Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Backseat Praying


 

            I wasn’t the best driver for a while.  You might think I’m exaggerating.  Nope, I was elected one of four ‘Senior’s worst drivers’ in my graduating class. It’s not that I took pride in that title.  However, it was true.  Through prayer, practice, and a lot of dings in my first car (a 1979 Cutlass Oldsmobile which really could have doubled as a submarine…I loved that car!) I’ve improved. 

            This morning as I was taking the girls to school, I began telling them a story about their grandma when I first learned how to drive.  I love my mom bunches.  I remember I had a friend in the passenger’s seat with me, and my mom was in the back.  We were on the back roads of Ohio where middle lines in the road are optional because truthfully the roads aren’t big enough for two lanes.  I noticed while my friend and I were laughing my mom was being abnormally quiet.  I looked around trying to make sure I was driving correctly.  I think my hands were at 10 and 2 o’clock on the steering wheel, but mom was not saying much.

            “Mom are you okay?”  I was legitimately concerned.

            “I’m fine Ann.”  She didn’t sound okay.

            “Why are you so quiet?”

            “Oh just back here praying.”  My friend and I busted out laughing from the front seat.  My driving must have been pretty bad to send my mom into silent prayers from the backseat.  As I said, I like to think I’ve improved.

            As funny as that story is, as I was saying it today and laughing to the girls all over again it made me think of something the Bible says.  In 1Thess 5:17 it says to ‘pray without ceasing’.  That story is so funny because one can assume my bad driving was driving my mom to pray for me.  Which is a great thing and I’m glad she did.   How important it is when we feel our safety threatened that we do sit down and pray.  But some people (not my momma cause she’s a prayerer) will only pray when they feel their life is at risk.  They utter a few “emergency prayers” and they think that God is like some genie in a bottle and grant them three wishes. 

            Praying without ceasing doesn’t mean that no one is ever able to talk to you and you can’t, eat, sleep, etc. because you’re always praying.  It means having an attitude that your mind is always on God.  Prayer isn’t always whispering a few written words on a page.  It’s communication with the heavenly father.  It’s fixing your mind on Him versus things of the world.  Whatever ‘drives’ you to prayer, make it a habit to talk to God.  He sees a bigger picture of your life, and most of the time your vision is limited.  Talk to Him and let Him communicated back to you the answers that you need.  He is a good father and He loves you. 
Remember God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Just Wait for the Coconut!


 

            My youngest daughter loves coconut, especially right out of the shell.  We have a sordid past of trying to buy a coconut just to find out its rotten.  Needless to say I’m working on learning to tell a good one from a not so good one. 

            I bought her one from the store and she wanted me to open that thing and she wanted it done now.  I was going to get to it, but like most ninja moms I found myself multi-tasking on a whole new level.  .

            “Give me a minute and I will get to it!”  However she decided that wasn’t good enough for her, so she was going to try to get Dan to help her, and they were going to do this on their own.  I started getting a tad snarky because opening a coconut is never an easy accomplishment.  If they would just wait, I would help them.  My frustration level rose in the events.  Eventually I finished what I was doing and got that coconut open.  Fortunately I must be getting better about picking them out because this one only had a tiny bad spot.

            Do you ever wonder if God feels that way about us?  If you will just give me a moment, I will get everything done that I’m doing over here and work on what you’re asking.  Please don’t try to do it on your own.  Just give me a minute.  There is an order here.  Just wait, I’m working on it!

Zephaniah 3:8a (MSG) “Well, if that’s what you want, stick around.”
    God’s Decree.

            There is a reason God tells us not to be anxious in the Word.  If we’ve made our requests known to him we have to trust that He’s got it all worked out.  I realize it’s so much easier saying this than it actually is to walk it out.  But perhaps while we’re so busy shouting at God about how He’s not moving quickly enough, He’s working it in His order and timing.  Perhaps we do need to learn a little bit of patience. 

            Remember God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Legacy Talking



            A few nights ago around the dinner table, Dan and I began reminiscing of some of the supernatural stories we had the first few years that we lived in Florida.  There was the time my oldest daughter was set to be born and we had really bad insurance so the doctor waited a couple of days before he induced me.  Our insurance changed on a Monday and I had her by C-section on a Thursday.  There was the time when my husband knew he was supposed to work for this one company and essential called them every week, and sent the boss a get well card.  When one job ended, he never missed a day of work.  He went right to the job he knew God had wanted him to get.  There was the time we bought our first house and technically neither of us had a job because the place Dan was working ran out of work on a Wednesday and we closed on the new house on a Friday, and in faith we went through with it.  All turned out well.  There was the time that God spoke to us specifically about where on the internet to look for the job Dan’s worked at for the last 10 years.  There was one job under this particular search engine word and it fit his qualifications exactly.  There was the time we bought this house and the funding on the sale of the other house fell through at the last minute and we weren’t sure how it was all going to work out, but it did.   As we began listing these stories our girls were going, “What?  Why didn’t you ever tell us this?”  Truthfully I don’t know how they didn’t know.  They lived through all of it.

            Dan and I bought the picture above several years ago.  It hangs in my living room.  We bought it because I had read Joshua 3-4 about God instructing the Israelites to make a memorial where God dried up the water of the Jordan and they were able to cross. 

Joshua 4:4-7

So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”

            Likewise, when God shifting some things in our lives I felt we were instructed to get something to remind us what He’d brought us through so that we could remember to tell our children.  It would be our own person monument. Dan and I settled on this picture.  As much as I thought these stories were ones my children had known, it turned out they didn’t.  Perhaps I wasn’t as much of a Ninja Housewife as I thought. **Grin**


Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

We had a long talk that night, where Dan and I told the girls all the stories, and repeated them and then some.  I hope it’s a reminder to us all that we continue to share with our children and our grandchildren the stories of what God has done in our lives. If you don’t have your own children in your life, then by just sharing your testimony with those around you is bringing legacy.  When you have a God story, proclaim it.  Don’t hide it under a bushel. May our testimonies continue to echo for generations.  May he continue to bring stories in our lives that we can tell those around us as a testimony of His faithfulness and goodness.

Remember God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

           

 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Worst Case Scenario Mindset


 
 

            I have a confession to make.  Sometimes being a tad on the dramatic side, I automatically write stories in my mind, and being a Christian that needs to renew my mind isn’t always the easiest of combinations.  I have a mindset sometimes that jumps to worst case scenarios.  Sure, I fight against it, and am reprogramming my mind regarding this, but it can be a struggle in my life. The Bible says to admit your faults to each other (James 5:17), so I hope in letting this freak flag fly someone else can get freedom from their worst case mindset.

            Just this weekend the post office left a note on the door saying we needed to sign for an envelope.  We have a lot of different situations going on right now, so automatically I jumped to “Oh no, what’s in that envelope”.  I had at least three major theories in my mind, none of which were good.  Fear can be a difficult thing to battle.  Dan and I prayed and I felt much better, but then I had to start renewing my mind again.  I at least came up with another possibility of what could be waiting for me at the post office.  This morning I went to the post office.  Do you know what was in that envelope?  Two headbands I’d ordered off eBay for my daughters.  None of my scenarios were true, and it certainly wasn’t the worst case ones happening either. 

            I am not sure when in my life I became such a preparer for the worst case scenarios.  But this weekend taught me that I still have room in this area to grow.  What kept making me more annoyed with myself is that I knew I knew better than to let my mind go unharnessed like that.  I know what the word of God says.  But for the last few days it was a bit of a struggle.


Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.


Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

            God doesn’t want us thinking about ‘worst case scenario’s’ either.  There is a reason He tells us in Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.


            God wants us to focus on the positive.  He wants us to focus on what is praiseworthy.  He wants us to trust Him for whatever “could have been in that envelope”, and not trust in our ability to make plans for the ‘what if’s’. 


            This is an area I admit I will be working on.  Somehow I know I’m not alone in this.  If you struggle with it too, I recommend you memorize the above scriptures and start saying them out loud whenever you’re in a battle.  Fear of the unknown can be a powerful struggle, but guess what?  God is bigger than the unknowns!  I’ve read the book.  He wins, and through Him so can you!


            Remember God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!


 

 

           

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Confessions of a Ninja Housewife

 
          In the last blog I spoke of a business/ministry situation that went very bad.  I still won’t go into specifics here, but in revealing a tactic of the enemy, I will share a bit of a conversation.  This individual when realizing what was going on, and in trying in insult me, told me “I was nothing but a housewife.”  Yes, it was his attempt at a low blow.  There are a lot of things one could call me I suppose, but when that phrase came out of this individual’s mouth I knew that the words weren’t from the individual but from the enemy/devil. 
 
            As many of you know God called me into ministry very early in life.  When Dan and I moved across the country, I had this notion that the doors to ministry and publishing would open to me very quickly.  It’s taken me a lot longer than I planned.  When God put it on my husband and my heart for me to stay at home so I could take care of our girls and write, it was not an easy transition for me.  I think I cried for five years.  The devil kept whispering lies to me that all I’d ever be was a housewife.  Really, it’s not that there is anything wrong with just being a housewife, but in my mind I thought there was at the time.  It took me years to be okay with that title.  Everyone is different, to some people this is what they want out of life, but to me it took me some time.
 
            So when this individual felt like he wanted to throw the, “your nothing but a housewife” into the argument I knew this the devil.  The funny part is, though it stung for a moment, I was able to laugh about it shortly thereafter.   The insult was so obviously from the devil and this guy was just a pawn to try to mess with me.  It brought a great level of discernment to me.  If I had any questions about severing my ties in this business exchange and with this individual they all went out the window the moment he attempted to go for my jugular like that.
 

John 8:44 ESV / You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

 

            The devil is a liar and his pants are on fire.  When people try to tell you things that God has made perfectly clear to you that aren’t true, don’t listen to it and don’t take it personally.  This situation has been very eye opening to me.  For the first time in my life I was able to take a step back and say, “I know I’m more than just a housewife, but if that’s all I ever am, then I’m okay with that.  I don’t see that as an insult.  I see that as a compliment, because for me at this point in my life that’s where God has called me to be, and that is a beautiful thing.

 

            A good friend of mine, as a result of this exchange, has started to call me the “Ninja Housewife”.  We both had a good laugh at this conversation.  It’s a title that just might stick. I think I need to have T-shirts made.  Perhaps I’ll start a Book and Preaching series called, “The Ninja Housewife." Really the possibilities for this phrase are endless. Contrary to what the devil tried to do to me in this argument, it’s now a title I will wear with honor.  To me it’s a badge of courage that tells the tale of how hard I’ve fought to be in this place.  It tells to me the tale that my family no matter what does come first.  I know God has a lot of more plans for my life.  But as a woman of God, I will wear the ‘Ninja Housewife’ title as a Congressional Medal of Honor. 

 

            Don’t bother to listen to the plans or insults of the enemy.  They aren’t true, and they aren’t worth your time.

 

            Remember God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited.

 
 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

There Is A Wolf In The Sheep Barn


 

            Recently I walked through some situations in business and in ministry that were greatly disturbing.  I don’t need to go into specifics, but someone I thought I semi trusted turned out to not be what they claimed to be in their integrity and in their character.  What appeared on the surface wasn’t all golden, and facing this situation was like facing a “Goliath” in my life. When everything was brought out in the open this person deceived me and manipulated me, and I learned some important lessons on how to spot wolves that appear to be in sheep’s clothing.  While I will not be writing a book about this now because I have so many others on my list that I’m working on, I do plan on eventually writing a book about learning to spot wolves that have mingled in the kingdom or “sheep barn”. I believe God will give you discernment, but with that I’ve noticed some patterns in the situations I have faced. I want to write a few things I’ve observed.  I think that there are several wolves that have deceived the sheep or are trying too, and I hope many can learn from this blog.  The problem is in my life I’ve found that wolf behavior can be so subtle at first, like me many see the sheep coat and assume all is well.  But here is a short list that I’ve been learning and thinking on, on how to spot a wolf. 

Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

1.      BE AWARE! The Bible’s warning here is clear.  That not everyone who claims to be a fivefold will be one.  There is a reason why we are warned to be on our guard.  God wants us not to get hurt by people’s whose motives are not right.  Yes, we want to believe the best in people.  But we can’t pull the wool over our eyes when we see things that aren’t quite right.  This doesn’t mean we don’t trust people.  It just means wake up, and don’t be so naive that you don’t see what is in front of you.  If it walks like a wolf, and talks like a wolf, then I don’t care if you want to pretend it’s a sheep, it’s not.  Distance yourself from these people.  The Bible says that satan roams around “like” a lion seeking who he may devour (1Peter 5:8).  He isn’t a lion but he deceives.  There are wolves looking like sheep in the sheep barn that aren’t sheep.  They are roaming seeking who they can attack.

2.      Wolves sense weakness: The devil does not know everything but he does know your weaknesses.  He knows were your struggling and knows how to attack you.  Just like the weakest lamb would be on the outskirts of the sheep, it’s the same way the wolf will attract to you.  They’ll come at you at your weak places.  This may not just be a physical weakness but a spiritual one.  This is why you must study the word and allow God to strengthen you from all sides.  This is why you need to be under The Shepherd (Jesus), and a shepherd (your pastor).  This brings protection.  Leadership may or may not sense a person is acting wolfish.  This is one thing that tripped me up in one occasion.  I kept thinking the person was okay because they were in a place of authority and the leader wasn’t spotting the behavior.  That isn’t necessarily the case.  Pastors and leaders aren’t always perfect.  They hear from God, but in this case I should have eventually gone to the pastor.

3.      Authority?  Wolves have a problem with authority.  Often they’ve gone from covering to covering, and are still struggling with the concept. The words, ‘Yes BUT…” tend to always be on their lips.

4.      Check Their Fruit The Bible says in Matthew 17:15-20 that you'll be able to know people by their fruit. When someone doesn't display the fruits of the Holy Spirit on a regular basis, and refuses to listen to instruction or be repentant about it, then you might start checking for fangs.  Every wolf I’ve ever encountered sorely lacked in the fruits.  They were not patient; they were not filled with peace.  They were not kind when angered and they lacked in self-control.  We’ve all missed it at times in this area however wolves are easily angered.  They turn vicious when crossed, and they lose all concern for the innocent around them.

5.      They have a taste for blood This goes hand in hand with the one I mentioned before about wolves lacking fruit.  Wolves have a taste for blood, and I’ve seen it time and time again.  When they are crossed they automatically jump for the jugular vein to pierce the heart.  They are always critical and jump on the smallest of things.  It’s as if they silently get a thrill out of hurting people.  Sure they will tell you that isn’t the case, but when you spend enough time around them you will slowly see behind the words is a grin.

6.      They are always right Wolves are rarely repentant.  Their pride deceives them from seeing what they are doing.  They are blinded by blood and the lust for seeing people destroyed.  The truth is of little importance to them unless it serves their needs.

7.      Major rejection in their lives  In every time in my life I’ve faced wolves they were always people that had faced major rejection in their lives.  It’s as if in their own narcissistic ways they are destroying people for their own innocence being shattered at some point before they go to hurt others.  The phrase that “hurting people hurt others” is very true.  While the wolf may not see it that way, their own pain blinds them to continue to tear apart others.  Often I don’t think wolves start out as wolves.  They aren’t completely evil individuals, but have picked up wolf like qualities along the way.  It’s easy to feel sorry for them.  Pray for them from afar, but you have to separate yourself from them or you will get hurt. 

8.      Watch the manipulative lies As long as the wolves’ motives and needs are being met wolves can be very passive.  They spin tales to make themselves look better, and can often be caught in their own lies.  They will use people, and care little about those they hurt. 

I am not a very confrontational individual.  I like for everything to stay Rosie and beautiful, and I avoid conflict on a regular basis.   However, every time I’ve encountered a ‘wolf in the sheep barn’ eventually I had to face the issue.  I had to approach the person. But I’ll admit in both situations I wanted to be wrong for so long and waited utterly too long to face the issue.  The Bible is very clear about how to handle confrontation.  Whenever you do confront the person use wisdom as to how it’s best to handle the situation.  No wolf situation I have ever faced has been a pretty picture.

Matthew 18:15-17 (MSG)


15-17 “If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church. If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love.

Romans 16:17 “ Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.”

 

            Now I certainly hope in all of this, I didn’t give the impression of me being bitter or unforgiving to these individuals that have been wolfish to me.  That’s not the case at all.  I forgive them, and pray for them.  However call me a bit wiser now.  I hope the lessons I’ve learned can help you not to get hurt by a wolf.  I believe in my situation as in any you have faced the word of God is true and he can and will take all things and turn them around for the good, for those that love the Lord.  (Romans 8:28)  I stand on that promise and I know that He is my rear guard and my vindicator. (Isaiah 52:12 & Psalm4:2-4) He can be yours too!

            Remember God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

           

 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Really, I just meant to wax the van!




While spending time with my family, I was reminded of an old story.  I had turned 16 and I was trying to pass my driver’s license test.  It would eventually take me four times to pass but that is another story.  I was excited and I wanted to do something nice for the family minivan, and wanted to thank my parents for letting me drive the minivan.   I decided I was going to wax the van.  The whole story seems innocent enough at this point.  Except I have to confess I don’t think I’d ever really waxed a vehicle much at this point in my life and had only really every seen my dad wax his motorcycle on sunny Sunday afternoons.  I could have asked what the right kind of wax was, but of course I did not.  I reached for where I knew my dad kept his motorcycle wax.  What I grabbed wasn’t normal car wax.  What I grabbed was something called “Blue Corral”.  This wax was meant to only wax things by inch squares because it’s so high powered it will dry within minutes.  It activates even more so over time and on warmer days.  It’s a high powered wax.  Not knowing all of this, I applied the wax in swirls all over the minivan.  I even took a break and talked to my friend as the sun beat down on me working outside. 
When I went to take the wax off the minivan I knew right away something wasn’t right.  I couldn’t get the swirls off.  I thought maybe it was just me so I started wiping harder. But the wax still wouldn’t come off.  When I finally confessed to my dad what I’d done, my parents were not happy with me.  We all as a family came out trying to use more elbow grease than we thought possible to get the wax off the car.  A few years later when my parents finally traded that minivan in, they traded it in with traces of car wax still on it.  Though we all tried and made some progress that wax was baked on the minivan.
While my intentions here were good.  I had been trying to do a good thing; the consequences of my actions weren’t so good.  I ruined the finish on my parents’ vehicle.  I felt horrible. 
Good intentions don’t always make a situation right.  In my case no matter how hard I tried to explain I was trying to do something good, it wouldn’t take away the fact the van still had wax swirls all over it.

1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
           
        It can be very easy when situations happen to judge the situation.  I learned a long time ago, and perhaps this is one of the instances I needed to learn it, to try to separate what happened from the person’s intentions.  If God is able to look to the heart of a matter shouldn’t I try to look at it too?  That doesn’t mean I excuses for bad behavior, but it means that maybe I try to look at the heart of the situation.  We’ve all made mistakes.  This was one of my many.
            When you make a mistake you want someone to show you mercy.  This doesn’t mean you become a doormat to people.  It just means that perhaps when people make an accident, you take it for what it is.  A mistake.  Forgiving others sets you free from becoming bitter and angry.  Forgiveness allows you to move forward with your life.  Forgiveness is not a weakness but an empowerment to shut the door from the pain and move forward.  When you have Jesus and you’ve asked for forgiveness, God doesn’t see your mistakes anymore. Whatever you’ve done in your past though you can’t take the “car wax off” the consequences might still be there, but God doesn’t see the mistake anymore.  If God doesn’t see the “car wax” then why should you?
Remember God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

TBN interview is online!

Hello All,

Now that the TBN interview has been aired...Dan and I were able to get it online!!!

Check it out!


http://youtu.be/fQKknyJbqSk