Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Do You Know Where The Police Are Waiting?

In the mornings, I typically drive to drop my daughter off to school. There is this one corner that that police love to wait for unsuspecting parents who might be going slightly over the speed limit. That same man will walk out on the street and step in front of your car to stop you and ticket you. He pulled me over once several years back. Fortunately all I got was a strong warning and a fix-a-ticket. (A fix-a-ticket is a rather inexpensive fine and I had to go get a new proof of registration because the one I had in my car was out of date.) He could have really fined me but choose not too. Every time I pass that corner, I think of how the police like to park there and pick the parents up on the way to school. So having my history, and knowing their like that I purposely drive very slowly at that corner. I do not want to be pulled over again.

This morning there was a police officer out there waiting, but because I know they like to wait there I am overly cautious there. However, like most of us who are honest, I do not always go out of my way to obey every traffic sign and have my moments. I mean really, there cannot be a police officer on every corner.

I was thinking about a similar scenario in the Bible as it relates to this.

Matthew 24:45-51 (MSG)45-47"Who here qualifies for the job of overseeing the kitchen? A person the Master can depend on to feed the workers on time each day. Someone the Master can drop in on unannounced and always find him doing his job. A God-blessed man or woman, I tell you. It won't be long before the Master will put this person in charge of the whole operation. 48-51"But if that person only looks out for himself, and the minute the Master is away does what he pleases—abusing the help and throwing drunken parties for his friends—the Master is going to show up when he least expects it and make hash of him. He'll end up in the dump with the hypocrites, out in the cold shivering, teeth chattering."

We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. We don’t know every corner a police officer likes to stand on, so wisdom tells us we should obey traffic laws so we aren’t pulled over. We don’t know how close we are to the end times. Jesus could come back today, or he could ten years from now, or twenty years. Likewise, wisdom tells us since we don’t know we shouldn’t slack. We should keep our eyes toward heaven and live as if it is today.

What are we doing when no one is watching? Are we slacking off or are we still living our lives as if they are? God does see your every move, and every part of your day. You can’t live your life, as He’s not watching because I assure you He is watching you. He loves you, but you have to realize that the Bible says we don’t know when He will return. Keep your eyes on heaven! Don’t be like the rebellious servant who says, “He’s not here now so I might as well party.” That’s dangerous ground. Pray and ask the Lord if there is anywhere you’ve done this. God has great plans for your life. So stick with it!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

You should follow a recipe!

It’s been a real treat to have my mom visiting us in Florida the last few days. Yesterday I made a carrot cake from scratch and it wasn’t done in the center, and had to bake it a little longer after we tried to eat what could only best be described as “carrot pudding”. My mom and I got to reminiscing about some of my baking excursions over the years.

There was one particular event that made us laugh that I thought I would share today. When I was around ten I decided I wanted to bake biscuits. However I refused to look at a recipe. I don’t know what I was thinking, but both my mom and my sister tried to get me to follow one, yet I refused to follow it. I threw all sorts of ingredients in a bowl and was sure I would be the next greatest “super chef”. In anticipation I watched and waited as my mother took a tentative bite into my creation. She silently chewed. I was sure these had to be a culinary masterpiece, but instead she couldn’t eat another bit.

“I’m sorry Ann, I can’t.” She choked out. I began to cry. She then tried to feed them to the dog but he wouldn’t even eat them. While I had wanted to be a baking sensation, if I’d have been on a reality show with Gordon Ramsey he would have thrown the biscuit at me probably breaking something as they sailed out the window.

Many people live their lives like I baked those biscuits. They are convinced that they can do it by themselves and they refuse to actually follow instructions. However God gave us an entire book of instructions. He gave us the Bible to read and know what we should do. What happens is often we try to do it on our own, but then get mad at God because it didn’t work. You have to use the instructions He gave us if you want good results.

Joshua 1:5-9 (NIV)No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Be lovers of God’s word. Follow His recipes for life. Then you will have good success. When you are so prideful that you’re convinced you don’t need God’s instructions you’ll produce junk that even the dogs won’t want. Be fully persuaded that God’s instructions are better than your own. Be excited people. God is faithful.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

God's Desires/Happy 200th

I want to thank all of you who prayed for me this last week as I went to the radio interview/book signing. It was an awesome experience. I am very grateful to have gotten to do it, and have been invited to come back next year. God is so faithful!

I kept thinking all last week about when I was a little girl and I would ride on the motor scooter at my grandparents’ house for hours around their yard. Sure when I was not trying to make the thing flip or run into the grape harbor, I can remember pretending that I was being interviewed. Perhaps that is not an uncommon thing for kids to do, but I remember setting on that motor scooter burning a path around grandma’s house and talking to a fake person.

Its funny doing with my life what I am doing today, is so far outside what I thought as a child I would be doing. I remember when God called me into ministry I inevitably figured I would be a missionary somewhere in Africa. I would have never thought I would have moved outside of Ohio. However, God had other plans. I was just talking to someone this morning about that. God’s plans for our life are always bigger than what we can imagine, and we have to trust Him that He sees something in us that we may not see.

So many times, I find that we are the creation trying to tell the creator what is best for us. Can the clay tell the potter which way it can go? Can the mural tell the artist what it should look like? God has such a unique exquisite plan for each one of us, but sadly, too few people find it because their too busy trying to make what they think should happen instead of allowing God to bring it about. It is not easy. It is a process. I have not arrived but I am here to be your cheerleader and to tell you “You can do it!” “He is faithful!” Stick with it. God has a way that will surprise you.

I am walking in bits of destiny today not because I am so great. It is because God put this on the inside of me when He formed me inside my mother’s womb. It is humbling to me to see these things begin to happen, because I know it is not me. I cannot write a sentence without his grace and there are situations where people still don‘t understand me when I speak. This was His desire and I am just a vessel. When His desires become my desires that is when He can do mighty things. When His desires become your desires, then you will hold fast to what He has promised and trust enough to move forward and not let go.

Psalm 37:4 (NIV)
Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Be encouraged today. May your heart cry by “Let Your Kingdom Come forth in me. Let your will be done in me.”

***As a side note, I also want to mention that this is my 200th blog. Two years ago, I started writing these simply because there was so much on the inside of me I had let it out. It has been humbling to see what God has done through it. Thank you to all of you who have continued to enjoy the ride with me. Smiles.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Radio Interview

Hey guys,

This is just a reminder to all of you if you can listen to me live on the radio tomorrow, March 18th. I am supposed to be at the station from 10am-noon. I know their interviewing me as well as having some other callers, so when all I'll be on the air that I'm not sure, but tune in. The guy is very interesting to listen to. The website is then click the listen live button, or here's that link I will then be having a booksigning after the radio interview in Peggy's WholeFoods in Ormond Beach.

Keep me in prayer tomorrow. God is faithful! We're continuing to believe that God opens doors that no man can open and closes doors He wants closed.


But I can't do that!

Yesterday I had to travel across town into an area that we used to frequent but sense we moved six years ago closer to Dan’s job and church we’re not over there nearly as much.

As I passed one particular building I had to laugh. I remember when Dan and I first moved to Central FL I had been trying to apply for jobs and this one company had called me in for a sales job. After doing research about them I discovered that it was a pyramid that appeared to me to be a cult at its top. I declined the interview. Something didn’t seem right about it. About a year after that Dan and I were in a place where I had looked around again and a company with a different name asked for an interview so I went in. What I found was a group presentation situation, and I was seated at the front of that presentation. The more the woman in front of me started to talk the more I realized it was the cult company. They had just changed their name. I looked around the room there were at least 15 interviewees in the room. I was getting nervous.

“God what do I do?” I kept asking the Holy Spirit in my mind.

His response was very clear, “Get up and walk out!” There was no if, ands, or buts about what he was saying. It was a clear direction.

“But, I can’t do that?” I argued. I was setting in the front row.

“Get up and walk out!” Again with clarity I felt it again.

“God, that would be rude!” Internally I struggled. Then finally the resolve came. Who do I fear more. . .God or man? I nicely smiled and b-lined it for the elevator doors. I had thought I was home free with out much of an interference until one of the interviewers stopped me at the elevator doors. I think I mumbled something about “this job isn’t for me” and hit the elevator button a few more times.

By the time I got out of that office and into the elevator I think I was shaking. Something had not been right about the atmosphere of that place, and God’s mercy got me out of there.

Most of you have probably heard me quote one of my favorite scriptures several times.

Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

That’s one of the many things I love about God. He doesn’t expect you to go through life on your own. He’ll tell you which way is the best for you to go. But you have to listen to Him when He speaks. Most often we do the same thing I did in my head that day. We set and argue with God. We list off our excuses like one would repeat a shopping list: It’s too hard, I can’t do it, What about my reputation, everyone will look at me like I’m crazy, I can’t do it like that?

We have to honor God over we would honor man. We have to go forward saying “I’m going to do whatever God tells me to do no matter what.” At the end of the day, when I stand before God I’m going to have to give an account for my life. I don’t want to have to look at him and say, “Sorry, I just feared men more than I feared you.” I am not perfect at this, but daily I’m trying to be better. Think about this in your own life. Are you fearing God more or man?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I Can't See the Writing on The Window!

My parents had this thing about not writing on the window of a car with your finger. I’m sure all of you can picture it. It can be hard seeing out the windows of a car when the temperature changes and the windows fog up. Their complaint was valid, they said that often no matter how many times they tried to clean the window after we’d doodled when the windows fogged back up again they could still see our doodle. I remember getting in trouble for my friends then going into the car and scribbling on the windows.

Many people live their lives about sin like the doodle on the windows. Their convinced their lives are forever scarred by sin they’ve committed. People go around their lives trying to make up for their mistakes. They live their lives in fear that something will happen and that sin will be able to be evident. While there can be consequences for our bad choices on the earth. When we ask Jesus into our heart, and we’ve confessed and repented, he wipes the window completely clean. When He looks at you he doesn’t see the sin, He sees His child.

Romans 8:1 (NIV)
[ Life Through the Spirit ] Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

You don’t have to live under some kind of fear blanket or ‘woe is me’ attitude. Be free from condemnation. As a little girl growing up in the Lutheran church, the pastor I had growing up used to say a line that I’ve found myself quoting often. He always used to say, “When you mess up two people have to forgive you: Jesus and yourself. Jesus did that on the cross, so why is it so hard for you to let it go”

If you mess up, own up to it and move on. Living a life full of regrets is not going to move you forward. I have tried to live my life by the code, I don’t want to ever be at the end of my days, and think “what if?“

If I am constantly walking with my back toward the finish line, It’ll be hard for me to be able to see where I’m going. You have to leave the past in the past and turn around. You won’t be able to change what happened no matter how hard you worry about it. However, you can affect your future now. You change your tomorrows by your present not by your yesterdays. Move forward today. He is faithful.

Many have this crazy unbiblical view of God that He’s up in heaven constantly disappointed with us. Every time we mess up it’s as if He has a scale to add another weight. That’s not true! When Jesus died on the cross for our sin the concept of what we deserve was no more. That doesn’t give us an excuse to sin all over, but it does introduce grace.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (amp)
But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!

Allow Him to wipe the windows clean of your life. Stop trying to clean them yourself. Move forward in the things He has for you. Life is too precious and too sacred to keep living in the past. It’s time to live and walk in the destiny He has for your life.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

But I Want To Color In That Book!

As many of you know, I have a sister 5 years and 11 months older than me. When we were growing up, she had a coloring book that I was not allowed to color in. It was hers and she did not want my juvenile scribbling in it. It did not matter how many coloring books that was put before me, I wanted to color in her book. It was something that greatly bothered my immature mind. Why couldn’t I color in her book? I wanted to, that had to mean something?! The inhumanity just seemed so unfair to my little mind. Truthfully, I’d forgotten all about this until yesterday. My youngest and I were coloring and I thought briefly, “I wonder whatever happened to that coloring book?”

So often in the body of Christ, we act the same way towards our bother and sisters in the Lord. We want to do what they get to do. We set around and focus on how it just seems so unfair that this person or that person gets all the breaks and we don’t. We wallow in our own self-pity so much where it seems life in general is unfair. Nothing seems to satisfy us anymore.

I realize to some of you this might sound harsh, “But get over it!” God has unique plans and purposes in each of our lives. The more we focus on what someone else gets to do the more unhappy we’ll be about our own calling and gifting. God created you for such a specific thing that only you can fulfill, and I promise that when you get there it’ll be more awesome to you then what you think you want. You were created for purpose and destiny. You have to fulfill yours and stop trying to fulfill someone else’s.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Paul really likes using running analogies in the New Testament.

1 Corinthians 9:24 (Amp)
Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but [only] one receives the prize? So run [your race] that you may lay hold [of the prize] and make it yours.

To continue that vein of thought, if your running a race and keep watching the person beside you, you won’t be able to complete your race. You’ll start hitting trees, and anything else that might be in your way.

Keep your eyes fixed on your prize. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. I promise you that your coloring book will be awesome. You’ll be excited when you get to color in yours. God’s glory will be manifest in your life. Go towards what God is telling you for you. Embrace it with a passion. The journey will be worth it!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Don't Be A Plastic Action Figure

Recently I was reflecting on something in the kingdom that I wanted to share. We hear it preached over and over again that saying your in faith isn’t enough to please God. The Bible is pretty clear about this.

James 2:26 (NIV)
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

This really if you think about it this concept makes perfect sense. It’s not really faith unless you’ve moved forward and acted upon it. People do these kinds of things all the time. When you talk to them they might say they are believing God to do a mighty work in their not doing anything about it. For example, I could feel God’s calling me to be a doctor, but I have to go to medical school for that to happen. Also the Bible is pretty clear that we need to show love and compassion to the world around us. It’s not really showing our faith or living out our faith if we have five extra dollars with no purpose in our pocket and we see a bum on the street and we’d rather kick him and keep going. Works are showing love and compassion. It’s being Jesus to the hurting world around us.

The problem that happens a lot in Christian World, is that people take this scripture about faith without works is dead and so they go around as if a plastic action hero trying to do all these things for the kingdom. Their wearing a mask. They pretend like the care when really they don’t. Their being showy making sure everyone knows their works. It’s like they have become a plastic figure. Their poseable and look perfect on the outside, but deep down the works are just a performance. It can be easy to get caught up in this plastic Christian lifestyle, but ask yourself deep down do I really care? Where is my compassion?

1 Corinthians 3:13 (Amp)
13The work of each [one] will become [plainly, openly] known (shown for what it is); for the day [of Christ] will disclose and declare it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test and critically appraise the character and worth of the work each person has done.

2 Corinthians 5:10 (NIV)
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

God isn’t interested in plastic works people. Do you know what will happen if I threw a bunch of plastic action hero’s in the fire? They’d be a melted puddle of plastic. They wouldn’t be good for anything.

We’ll all have to stand before God one day and give an account for what we did and didn’t do on this earth. I for one don’t want everything I thought I accomplished on the earth to burn into a puddle of plastic. I want my life to have some kind of lasting substance. Not because I’m so great, because I’m not. But because it was Him in me all along. I want my life to have some kind of meaning.

Don’t be a plastic action figure in the kingdom. Be real. Be real before others, and be real with yourself. There is a generation of people out there tired of plastic Christianity. They need to see real people, who have real struggles, and serve a real God. God sees you. God knows if your works are plastic or real. Get real with yourself, and ask the Lord to show you your motivation. You’ll be glad you did. God loves you. He wants what is best for you!

****The funny thing about this blog is I was going to write it last week. I couldn’t find the scriptures I wanted. I looked for too long for them, and decided if I couldn’t find them then I’d wait to write the blog. Sunday at the 9am service Pastor Greg preached on the scripture I had been looking for, so I wrote the blog! Love it when the Holy Spirit does those kinds of things. Umber props to the Jesus in Pastor Greg.****

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I Ran Into the Grape Harbor

When I was in the 4th grade, my grandparents blessed me with a motor scooter. I was too young to drive it on the street legally. Instead, I drove in circles for hours around their yard. I put miles and miles on that aqua blue piece of fun over the years while my grandmother ran out and re grass seeded the worn path I created. Once I had a stupid idea that I was going to go fast and put on the front brakes to see what would happen. If you know anything about motor bikes, you have to know that was not a good idea. I was curious and I wanted to try. The bike and I did cartwheels together and it came out on top. Another time I decided to break too late and I went headfirst into my grandmothers grape harbor. I not only put miles on that bike but wrecks as if it were notches on the seat. I loved that bike. It was not the wisest choice to use the front brakes, or run into the grape harbor.

Why is it when we make stupid choices do we think its okay to blame God for them? Really, it was not God who made me run into the grape harbor on a motor scooter. It was not God who made me think it would be a good idea to go really fast and see if I can put on the front breaks and flip the bike. God did not make those choices. The enemy did not make me make those choices. I have free will. I made those choices and had the bruises as a result of them.

God is a big advocate of free will. He is not into mind control. He wants people to make the right choices because they want to, and not because they think their forced to make them.

Leviticus 22:29 (NKJV)
And when you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the LORD, offer it of your own free will.

Contrary to what many people think life is not some cosmic chess game. God has awesome plans and purposes for your life but it is up to you to choose what you want to do. Life is a series of choices. Do you choose heaven or hell? Freedom or bondage? Destiny or defeat? Those choices affect not only yourself but also those around you. You cannot blame God when people make bad choices.
When I flipped the bike and ran into a grape harbor, it was a bad choice. However, one bad choice did not end my life. I got back up, limped into the house and was fine a few days later. If you have made some bad, choices get back up

Proverbs 24:16 (Amp)
For a righteous man falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked are overthrown by calamity.

I have always said that the true measure of a person is not when they fall because they will. But the true measure is how they get back up again and keep going. If you have made some bad choices don’t blame God. Get back up and keep going. Make the choice to get on the “motor scooter” and ride. God loves you. Repent and move forward.