Wednesday, December 18, 2013

2014: The New, The Now, The Not In-Between


 

If you have read my blogs for a while now, you know that I take some time off when I travel in the summer and also around the holidays.  This year is no different.  My family and will be having some much needed time with family and friends in the North.  My prayer is that God rejuvenates and speaks to us in the ways of direction as only He can.  We pray that we are used by God to touch those we come in contact.  Usually I write the New Year blog right at the first of the year, but this year will be a little different.  I wanted to write it now, and I hope it is encouraging to many who read it. 

Last year I prophesied that 2013 would be a year what was unseen would become seen.  I certainly saw that happening in various arenas.  From the IRS scandal, to various other controversies what was already being done was brought to the surface.  We saw this happen in our own lives too in several avenues.  Personally we had plans to sell our home for years, but this year it manifested and did so very quickly.  I had wanted to get on TBN for years, and this year it happened.  The things that had been orchestrated under the surface in many arenas were brought to light.

Some months ago I began to pray about 2014 and this phrase, ‘The New, The Now, The Not In-Between” began to echo deep within me.   Transition and change is a part of everyone’s life whether they want to accept that or not.  God brings His children through different seasons.  For Dan and me, we’ve felt we’ve been in a very long transition.  It’s been as if we’ve closed one chapter of our life and while we’ve kind of started the next chapter, we’ve been ready to read on ahead and get to the good parts. (grin)

I believe it will be a year for many of God bringing them into The New, The Now, and not this in-between season place were frustration seems to be looming over your head.

Isaiah 54:12a (NKJ) I will make your pinnacles of rubies

I have spent a lot of time in Isaiah 54 and suddenly last week this scripture jumped out at me.  A pinnacle is a high height.  In some translations this word also is translated as a battlement.  Again something that is high and to be seen.  A ruby is something precious and valuable.  What I believe God is saying here is that he will make those high moments in your life valuable and precious.  This New and Now thing that God is bringing to your life will be very precious to you because He’s bringing us to a place that only He can bring you.  That doesn’t mean everything will be smooth and easy, but it means He’s doing the work in you he promised to you.  Let the New and Now thing be precious to you.  Don’t focus on the years you’ve felt stuck In-between but see what He is doing and thank Him for that.

As we all spend time this season reconnecting to relatives and friends.  Don’t forget to connect to God, so that He can make your pathway clear.  Start this New Year with fresh vision and a new spring in your step.  Allow God to bring you into the New, The Now, and the Not In-Between.  I assure you, He won’t disappoint you!

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

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mommy, how many lives do we get?


 

My kids love to steal my tablet to play games; making them well versed in Angry Birds, Santa Rider, and Grandma Run.  Now that we’re sharing one car they tend to play a few games while waiting for Dan to get off work, once their homework is done of course.  My youngest daughter is one of the most curious kids I have ever been around.  The phrase, “Mommy has no idea about that, why don’t we go home and Google it?” gets used a lot.  She’s got such a sweet easy going personality, but every once in a while she’ll say some of the most profound things and then just go back to being the same fun loving kid.  She switches in seconds and honestly one can never be sure what will come out of her mouth. 

Last week while she was playing a game, she suddenly stopped and in all seriousness asked me, “Mom how many lives do we get?”  It took me a few moments to understand what she was asking me.  I was busy trying to help my oldest with geometry (certainly not my best subject), and my mind was going several different directions. 

“What do you mean how many lives do we get?”  I tried to stop and look at her.  She repeated her question as she tapped on the tablet screen.  I knew then what she as asking me.  If you got so many chances in Angry Birds…she wanted to know if we were the same, if we had more the one life if we messed up.

“We have one life.  Of course there are miracles where some get raised from the dead, like Jesus, and I’ve heard of that happening to other people.  But really we have one life.”  When my daughter asks these kinds of questions I try very hard to take the opportunity to talk to her.  This case was no different.  I explained to her that we only had one chance at life and we needed to make the best of it.  She thought for a moment, and as if spending the moment of her ounce of seriousness, went back to giggling and telling jokes. 

I however couldn’t shake her question.  Too many people live their lives as if they are characters on some video game.  They think that they have all the lives in the world, and they have all the time in the world.  We all lose sight that life is a gift and while God sometimes grants us second chances we really have on chance on this earth. 

Dan said something to me last night very profound.  He said, “I think if we all really understood and had a glance at our eternity we’d realize how short our lives really are… how much more we wouldn’t allow the small frustrations in life really get to us.”

James 4:14 (ESV)


14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

            Life is short.  Enjoy your life.  Love those around you lots, and make a difference on the earth for the Kingdom of God.  We all only have one life to live.  Let’s make it count.  Guard yourself from letting the small irritations in life to frustrate you or derail your goals.  We’ll all have to face the Lord and give an account for our lives.  Let’s make our gift of life count.

            God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Update on Defending Freedom of Speech

 

This afternoon I went to the meeting with the principal and the teacher regarding the incident I spoke about this morning in this blog. 

While the teacher’s definition (as spoken in front of his boss and the principal) of what went on and was said in his classroom certainly deferred from what I was told by my daughter, it was good to hear both sides of the story.  Of course I do believe that the teacher backpedaled a bit, and I believe my child.  I am choosing to let this situation go.  At this point I will not be going to the media.  I felt that I needed to take a stand for Freedom of Speech.  In my own corner of the world, I believe I did.  However I won't hesitate to do cause a stink again if I feel this situation continues to happen.

Thank you to all who prayed with me during this drama.  Smiles!

Defending Freedom of Speech


 

We live in an America where it seems more and more our freedoms and the Constitution continues to be trampled upon.  It’s shocking to me that it’s gone beyond just religious prosecution, but it’s violating the ideals that America was founded. 

While I live in a small part of the US, I have seen things swing more and more towards a Socialistic or Communistic society.  We are sadly leaving our free democratic nation aside and moving to ideologies that is not how this nation is founded.  In short I believe our forefathers are “rolling in their graves.”  The United States was founded in order to give people a nation to have the freedoms to worship and be who they felt their Creator called them to be.  It wasn’t freedom from all religion, but freedom from a set religion being forced down ones throat from a government.

My children have gone to a public charter school for the last 8 years.  For the most part, I have loved that school.  Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had a few differences over the years.  For many reasons we’ve known that their time in the school had already been drawing to a close though I’m not exactly sure when that’ll happen.  What is happening now is not how I want my family’s time at that school to be remembered.  However it appears that I will have to make a stand.

For the last several weeks my oldest daughter, (7th grade) has been telling me about conversations in her science class.  I knew they were discussing the theory of evolution.  Evidently this teacher has been talking about it over and over again as if it were a fact.  I have also learned that he’s been mocking people who believed in the entire Bible.  The first time I heard about this, I reminded my daughter that it is a theory and we discussed what the Bible said.  I encouraged her if she felt the need to tell the teacher what she believed.  I had hoped this would be the end of the conversation.  However it wasn’t.  There were several instances, and thus I knew it was time for me to step in.

With a quick google search, I was able to find out that in 2008 the Florida Board of Education deemed that Evolution needed to be taught as a theory.  So in a nicely worded email I reminded the teacher of this.  His response shocked me.  In reference to evolution, be assured that I will be putting an emphasis that it is a theory. We have previously gone over the difference between Law and Theory, which I'll remind them of when we get to evolution. Saying that, please know that I try very hard to have the students keep their personal beliefs to themselves, but sometimes they blurt things out without my permission. Know that they will receive consequences for blurting out their opinions, especially if it may be offensive to other students.”

What?  I was furious with this thought.  Why would anyone want to silence a child or anyone for that matter stating how they felt?  What happened to freedom of speech?  I may not agree with some of his theories or other opinions in the room, but I believe it’s an American right, it’s a human right to state how you believe.  Why is it that in the name of “not wanting to offend anyone” that we’ve allowed that to steal the freedom of speech from us? 

I reiterated to him that if my child or another in the room would be disrespectful or rude then I agreed with consequences but if someone is just stating their beliefs then why would that be punished?  To me this argument is past creationism vs. evolution.  It’s about freedom of speech.  It’s about those kids being able to speak up without thinking they’ll get punished.  I mean that for my daughter the Christian, the girl the Atheist, the boy the Muslim, and the other child the Jehovah’s Witness.  I believe we all have the right to state our beliefs.

Today I get to go into my children’s principal’s office and sit down with the principal and a teacher to defend the United States Constitution.  I’m not sure what one wears to go and do this.  I’m half tempted to walk in dressed like George Washington complete with a powdered wig and three cornered hat.  Somehow I think that would get my point across.

I am not a person to go hunting down issues.  However I believe that when an issue presents itself one has an obligation to stand up and defend the situation.  It is these little battles that steamroll into more and more violations of freedoms.  Many Christians believe that we need to just shut up, be a doormat, and keep our head in the sand.  However the more we do that the more we lose the battle in this nation.  I believe we’ve lost so many freedoms because we’ve all stayed quiet.  I refuse to let this issue just slide under the rug.  In fact unless this is handled well today, I don’t want to do this, I will start trying to pull in the media.  I believe we all need to do our part in our own worlds.  I believe Ronald Regan said it best.  Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

I believe we all have an obligation to take a stand for what is right in the world around us.  I believe if we all stand up in our own communities, then it will make a difference the nation as a whole.  I’m not suggesting a terrorist activity, that’s crazy.  But I am suggesting we open our mouths and speak out for what is right.  "If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan

I thank you all for your prayers today, to give me the wisdom of what to say and how to say it.

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

 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Blue! Orange! Blue! Orange!


 

I purchased Mojo, our cute longhaired mini doxie dog, two ball toys some time ago but just gave them to him this weekend.  If I do buy him a dog toy and scan down the aisle.  My criteria are: that it can’t have a squeaker to drive me bonkers in the middle of the night, and I look for how it will be torn apart.  It’s because of that I typically make toys for him anymore out of worn out jeans. 

Mojo was so beyond excited to get his new toys. He pranced and he played. The balls had come in a two pack and perhaps I should have only given him one at first.  Because his biggest problem was deciding which one he wanted.  He’d take the orange one, and then the blue.  I’d throw one of them and he’d try to fit both of them in his mouth.  I took one in each hand and would give him the one, only to see him change his mind.  He wanted the orange, no the blue, no the orange, no the blue.  This went on and on.  It was like he couldn’t thoroughly enjoy his gift because he wanted them both.

We do the same thing as humans.  We live under the ‘grass is always greener’ mentality.  We think everyone has it better than ourselves and then we wonder why we are so discontent and unhappy in our lives. We think that just because someone’s facebook profile looks cooler than ours, then what is wrong with what we have?  Behind every picture, I don’t care who you are, there is always going to be its own set of issues.  Behind ever fa├žade everyone is walking through or going through something.  Even geographically this time of the year, many think living in a warmer climate is somehow the ultimate.  I assure you that even as I currently live in FL I’d rather be north. I miss the seasons. We all tend to want what we either can’t have or don’t have.

You know you can talk yourself out of your blessing by comparing what you don’t have to what you do. 


Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.


Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Its okay to want more out of life than what and where you may be now.  That’s what propels you to move forward and not be stagnant.  However you have to be content with where you are.  There is peace, rest, satisfaction, and life fulfillment when you are in the land of being content.  When you are so caught up about how the grass looks everywhere else but in your own yard you are not going to be happy.  You simply can’t enjoy the things that are in front of you.  Enjoy your life.  It is a gift.  Be content in what you have, in the season you are in, and be at peace that God is in control.

God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Quitting UNO



My family sat around and played UNO together a few nights ago.  Friends of us have taught us a new spin on the rules; if a plus something card is put on the pile then the next person can defer their picking up those cards if they have the same plus number card then the next person has to pick up the total amount.  So to explain that if I threw down a +4 card, and the next person threw down a +4 then the third person had to pick up 8 cards.  Whether these are actual rules or made up rules it certain amounts for some fun card games.  However the other night the +4’s kept being laid down until my youngest daughter found herself stiffed to pick up 16 cards.  Laughter, hoots, and cries could have probably been heard from several houses away. 

She cried, “That’s it I quit!”

She wanted to quit.  She decided it looked hopeless.  But, I wouldn’t let her quit.  “No, you’ll finish this game.”  So we finished the game, and she didn’t win that game.  I think I did.  But the next game we played she did win.

It can be so easy in the midst of the situation to get bogged down with what appears to be impossible and want to quit.  There is no condemnation here, I’ll admit to going through the same thoughts and emotions at times.  You have to purpose within your heart that no matter what storms may happen you won’t quit.  Take my daughter and UNO for example.  If she would have quit when she got dealt a difficult situation, she would have cheated me out of the one win, and she wouldn’t have won the next one herself.  Our quitting affects those around you and stops us from walking in victory. 

Galatians 6:9 (ESV)


And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

            I want to encourage all of you today.  Don’t quit.  Don’t grow weary. Look up, your help draws nigh.  I know it can be easy, but you don’t know what’s around the next corner.  Push through it and keep moving forward.  God is faithful to you.  He is faithful in your situation.  Put your trust in Him.  Do not allow such minor circumstances get your off of His plan for your life.  Life is an endurance run, it’s not a sprint.  Keep moving forward.

            God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Funeral Procession For My Car



Many years ago when we got my car we walked out nothing short of a classic miracle story of a divine plan and some appearing to be crazy circumstances.  Dan and I had been in need of a vehicle.  We’d planted some seed toward it.  I happened to be visiting my parents in Ohio for a wedding, and got in touch with a friend of the family who is employed by a dealership and has always gotten us great deals on cars.  Long story short though I had plans to fly back to FL, after spending time on the phone with Dan and the family friend (sometimes at the same time) we ended up purchasing this vehicle at the same amount we’d sown seed for over the dealer price.  However they’d needed Dan's signature for the car loan, so my mother, oldest daughter, and myself were permitted to take it on a really “long test drive” to Florida.  So my mother could get Dan’s signature on the paperwork, and fly back to Ohio.  Dan bought the car sight unseen.  Through a series of events we had the car paid off two years later. 

We knew that that car had seen better days.  Now many years later I could list all the problems with it.  It’s been a stable vehicle, but as most vehicles go the time comes they simply aren’t worth repairing.  For a list of reasons my husband and I had plans to sell it sometime between two weeks to two months from now.  It’s is now our second vehicle, and for a short period of time we’d agreed it was best to go down to one. 

Somehow I think the car got wind of our plans because on Saturday as Dan and I and my youngest daughter drove back from the store, my trusty vehicle decided it was done.  Well, it wasn’t completely done. . .it sputtered, stalled and stopped.  Dan pulled over right away.  It wasn’t anything obvious.  Praying all the way to the house as the car stalled at every light, driving with our flashers on, and hearing cars behind us zoom around us it was as if we had a funeral procession for my car.  We’re pretty sure it’s the engine, and that’s more than we’re willing to put into it.

I’ll admit the frustration at it dying just before we decided it was time. I’ll admit a moment of discouragement.  But we had to make the choice for it not to get us down.  Something’s in life are just beyond our control, and you have to learn to just roll with it whether you think you’re ready to or not.

Recently someone asked me in an interview about how one learns to move with God in ministry and life, and essentially my response was, “You have to learn to just go with it.  My dad always says, “In life you have to learn to play the hand you’re dealt.”  In essence the Bible echoes a similar statement. 

Matthew 5:25-31


Do Not Worry


25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

            I confess I have spent too much of my life as a worrier.  I’m working on it.  But the Bible teaches us you can’t do it.  You have to play the hand your dealt.  Trust God, and know He’s got it all worked out.  I can’t control the fact my car wanted to die earlier than I wanted it to.  But I can control how I react to it.  I can keep my chin up, and just keep going forward.  It’s like a hurdler running a race.  I have to just jump over the hurdle whether I planned it to be there or not.  If I stop too long to over analyze it, I’ll just trip. 

            Whatever it is in your life that you’re annoyed, frustrated, and worrying about, stop worrying.  Keep moving forward.  There is a new season busting forth.

            God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!