughts from earlier. It was the best encouragement I could have asked for. Simple, but so fulfilling. God knew what I needed, even if I didn't. All I had to do was ask. James 4:2 says "you do not have, because you do not ask."
We went to some friends house for Easter Dinner after church. They are also Christians. I was so thankful that they opened their home to us on this day. We don't have any family here, and after the year we have had, it was nice to not be alone. The kids hunted Easter eggs, even the 2 sixteen year olds! We had great food, great fellowship, just a great day.
Last thoughts before I close. Find some one today to encourage. Eveybody needs it. You might just make their week.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
However, one CAN'T vacuum until the house is clean. I know, because I've tried. That Kirby is so powerful it will pull a weeks worth of dirty socks out from under the couch! I cant count how many times I have had to shut it down to pull something out of it that was not meant to be vacuumed up!
A few years ago my Sis-in-Law sent me to a website called Flylady.com. I followed instructions for awhile, until my email inbox got cluttered with her emails. The point of her website is to clean and declutter!
I looked around my house this morning, and I caved. Back to Flylady. Of course I dressed to the shoes before I did it, (see Flylady.com for details) and put in a load of laundry.This lady's techniques are really amazing though. She shows you how to declutter and clean in just a few minutes a day. One zone at a time! I am taking "baby steps" with it right now, because I cant even find where one zone begins and the other ends! However, it didn't get this way in a day, so it will take some time to get back in order.
I feel relief just from visiting her today. A place to start, and I know I don't have to be overwhelmed with it, because I set the timer and I'm done when it goes off. I have to do this every day or it wont work. I have to be committed.
I don't have a verse for this today! I only have conviction in my heart. I know what I'm supposed to do, and lately I haven't been doing it. How am I supposed to be happy and raise a happy family? I'm supposed to bless my family, and the chaos (Cant Have Anybody Over Syndrome) here is not blessing anybody. Except when somebody sneezes from the dust and we say Bless you! Hee hee!
Please pray for me in this area. I have grown allot since I first got married, learned a few things. My house is cleaner now than back then!
So I'm getting up, off the computer, off of my rear, and I'm doing my 15 minutes of declutter. Then maybe I can soak in a bubble bath for an hour without any guilt. First.............maybe I better use my 15 minutes to declutter that bathroom!
God bless you.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
If you are a Believer, my hope is that you will be encouraged and uplifted.
I want to start with this verse.
(Ephesians 6:11-13) "Put on all of God's armour. Then you can stand firm against the devils evil plans. 12. Our fight is not against human beings. It is against the rulers, the authorities and the powers of this dark world. It is against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly world." 13. So put on all of Gods armour. Evil days will come. But you will be able to stand up to anything. And after you have done everything you can, you will be standing.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
I remember the day she was born very well. She weighed in at 6lbs. 3oz. The doctors had taken her to clean her up, and they laid her on a table, tummy down. She raised her little bitty torso and head and peered around. At that moment I knew she was strong, curious, and determined. And she still is.
They proceeded to dress her and brought her to me in a warm blanket, with a little blue bow pasted to her head. I have a picture of it. She had a full head of dark hair, a little pink outfit, and a BLUE bow. Now, I asked the nurses about this. I thought maybe they had her mixed up with another mommies baby. I knew she was a girl. When I went into labor with her, I told my Grandmother before going to the hospital that only a girl could make a person as miserable as I was at the moment! The nurse informed me that they had run out of pink bows. I think that was a moment that defined part of her life! Even at birth she wasn't like the other girls in the nursery.
We had went out shopping several times in the days that followed, blue bow and all. I remember having to grit my teeth a couple of times when I told people, "She's a girl, see she's wearing pink." My mom wouldn't let me take the bow out because it was GLUED to her hair! What precious memories. She loves to hear that story.
I was not a Christian when she was born. I believed in God. That's as far as it went. I loved her, and fed her, and rocked her, and sang lullabies, and read books to her. My Grandmother used to tell me to hold her and love while she was little as much I could. That is one regret I will never have, because I followed that advise. She also told me to treasure her, and that while she was little she would walk on my feet, but when she got big she would walk on my heart. Grandma was a Christian, and she was full of wisdom. She taught me enough when she was alive to carry over into even the teen years. This was the only child of mine I was able to share with her. They were so close. When Grandma was really sick before she died, my daughter would spend hours sitting with her on her bed playing and having "conversations". She died when my girl was 2.
My girl has been raised in the church. When she was 3 the mailman used to pick her up and bring her home. She learned early on about Jesus.
Several times over the years I have heard parents say that children don't come with instructions. I have said it myself. Now I beg to differ. I have found a whole instruction manual! Complete with 66 chapters AND a guide! I just wish I had found it earlier.
Ephesians 6 1-4 says "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2. Honor your Father and Mother- which is the first commandment with a promise 3. that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth. 4. Fathers do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the TRAINING and INSTRUCTION of the Lord."
There are so many verses in here that pertain to how parents should raise kids. I could fill 50 pages or more with them.
I have failed in some areas of my girls life. I failed to go to church with her early on, I failed to read the Bible with her early on, I failed to raise her in a Christian home early on. There have been several consequences for this. Children tend to do what they have seen their parents do.
I reap what I sow. I have been sowing God's word in my children's hearts for a time now. They are healing. I am healing. My girl hasn't made all the right choices lately. I didn't teach her soon enough, and now I am having to work extra hard to get her on the right track. She is making progress. I am trying hard with other Christian leaders to get her to a point of being not only a follower of Christ, but learning how to lead others there as well. It's a difficult world for our kids now days. They are laughed at by their peers for wanting to honor their parents. They are criticized for sharing their faith. The world hates them, and tries to draw them into sin.
We had her first driving lesson yesterday. My car is a stick shift. We got in, she buckled up, I prayed. Then she yelled at me that we weren't going anywhere until I buckled up. I tried to argue and tell her God had told me not to buckle up in case I needed to abandon ship quickly. I buckled my seat belt though, because those are the words I tell my kids when they get in the car. Talk about humbling.
We have reached a new dimension in our family. She has a job, more responsibility. I am learning to slowly let go. I will continue to train and instruct in the way of the Lord. However I am standing on the promise that if I train my children in the way they should go, they will not depart when they are old. It is time for me to slowly unclip her wings. I don't like it. She's my baby. But I trust my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
I don't feel good, and I haven't for awhile. I'm having anxiety and panic attacks, and just feel so overwhelmed at times. I tried an antidepressant. I quit taking it because it wasnt fixing anything. If anything, it made it worse. I started praying for God to show me the underlying cause. He showed me. I asked Him for healing. He is healing me, in His way. Now Im asking for deliverance.
I have chosen to pick up my cross and follow Christ. Two years ago the Lord asked me to lay something down. I did it. I havent been without it since I was 12 years old. It was my best friend. I ran to it in times of trouble. I numbed myself with it in times of heartache. In good times and bad it was there for me. For 20 years.
I'ts really strange. I have not been delivered from it, yet the Lord finds ways to keep me from being around it. It is not my doing. I know its all around me. The devil has shown me. It is not me resisting. It is a hedge God has seen fit to build around me.
I dont feel good, because for the first time in my life since I was 12 years old I live in reality. When the stress of the day gets to me, I dont run to it. When the heartache starts hurting, I dont run to it. When the yearning comes over me, I give it to God. Usually I confess it out loud, tell my hubby. I would rather confess to the yearning than give in to it. This usually helps. It goes away for awhile, but comes back. Its back with a vengeance right now. I'm sure the reason is because I have had so much happen lately that my brain doesnt know how to process the reality of it. I've been on an emotional roller coaster with my teenager, my hubby, the death of our 7 month old neice Emily, not to mention just everyday stress. The old me doesnt know how to cope, but the new me in Christ chooses to fight. I choose to take the narrow road. I choose to feel. I choose to deal with life, instead of supressing it.
The verse I have posted here from Isaiah says it well. He is giving me strength while I am weak. I am flying high on wings like eagles, waiting for Gods deliverance. It is His strength that will see me through this.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
A year ago or so, a piece of prime property came up for sale. When I say prime, I mean very expensive. We are in the Branson, Missouri area and land here does not come cheap. It is a tourist town that hosts 7 million people a year, and growing. It just so happened that the owner of the property is a Christian, and he wanted nothing more than to see a church built there. I believe he had some other offers on the place, offers that a small church couldnt possibly compete with. He chose our offer. They had an architect draw up some plans. We outgrew those before he was even done drawing them, so he drew another set. With expandable walls. We will be breaking ground any day now.
I have never seen a church grow, not like this. When I first started attending church 8 years ago, I watched that church shrink. I attended another church shortly after. It just happened to be the sister church to the one I was a member of, and it was stagnant. It came as no surprise to me when I heard recently that the pews there were almost bare.
So whats the difference? I know both of those churches had faithful followers of Christ. There is no doubt in my mind that they were Bible teaching churches.
When I left the first church after being a member for 4 years I was pretty confused, discouraged, and disillusioned. I was still a "baby Christian". I cried over leaving there. It hurt. It still hurts. I wont go over the details, because there are too many.
Micah 6:8 says "He has showed you, Oh man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God."
I did see "good" from that church. I learned alot. I rededicated my life to Christ there. The Lord has shown me mercy and forgiveness everyday I've been alive, and I dont deserve it. So who am I to not forgive and show mercy to those I feel have wronged me? In walking humbly I had to quit blaming, and confess my own sin.
I'm not exactly sure what happened with the other church. I didnt attend regularly, as I said earlier I was pretty disillusioned. My first church experience had made me a little scared. I made sure my babes went though. That was really important to me. I knew they needed the foundation so when they got older they would not depart. My Grandmother started it in me, and my Mom tried. So I know that promise to be true.
The biggest difference I see in the church I attend now and the previous ones is the greatest commandment. Mark 12:30-31 commands us "And you must love the lord your God with all of your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important. 'Love your neighbor as yourself'. "
Love is a verb. Not a feeling. You can give it, or you can receive it. This church is not concerned with the numbers or filling the pews. We are Committed to reaching the lost and seeing them saved. We are concerned with the Great Commission. (Mathew 28:19-20) There are 2 parts to this mission, and I believe some churches get the first part right, and forget the second. Not only are we to make disciples of all the nations, we are to TEACH THEM TO OBEY THE COMMANDS GOD HAS GIVEN US. Again, a verb. If we dont teach them, train them, mentor them, encourage them, they will fall through the cracks. When I became a new Christian I didnt have alot of answers when I asked "what do I do now?" I was on fire and I couldn't contain myself. I tried serving in the childrens department. That was a disaster. I had all of these little toddlers looking to me to teach them about Jesus, and I didnt even hardly know him myself! Then I came across a verse that told me I would be judged on the way I taught these little guys! Talk about feeling like I had grabbed the handle of a hot pan! I dropped that class quick! Fortunately for me, (and those kids!) God sent me a mentor, a trainer, an encourager. I started to grow in the Lord, praying and reading my Bible. And then all this "stuff" started happening. I like to call it "All hell breaking loose." I couldnt have been closer to the truth. I fell hard, and fast. Spiritual warfare. I wasn't equipped with my armour. Huh? More about that later.
Anyway, this is the reason my church is growing. We are reaching out to the lost. The drug addicts, alcoholics, tax collectors. They are all welcome. They are all loved. Rich, poor, needy, we dont care. We want to help them to get saved, then train them to use their story to help save and train others. Jesus said "If you love me, FEED my sheep." (John 21:17) There is alot of hungry sheep out there. The Shepherd will lead them to growing pasture.