Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sister Friends

I have so many friends! Too many to even begin to count. I am so thankful for each and everyone of them. They are all so unique. Each one touches my life in a special way. But, my best friends are who I call my "sister friends" These friends lift me up. These friends are strong in their faith. These blessed women are so strong, yet have hearts so tender.

Friends are wonderful. But sister friends are a blessing! One of my sister friends teaches with me. She is such a sweet spirit. We have morning devotionals, listen to K-Lov together, and share joys and pains, hopes and fears.

Another sister friend has had a really trying year. Illnesses, job changes, and unexpected "life moments" have tested her strength, but God has been faithful. Because, she has taken a licking and has kept on ticking! Even in such turmoil, she still makes me laugh! She still has joy in her heart. And she is indeed stronger than she ever thought possible.

In times of joy and sorrow, my sister friends are there. It never fails, when I need a hug or a word of encouragement, I can count on a sister friend to lighten my day. I am so blessed to have such strong faithful women friends in my life. If you have "sister friends" you are truly blessed.... "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down a friend can help him up, but pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up. " Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV

I'm not 18 anymore...

Ever have those days when every bone and muscle ache, and you have a migraine??? Well, honey, welcome to my Sunday. I have aches and pains from time to time. Currently I have a torn tendon in my foot that I have been hobbling on for 2 months now. I teach, so needless to say, colds are a common occurance. But why is it that on Sunday mornings, it seems that all the aches are so much more exaggerated?

Could the Evil One be attacking my body? Well, He attacks my thoughts, my desires, my emotions, so why not my body? I was up at 4:00 and after a pot of caffeine, my head began to ease. After prayer with my Father, my spirit began to lift. I love being in the fellowship of other believers.

Let me share a secret.... we are ALL sinners. Yep, those pew warmers, the Sunday School teachers, and even the church staff. Someone once said that they did not go to church because it is full of hypocrites, well... duh... Aren't we all sinners? I am! I go to church to be with my Lord. I go to church to grow closer to my Heavenly Father. I go to church to be lifted up from the encouraging music and message. I want to be in fellowship with my LORD and he says in HIS WORD...1 John 1:6-8 "If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us."

Well, as the sun came up this Sunday, and my headache was easing, I was thankful for "the Light" that is Christ! I am thankful for the many friends I have made through my church. We are not a perfect body of Christ. But, there has never come a time when I have asked for prayer or needed encouragement, that my pew warming friends have not been there. If we expect perfection within at church and we are looking at it's people and not Jesus, who is the only perfect one, then we are in church worshiping the wrong person. I can't wait to get in "my pew" (you know we all have that seat reserved) and worship the ONE TRUE GOD!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me!

"So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."Ephesians 5:33

Did you know that the writer of the song Respect, that Tina Turner sang, was a man. I found that out when I began reading about RESPECTING your husband. Over a year ago, a friend shared with me a book she felt would help me with my marriage. This book was LOVE and RESPECT, by Emerson Eggerichs. She said it was the best book she read that explained how a husband and wife are to relate to each other. I carried that book around in my car for months. Then I moved it to my closet. Next, I put it inside the drawer on my night stand. Finally, I sat it on the coffee table next to the chair I often sit in. God just kept nudging it a little closer and closer to me.

I was seeking God's will and praying for God's guidance in my life. I wanted to become the wife, mother, and mostly importantly the woman God wanted me to be. In the midst of this time, that book would not leave my heart. I looked at that book on the coffee table for 3 months. Every time I sat down, there it was. The word RESPECT just loomed over me.

And then it happened. I read. I read, and read, and read. I could not put it down. God had prepared my heart to "hear" the words I needed so desperately to hear. I love my husband. The moment I saw him, I turned to a friend and said, "I am going to marry that man!" We went out the very next week. After our first date, I told my mom, "I am going to marry this man!" I BELIEVE in love at first sight!!! I also believe that GOD put my husband and me together.

But I must admit, I was not a very respectful wife. I was a loving wife. I was an awesome mom. I was a good teacher and friend. But I sure lacked in expressing respect for my husband. We married very young, and I had a picture of this fairy tale marriage. You know, white horse, prince charming, me the princess.... I believe there are many young girls with this same vision. What became real to me as I read through this book, was that my husband is the KING, and if I allow him to be the head of his kingdom, I will become always and forever his princess, his queen.

My husband is the hardest working man I have ever known. His work ethic is unique in today's world. He has always been a wonderful provider, but he has so many more wonderful qualities. He is my best friend. He makes me laugh. I enjoy his company. From the moment we meet I felt as though I had known him all my life. We have been married for 23 years and dated for 3 1/2 years before we married. Over time, work, children, and everyday life, got in the way of my attention to my husband's need for my time and attention. My admiration and affirmation that he is a valuable man in my life was not relayed to him. I dropped the ball.

Through my prayers, talks, tears, and cries before my GOD, he softened my heart enough for me to forgive myself for my downfall. It took my a while to first admit I needed to be more respectful, then it took God's love through me to truly feel it down deep. And I mean to the very deepest part of my heart. I am more critical of myself than most people would ever believe. I can dwell on my faults for days, but that is just Satan trying to keep a good woman down! But, God has restored my heart and my soul. He has given me new eyes. Eyes that appreciate, love and respect the man I first told the world I was gonna marry. I believe God picked him specifically for me. We have had some serious bumps in the road, potholes too, but I thank God for him everyday. I respect him immensely!!!

That song has a brand new meaning to me now! R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me.............. It means love. If you love your husband, respect them first :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Meaning of LOVE

One of the best day I can remember was the day my son was born. The joy of finally seeing him and holding him was almost too much! My heart was filled with LOVE. I have been blessed to have been able to spend 17 years with the most precious gift God could have ever given me. Oh, parenthood has definately had its ups and downs, but there has never been I day I have not LOVED my son.

On my way to work, I began thanking God for the years I have had as a mother. What a gift God has bestowed on me. I am a school teacher, and I love children, but there is nothing that compares with the love a mother feels for her own child. I remember thinking of how much God must love us if he created us. How much he loves ME.

It is comforting to know that God's love is forever. His love never leaves us. He says, 1 Coronicles 16:34 "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." Just like I am here for my son, my heavenly father is here for me. As my son becomes older, I find that I have had to give him wings to fly. Short trips at first, but I have to trust him to make good decisions based on the values I have instealed in him throughout the years. If we are to grow and mature as Christians, we must first know what our heavenly father teaches us. We learn this by being in his word, in his house, surrounding ourselves with Godly people, and by praying and hearing God speak to our hearts. But rest assured, God will give us wings too! He wants us to go forth and do His will. As we make good choices in our lives, He must feel a since of joy. Just like I did this morning, when I reflected upon the fine young Godly man my son is becoming.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Endure: Part One

en⋅dure  –verb 1. to hold out against; sustain without impairment or yielding; undergo: 2. to bear without resistance or with patience; tolerate: 3. to admit of; allow; bear: 4. to continue to exist; last: 5. to support adverse force or influence of any kind; suffer without yielding; suffer patiently: 6. to have or gain continued or lasting acknowledgment or recognition, as of worth, merit or greatness:

Def. 1. to hold out against; sustain without impairment or yielding; undergo

Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 Peter 5:9

Who am I to resist? Satan. How am I to resist him? By standing firm in faith. Sounds easy, but in this wicked world, that is easier said than done. "Resisting Satan" has always been somewhat of a literal statement to me. I know how to resist him, but recognizing when Satan is actually attacking me, well... let's just say, I am very very gullible.

I know all the Commandments by heart. I know which ones I have broken. I know which ones God has forgiven me for breaking, and I know which ones I struggle to keep even today. Satan knows those I struggle with as well. He watches me for signs of weaknessess. He is ready to pounce at any time. Yet, I fail time and time to comprehenend Satan's fixation on me. I must be a great treasure to God for Satan to constantly bombard me with attacks. God must have great things in store for me to do for Him on this earth because Satan will NOT leave me alone. He is always creeping into my thoughts, my desires, my actions, and my reactions. But God's word says..."The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure." 1 Corn. 10:13

My son sent that message to me by text about a year ago. Wow, my 17 yr.old child allowed himself to be a vessel, to share with his mom, God's truth just when I needed to hear it. What an inspiration. What a testimony. I read it every single day because I posted it on my bathroom mirror as a reminder. And I thank God for it's message and the messenger everytime I read it.

.....He will show you a way out so that you can endure (to hold out against; sustain without impairment or yielding; undergo) the attacks from Satan. How?... by standing firm in faith. From the "texts" of babes. ;)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

It's touching me.......UGH

Today my hair won't cooperate. My clothes feel tight. My seatbelt was even binding me on my way to work, and I have fidgeted all day with myself. Somedays I just can't seem to get things going in the right direction. It is like I need to crawl back in bed and try again. Ever have those? Am I alone here? I remember as a child I would not wear a tutleneck. It drove my mother crazy!!! We laugh now.... but we fought then. I felt restricted and bound. It was like I could not breathe. I would tug at that turtleneck until it became a cowl neck!!! I was flustrated, my mom was flustrated and all over what? Looks? Appearances?

You know, I really do not care about what I look like on the outside as much as I care about what my insides look like. Those who know me would agree with this statement. I am not vain in any sense of the word. Now, I like to wear makeup and dress nice, but it is not for others to gaulk at, but because I want to feel pretty for myself. And most days, my idea of pretty is a pair of jogging pants, a t-shirt, and flip flops! AMEN??? I think that there is nothing wrong with putting on makeup and fixing your hair and doing your nails, but if my personality (my inside) is unloving, unforgiving, jealous, and unkind, then all the fixing up won't change the truth about me as a person. So, I need to worry less today with my cumbersome clothes and just smile and enjoy the sunshine, friendships, and love around me, and celebrate my heart. Proverbs 15:13 " A happy heart makes the face cheerful...."

This is gonna hurt just a little bit...

No pain, no gain... that is what the world says about life. Well, when I began to look at making changes within myself, I realized.... this may be a little painful.
Hebrews 12:11
No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.
I needed to look inward and reflect on my own actions, choices and thoughts. It is easy to blame others for inflicting pain. It is easy to believe our thoughts and behaviors are pure and justified, but is that really the case? Are we to take on our own self-righteousness and throw it out there like we are all pure and without sin? Have I not inflicted pain in the lives of others? The answer came to me when I began really seeking God to reveal to me my own faults. Oh man, that was a prayer I really did not want to pray. Reveal myself to me... I thank God for my Christian parents. They hold ME accountable! They do not see perfection in me, but potential! WOW!!! I want my parents to be REAL. And boy are they!!! My parents never let me wallow in self-pity or self-righteousness. That is LOVE! They love me for who I am, but they guide and direct me to be REAL with myself, others and God. My parents truly LOVE others because they see their own faults and shortcomings and yet they see potential in others. They love because they see others through God's eyes. They love me enough to point out areas in my life that need some attention. They ask me to "dig a little deeper" into myself.

As I have allowed God to work in changing me into the wife, mother and woman He has created me to be, it has not been without deep pain and regret. But God is patient with me and THANK GOD so is my family! I am far from perfect. But I can ask God to "perfect" me. Psalms 51:10 "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." NIV

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Transformed

Romans 12:2 "Don't copy the behaviors and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." NLT

Transformed means that I am becoming the person, I have potential to be, in God's perfect plan for my life. I want to be transformed into the person God created me to be. I can't do this if I stay the same. Does this mean I don't like myself? No, it means that I am seeking God for his purpose to be brought into clear focus for my life. Why was I created? I believe that we are all created for a purpose in life. Whether you fulfill it or not is up to you. I could be content with life as it is, but I will never fulfill my purpose in life if I do not seek God's perfect will for me. God has a plan and a purpose for my life. He has a plan and a purpose for us all.

I can choose to make a positive difference in the lives of those I come in contact with, or I can choose to make NO difference. My desire is to make a positive difference in people's lives. But, I can not do this if it is not in God's will for this to be my purpose. Therefore, I pray for God to reveal HIS purpose for my life. What I want, and what God's desire for my life to become, may be two complete different things. This is why I pray for HIS will to be done in me and through me. For me to be able to fulfill my purpose on this earth. How sad it would be for me to get to GLORY and God have had another plan for my life all along. And I did not even see the potiental of HIS purpose, because I was doing things MY way. I pray so that God will reveal things to me. I pray because I want to transform (change) into the person God intends me to be. I pray and seek Him because I can not KNOW His will for my life if I DO NOT ask Him what it is!!!

2 Corn. 3:18 "And we, who with unveiled faces, all reflect the Lord's glory,are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." In other words, what we project on the outside, is a direct reflection of our inside, as the Holy Spirit TRANSFORMS us into the likeness of Christ.
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