Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Adorning Ourselves

ADORN English Definition: “1. To decorate with or as if with ornaments. 2. To enhance.” Greek Definition: “(2885) To put in proper order, i.e. to decorate (lit. or fig.); spec. to snuff (a wick):- adorn, garnish, trim.” From base of “(2865) (to tend, i.e. to take care of); prop. to provide for, i.e.(by impl.) to carry off (as if from harm; generally obtain);- bring, receive.” Key Scriptures for Study: I Timothy 2:9-10; Titus 2:10; I Peter 3:3-6 Life Picture: Birthday parties and ladies events, between the two, I spend most of my year planning parties. Dream up a theme, plan the details, and carry it out. One year we had a Hawaiian-themed birthday party, complete with cool drinks and sipping straws, a cabana cake, pineapple bowling, and luau music. On another occasion, we threw a mad hatter tea party with a long table complete with bright colors, croquette, tea bag toss, and a top hat craft. Both parties were a blast and something my girls are sure to remember for years to come. What made them so much fun? The theme was carried out throughout the party. Without the decorations of paper lanterns and leis or teapots and top hats, it would have been a little harder to set the tone for the event. If your goal is to have a fairytale princess-themed party, do you send out 50’s juke box invitations, offer cowboy hat favors, and play island limbo? No, it takes all things coming together to display one theme, the invites, the food, the games can all add to or take away from your guests enjoyment of an event. The wrong kind of party favors or cake decorations can confuse guests about the theme. It is in this theme party perspective that I would like to view the Biblical concept of adorning ourselves. What we wear, how we act, and what we say all contribute to the total experience of anyone who encounters us. What we put on sets the tone for what we stand for and can give us credibility when we proceed to talk about having a relationship with Christ. We are constantly setting the stage for our message. Are we enhancing and glorifying Him or are we confusing others? Our adornments on the outside should match what Christ has done for us on the inside. After evaluating what we say, wear, and how we act we may feel confident that two of the three areas are represented well and may not think that the third area is all that important, but as we saw earlier one thing that is not in sync with the rest sticks out all the more. If we dress and act appropriately but our speech shocks them into reconsidering what we are about, we have sent mixed messages. All we have done is confused the message of Christ. Just like the themed parties I plan, I want others to see Christ throughout their time with me, from first glance to last conversation. I want to adorn Christ. I want to embellish the gospel message not taint it. What about you? Prayer Lord, help us have the desire to represent you well. Do an inventory in our lives. Show us where our walk does not match how we dress. Transform us into women who adorn you with what we say, act, and wear. Thank you for using us to draw others to you. Help us not take that privilege lightly. Amen.

Monday, March 31, 2014

All of God, None of Me

I knew this day was coming. I started a new running program a few weeks ago and until now, progress has been made with small manageable steps. This week however was the one that takes a giant leap forward. Nonetheless to move forward, I have to do it. To live in victory and not defeat, I must press on. In this program each week you get three chances to master the new level before moving to the next level or week. As I read the instructions for Week 4, Day 1, I had to do a double take. I wasn't sure I could do it, but with much prayer and endurance I was able to complete the run, though victory demanded my all. Because the first day was very difficult, I was dreading day two, but knowing I had already accomplished the task once made me jump in asking God to help me. It was a hard run. I asked God for help. I was leaning hard on Him the last segment but I fell short. About a minute before my time was up,I had to stop I couldn't go on. I wanted to make it so badly. Tears welled up. I had failed. I felt God didn't come through. I was defeated and discouraged. Have you ever been at THAT place? Needless to say, when Week 4, Day 3 came around, I was dreading it all the more. I wanted victory. I sought God for help, openly admitting to him there was no way I could do it on my own. I knew I couldn't. I had tried and failed. At this point, I wanted victory and I knew I couldn't do it on my own. I started running that day knowing that if God didn't carry me, I would not reach the finish line. But as the signal came across my phone and I took my last running step into victory, I knew God had indeed carried me. He gave me the strength to endure. I again wanted to cry but this time in awe of the one that had accomplished the thing through me. So why did God not show up the run before? I believe He was trying to show me my frailty, my weakness. His whisper: "Without me, you can do nothing." Week 4, Day 3 was all of God and none of me. I needed him from step one and because of my failure I knew it. You need Him from step one. Do you know it? Rely on Him today. Victory is yours through Him and Him alone. I couldn't take one ounce of credit that day and that's how God wants it. All of God, and none of me. Ephesians 2:8,9- "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works lest any man should boast." I Corinthians 1:29-31-"That no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Language of Life

How many languages do you speak? Do you speak English, Spanish, French, German? Most people can see the added benefit of learning a second or third language. It may produce better job opportunities or at the very least a pay increase to be able to fluently communicate to someone you would not otherwise be able to. I want to suggest to you that being bilingual is also scriptural. God asks us to speak the language of life into the people we encounter throughout out lives. Just as a second language may not come easy and is lost if not spoken, the language of life needs constant work as well. We, as Christians do not naturally speak love and hope into and over others. In our human fleshly desires, we tend to be more harsh and self-centered. To speak love we have to work at it. We have to study the Word of God and use the guidance of the Holy Spirit to be able to speak it fluently and effectively. God says "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." I want my words to others to be like that beautiful picture, precious gems they can take with them. Words that bring health and healing. Words that speak joy and peace, grace and mercy. How about you? What would be the added benefits to your relationships if you could speak life well? How have your words been lately? Have you been excelling at speaking life? You are not alone! My translating skills could use some work too. Maybe we ought to pull out the text book and review so we can speak it better. Colossians 4:6- "Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." Ephesians 4:29- "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." See also Proverbs 15:23;25:11. What are

Monday, January 20, 2014

Perfect Shell Noodles

The perfect giant shell noodle, there is no such thing. A couple of Sundays ago, I was making a family favorite recipe that is a Mexican twist to the old stuffed pasta shell. After boiling the giant shell noodles, the recipe calls for the noodles to be stuffed with a hamburger and cream cheese mixture. Usually this is not too hard a task, but this particular day, I was hard pressed to find a noodle that was not split so badly that I could use it. As I examined each one and tossed it to the side, the thought came to me, what if God tossed all the broken lives he encounters to the side, waiting for a perfect one to come along? What if he looked at my life and said "No, this one has messed up too many times to be able to be used?" My heart immediately began to rejoice that I know the truth of scripture that he uses even the broken noodles in life. He is in the mending of lives business. It is what He died for. The more broken the life, the more glory he receives from its ultimate usefulness. In the end, the recipe noodles filled with cheese tasted the same whether they had a few splits in them or not. Same for our lives,it will not matter in the end how broken our lives were, but what we filled our lives with on the inside that will count and make us perfectly fit to enjoy heaven. Is your outside split and cracked from the world of sin? Have you made some bad choices? What is your inside filled with? God uses cracked outsides and Jesus filled insides when we surrender both to his all-powerful hand. Thank you Jesus! Isaiah 61: 1-3- "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified." Ephesians 3:8- "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ."

Personal Update

It's been a while since my last post, and I wanted to take a moment to let you know what has been happening in my life that has kept me from writing. I am happy to tell you, we have added a baby girl to the family born September 23, 2012. It was a rough pregnancy and babies turn your world upside down for awhile. Along with that another birth of sorts has taken place, I have completed a devotional book with articles just like you read here, that I hope to be able to publish this year. Since baby girl is now 15-months old and the book is complete except for editing, I hope to begin posting more. Prayers appreciated for both. Thanks to all my readers, you have been missed!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

God's Dreams

Dreams....I have so many. As I draw closer to God through daily time in His word He gives me the desire to do things I never would have thought about on my own. While growing up, I did not enjoy English class and the basic thought of writing any kind of report caused me to procrastinate to the last possible moment. I hated speaking to a group of my peers due to being extremely shy with no inner confidence. However, I did know that God had a purpose for me, something bigger than myself. As a young college student my only goal was to get married and stay home with my kids. That is all I wanted to do. Years later, I found myself as a mother with a full time job and miserable, for this was not my dream. I struggled with the thought of being called to do something more, that this daily grind was not what God had called me to. I started to attend Bible study and for the first time in my life began to study God's Word in depth for myself on a regular basis. It was at this time that the dreams and purposes of my life began to get more clearer and started to be more of a calling God wanted me to fulfill. In 2003, I attended a Women of Faith conference with a group of ladies from my church. In the middle of this conference, as I was listening to a speaker, I felt God say to me, "this is what I have called you to. This is your calling." At that moment, I was overwhelmed at the task, overwhelmed that He would choose me. But at the same time convinced that I had heard His tug on my heart. I may or may not ever speak to thousands as in that arena, but God has called me to be faithful and fill my purpose where I am. The details of how that will be used is up to Him. This adventure between me and my Saviour is a plan in progress, sometimes I doubt I heard Him right, but if I stop my busy life and refocus back on Him, the desire and calling come back in full force drawing me to do the next thing. This blog came out of a time when God was showing me so much in His Word that I just had to share with someone or else I would explode. My last two speaking engagements really brought all of this full circle for me. I went to the platform full of confidence that this is what God has called me to do. I still have lots and lots of dreams left on God's shelf. I just want to stay close enough to Him that He can pull them down from time to time to give me a glimpse into what He has planned. Just a little hint to keep me seeking Him for the next step. He knows if He had revealed the whole plan to a shy teenage girl who hated English, I would have ran for the hills! What has God planned for you? His dreams for your life are so much bigger than you can imagine. Draw close to Him and get a glimpse of what He plans to do through you. Let Him make beauty from ashes or in my case, confidence from self-doubt.
I Cor. 2:9- "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him."
Psalm 37:4- "Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart."

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Driving Lessons

Youth camp! Even though I am not a teenager anymore I may just enjoy this week of summer more than they do. It is a chance to rest, relax, and re energize. It is a week for this mom to be able to focus on the main thing, Jesus and my relationship with him. There is no laundry to be done, no food to fix, no beds to be made, no lawn to be mowed. Just time....time to spend loving life and enjoying time spent in His precious word by myself and with others. Being on this camp property makes me feel like home, we are family. During this week, my husband had begun to let my five your old son, Trent sit on his lap and "drive" (camp property, no main roads involved!) back from the services each day. Trent loved this and looked forward to the next time he could "be big" and drive. Yesterday, as we were driving back with Trent at the wheel, a song came on the radio that my son had learned motions to a couple of weeks before at Bible school. He immediately let go of the wheel and began to sing the song complete with motions. We had a good laugh on how easily he became distracted while doing something he had been, only moments ago, begging to do. I found this to be a good picture of how I act sometimes in my spiritual walk. I struggle to keep the main thing, the main thing. Distractions, responsibilities get in the way of something I deeply long to do. How easily my focus gets put on something else rather than the task at hand. My task here on earth is to glorify God in everything. To spend time with him and express what he is teaching me, to others with love. I want to stay on course. I want to accomplish the task. What is distracting you today? Ask God to help you make Him the priority and keep your eyes on the road ahead.
Thanks Word of Life Florida for a great week!
Isaiah 26:3- "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee."