Monday, October 26, 2009

Just Wait

I love the song, "While I'm Waiting." And it always seems to come on the radio just when I need to hear it. Waiting in a long line at the drive-thru, waiting in traffic, waiting on a friend. Waiting.

The Lord tells us to wait and He will renew our strength.

But what is it we're waiting for?
Are you waiting for a new job to work out? Waiting on your paycheck to come in? Waiting on a family member to do what they said they would do? Waiting on the Dr's report? Waiting on a child? Waiting for a wedding? Waiting.

Waiting on things, on people, on events, can be so draining. We can grow so weary while we are waiting.

But God tells us to wait on Him.

We're familiar with:
"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." --Isaiah 40:31

So why do we continue to wait on things and not on Him?

"Wait upon the Lord."

He will renew our strength.

Lord, Help me to be patient. Give me the strength to wait on You. Take my focus off of the things, the events, the times that I'm waiting for. Give me a God ward focus. Turn my eyes towards You. Amen.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


"This is going to sound weird, but...."

This is how I started a message to Ashley (she said I could post her real name). I found a message she posted on a random page (on facebook) about needing help. I told her I felt led to send her a message and to tell her I was praying for her.

How she responded broke my heart.

Thank you very much. My boyfriend was just omitted into a hospital. He overdosed on a mixture of heroin, coke, crack, pot, oxy's, and alcohol and then stabbed himself three times in the neck. I'm struggling with the idea that there is really nothing more I can do but support him and be there for him. Thank you for the prayers.

I replied and not knowing what else to do, asked if I could post a prayer request for her here. Please be in prayer for Ashley.

Lord, Please be with Ashley. Be close to her, hold her tight. Lift her up and show her a peace only you can give. I know she must want to be there for her boyfriend right now, but please give her the strength and wisdom and courage to take care of herself. Make her strong and fill her with joy. I don't know where she lives, I don't know what she does for a living. But I know You do, Lord. I know You know everything about her and you accept her just the way she is. Please let her know that today. Amen.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A me focus or a He focus?

Ever noticed that when God is trying to tell you something, He can be very persistent? That the message simultaneously shows up during your study of the Word, in a book you are reading and coincidentally in general conversation? That something you have been thinking about ends up being the topic of the sermon on Sunday morning?

Last week I wrote about my "Love Walk" and, truly, what a struggle it is to fully comprehend and put in to action in my life. Sunday evening I picked back up with "FYG". Chapter 7 "Barbaric Behavior" is based on Nabal and Abigail. I'll let you read up on that, I Sam. 25. But, what hits home for me is the Love Walk that Max Lucado challenges us to become a part of. While he never directly calls it a love walk, it certainly ties in to exactly what I read in RMTL.

Lucado opens with the story of Ernest Gordon, former chaplain of Princeton University. Gordon was a prisoner of war, captured by the Japanese in World War II. When Diphtheria took over his body he was left by the Japanese to die. New prisoners encountered Gordon and rather than focus on their own long sufferings the began to "cleanse Gordon's ulcerated sores and massage his atrophied legs. They give him his first bath in six weeks. His strength slowly returns and, with it, his dignity."

I don't know about you, but I can honestly say that I am not certain I would have been the soldier who could have focused on the dying, rotting body on the cot. I fear I would be way to caught up in my own misfortune to notice the suffering of those around me. Thank you, God, for putting your Word in my life as a lamp unto my feet a light unto my path.

The story of these soldiers, Abigail and Christ all show that goodness is contagious. Selfishness, hatred and pride saturate the world around us. But over time the tone of "camp" will soften and brighten and sacrifice will replace selfishness.

Abigail places her very life in the path of David's army and in Nabal's place "begs not for justice but forgiveness, accepting blame when she deserves none". I feel so convicted when I read about Abigail. It's easier to place blame than to take it when it's not deserved. I think we know someone else like Abigail. Not someone who stood between David's army and certain death for Nabal, but someone who stood between our sinfulness and the wrath of God. Jesus.

The lessons we learn from this story? "Meakness saved the day... ...gentleness reverse[s] a river of anger. Humility has such power. Apologies can disarm arguments... The contagious power of kindness. The strength of a gentle heart."

When you are facing your giants this week, face them with beauty. Max writes, "His sacrifice begs us to ask this question: if he so loved us, can we not love each other? Having been forgiven, can we not forgive? Having feasted at the table of grace, can we not share a few crumbs?" "Shift your gaze to Christ. Look more at the Mediator and less at the trouble makers. Be the beauty amidst your beasts and see what happens."

I leave you this morning with these verses, Proverbs 25:15, Romans 12:21 and these questions*:
Describe a time you saw the good influence of one person change the atmosphere of a group or organization. What specific environment could you reshape by your good influence? Do personal possessive pronounds dominate the language of your circle? My career, my dreams, my stuff. I want this to go my way on my schedule. If so, you know how savage this giant can be.

*From Max Lucado's study guide for "Facing Your Giants"

Monday, October 19, 2009


Do you know what your purpose in life is? Do you ever find yourself having a hard time making decisions? Do you know how you fit into God's big picture?

I'm not sure.
I do!
and I'm working everyday to figure that out.

And Day 4 of Esther study this week was a great tool for me use in this quest.

"And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14

There's some big questions packed into that short verse.

Who knows?

A time such as this?

To put the verse into context. Esther is between a rock and her husband (the king). The king has issued a decree that all Jews will be killed (Esther is a Jew). Her uncle tells her to go talk to the king about it. But she hasn't been summoned by the king in 30 days (there's trouble in paradise) and if she goes without summons, she could be killed.

Esther has a tough decision to make.

Do you ever feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders and you have to make a decision about it? And quick.

Have those big decisions ever come your way, right when your in the middle of your own crisis?

When life throws us a giant weight and we are in the middle of our own crisis, we are tempted to say, "not me, not now."

But that is God's perfect timing. If is right on schedule. His schedule.

Beth talks about it being hard being thrown a giant sized weight. She says,

"Know the feeling (of being thrown a weight)? So do I. Every giant-sized weight drops into our laps right on schedule. None of our purposes will be fulfilled easily. All of them will require the most difficult decisions we think we can make. Decisions that we may feel will practically kill us. Then God does something miraculous and we become something we are not. That's when "who knows?" becomes "I know!" At some of the hardest times in my life, I have been able to make the more difficult choice out of pure blind-eyed, bent-kneed acceptance that it was somehow part of a greater plan. I was beaten by a conviction that throbbed relentlessly against my strong self-centeredness. As much as my flesh wanted relief, I knew that when all was said and done, I'd sit on that side of glory having much rather fulfilled my calling than served myself all the way to meaninglessness. I had to accept that I was not called to an easy life I was called to a purposeful life."

I've been in the middle of making some tough decisions lately, so I can relate. Mary tweeted this to me awhile back. I saved it because I knew it applied to me and have been working on it for awhile.
Mairs812 To @heididh33 RT @DougBench Your brain doesn't have to believe in your goals at the start. Mairs812 Nothing of any significance was ever accomplished by a realistic person!

While the decision I make will affect my husband, my coworkers, my students, and myself, the choice is not to be about me. It's about Him. It's about His Kingdom.
Beloved, in the times of greatest struggle when you make the Godward decision over convenience, earthly comfort, or carnal pleasure, you too have come to a critical moment in the fulfillment of your destiny. A defining moment. A war is being waged over your head in the unseen realm, and a great cloud of witnesses is cheering you on. You have no idea what is at stake.

Lord, Be near to me as I make these tough decisions. Help me to know that it's not about me. It's not about my comfort. It's about You, Lord. It's all about You. It always has been, and it always will be. Amen.

(I'll be back with more about Who Knows. Soon.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Reduce Me to Love

Off week for FYG.

Last week I finished reading the book "Reduce Me to Love" by Joyce Meyer (keep an eye out, maybe a copy will be a give away). I use the term "finished" loosely, because this is one of those books that I marked up the pages and know that I will come back to many times, mostly because for me loving like Christ is a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute battle. But yet, the most important attribute of Christ (I Cor. 13:2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing) and the first thing we are to draw up from the spirit (Gal. 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy...).

Faith that can move mountains. My faith is strong, but does my faith stand up to my mountains, that they will be crumbled, to my giants, that they will be slayed. I'm getting there, I know I am.
But love. Love is one of those things, for me, that it took digging in to realize I need to be humbled, that in learning the love walk, I am still merely crawling. If that.

On September 9, 2009 I wrote in my personal blog:

The deal is, the devil... SUCKS. I don't particularly care for the word "sucks" but in this instance, I can't describe it any other fashion. He is putting me in situations and around people that are difficult to LOVE. They don't treat me with LOVE and so my initial reaction is not to give it back. If they don't love me, why should I love them? Then God says, "Really, Mary?! Really?" Or something like that. Then you have a duh moment. God sent His son to save the WORLD. The whole WORLD. All of us, the undeserving.

Meyer points out that when Jesus was being crucified, He was comforting the thief next to him (Luke 23:39-43). When Stephen was being stoned, he prayed for those stoning him asking God not to lay the sin to their charge (Acts 7:59-60). When Paul and Silas were in prison, they took time to minister to their jailer (Acts 16:25-34).

Here I am reminded of the song by Casting Crowns called "If We are the Body". The song talks about people entering the church, looking for a refuge and realizing that they are being teased, that they are being judged. That people are picking and choosing who to love and the song says "Jesus paid much to high a price for us to pick and choose who should come" and continues with, "But if we are the Body, why aren't His arms reaching? Why aren't His hands healing? Why aren't His words teaching? And if we are the Body, why aren't His feet going? Why is His love not showing them there is a way? There is a way. Jesus is the way."

I have so much work to do. I am incomplete, but I am still completely His.

This morning, this is the prayer that I would ask you to join me in.

"Lord, you are putting me face to face with some challenging people. People who do not treat me with love, nor do they treat themselves with love. People that are easy for me to judge. People who put their judgmental weight on my shoulders. People who make me feel like I am better than they. People who encourage me to fall prey to the material things of this world. Thank you for these challenges so that I may grow in love and learn to love as you first loved us. Forgive me for my judgmental thoughts and glances. Forgive me for my words. Guard my heart, Lord, that I may love everyone. Be my words, Lord, that I may be your light. Give me your contagious Spirit, that I may be a woman of your word. Give me your strength. Give me your wisdom. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me, the underserved. Thank you for forgiving me so that I may start fresh in my walk with you. Go ahead of me and blaze my trail. Help me to love others without regard for what I will receive in return. Show me your ways. Amen."

Quick.. GO

Some of you I've already talked into taking a road trip with me for one of next year's Living Proof Ministries Live events (you know, with BETH MOORE!).
Well TODAY and today only, you have a chance to win two free tickets (you know, one for you, one for me). :-) They are giving 30 away for Amanda's (Beth's daughter) 30th Birthday.

So go here to wish her a Happy 30th. And let me know if you win!


Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I mentioned I was feeling slightly overwhelmed last week. Sometimes when I feel that way, I start slacking on some of the things I normally do. Sometimes I even start slacking on my daily time with God.

Because it just seems on top of everything else I don't have enough time.


I once heard a pastor say, "it's not a time issue, it's a priority issue."


Do you ever feel like you don't have enough time? Is your calendar full of dates and appointments?

Don't stress. Every moment can be a moment spent with Him. As Beth puts it,

"Every date on your man-contrived schedule can be a date with Christ. He'll do the driving."

How are you spending your time with Him this week?

As you visit us today...

Remember to visit the Prayer Wall and comment on the Week Three Challenge to be a prayer warrior!


Where do I begin with what to say? I've played this conversation in my head so many times. I'm certainly not claiming to know everything, but what I do will save your life.

I know, I know that God is able [and will]. I know, I know that He still reigns. I know, I know that love has found [and will find] a way.


This lyric is hitting me hard this week, anyone else find Christian music to be an incredibly powerful voice of the Lord? Wow. This blog is not a plug for MercyMe. But, I do have to share more powerful lyrics throughout, because they are all blending together in to one big message for me.

Studying our giants can bring up some difficult truths to face. Remember,

There is a season for everything. There is a reason for all things here on earth. Every second of every moment seems to have its worth. Rest assured life's not in vain, for all things work here for His fame. It won't be long until we all go home with all things revealed, and on that day we'll finally know oh, as we are fully known.

This week, in "Facing Your Giants" (FYG) we talked about "Dry Seasons" and "Grief Givers". Reading this, assembling the prayer wall, and hearing other stories this week about heartache and misfortune made the devil seem so prominent, so powerful. But then I was able to realize and feel that God is bigger. Bigger than the air we breathe, bigger than our giants and SO much bigger than the enemy. But, the only way to overcome the enemy is through Christ's love.

Time has come to raise our hearts as one and glorify the God of everything. We live our lives for the renown of Christ, oh we are children of the sovereign king.

My heart will fly when I finally see you face to face, and my tears will fly away, away.

The enemy stands between us and God, He has since the book of Genesis, and the only way back to God is through Christ. And so, we are to live our lives trying to be imitators of Christ and overcome the enemy. We have so many questions for God, all beginning with "why?" Why this happened I cannot explain. Why write the script with such heartache and pain? Could there not have been an easier way? Watching life through this glass so faded, I cannot see the bigger picture taking place. Oh, to understand one day... When I finally make it home. Then I'll gaze upon the throne of the King frozen in my steps. And all the questions that I swore I would ask, words just won't come yet. So amazed at what I've seen, so much more than this old mind can hold.

Max Lucado says in Chapter 5, "But sometimes we have no vote. Calamity hits and the roof tips." The devil starts to isolate us by removing every source of stability from our lives. We become disconnected. Disconnection turns to deceit. For David, the enemy is Saul. Max (I figure, we're journeying together, we're going to be on a first name basis with Max) says, "Has your Saul cut you off from the position you had and the people you love?" Where is your refuge? Where do you go to be renewed?

Are we turning to our job, to find that it is not secure? That no matter how hard we work today, it might not matter tomorrow? Are we turning to our spouse or significant other only to find that they are not rock solid?

Max says "Make God your refuge. Let Him, not [your] Saul [giant] encircle you. Let Him be the ceiling that breaks the sunshine, the walls that stop the win, the foundation on which you stand." Max also talks about a man in his church who had just buried his wife and had a daughter becoming more ill by the day and he said "You'll never know that Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have".

Let me just say, I am incredibly inspired by those that have had their Saul remove every earthly stability from their lives and still they find their rest on Christ the solid rock. I am taking this lesson now, and am thankful for the Lord putting their example in my life.

When we find refuge in the Lord, He WILL restore us. Find your refuge in Him, and your comfort in His people. David did, and in the "midst of [his] desert [he wrote his] sweetest psalms."

Our Saul's can be the people in our lives that Max refers to as "Grief-Givers". Once David has been restored and Saul hears of his location, Saul once again begins his hunt for David, with the ultimate goal to kill him. So many times David and his army are in a position to slay Saul, and yet David continues, with a "God saturated mind", to remember that Saul is the Lord's appointed King. David hears the Lord, and allows Saul to live, even though he knows that Saul will continue to hunt him down and try to kill him.

How are we reacting to the Saul's in our life. Are we focused on our Saul? Will we slay our Saul if given the opportunity? Are we able to forgive our Saul? Max says "We forgive the one-time offenders, mind you. We dismiss the parking-place takers, date-breakers, and even the purse snatchers. We can move past the misdemeanors, but the felonies? The repeat offenders? The Sauls who take our youth, retirement or health? Failure to do so could be fatal. 'Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple' - Job 5:2 Enemy destroyers need tw
o graves."

Max says that David "refused to see his grief-giver as anything less than a child of God. David didn't applaud Saul's behavior; he just acknowledged Saul's proprietor - God." God is saying to us the offender and the offended, "What he [you] did was unthinkable, unacceptable, inexcuseable, but I'm not finished yet." Our enemies, God is not finished with them yet. Did we think that He was? This was such an eye opener for me. I certainly know that He is not finished with me yet, but have I stopped to think that about my enemies, my Saul's? "You honor God when you see them, not as His failures, but as His projects."

I think it is important to take a moment here to point out, as Max and so many others have, that forgiveness is not acceptance. God hates sin, loves the sinner, and calls us to do the same. Forgive the sinner, but keep your distance if you need to.
As Max puts it, forgive the child molester, but keep him out of the school. "To forgive is to move on, not to think about the offense anymore. You don't excuse him, endorse her, or embrace them. You just route thoughts about them through heaven. You see your enemy as God's child and revenge as God's job." And what appears as incomplete is still completely Yours and one day we'll see as we've been seen and we'll soar.

Max closes this chapter the same way I will end this post "We, like Saul, have been given grace. We, like David, can freely give it."

Monday, October 5, 2009


This is (one of) my week(s) off from Esther. While I was not looking forward to it, it ended up being a nice break this week as I've been feeling (just a little) overwhelmed. (What? You noticed from my poor quality of blogging and worse than usual returning of messages? Sorry!)

So while on my Esther hiatus, I picked up my "Life Above the Negativity" book again. One of my favorite pieces from the book is:

"I am not my own. I am bought with a price. I belong to God. I choose to grow in and put on love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. I recognize the opportunities God gives me to grow in these areas."

The opportunities? That's a nice way to put it. You know the kind. When a family member hurts your feelings, a coworker says something discouraging, your stuck in traffic, a friend says something about you, an unexpected bill, a poor doctor's report, and on and on and on.

There are opportunities all around us to grow in love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. But how do we do it?

I've been working on first recognizing the opportunities. If you are feeling frustrated, upset, or annoyed, it's a pretty good indicator there's an opportunity for you to grow in that area (and believe me, I have a LOT of room to grow in a lot of areas!).

Sometimes I'm upset about something and feel like talking about it. Sometimes that talking turns into complaining, grumbling, whining, even gossip (gasp!*). Society calls this "venting" and tells us this is okay.

But God says it's not.

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." -Ephesians 4:29

In fact, He tells us to avoid those who do it.

"A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don't hang around with chatterers." -Proverbs 20:19

I came across this quote today, "When you are tempted to complain, think of it as an invitation from God to give thanks."

An opportunity to go to God in thanksgiving.

So after recognizing the opportunities that come my way, I take them to Him. I talk to Him about them and seek guidance. Sometimes it's an opportunity to give Him thanks that I even have the problem I'm having in the first place (giving thanks for having a job, rather than complaining about the job I have). Sometimes the answer is to simply be still. Be quiet. Sometimes I have a really hard time finding what the answer is and I just lay it in His hands.

Whatever the answer, He is trusting me with a lot of opportunities to grow and I am definitely a




What opportunities has He trusted you with lately? How do you recognize them and what do you do to grow in the fruits of the spirit?

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." -Galatians 5:22-23

*"Life Above the Negativity" defines gossip has something you are talking about but are neither a part of the problem or the solution. Sounds like a whole new post for another day.....

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Are You a Prayer Warrior? (& GIVEAWAY!)

Week Three Giveaway!

Are You a Prayer Warrior? In Matthew 17, Jesus says "I assure you, even if you have faith the size of a mustard seed you could say to this mountain 'move from here to there' and it would move. Nothing would be impossible." Check out our prayer wall and lift up these prayers to the Lord.

We encourage you to share your thoughts on prayer, your prayer requests or prayers of thanksgiving! Let us know that you would be a prayer warrior with us, by leaving your comments on this post. Please leave your comments by Wednesday, October 7th at midnight and we will announce the winner of "How to Pray" on Thursday, October 8th!

Contest now closed.
Congratulations, Christa! I'll get the book to you this week. What perfect timing since you'll be in the state! :)