Monday, October 31, 2011

I Want Your Obedience Not Your Flowers!

Last week my girls had a day off of school. It was a beautiful fall morning. The breeze was flowing and the sun was shining. The girls and I rode our bikes to the park. We had a good morning. When we were on the way back my youngest decided she didn’t really want to leave and I was trying to encourage her to stay focused. Instead of trying to leave she started finding weeds that resemble flowers and picking them to give to me. It was sweet, and at first I kept saying “Thank you, now let’s go.” She’d move a couple of inches and then find me more flowers. I started to get frustrated. She started to get caught up in finding me more flowers. “We’re leaving!” I tried a different approach. Finally after getting quite frustrated with her I found myself saying, “I want your obedience not your flowers!” I was trying so hard not to squish what she was doing yet when it came down to it she wasn’t obeying what I was saying. In a sense her heart motive was sweet because she was trying to bless me, but she was still being disobedient. She started to follow me after that and I did end up with an assortment of weed flowers.

After this incident I started to think about this as it compares to our relationship with God. King Saul in 1 Sam 10-13 has a similar moment with God. God tells him to go into battle and wipe out an entire place. He says not to even leave the animals. Well, Saul obeys God….for the most part but he keeps the animals to sacrifice it to God. He doesn’t really listen to God. He sorta listens and then does his own thing. This get’s God really upset and thus is when King Saul looses the favor of God on his life.

Now yes, we live now under the New Covenant. Meaning, Because of Jesus when we mess up in life, we can plead the blood of Jesus and it’s not like one little mistake is going to make us loose His favor. However, thinking about this story how many times have we found ourselves doing similar things in our own lives?

When God tells us to do something, that’s what He wants us to do. He doesn’t want us adding to it. He doesn’t want us to do what we think is best, but to do what He said. Things don’t always make sense to our own minds, but we just have to do it. He sees our tomorrows and for whatever the reason He knows. We have to trust Him. It can be very frustrating leading a child to do something and they keep getting distracted. Do we really want God frustrated with us?

Life is so short. God knows how to lead us to where is best for us to go. But we have to trust Him. We have to do what He says. Remember He has awesome plans for your life. So

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pig Poop And A Grass Hut

I am blessed to have such a super awesome daddy on this earth. As many of you know my dad served a tour in Vietnam in 1967 and 68. He wasn’t just a drafted army man, but was a grunt soldier for most of that time where he lived in horrible conditions. My dad just also happens to be quite the prankster and the story about the pig poop and grass hut in my family happens to be one of my favorite.

Daddy’s company was coming into a village and he and his friend Rob went to go checkout a hut that was a bit away from the village and up on a small hill. Now typically when you checked out a hut you were supposed to have three men, but this day it was only dad and Rob. It really was a difficult scenario. Many times the huts were entrances to the system of underground tunnels and you never knew what was in that hut, or who could be waiting. Dad snuck up one side of the hill, while Rob took the other side. It was in these moments of silent fear Dad noticed that one side of the hill had pig poop baking in the sun on it about an inch layer laying on the side of the hill. While Rob hadn’t walked on the poop Dad realized if Rob were to take cover he’d have no choice but to have to deal with the pig poop. It was also about this time Dad realized the hut was empty so he threw a rock in the hut. Well, like any trained soldier Rob heard the rock hit the wood in the grass hut and dove down the hill head first in the pig poop. Rob slid down the hill face first with pig poop oozing all around him. This is the time in the story where my father starts laughing describing how the pig poop had only appeared to be baked in the sun because when Rob came up there was poop dripping off his face. Daddy always swears that he would have gotten away with the prank without Rob being the wiser had he been able to contain his laughter at the image. This is when Daddy always smiles and says, “He called your father a bunch of not nice names.”

Our reactions in life often are similar to Rob in the story above. We hear or sense something and automatically our minds can easily go into the worst possible scenario mode. We panic at the small rocks thinking their massive bombs. I am just as guilty, but I’m endeavoring to get better and better at this.

2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

If you always are jumping to the worst case scenario then where is your trust?

Psalm 37:5Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.

You have to realize that even if you hear a few rocks falling that isn’t the final say so; you have to choose to trust the Lord despite of what you know or understand. You have to trust Him in the times of battle, and you have to trust Him despite of the storm. I want to leave you with this song that one of my favorite artists (Robby Cummings) is releasing called the Storm. Be sure to click on the link and listen to the song. It’s very powerful in learning to trust the Lord no matter what you’re going through. Remember God has awesome plans for your life. So get excited!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Praising God for this turndown

Last week I got a turndown for an event that I had been waiting to hear about for sometime. Truthfully I’ve been turndowned so much in this industry they don’t usually get to me. But this one did. Without going into details I believe eventually I’ll get to do this event, but for the project this time I can see why it ended in a turndown. I don’t believe it was me, but the project for this event, etc. In a classic me response I came back with boldness. I told them that I would like to be considered for future projects. Then went to my couch in my office and bawled. With the miracle of texts and phone calls my pastors, sister, and friends rallied around me encouraging me. I got back up and started to rejoice for that turndown. After I was done feeling sorry for myself I realized that there are some issues in my life that I need to work on. I had a God encounter as a result. I know it might sound strange, but I’m actually grateful for the turndown now. Don’t get me wrong, I was disappointed and still wish it would have turned another way. But I believe one day I’ll get to do this event for a different project, and as a result it may sound weird but I’ve been growing in some areas I have needed too. I am thankful!

I always think about the story with Corrie Ten Boom. In the book “The Hiding Place” she talks about her and her sisters time in a Nazi concentration camp. They’d been imprisoned for helping Jews in Holland. Her sister and her began discussing this scripture:

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV)18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

They had been moved to a flea ridden barracks and Corrie kept insisting they couldn’t thank God for it and refused to thank God for the fleas. Years later Corrie found out the reason they were able to be left alone in those barracks were because the Nazi’s knew they were flea infested. Those precious women held Bible teachings in a Nazi concentration camp because of the fleas.

Learning to be thankful in the good times is easy, but being thankful when things don't go your way isn’t so much. But I’m thankful for my turndown, because it’s encouraged me to learn to trust the Lord even more. It’s encouraged me to begin to feed on scriptures about trust.

Psalms 37:5 (ESV)“Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will act.”

Be thankful for the fleas in your life. Trust the Lord. He is a good and awesome God. He has awesome plans for your life. So get excited!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It has been one of those mornings.....

I should have known it was going to be one of those mornings when I woke up and came out into the kitchen to hear my youngest go “Shhh Mom’s up!” I accept that I do not always wake up in the best of moods but I do think I have gotten better and are not as bad as some. Then I see my youngest coloring a beautiful masterpiece and motivating her to start getting ready for school is equal to convincing people to stay on the Titanic as it sank.

Trying to motivate her I yelled, “Why don’t you get dressed while I make your oatmeal.”

She ran to her room and I hear the sound that makes mother’s cringe in the morning, “Mom, I don’t have any uniform shirts here!” So I walked to the clean clothes that need to be folded. I try to sift through them not finding anything and trying to watch the oatmeal as it cooked. Quickly I picked up the basket, and knocked over the ironing board and the iron hits the garage floor with a thwack. I do not think it broke.

Dumping all the laundry on the living room floor I know cannot find a uniform shirt for her either, “You should have two clean,” I yell from my frazzled place.

I can hear the sounds of scurry and confusion. So I go to her room to help. It looks as if a tornado was stuck in overdrive. She is panicked I am trying not to yell and she knew it. I looked at the stack of shirts and find one of the missing two, take a few big breaths and go back to the oatmeal. Then it is time for her hair to be done and I start wrestling it into two French braids. The laundry still sets in my living room waiting for me to fold, but I did get them in school on time.

If you have ever had young children in your house, you have had some variance of the above drama. Overall, as much I wanted to start yelling like a banshee this morning, I think I maintained my composure fairly well which is a step up from my past.

Galatians 5:22-23 (amp)
But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness,
23Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [[a]that can bring a charge].

We all need to be reminded of the above scripture every now and then. It is so much easier when drama starts and something does not go your way to start yelling and screaming. It can be so much easier to fly off the deep end, but in the end what is the fruit from that. If I had flipped this morning, then my kids would have probably started crying at their mom acting nuts. Dan and I would have probably ended up in a fit and my getting so stressed out. I would be yet again teaching my children that kind of reaction to stress was okay and I would have wanted to come home to write this blog in tears.

I am not perfect at stressful situations and I have had plenty of situations that have not been pretty, but I am trying to improve.

When you are in these kinds of situations, you can choose to walk in love. You can choose to walk in peace. You can choose to remember that you want to be an example to those around you of the way you should act and not the way you want to act. So while I simmer down from the drama this morning in my home, and go and fold the laundry looking for the missing uniform shirt….Remember God has awesome plans for your life. You can choose not to be caught up in the drama, and you can choose to get excited. God is excited about your future, so get excited too!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Confessions from my College Years

When I went to Ohio State University I lived on the 23rd floor of Morrill Tower for a year. If you can see the picture it’s the closest tower in the background. One of my favorite memories from college was a couple friends and I once snuck into the Horseshoe Stadium. It had been the first snow of the year, and a magical crisp feeling lay like fog above our heads. The sky though dark radiated like a majestic wonder around us. The gate hadn’t even been locked and we found ourselves out on the football field. As I walked out into the famous field I felt so small. The snow began to fall and it was a moment that if I could capture it in an image, I would. It’s this memory that often when I think of fall and football I find myself nostalgically remembering as if it’s a snuggly blanket on that chilly night.

When Dan and I moved to FL, I had this idea in my head that it would only be for five years. We are nearing our eleven year mark. While I still maintain we’ll be here for a season, we refuse to leave until we know God is calling us to do so, and even when that time comes I’m not sure where He’ll send us. I confess that I miss the changing of the season. I miss being locationally close to my family, I miss cold football games with the smell of changing leaves in the air and hot chocolate so hot that it burns your tongue. However I don’t miss all the cold and mushy snow.

This morning I put this on my facebook status, “You cannot judge God's will by your level of comfort. While His will is always worth it, it's rarely comfortable. Too many people are saying they want His will but are really trying to justify their own choices.” I’ve watched too many people leave God’s plan for their lives and try to justify it by their own feelings. Sometimes we can be in uncomfortable places, but it’s in the moments that lack the comfort is when we grow the most. Look at the diamond, or even a cake. Without the pressure a diamond will always stay a chunky piece of carbon or coal. Without the heat the cake would only be batter. God sees our end from our beginnings and knows what is best for your life, even if it’s uncomfortable. He’s more concerned for your destiny than your level of comfort.

Jeremiah 29:11 (AMP)
For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.

God’s plans are good for you, even if for a season their uncomfortable and you wonder. Later He has a way to make everything make sense, and you’ll look back and thank the Lord that you went through the season you did. Moses was in exile for 40 years before he went back to Egypt, Joseph was sold into slavery and went through a lot so that he could help save the Israelites from starvation during a famine, and Jesus was brutally murdered on the cross so that well all might get the chance to go to heaven. Every moment in our lives may not be as idealistic and nostalgic as me watching it snow from the OSU football field, but His plans are always worth it! Remember He does have awesome plans for your life, so whether you see fruit from that yet or not, Get excited! Choose to live in His perfect will! Just as Psalm 30:5 says, “Joy comes in the morning!”

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Really God?

On Monday I finished the rough draft of my latest book I’ve been working on. That brings me up to 15 books, 4 screenplays, 2 children’s’ book series’, a college curriculum, a woman’s devotional among some other things here and there.

I started to laugh thinking about the first time I felt God called me to write a book. I remember struggling with such fear and feelings of inadequacy. I kept thinking God surely you must have gotten the wrong person. Did you switch my file with someone else’s; do you forget I can’t do that?! Really God, are you sure? As much as I struggled to believe what I felt God was saying I knew I couldn’t deny it. The more and more I tried the more I knew it was God. Today over 17 years later (wow that makes me feel old) I know God saw destiny in me even if I couldn’t.

So often people have their own destinies bubbling up ready to burst on the inside of them, and they simply are too afraid to try and keep shoving it down. Here’s a classic scripture about talents. I’ve heard it apply to money but it also can apply to talents and giftings. This scripture comes after two other servants took their talents and multiplied them. I encourage you to read the entire passage of scripture starting with verse 14

Matthew 25:25-29 ESV

25so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' 26But his master answered him, 'You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

I am not special. I am not the most talented writer in the world, and I’m certainly not the most structured. My spelling is horrible and my grammar questionable. Fear has tried to hit me and I’ve had many try to talk me out of what I knew was destiny. But God knew that I had to start writing and after wrestling with it I did, and did, and did. I simply made the choice that I refused to look back on my life with regrets and I wanted to do what I felt God wanted me to do even if it appeared completely odd to me.

God has supernaturally enabled you to do something for His kingdom. Are you fighting it or are you choosing to trust Him to do it? You can’t set around and wait until you feel you can do it on your own. Because you won’t get there if you keep doing that. If you could do it on your own for what would you need God. No. You believe God is able through you. You believe it’s His ability that will get you to the place He’s called for you. But you can’t get there if you never step out in faith. God has awesome plans for your life. So step out, and get excited! 


Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Ducks Are Blocking The Road!

A few weeks ago I was driving back from the grocery store with I came across and intersection. There were probably twenty five ducks and they weren’t being very quick about crossing the road. I thought at first if I drove very slowly then they would move so that I could get home, but that wouldn’t work. The ducks took their own precious time crossing over to get to the pond on the other side of the street. Then I half considered getting out of the car to hurry them along. However, there were already a couple of people gathering to take pictures of their voyage and I really didn’t want to look like a crazy woman trying to hurry them up. So I sat in the car and waited….and waited….and waited. While I didn’t look at my watch, it felt like at least 15 minutes until there was a hole in the pack of ducks were I could get my car. Half of them were on one side of the street and the other half on the other. This is not my picture. I thought about grabbing one but I didn’t.

It can feel like times in your walk with God your setting out in the road waiting to go forward and can’t because of one thing or another blocking your path. If you’ve been around me any length of time, you’ve probably heard me joke, “patience is a fruit of the spirit because it doesn’t happen in the natural. It’s a supernatural act.”

I can be a pretty impatient individual. I want to get things done and I want them to happen ten minutes ago. I have often joked that it’s why God put me in the publishing industry and gave me children. It was to teach me patience. I can remember arguing with a might man of God in my tween years by the name of Dr. Arthur Ebert. Doc has long since passed from this earth and lives with Jesus, but I remember him and me discussing praying for patience. At the time, I refused to do it. My justification was that if I prayed for it I’d end up in situations to try it and thus wouldn’t pray for it. His argument was that I would have to go through situations in life that I needed patience so I might as well ask for it and go through them equipped.

So as the ducks took what seemed like forever, and my frozen vegetables started to melt I reminded myself of what the Bible says.

Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

God has awesome plans for your life. I know that sometimes it feels that you may never see them, but you will. Rest in the peace He’s given you. He’s on the throne, and in His timing, things break forth. Get excited. It is well.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

180 The Movie

Greetings awesome peeps! Today I am going to make this rather short. I am in the middle of working on my next book tentatively entitled “Turpentine and India Ink.”

Recently someone emailed me this video. Truthfully when they did I thought, “Geesh…I don’t have time to sit and watch a half hour movie. However, I felt since it was coming from a particular person that rarely recommends I watch things like this I decided to take a moment and watch it thinking I can always turn it off if it turns boring.

This film put together by the ministry of “The Way of the Master” is an amazing documentary. It needs to be watched and I would say that half hour was a good investment of time. I even made Dan and my oldest daughter watch it later.

In the time you will save by reading my lengthy blog today, take the time to watch this film and pass it along. There is a mandate that we share the truth behind this film. You can find it by clicking on this link below.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I am riding a bike again!

When I was in college at The Ohio State University, I tried for about 2 weeks to ride my bike on campus. It was really a good idea with all the walking I had to do, but the pedestrian and car traffic at OSU is a bit scary. I have joked that it prepared me to walk in New York City. It resembles that. What made me stop riding my bicycle at OSU, is I was riding in a parking lot and was hit by a car. It was not just a little “got hit”, I rolled up on the hood of the vehicle after impact. Fortunately no one was hurt. Really, that was a miracle, because I had rolled up on the hood of the car and hit the windshield. I got back up much to the amazement of the car driver and went on my way to class.

However, ever since that day I will admit I have carried a bit of a phobia when it comes to riding a bike. It’s not that I cringed at the sight of a bicycle or that I would never ride one, but I was just a little scared when I got back up to ride especially if I was in areas where there was a lot of traffic.

This summer my mom picked up a bike for me at a garage sale. At first, I was not sure how much I would ride it, but Dan and our girls love to ride together and it would be a fun thing for us to do as a family. Despite my fear, I made myself begin to ride all over our neighborhood, and now I am surprising myself riding miles in the morning and really enjoying the fall weather. This afternoon my family and I all rode down to the park and came back just to ride through the sprinklers of a neighbor. This is a memory that I would not trade for anything and I am glad to be riding again.

So many of us walk through things in life, and we get hurt or have a bad experience and simply walk away from that and never try it again. Maybe we had a relationship that hurt us so internally we vow all relationships are bad. Alternatively, maybe we got burnt by making popcorn on the stove so we swear we will never make it that way again. Or maybe someone ticked us off in the church and we refuse to go back because of it. It’s okay for these experiences to make you more cautious, but we can’t let it stop us. We have to go forward, learn from our past and keep living life. As Dr. Nasir Saddiki just said when we heard him preach, “There is a reason why the rear view mirror in our car is smaller than our windshield. You have to keep looking forward.”

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

I have really been enjoying my time on my bicycle. Maybe my experience sounds strange for you, but I realize all these years since college that perhaps I’d been avoiding riding again. Sadly, I’ll admit I was missing out. You don’t want to miss out on the things of life. God wants to give you life and life abundantly.

He has awesome plans for your life, so get excited!